Are you ready to write ig-Pay atin-Lay? (Pig Latin)

Or in other words, are-ay ou-yay eady-ray oo-tay earn-lay  ig-Pay atin-Lay and-ay use-ay it-ay in-ay our-yay everyday-ay arlanc-pay and-ay iting-wray?

I learned Pig Latin from my dad way back in the dark ages. In his youth he and his friends (we’re talking Canadian prairies, 1930s or so) had hilarious times fooling their parents, peers and teachers using this fairly obvious derivation of ordinary English which – with minimal brain power – anyone can understand.

Secret languages: child’s play, or more?

Pig Latin is the most popular of these light-hearted secret languages, along with Double Dutch, Eggy-Peggy, Gree, Na and Skimona Jive amongst others, according to this informative website

However the fun secret languages of childhood have their roots in rather more serious codes and ciphers that have been used for centuries. This area of language, known as cryptography, is a very exact science indeed and still holds an important place in military and diplomatic circles today.

According to Wikipedia, Before the modern era, cryptography was concerned solely with message confidentiality (i.e., encryption)—conversion of messages from a comprehensible form into an incomprehensible one and back again at the other end, rendering it unreadable by interceptors or eavesdroppers without secret knowledge (namely the key needed for decryption of that message). Encryption was used to (attempt to) ensure secrecy in communications, such as those of spies, military leaders, and diplomats. In recent decades, the field has expanded beyond confidentiality concerns to include techniques for message integrity checking, sender/receiver identity authentication, digital signatures, interactive proofs and secure computation, among others.”

And if you think Pig Latin is merely frivolous…

Once again according to Wikipedia, “the origins of Pig Latin are unknown. One early mention of the name was in Putnam’s Magazine in May 1869: “I had plenty of ammunition in reserve, to say nothing, Tom, of our pig Latin. ‘Hoggibus, piggibus et shotam damnabile grunto’, and all that sort of thing”, although the language cited is not modern Pig Latin, but rather what would be called today Dog Latin.”


The Atlantic January 1895 also included a mention of the subject: “They all spoke a queer jargon which they themselves had invented. It was something like the well-known ‘pig Latin’ that all sorts of children like to play with”. Thomas Jefferson wrote letters to friends in pig Latin.”

It’s not hard: simply remove the first consonant sound of a word (whether a single or double consonant) stick it at the back, and add the sound “ay.” With words beginning with a vowel, just say them as they are then add an “ay” syllable on to the end.

O-say, is-thay ost-pay isn’t-ay arbage-gay. Er-thay are-ay ore-may an-thay oo-tay and-ay a-ay laf-hay illion-may entries-ay about-ay it-ay on-ay oogle-Gay.

Some serious examples of Pig Latin (click on the links if you don’t believe me):

Google’s own page in Pig Latin

The (Christian) Bible in Pig Latin

Wikipedia’s take on Pig Latin

Further definitions of Pig Latin e.g. this one

Endless articles about Pig Latin such as this one

A ready-to-use Pig Latin translator facility here

Or here

Oh-say … are-ay ou-yay oing-gay oo-tay ave-hay a-ay ab-stay at-ay inting-wray ig-Pay atin-Lay? Ease-Play ite-wray our-yay omments-cay ere-hay.


Ow-nay – et’s-lay et-gay iting-wray ight-ray!

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