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Thursday, May 28, 2015




Whalabat calaban selebecrelebet lalabangualabages telebell ulubus alabout lalabangualabage ilibin gelebeneleberalabal?

That was a snippet from alibi, a secret language often spoken in schoolyards across Australia. Though a little rusty in the language myself, I certainly had friends who could speak it fluently to convey top-secret information in public, to the confusion of non-speakers around them. Along with gibberish, spoken in the US and Canada (and famously depicted in a scene from The Slums of Beverly Hills), as well as the not-so-secret-anymore pig latin, secret language games, orludlings, have been serious business for young people across the ages.
In a paper back in 1893, Oscar Chrisman notes “we adults are rather apt to rate children’s powers too low… In the power of originating it may be that the child is the superior of the adult. This is well illustrated in the forming of languages… [there are] over 150 specimens of Secret Languages collected during the past three years. To be sure, quite a number of these are not the languages of children, as some are of thieves, peasants, secret societies, etc., but who knows but that many of these may have their foundations in child-languages?”/.../

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