Idioglossia and Secret Language of Twins

 

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One of the popular myths about multiples is that they share a secret language, a form of communication known only to them. Terms such as idioglossia, autonomous language or cryptophasia describe the phenomenon of twin language, a fascinating. Idioglossia is a term referring to twin language.

It is also called cryptophasia. Nevertheless, a lot of experts say that this is not actually what you would call a different language, but rather some kind of code or a sequence of shortcuts, something that twins would have come up with between themselves as a way of communicating with one another. Cryptophasia is a phenomenon of a language developed by twins (identical or fraternal) that only the two children can understand. The word has its roots from the Greek crypto, meaning secret, and phasia, meaning speech. Most linguists associate cryptophasia with idioglossia, which is any language used by only one, or very few, people.

Cryptophasia also differs from idioglossia on including mirrored actions like twin-walk and identical mannerisms. Another pure example of a secret language is whatever Jody Foster in 1994’s movie Nell is saying. That kind of cryptic and unique words assembled in the language are not gibberish.

This is idioglossia or criptophasia. Twin language or twin speech is often referred to as autonomous language, cryptophasia, or idioglossia. They are all types of communication systems, most commonly occurring in twins. With the exception of cryptophasia, they may also transpire between singletons and between other siblings of multiple births.

Basically, this phenomenon describes the way two or more close siblings use words and/or gestures. The idea that twins develop entirely fabricated secret languages that only they use and only they can understand has long been a source of fascination for scientists and lay people alike. This is known as twin language, idioglossia or cryptophasia.

In most cases, however, what the twins are speaking is not an entirely new or separate language. The phenomenon, also called cryptophasia (Greek: “secret” + “speech”), describes a language developed by twins in early childhood which they only speak with each other. Invented languages spoken by very few people are also referred to as autonomous languages or idioglossia. Also known as idioglossia, autonomous language or cryptophasia, the phenomenon of the secret language among twins, twin language, twin talk has fascinated both parents and researchers.

It is a spoken language – sometimes also a language of gestures and body language – that twins adopt to communicate among each other. Twin speak is also sometimes called idioglossia, a similar phenomenon, but one that doesn’t include the mirrored actions and mannerisms that typically accompany cryptophasia. An idioglossia (from the Ancient Greek ἴδιος ídios, ‘own, personal, distinct’ and γλῶσσα glôssa, ‘tongue’) is an idiosyncratic language invented and spoken by only one person or very few people.

Most often, idioglossia refers to the “private languages” of young children, especially twins, the latter being more specifically known as cryptophasia, and commonly referred to as twin talk or twin speech. Children who are exposed to multiple languages from birth are also inclined to create idioglossias, but t.

List of related literature:

It is possible that some of the different language behaviours observed among twins may become a means for maintaining the self-sufficiency of the twinship and contribute to the formation of SM in some cases.

“Tackling Selective Mutism: A Guide for Professionals and Parents” by Miriam Jemmett, Denise Lanes, Kate Jones, David Bramble, Charlotte Firth, Rosemary Sage, Carl Sutton, Keiko Kakuta, Jean Gross, Tony Cline, Nitza Katz-Bernstein, Victoria Roe, Lindsay Whittington, Jyoti Sharma, Geoffrey Gibson, Jane Kay, Hilary M Cleator, Alison Wintgens, Benita Rae Smith, Alice Sluckin, Jenny Packer, Johnston Susan, Maggie Johnson
from Tackling Selective Mutism: A Guide for Professionals and Parents
by Miriam Jemmett, Denise Lanes, et. al.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2014

Communication between twins is broadly similar to that between closely aged siblings; however, there is evidence for an elevated incidence of “secret language.”

“Why Language Matters for Theory of Mind” by Janet Wilde Astington, Jodie A. Baird
from Why Language Matters for Theory of Mind
by Janet Wilde Astington, Jodie A. Baird
Oxford University Press, 2005

The private languages of twins with their idiosyncratic sounds, grammar, and vocabulary may be difficult to decipher, but nonetheless can generally be explained in relation to the forms of speech used around the pair.”

“Ancient Greek Ideas on Speech, Language, and Civilization” by Deborah Levine Gera, Oxford University Press
from Ancient Greek Ideas on Speech, Language, and Civilization
by Deborah Levine Gera, Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press, 2003

Broadly conceived, the twin situation for learning language is a special case of the multisibling family context, albeit one in which there is no spacing between siblings.

“Intelligence, Heredity and Environment” by Robert J. Sternberg, Elena Grigorenko
from Intelligence, Heredity and Environment
by Robert J. Sternberg, Elena Grigorenko
Cambridge University Press, 1997

Experts believe that twin talk is less about keeping their communication private and more about their mimicking each other’s rudimentary (and often incorrect) attempts at language.

“What to Expect: The Second Year” by Heidi Murkoff
from What to Expect: The Second Year
by Heidi Murkoff
Simon & Schuster UK, 2012

Despite reduced vocabulary and absence of grammar, it makes communication possible between the twins; they have so many affinities that they can understand one an2075

“Encyclopedia of Special Education: A Reference for the Education of Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Disabilities and Other Exceptional Individuals, Volume 3” by Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology Cecil R Reynolds, PhD, Cecil R. Reynolds, Elaine Fletcher-Janzen, Elaine Fletcher-Janzen, Ed.D., NCSP
from Encyclopedia of Special Education: A Reference for the Education of Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Disabilities and Other Exceptional Individuals, Volume 3
by Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology Cecil R Reynolds, PhD, Cecil R. Reynolds, et. al.
Wiley, 2007

Twins often have delayed language development accompanied by what appears to be a jargon that only the twins understand.

“Encyclopedia of Special Education: A Reference for the Education of Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Disabilities and Other Exceptional Individuals, Volume 1” by Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology Cecil R Reynolds, PhD, Cecil R. Reynolds, Elaine Fletcher-Janzen, Elaine Fletcher-Janzen, Ed.D., NCSP
from Encyclopedia of Special Education: A Reference for the Education of Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Disabilities and Other Exceptional Individuals, Volume 1
by Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology Cecil R Reynolds, PhD, Cecil R. Reynolds, et. al.
Wiley, 2007

Twins are also sometimes credited with developing a private language that only they can understand.

“Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language” by Thomas Burns McArthur, Tom McArthur, Roshan McArthur
from Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language
by Thomas Burns McArthur, Tom McArthur, Roshan McArthur
Oxford University Press, 2005

Kurylowicz is virtually alone in assuming that the labio-velars arose from velars in the centum languages; by his hypothesis the parent language includes only palatals and velars (1935: 1-26).

“Theoretical Bases of Indo-European Linguistics” by Winfred Philipp Lehmann
from Theoretical Bases of Indo-European Linguistics
by Winfred Philipp Lehmann
Routledge, 1996

They can be made out as twins only by restricting the vocabulary that is permitted to be used in distinguishing them.

“Making it Explicit: Reasoning, Representing, and Discursive Commitment” by Robert Brandom
from Making it Explicit: Reasoning, Representing, and Discursive Commitment
by Robert Brandom
Harvard University Press, 1994

Oktay Kutluk

Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG is one of the world's foremost experts in fertility preservation as well as ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization for infertility treatments. He developed and performed the world's first ovarian transplantation procedures as well as pioneered new ovarian stimulation protocols for embryo and oocyte freezing for breast and endometrial cancer patients.

Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: +1 (877) 492-3666

Biography: https://medicine.yale.edu/profile/kutluk_oktay/
Bibliography: oktay_bibliography

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6 comments

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  • My twins are with my watching and currently answering these two in the video. My guys are almost two and usually only twin talk. Should I be worried?

  • OMG! I’m a twin too, and we did the exact same thing on what you said! Like when my mother and grandparents had told my twin sister and I that when we were babies back in 2000, in the middle of the night, we would stand up on our cribs and we would just talk really loud in our own language, and when they would come into the room we’d stop, and when they left, we would talk in our own language again. And we did that up until we were 2 years of age! Sometimes I still wish my sister and I could talk in a language that nobody understands!

  • My twin and I spoke 3 languages fluently. My father was stationed in Japan by the time we began talking. She/I knew English, our language, and learned Japanese from our maid to help our mother converse with Tyko. My twin/I used Japanese/our language. When our dad was stationed states side my twin/I were school age. Our teachers #1. Couldn’t tell us apart #2. Had no idea what we were speaking. Our pediatrician recommended we be in separate classes to enforce our use of English. As we got older and wanted to communicate in private while in public we relied on facial expressions/certain quips. We had a separate set of friends. Shared friends didn’t last as their complaint was always “I feel like an outsider.” And then I had a daughter. She slid into our twindom much to the shock of my twin. DD (my twin) at first was put off yet not for long. My daughter amazed me by accomplishing at the young age of 23 months what many others couldn’t figure out. Sadly I lost my DD almost 3 yrs ago and I’ll never be the same. My daughter/I find comfort in each other as she’s so much like my twin. Lodie

  • Omg same but my sister and i started talking at 2 and we just talked anytime we could
    Oh and we used to cry at the doors when we were apart

  • They do have identical DNA. It’s true. Fraternal twins don’t. They taught this in my Psychology 217: Human Growth and Development class.

  • as an identical twin myself can confirm babies do form there own languages i remember me and my identical twin did have some form of language i dont really remember the words though maybe like 1 lol that i distinctly remember using