Saturday, December 02, 2017

Pig Latin

 Tom from Bellaire asked who invented pig latin. The current version of pig latin involves moving the first letter or digraph of a word to the end of the word and adding –ay. “First things first” becomes “Irstfay ingsthay irstfay.” It is a form of humorous word play, albeit somewhat silly, and is often used by youngsters as a code.

Pig Latin, far from actually being a form of Latin, is a parody of Latin, a deliberate corruption, a sound-alike deception. Throughout the centuries, it has taken various forms and has been called dog latin, hog latin, thieves’ latin, and pig latin. It is not clear when it started, but we find it in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor Lost, Act v, scene 1:

            Costard: Go to; thou hast it ad dungill, at the fingers’ ends, as they say.
            Holofernes: O, I smell false Latine; dunghill for unguem.

Pig latin was particularly popular in movies made in the 1930s. Here is a prime example. The pig latin kicks in around 2:40.

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