Idioglossia

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For the play by Mark Handley, see Idioglossia (play).

An idioglossia 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 these languages usually disappear at a relatively early age, giving way to use of one or more of the languages introduced.

Examples[edit]

Case studies[edit]

Media[edit]

  • The 1994 film Nell, starring Jodie Foster, depicts a woman who speaks an idioglossia. The stage play on which it is based is also called Idioglossia.
  • The concept album The Perfect Element, part I, by Pain of Salvation, is centered around a song "Idioglossia".
  • James Joyce's novel Finnegans Wake was written using an idioglossia.
  • Skins Series 3 Episode 9 shows Katie and Emily Fitch using an idioglossia.
  • Sherri and Terri on The Simpsons sometimes use an idioglossia.
  • The two teenage protagonists of the film Disco Pigs, Darren and Sinéad, use an idioglossia.
  • Singer, musician, and composer Lisa Gerrard (of Dead Can Dance and in her solo career) sings many of her songs in an idioglossia that she has developed since the age of twelve.
  • Characters Jim and Tim Possible from the Disney Channel series Kim Possible often use twinspeak.
  • Twins Marilyn and Carolyn Arnold from The Baby-Sitters Club' book series used this early on.
  • In the 2005 Law & Order: SVU episode "Identity," teenage twins Logan and Lindsay Stanton (Reiley McClendon) speak to each other in twin language while both are being interrogated in a murder investigation by Detectives Stabler and Benson (Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay, respectively). Detective Stabler recognizes their language as "twin speak" because he himself is the father of twins and remarks that his twins had their own language when they were young as well.
  • In the 2010 American Dad! episode "Son of Stan," Steve and his temporarily created clone, Steve-arino (voice of Scott Grimes), were briefly seen using an idioglossia in speaking to each other.
  • Episode 212 of television show Rules of Engagement twins attending a party speak in twin language and so state that twins often have their own language that only they can understand

See also[edit]

  • Home sign, a similar phenomenon among sign languages
  • Stanley Unwin, a British comedian who invented his own language, Unwinese

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Bakker, P. (1987). "Autonomous languages of twins". Acta Geneticae Medicae et Gemellologiae (Roma) 36 (2): 233–238. PMID 3434134.