Cryptophasia: The Secret Language of Twins

Although code languages have existed since the dawn of civilization for all types of uses and circumstances, there is a phenomenon about which very little known: Cryptophasia (Greek for “secret” and “speech”), also known as “twin speak.” It is the language developed by twins in their early life, ignoring for some time the language and culture of their family.

Of course, you have to be a twin to understand it thoroughly and know the specifics, but what is known for sure is that generally, 50% of twins develop their own language before their real mother tongue, and that this usually occurs in the first 3 years of life. However, this language sometimes lingers a little longer and reaches remarkable levels of complexity. It is as fascinating as it is disturbing for parents to see their children speak in a language that only they understand, with vocabulary, forms and expressions that are indecipherable to anyone else.

Some studies indicate that this secret language may be based on a distortion of the mother tongue itself, although oftentimes there is no relationship whatsoever. Moreover, it is impossible to compete with the innate connection between the twins, as a simple exchange of glances is all that’s needed for them to communicate clearly. For this reason, we should not get frustrated if we cannot communicate with them with the same accuracy and speed as they can. The downside of Cryptophasia is that when the twins are finally forced to learn their mother tongue and join the world outside their “secret club,” they often have difficulties and need more time than usual to do so. Many retain a slight quasi-foreign accent the rest of their lives.

Those who study this topic believe that this “artificial” creation of a language is how different languages have been born throughout history, starting with simple words and even including structures and grammar that develop as the language expands among groups of people and over generations.