Lv 5
? asked in Education & ReferenceWords & Wordplay · 1 decade ago

Why do they call it "pig" latin?

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The origins of Pig Latin are unknown. One early mention of it was in Putnam's Magazine in May 1869: "I had plenty of ammunition in reserve, to say nothing, Tom, of our pig Latin. 'Hoggibus, piggibus et shotam damnabile grunto', and all that sort of thing". The Atlantic January 1896 also included a mention of the subject: "They all spoke a queer jargon which they themselves had invented. It was something like the well-known 'pig Latin' that all sorts of children like to play with". Thomas Jefferson wrote letters to friends in pig Latin.


    Pig Latin is one of a number of what are usually called "secret languages" or "play languages." These are not real languages with their own vocabularies, but instead consist of rearranging standard English words or substituting other words according to a few simple rules. Secret languages are almost always used by children to conceal speech content of an "in" group from the outcasts of the moment (or from slow-witted adults), although, particularly in the case of Pig Latin, adults often use such languages as the basis for jokes.

    Pig Latin may, in fact, persist into adulthood because there are really only two easily-remembered rules. (It has, by the way, absolutely no connection with real Latin, which has lots and lots of rules.) In Pig Latin, a word beginning with a consonant ("puzzle," for instance) has its initial letter moved to the end and followed by "ay" ("uzzlepay"). If the word begins with a vowel, "ay" or "way" is tacked onto the end ("egg" becomes "eggway"). Prepositions, conjunctions and articles (on, to, and, the, etc.) are generally left unchanged.

    The construction "ixnay," often heard in Pig Latin, takes a bit more explaining. It stands for "nix," a somewhat antiquated word for "no," "none," or, spoken as a command, "stop it." So "ixnay on the uzzlepays" means "stop the puzzles." Another common Pig Latinism is "amscray," meaning "scram," i.e., "get lost."

    Pig Latin first appeared in the early 20th century, but has been, for no particular reason, largely popular in the US. Britain has a similar secret language, using spelling reversal, called "back slang," the most common example being "yob" (or "yobbo") for "boy."


  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The original was ' pidgin English' which was a reference to the way Chinese people spoke English. This has been altered (mistakenly) to pigeon English, when people haven't heard correctly. Since then pidgin is used for any language where the speaker doesn't speak the tongue very well, but can usually make himself understood. See Brewers Dictionary of phrase and fable

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.