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Happy European Day of Languages!

By on September 26, 2013

Did you know that English pigs and German pigs speak the same language?  But not cows, as German cows say "muh"

Did you know that English pigs and German pigs speak the same language? But not cows; German cows say “muh”

Can you speak fluent Pig Latin? It’s not one of the 200+ European languages celebrated today as part of the European Union’s “European Day of Languages”, but it does work well as a secret language. This is especially true in Britain, where it doesn’t seem as popular as in America. So, if you don’t speak Icelandic or Esperanto, I’d recommend brushing up on your Ig-pay Atin-lay for top-secret conversations.

The basics:

Words beginning with consonants
When words begin with a consonant (like Pig) or a consonant cluster (like Train), simply move the consonant or consonant cluster from the start of the word to the end of the word. Then add the suffix “-ay” at the end.
So, Pig -> Ig-pay and Train -> Ain-Tray

Words beginning with vowels
All you need to do here is add a suffix: “-way”, “-hay” or “-yay” to the end of the word. The suffixes vary based on which dialect of Pig Latin you speak, so pick your favourite. You don’t need to change any letters around, just say the word normally then add the suffix. I personally prefer “-hay”, but that is how I learnt Pig Latin many years ago!
So, Apple -> Apple-way or Apple-hay or Apple-yay

Words containing the letter “Y”
These can be tricky, as the letter “Y” can act like a consonant or a vowel. If it acts like a consonant, follow the rule for words beginning with a consonant, and if it acts like a vowel, follow that rule. Confused? I’ll try to clarify:
If a word starts with the letter “Y” it is treated like a consonant and is moved to the end of the word. For example, the word “Yesterday” becomes Esterday-yay.
If “Y” is the second letter in a two letter word, such as “by”, which becomes y-bay.
However, if the letter “Y” is part of a consonant cluster at the start of a word, like in the word “Rhythm”, it is treated like a vowel and does not move to the end of the word. For example, “Rhythm” becomes Ythm-rhay.

Compound words
Compound words, which are words formed by joining up two or more words, work better in Pig Latin when they are split up, as it makes them even more difficult for listeners to understand. For example, the word “Bathroom” becomes Ath-bay oom-ray rather than Athroom-bay, which is more obvious. Another example is the word “Toothpaste”, which becomes Ooth-tay aste-pay rather than oothpaste-tay.

I hope these rules help you on your way to becoming a fluent Pig Latin speaker.

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