Language Games*


A lot of the games that we play as kids help us learn important life skills. “I spy”? Color recognition. “Peekaboo”? Object permanence. But what about language games? In English, you’ve got games like pig Latin, which has several versions. Most involve moving syllables or consonants from the front of a word to the end, and then adding “-ay”. It’s such a prevalent phenomena that there’s even a Google search in pig Latin.

And English isn’t alone in having language games like this. In fact, every language I’ve studied, including Nepali and Esperanto, has had some form of similar language game.

The weird thing, though, is that it kinda looks like the only people that language games are really useful for is linguists.

Let’s look at syllables. If you’re a normal person, you only think about them when you’re forced to write a haiku for some reason. (Pro tip: In Japanese, it’s not…

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About writingwithmichael
Expressive, observant and passionate

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