Examples of Cryptophasia

There are several examples of the speech of Cryptophasia, which I listed here:

One of the cases, that is quite popular of children using a cryptophasic code, is the one of Grace and Virginia Kennedy, who grew up in 1970s San Diego. As Jon Lackman described it, Grace and Virginia, or "Poto and Cabengo" as they called each other, caused quite a furor, when it was discovered that at the age of six, they were still not able to talk in English. Instead they used an autonomous language of their own, e.g.: "Dugon, haus you dinikin, du-ah" (Lackman, 2011) , was one of the sentences that Grace Kennedy used in a conversation with her twin-sister. "Snup-aduh ah-wee diedipana, dihabana" (Lackman, 2011) was something that Virginia replied. This private language might have also been brought forward by some kind of spasm of which the twins suffered from as infants, which caused the parents to think that their girls were mentally ill and kept them indoors and away from other children to protect them. Their grandmother was the one who looked after them, but most of the time left them on their own. In fact, both were later found to have rather normal IQs.

What was especially interesting was that they spoke very rapidly and their pronunciations changed constantly, which made it hard to understand them. They apparently also have had at least 16 different ways to say "potato salad", according to Jon Lackman's researches. The twin-girls in the end underwent speech therapy and learned English and even found employment, which was reported several years ago, says Lackman, but their language abilities are still not standardized and so their jobs are also not that skillful. Jean-Pierre Gorin created a documentary film about this case, called "Poto and Cabengo", which was released in 1979 and the opening of it can be found here:

Poto and Cabengo

Another example, that Lackman mentions, is the one of the British twins June and Jennifer Gibbons, who were born in 1963. They spoke English but also maintained an autonomous language, which led to less social contact with other children or even bullying by other kids in school. This caused them to deny talking to anyone except themselves and one other sister.

Schüller gives an example of boy twins, who "only reacted to speech that referred to them personally" (Schüller 14), which shows a very choosy perception of language. Schüller further states, that the boys were absolutely concentrated on each other; spent their whole time together, and if they were separated they started crying right away. As a result of this behavior, it was hard for them to develop social skills, because they could not interact with people outside their family. "Concerning the vocabulary, their twin language was based on a few words, and most of them had more than one meaning" (Schülller 14).

Another example of two twin-boys: One of the twins was not able to produce certain sounds and words and although his twin brother was better in this, the one who was more skilful, was mimicing the manner in which the less skilful spoke. Hence, the two continued to talk in this way, understanding what the other was saying but at the same time this language was developing into some gibberish or some concocted language, which was not visibly connected to the English language anymore [INT 1].

There are also other examples, that shows how twins are talking in their own language to each other, which parents uploaded on youtube. Some of the most interesting are listed underneath:

If you click on the button underneath the text, you can see the first part of the famous video of the cryptophasic twin-boys, who developed some kind of secretive language, consisting of simple, repetitive sounds:

Babbling twin-boys

This is another video of an incomprehensible "language", spoken by two identical English speaking- twin girls, who also have a vivid conversation about something. This "language" also consists of a simple repetition of sounds:

Babbling twin-girls

In this video you see identical twins who developed some kind of clicking sounds to communicate with each other. They also gesticulate and touch each other while doing this:

Clicking twins

To compare the the clicking sound language of the twins with the African Click Language, you are finding some little sequence about the Xhosa language here:

South-African Click Language

This language of twins is build up in the throat and produces shrill and squawking noises through which they seem to communicate:



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