Join our weekly newsletter.
Articles, news, and ideas.

Languages, people and their cultures.

In need of a translation or interpreting service? Get a 5% lifetime discount now!

Understanding Cryptophasia: The secret language of twins

Secret Language of Twins
Understanding Cryptophasia: The secret language of twins
on March, 27 2014

There is a bizarre phenomenon that exists among twins, whether identical or fraternal. It is said that about 50% of twins may develop this in their young age. This is their ability to develop a language that only the two of them can understand. This phenomenon is also called cryptophasia. Crypto means secret while phasia means speech. This is usually referred to as the secret language of twins. Though there are a lot of questions in regards to the truth behind this secret language among twins, some people believe that it can happen.

There is also another phenomenon in which a specific language is understood by only one or a very few people. This is called idioglassia. Those who develop this ability are not necessarily related. However, the way they walk along with their mannerisms can be very identical. Yet, for both these phenomena, there are only a few studies that would verify their existence.

Why does cryptophasia happen?

According to some studies, twins who suffer from this form of phonological development might be a result of not having an adult role model. Twins spend more time communicating with each other rather than with their parents. Since they find it easier to mirror each other without necessarily working on complex languages involving correct grammar and pronunciation from their parents, they would rather imitate what their twin does. However, this is just one of the so many theories behind cryptophasia. Some parents even wonder why despite the fact that their twins have already learned to speak a normal language, they can still create a language that no one else understands.

How is cryptophasia identified?

The thing about cryptophasia is that it is impossible to decipher. The language is composed of onomatopoeic expression and some random mumblings. The words are totally bizarre and are unintelligible to any other model language. This makes the language even more difficult to study. There is no actual structure that explains why twins converse the way they do. Other than the environmental factor, this phenomenon is considered completely bizarre.

The need for more guidance

Twins who start developing cryptophasia might look really cute and adorable at first. However, this might actually lead to potential speech development delay. In fact, studies have shown that delays are much longer in twins than with individual kids. They both get out of that stage much longer since they feel that someone understands them. Thus, they don’t put any more effort to learn an intelligible language. Older siblings of the twins also try their best to decipher what the twins are talking about. In some instances, they are able to understand the words through the context, but in many ways, they fail.

Parents whose twins start to develop this problem should not worry. They just have to guide their twins more so that they won’t be comfortable with just their secret language. They must also try to converse with the twins more often. The twins might shift to the use of an intelligible language and their secret language every once in a while and this is just normal. However, if they are given the right training, they will not develop delay in language learning.

Bernadine Racoma

Bernadine is a writer, researcher, professional and multi-awarded blogger and new media consultant. She brings with her a rich set of experience in the corporate world, as well as in the field of research and writing. Having taken early retirement after working as an international civil servant and traveling the world for 22 years, she has aggressively pursued her main interest in writing and research. You can also find Bernadine Racoma at .

Join our weekly newsletter for articles, news and ideas

In need of a translation or interpreting service? Get a 5% lifetime discount now!