Clinica Sierra Vista WIC

It's All Greek to Me


"Ih-ay, omm-ay! Owh-ay asw-ay oury-ay ayd-ay?"


"Great," I think, "another afternoon of my son demonstrating his vast and newly-acquired knowledge of Pig Latin."

It's been happening a lot lately; every afternoon for the past few weeks, as a matter of fact. And it's giving me a headache.

It's not that I have anything against Latin, Pig or traditional. There's nothing I would love more than seeing my child walk across a stage to receive a degree written in genuine Latin words. But having to converse in Pig Latin after a day of writing, grouting pool tile, doing laundry, making lunches, taxiing kids from one end of town to the other, and starting dinner, trying to communicate with my son in this foreign language just makes my head hurt. Most afternoons I can barely follow someone who's speaking to me in plain English.

For those of you who concentrated more on, say, our actual English language when developing your language skills and therefore may not be familiar with Pig Latin, Pig Latin is a way of distorting English words for fun, or to prevent someone who doesn't know Pig Latin from understanding what you're saying. Here are the basic rules:

If a word begins with a consonant or consonant cluster, remove them from the beginning of the word, and put them at the end of the word, followed by "ay." Some of the most useful Pig Latin phrases to keep in mind include; "ixn-ay," (you've probably already used this quite often in public areas when your child begins to point and say things like, "why does that man's forehead go all the way to the back of his neck?") or "amscr-ay," (which comes in quite handy when you've reached your Pig Latin Poop Out Point and want the child to leave you in peace).

But I do remember the joy of learning Pig Latin when I was a youngster. My friends and I felt so cerebral, "Ookl-ay, e-way an-cay alk-tay bout-ay uff-stay ithout-way eople-pay nowing-kay at-whay ere-way alking-tay bou-tay." (It's been year's since I've spoken Pig Latin or written in the language, so you'll forgive me if my Pig Latin grammar, spelling or sentence structure is lacking.) Yes, we were filled with pride at our ability to speak a foreign language and worked diligently to develop and refine our new-found language skills.

So I'll do what parents across America do every day, what my own parents had to do in my day; I'll uck-say it-ya up-ya. Its part of our American-English vernacular and part of every kid's right-of-passage into adulthood. And in some circles speaking Pig Latin is even a mark of superiority, as demonstrated in the Muppets Tonight episode when John Goodman was being bothered by pigs and Goodman says, "The ig-pays are a little upid-stay." The pigs reply, "He speaks the ancient tongue! E-way are not orthy-way! E-way are not orthy-way!"

And I have to admit, speaking Pig Latin can be un-fay.

Tracie Grimes writes monthly for KCFM

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