Jeringonza – A Spanish Word Game Like Pig Latin, with Portuguese and Italian Versions

Jeringonza (aka jerigonza) is played in Spain and throughout Latin America. It’s also found in Portuguese speaking Brazil and even in Italy. It’s a secret language for kids – just like the English word game Pig Latin.

(I’m going to make all the changes to the words in bold below to help you learn how to create the secret languages.)

In Pig Latin, you create a secret language – that adults don’t understand unless they played the games themselves. You do it by taking the first letter off the beginning of each word and add it to the end of the word. Then put “ay” after that. So, the word “tomorrow” becomes “omorrow-tay“. If the first two letters of the word are two consonants making one sound, (like “st”, “sp”, “tr”, etc.) both letters get moved to the end of the word. Thus, “star” becomes “ar-stay“.

There are different ways to play Jeringonza depending on the country. The most common way is to add a “P” after each vowel in a word, and then after the “P” you repeat the vowel again. So “Chile” would become “Chi-pi-le-pe“.

In Puerto Rico, you add “chi” before each syllable of the word. So the word “gato” (cat) becomes chi-ga-chi-to. Say it out loud. It’s very rhythmic!

In Brazil, the game is called Língua do Pê (P language). It’s rules are like the “P” rules for Spanish above – you add a “P” after each vowel in a word, and then after the “P” you repeat the vowel again. So “carro” (car) becomes “car-pa-ro-po“.

In Italy, the game is called Alfabeto Farfallino (Farfallino Alphabet) – because you add “F” to words making them sound like the word “farfallino”. Actually, the rules are again like the “P” rules for Spanish above – but with an “F” instead: The most common way is to add a “F” after each vowel in a word, and then after the “F” you repeat the vowel again. So, “luna” becomes “lu-fu-na-fa“.

Have fun having secret conversations!

Please, feel free to share your word games with us in the comments below.

Cheers!

Mama Lisa

UPDATE: Oscar Teliz wrote to me about Jerigonza in Uruguay:

“Where you have a note about “jerigonza’, the origin of it as I know it, was a communication device created by thieves in Andalucía, Southern Spain. However, the Uruguayan version is called ‘jeringoso’. It is more than a game, it’s more like a ‘secret language’ and when spoken fast, it becomes almost unintelligible. And yes, it is done adding a ‘p’ after the vowels. For example, jeringoso, becomes jeperipingopozopo. Quite a mouthful.”

This article was posted on Thursday, November 5th, 2009 at 1:06 pm and is filed under Alfabeto Farfallino, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Countries & Cultures, English, Games Around the World, Italian, Italy, Jeringonza, Languages, P Language, Pig Latin, Portuguese, Puerto Rico, Spain, Spanish, Uruguay, Venezuela. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

8 Responses to “Jeringonza – A Spanish Word Game Like Pig Latin, with Portuguese and Italian Versions”

  1. Pig Latin Musical Video | Mama Lisa's World Blog Says:

    […] Blog: Jeringonza – A Spanish Word Game Like Pig Latin – http://tinyurl.com/ye59sde Visit50 Great Voices to Hear Clips of on NPR + Poll = Cool! http://bit.ly/3mXFjN VisitBlog: “You’re Not Supposed to Say That!” – Mama Lisa’s Thanksgiving Silliness – http://tinyurl.com/yflcanz VisitBlog: Day of the Dead – http://tinyurl.com/yavefsy VisitParenting Idea: Share your kids artwork on Facebook with your friends and family. Create a photo album for it and… http://bit.ly/3apWC2 Visit « Jeringonza – A Spanish Word Game Like Pig Latin, with Portuguese and Italian Versions […]

  2. Lisa Says:

    Ayako Egawa wrote from Japan:

    Hi, Lisa. It’s very interesting to know about Jeringonza or Pig latin because I have the same kind of experience in my childhood.

    My friend added a special rule to the words. In Japan we have five vowels A, I, U, E, O. in Japanese. And she added BA, BI, BU, BE, BO to each vowels. So AYAKO became A BA YA BA KO BO and YUTAKA became YU BU TA BA KA BA.

    I thought it was just my personal experience (as far as I knew it was only my friend that used this kind of words in my childhood!).

    But now I know the kids in many countries enjoy the same kind of game from your comment! It is a big surprise for me and I do want to share this with you!

    Now I just remember how funny it was to hear that she used this special words when speaking very quickly!!

    It’s a small world and fantastic! I’m sure you already know it.

    Ayako

  3. Lisa Says:

    Hi Ayako,

    It is a small and fantastic world… I totally agree with you!

    Your comment makes me wonder if there is a Japanese Pig Latin that exists that your friend knew about, or if she just made it up. It’s funny if she did make one up! You must have loved speaking and hearing it as a kid.

    Thanks for sharing that with us!

    Lisa

  4. mrgorefest Says:

    I found this for Facebook: http://apps.facebook.com/jeringonza
    is it useful?

  5. cata Says:

    mepe epencapantapa epel jeperipigoponciopo, lopo apaprependipi depesdepe pepequepeñapa apaquipi epen chipilepe.

  6. Lisa Says:

    Is that, “me en canta el jerigonci lo aprendi desde peque eña aqui en chile”? (I’m singing a song (?) I learned from an Andean kid in Chile.)

  7. Nataly Says:

    My family from Mexico taught me a type like the Italian one but insted of italian words it Spanish word me and my friends pass notes like that so if we get caught teachers can’t read it out loud :) ex. My name::: nataly= nafatafalyfy (yfy sounds like ifi by the ifi)

  8. Irene Says:

    Lisa Says:
    Is that, “me en canta el jerigonci lo aprendi desde peque eña aqui en chile”? (I’m singing a song (?) I learned from an Andean kid in Chile.)

    Hi Lisa! Thank you so much for your wonderful site full of resources!

    Me encanta – “it delights me”= I love…
    Lo aprendi desde (que era) pequeña-i learned it when was young/a kid

    Besos!

Leave a Reply

Subscribe without commenting