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.
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 artilce 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.