The secret language of the twins

The connection between twins, especially identical ones, has been legendary for many years. In the mythology of the ancient Greeks, they appear as the children of the gods, most often Zeus. So, for example, Castor and Pollux, the children of the Thunderer, gave their names to the stars of the Gemini constellation. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that twins had one soul for two, that one of them must be good, and the other evil. Even in the age of scientific progress, there are many urban legends that tell mystical stories: supposedly one of two twin brothers was shot in Afghanistan, and the other received exactly the same wound from the comfort of his bedroom in San Francisco.

This is, of course, highly doubtful. Although, in the case of twins, there are amazing things backed up by science. For example, almost 40% of twins have their own language and hindi to english translation that only the two of them can understand.

The term cryptophasia (from the Greek kryptos + phasis hidden speech) denotes a language used by a limited circle of people, incomprehensible to anyone except the speakers themselves. Most often, the phenomenon occurs in twins of infancy and may include not only conversation, but also identical facial expressions, gestures (most often mirrored), identical behavioral reactions. Such communication continues, on average, until the children reach the age of three, after which they communicate calmly in the language accepted in their social environment. In some cases, cryptophasia stays longer, as the girls June and Jennifer Gibbons from Wales have been speaking their own language for almost their entire lives.

A certain percentage of twins use their secret language only in communication with each other, switching to their speech for contacts with their parents. When studying the properties of the language of the twins, it was possible to establish that most of the words are still not original, but words distorted beyond recognition that children heard from their parents. And still, it seems almost mystical to many that the twins can communicate and understand each other. Recently, a video showing a conversation between two little boys has amassed several million views on You Tube. And indeed, the kids, enthusiastically leading a dialogue in an unknown dialect, look absolutely charming. But psychologists and speech development specialists believe that cryptophasia carries some risks.

The reasons for this behavior remain completely unexplored, it was previously believed that they lie in parental inattention, when children have to spend a lot of time only together, when they talk little and do not do anything with them. However, these data are now being questioned. Now most researchers believe that cryptophasia is a symptom of a lag in the speech development of one or both twins. In the phase when children learn to put sounds into syllables and words. Since children learn to speak according to approximately the same scenario, they make approximately the same mistakes. This hypothesis was indirectly confirmed by the fact that hidden speech is more common in boys, who develop more slowly than girls. Any child makes mistakes in the process of learning the language, but only the twin has a partner who absolutely understands him, thus the wrong speech pattern is fixed. These same studies confirm that early cryptophasia precedes later problems in speaking.

And yet, parents of twins are not advised to sound the alarm at the first sign of cryptophasia, this is just a risk factor, but not guaranteed problems. They are most often resolved by guided speech therapy or simple communication in any common language.

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