Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Shiloh. Shiloh Wonders, “What is Pig Latin?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Shiloh!

E-way ope-hay ou’re-yay eady-ray or-fay an-yay awesome-yay Onder-way of-yay e-thay Ay-day! If you’re confused by that first sentence, you’re not alone. It’s just about impossible to read—that is unless you know how to read Pig Latin.

What is Pig Latin? Some people might call it a language, but that’s not quite right. Pig Latin is more like a code. It’s a method some people use to disguise their words. When they write or speak in Pig Latin, only people who are familiar with the code can understand the message.

If you’ve been WONDERing with us for a while, you may already know that Latin is a dead language. Does it live on through Pig Latin? No, actually, the ancient language has nothing to do with the modern code. Pig Latin has a long history all its own.

In fact, Pig Latin may go all the way back to the time of Shakespeare. Many trace its roots back to a Medieval language game called Dog Latin. It was very popular and was even mentioned in Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” A more recent predecessor was Hog Latin, which became popular in the mid-1800s.

So, how do you speak Pig Latin? First, figure out whether the word you’re translating starts with a consonant or a vowel. If it’s a consonant, move all the letters that come before the first vowel to the end of the word. Then, add the suffix “-ay.” If the word starts with a vowel, just add “-yay,” “-way,” or “-ay” to the end of the word.

There’s another rule when it comes to compound words. Those are words made up of two different terms. Compound words should be separated before translating them into Pig Latin.

Does that sound a bit confusing? Let’s look at a couple of examples. The word “curious” starts with a “c,” which is a consonant. If we move it to the end and add “-ay,” that gives us “urious-cay.” The word “armpit” starts with a vowel, but it’s also a compound word. It would become “arm-yay it-pay.” 

We bet lots of urious-cay ids-kay out there are WONDERing about the letter “y.” After all, can’t it be a consonant or a vowel? Yes, and that’s true in Pig Latin, too. If a word begins with “y,” treat it like a consonant and move it to the end of the word. Otherwise, you can treat it like a vowel.

Now that you know those rules, take another look at the first sentence of this Wonder. Can you decode it? That’s right! It says, “We hope you’re ready for an awesome Wonder of the Day!”

Can you speak or write in Pig Latin? It takes some practice, but it can be a lot of fun. It’s a great way to send semi-secret messages to friends and family members!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.4,

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