Do Twins Have a Special Way to Communicate?

There’s no denying that twins are closer than most siblings. They’ve shared their mother’s womb, as well as most of their early childhood experiences. Their DNA is almost identical. As toddlers, still unable to master a "real" language, they often seem to share a secret language that only they can understand, with words that sound like gibberish to the uninitiated. Researchers say that about 50 percent of all twins born at the same time, regardless of whether they’re identical or fraternal, engage in cryptophasia, the technical term for this communication phenomenon. Cryptophasia is typically just a temporary way for twins to communicate until they learn to express themselves with real words.

The secret lives of twin toddlers:

  • Some researchers attribute “twin talk” to prevalent language delays seen in twins. The inability to form recognizable speech sounds seems to affect twins more often than single children.
  • Twins are more likely to have been born prematurely and have lower birth weights. They sometimes lag behind other babies, who tend to interact with their parents more.
  • Skeptics say that cryptophasia is really just mispronunciation of vocabulary words that twin toddlers repeat to each other. They say that these attempts to master language are something that every child goes through.
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