We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Pig Latin?

Mary Elizabeth
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Pig Latin is a coded way of talking, based on English and used chiefly by children who think or believe that this system allows them to speak without being understood by others. Parents whose children don’t know pig Latin have also been known to use it in order to speak “privately” in their children’s presence. The reference to Latin may simply be because using this pseudolanguage has some of the same feel and effects of speaking another language in terms of secrecy, or because of the sound of the language.

There are several different methods or rule sets for creating pig Latin, and while there are certain elements that are pretty standard in the various versions, other elements may differ. Capitalization is generally used, as in English, for the first letter of sentences, the first letter of proper nouns, and other words that are customarily capitalized. The use of the sound and letters ay is pretty consistent, but not universal. Note that more distant variants use other vowel sounds, and may add a vowel sound after every syllable rather than after every word. Whether or not to use hyphens before the material added to the end is another matter on which practitioners differ — since pig Latin is primarily a spoken language, it doesn’t always come up.

The rules by which the words are actually changed is another matter in which some elements are fairly universal, while other elements differ. It seems to be generally agreed upon that words that begin with a consonant, or a consonant blend or digraph, have all the consonants before the first vowel shifted to the end of the word, followed by ay. In addition, when a word begins with qu, the u is shifted along with the q.

EnglishPig Latin

The differences between different versions often center on how words that begin with a vowel are handled. Though it is agreed that something is added to the end, there are differences of opinion about what it should be. Some options are:

1. Simply add ay to the end of any word beginning with a vowel.

EnglishPig Latin

2. Add ay to the end of any word beginning with a vowel, with a specified consonant in front of it, forming hay, way, or yay.

EnglishPig Latin

It is interesting that, as pig Latin has been passed down through the generations, a few words have passed into English, notably ixnay for nix, meaning “no.” Today, it may be most well known among certain people for being one of the languages — along with “Elmer Fudd,” “Hacker,” “Klingon,” and “Bork, bork, bork!” — that you can choose in the Google language interface.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary Elizabeth
By Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to writing articles on art, literature, and music for Language & Humanities, Mary works as a teacher, composer, and author who has written books, study guides, and teaching materials. Mary has also created music composition content for Sibelius Software. She earned her B.A. from University of Chicago's writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont.
Discussion Comments
By anon927547 — On Jan 24, 2014

I'd have to say as far as code languages are concerned, Pig Latin is one of the worst. It takes two minutes to learn, and even less time to translate it back into English in your head. The whole point of a secret language is to confuse anyone who's not "in the know." I'd say 99.9 percent of native English speakers would have no problem translating Pig Latin.

When I worked in a restaurant, the assistant manager and a waiter had their own secret language. They would spell out a word and add "op" after each consonant. They would pronounce the name of any vowel. The waiter's name was Jeff, so in their language he would be Jop-E-Fop-Fop. If the manager wanted Jeff to clock out, it would sound like "Jop-E-Fop-Fop, Cop-Lop-O-Cop-Kop O-U-Top". Now there's a secret language that takes a while to translate.

By anon345400 — On Aug 19, 2013

I used to talk in Pig Latin as a kid. My friends and I even got our whole year speaking it until we realized the teachers had caught on! Ha, oh how I miss peaking-say in-ay ig-pay atin-lay! I always remember the line in Monsters Inc. when Mike says, "ook-lay in the ag-bay" and I was proud to know what he said. Oh how times have changed.

By anon100889 — On Aug 01, 2010

i use this to talk to my friends lol. only one friend knows it.

By anon82383 — On May 05, 2010

Pig latin is so not a language!

By anon78461 — On Apr 18, 2010

whoever came up with this description of what 'pig latin' is, is really a young goofball, i.e. under the age of, say, 30 I would guess.

For the rest of us this is what 'pig Latin' is: The proper use of what the vast majority of the public would ordinarily, about 40+ years ago, consider to be profanity. Yes folks, it is cussing; but not just street cussing. It is the proper use of profanity. Profanity that is properly said, orally.

As the late George Carlin would put it in his ten most profane words, you have to say the words in the right order and they have to make sense as well. Since nearly all, if not all, of these words have actually become commonplace, especially in particular workplaces and in assorted groups of normally same sex conversations, i.g. men or women, the general public has become rather fluent in the use of profanity.

It's just the few who 'think' that they're 'better' than anyone else who might get 'offended' by the use of these words. Since these words have become so common place there has been an art in the regular use of these words. This art is 'Pig Latin'.

By anon12026 — On Apr 28, 2008

an-may i-hay ove-lay igs-pay atin-lay o-say uch-may!!!

By anon6576 — On Jan 03, 2008

I-na ought-tha at-na ig-pa atin-la as-wa upposed-sa o-ta end-na it-wha a-na na or-na a-na wa-na ot-na a-na ay.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the...
Learn more
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.