Saturday, February 19, 2011

Eggs are eggs

When I was about 14, I learned a new language, one absolutely guaranteed to infuriate anyone who couldn't speak it: egg language. Egg language has a noble history, having apparently been devised in the early 20th century by suffragettes (for some reason it's easier for women to learn). The rules are that you insert an "egg" in front of every sounding vowel (and "y" where it's used like a vowel), so my first sentence would read as follows:

Wheggen eggI weggas eggabeggout feggorteggeen, eggI leggearned egga neggew leggangueggueggage, weggone eggabseggolegguteleggy gueggaregganteggeed teggo egginfeggureggieggate egganeggyweggone wheggo ceggould neggot speggeak eggit: eggegg leggangueggueggage.

My sister Claire and I learned it from a sort-of friend of mine, K, who was rather an annoying sort of girl, a game player, a would be mysterious "witch", a girl fond of affecting to walk about everywhere in bare feet, and as it turned out a plain old backstabber; and we used to speak it in any situation where, essentially, we wanted to discuss something and not be understood by adults and/or the person we were talking about. A plain old backstabber's charter, you might say, except that anyone overhearing us talk in egg language would know with absolute certainty that there were terrible secrets afoot or, worse, that they were being laughed at.

I can still speak it without even thinking. So deeply has it entrenched itself in my brain that I awoke at 3am recently with the firm belief that I needed to start reading the news in egg language for egg-speakers worldwide, and that I must communicate this brilliant idea to my sister with all due dispatch.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Never heard of that - must sound very strange.

Always fancied learning Solresol myself.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solresol

murmur

LottieP said...

I'd never even heard of Solresol - nor of Volap√ľk, which Wikipedia describes as "more successful". These at least are real languages, as opposed to Egg, which is just a subversion of English.

Claire said...

I thought we learned it at Lauriston Hall.

LottieP said...

Not sure why I associate it with Kirsten then. If not her, do you remember who taught it to us?

Claire said...

Wasn't it one of the girls at Lauriston? I vaguely remember someone called Sophie who wore a smelly jumper.

I thought your idea of an Egg channel on YouTube was great.

PJ Miller said...

I only found this because I decided to like "eggs" on Facebook. The wife and her brother speak some weird language as well. Apart from the other weird ones, that is.

Anonymous said...

What I always liked about Solresol was that the seven different syllables could be represented as colours or as musical notes, so that deaf or blind people could learn it.

It would have been nice if the famous tune emitted by the spaceship in Close Encounters had been in Solresol, but apparently not.

LottieP said...

Peter - you've not explained why you decided to like "eggs" on Facebook.

Murmur - what was the significance of the sound the spaceship emitted in Close Encounters?

It says a lot about the greedy sort of child I was when I first saw the film that I was annoyed about the wasted mashed potato.

Anonymous said...

"Murmur - what was the significance of the sound the spaceship emitted in Close Encounters? "

Ouf, it's been a long time since I watched it but I seem to remember it is a musical password - Open Sesame, so to speak.

Much better film than Star Wars.

LottieP said...

I've not seen it since it first came out - I was very impressed at the time, but that was 1977. I was also, not much later, very pleased with Grease (1978), not to mention Star Wars. Also released in 1977: Annie Hall, Erazerhead and Saturday Night Fever.