Get two very young and very talkative children together, and you’re likely to hear a great deal of babbling and yammering. You may even hear some claptrap, mumbo jumbo or blather.

Is there any way to make sense of such nonsense? Not necessarily…

gibberish (sometimes spelled jibberish) is the English word we use to describe talking that sounds like speech but has no real meaning. We also call meaningless text — such as r#df%pis*ou#ef$ghj(&H(*rdtj$W#H$ednlp;O$H@$ — "gibberish" or "gobbledygook."

gibberish is a funny word. Where did it come from? Some believe it comes from the Irish word gob or gab, which means "mouth."

Others believe it comes from the island of Gibraltar, where residents speak an interesting mix of English, Spanish, Hebrew, Hindi and Arabic. Nonresidents often believe the natives are simply speaking… well… gibberish!

We can excuse small children for their gibberish. As we first learn to speak, it’s fun just to make sounds. It takes a while to figure out how to make our facial muscles work together to form true speech with meaning.

When we get older, we may speak in gibberish just for laughs. Some people, though, take gibberish so seriously that they use it to create their own language.

In this way, gibberish takes on meaning — a secret meaning known only to those who can speak the code!

gibberish, when used as part of a language game, refers to the sound of the words that are spoken according to the rules of the game. Although they have meaning to those who know the rules of the game, they just sound like nonsense to others.

There are many different variations of gibberish language games in English-speaking countries. Let’s take a look at four examples of particular dialects of gibberish: -itheg-, -idig-, -uddag- and –uvug-.

To speak gibberish in these dialects, you simply add in the particular gibberish characters after the first syllable or sound of each word. Here are some examples of words translated into these four dialects of gibberish:

  • pig: pithegig, pidigig, puddagig, puvugig
  • frog: frithegog, fridigog, fruddagog, fruvugog
Of course, these are just simple examples. The rules can get very complicated very quickly when you begin to translate longer words with multiple syllables.

Just like a foreign language, gibberish can be hard to learn and understand. If you want to share secrets, though, gibberish might make a good code language!

 

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