Grace and Virginia Kennedy were two identical twins born in Georgia in 1970. Following some postnatal seizures, doctors warned their parents that the kids may exhibit developmental disabilities later in life. Interpreting that to mean they were already disabled, the parents neglected to interact with them, spending very little time in their presence and not letting them go to school. The Kennedy sisters did not, however, actually have any mental problems, so they naturally progressed to create their own language, crafted out of German snippets they heard from their grandmother, some English, and random words they created. They named themselves Poto and Cabengo, respectively, and their syntactical and grammatical structures were noticeably different from English. Eventually their abilities were discovered by a speech therapist, they made national news, and they were integrated into a normal educational system. This phenomenon, known as cryptophasia, has been well-documented. Sometimes called "twin talk", it's estimated that about half of infant twins will create some form of language between themselves. Possible causes include developmental delays in one of the siblings, decreased interaction between adults, and more exposure between themselves than with any other people.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.