[Lingtyp] Query: syllable-reversing ludlings

Paul, Prof. Dr. Ludwig ludwig.paul at uni-hamburg.de
Sun May 17 17:06:20 UTC 2020

Dear David,

in an argot of Tehrani musicians (that has probably died out meantime),

1 2 -> 2-e 1 plus long vowel, e.g.:

sag "dog" -> age-sā

gol "flower" -> ole-gū (see Bolūkbāšī 1361)

You will probably find more of this kind of Iranian phonetic argots in Chromov 1976. For both, you will find the reference also in my article from 2000 (p. 113). I also remember that in Serbo-Croatian-Bosnian, a children's ludling code goes like this:

1 2 3 -> 3 1 2, e.g.

telefon -> fóntele, with a stress on the first syllable.



Bolūkbāšī, ʿAlī. „Lōter“. Ketāb-e hafte 37, 1340 [1961], p. 165-171

Chromov, Albert Leonidovič. „Uslovnye jazyki u iranskych narodov“. Vostočnaja

          Filologija IV, Dušanbe 1976, p. 3-19.


Paul, Ludwig. Die Geheimsprache von Kahak (Tafreš)“. Orientalia Suecana XLVIII, 2000, p. 105-114.

Von: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> im Auftrag von Hiroto Uchihara <uchihara at buffalo.edu>
Gesendet: Sonntag, 17. Mai 2020 18:35:32
An: David Gil
Cc: lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
Betreff: Re: [Lingtyp] Query: syllable-reversing ludlings

Dear David,

Japanese Zuu-jaa go does this, although I don't use this ludling so I don't have an intuition (I believe it became obsolete in the 90's). It looks like tri-moraic words follow the pattern 123 > 231 (Ito, Kitagawa & Mester 1996), such as pi.a.no<http://pi.a.no> 'piano' > ya.no.pi, shi.ka.ke<http://shi.ka.ke> 'trick' > ka.ke.shi, ma.zú.i 'tastes bad' > zu.i.ma<http://zu.i.ma>, ku.su.ri 'drug' > su.ri.ku. It appears that the location of the pitch accent doesn't matter: 'tastes bad' have accent on the penultimate mora while others are unaccented.

I hope this helps.

Ito, Junko, Yoshihisa Kitagawa & Armin Mester. 1996. Prosodic faithfulness and correspondence: evidence from Japanese argot. Journal of East Asian Linguistics 5.3: 217-294.


El dom., 17 de may. de 2020 a la(s) 11:03, David Gil (gil at shh.mpg.de<mailto:gil at shh.mpg.de>) escribió:
Dear all,

Ludlings (aka play languages or secret languages) are often constructed by reversing the order of syllables in a word.  Using numerals to denote syllables, 12 > 21.  But what happens when there are three (or more) syllables in the word?  For tri-syllabic words, the two most common outcomes are

(a) 123 > 312
(b) 123 > 231

The Riau Indonesian ludling I have written about has the (a) pattern, eg. bahasa > sabaha. But a friend of mine in Papua has recently started writing to me in a ludling using the (b) pattern, e.g. bahasa > hasaba.  Which got me curious.  According to Wikipedia, the French ludling verlan may use either option, e.g. cigarette > restiga or garetsi.

I would appreciate any information you might be able to provide with regard to syllable-reversing ludlings of this kind that you might be familiar with in other languages.  Specifically, I would like to know:

(1) which pattern is followed in tri-syllabic words: (a), (b), or perhaps other?
(2) what is the location of word-stress in the language?

The motivation behind the second question is that I have a hunch that the difference between the ludlings in closely related Riau Indonesian and Papuan Malay might be due to their different stress patterns — a hypothesis that is easily tested by looking at a handful of other languages.



David Gil

Senior Scientist (Associate)
Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
Kahlaische Strasse 10, 07745 Jena, Germany

Email: gil at shh.mpg.de<mailto:gil at shh.mpg.de>
Mobile Phone (Israel): +972-556825895
Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81344082091

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Dr. Hiroto Uchihara
Seminario de Lenguas Indígenas
Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Circuito Mario de la Cueva
Ciudad Universitaria, 04510, Ciudad de México.
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