At one time, people invented a language to communicate. They come up with their secret languages.
This way of communication allows you to transmit encoded information and be understood only by your fellows. It is not easy even for experienced linguists to penetrate the secrets of such languages and study their vocabulary, and we will try to at least learn more about such unusual means of communication.
Polari. The history of this English secret language of sex minorities is shrouded in mystery. According to one theory, British sailors created Polari by combining their slang with Frankish. Others argue that the language developed in the 19th century based on the jargon of Italian carnival buffoons. But everyone agrees that Polari has become an internal dialect in English theater. And from the stage, the secret code passed to British homosexuals. Linguist Paul Baker believes that the thieves' argo became the basis of the language, which was replenished with slang words brought in by numerous travelers in the 18th century. In Polari, you can find traces of the old London Cockney vernacular, which is characterized by rhymes-substitutes, the pronunciation of words backwards. In London, Polari became popular with male chorus singers as well as male prostitutes. Until 1967 in England, same-sex intimate relationships were considered illegal, so that Polari became the language of the outcasts. In the 1960s, BBC radio introduced the flamboyant comedy duo Julian and Sandy, who often used an unusual code. The couple never discussed sexual orientation, but the use of polaris was a signal to those in the know. Today this language is not spoken so often, but it finds its place in art. So, in the 1990 single "Piccadilly Palare" by musician Morrissey there was an explicit reference to Polari. The name of the language was written in an alternative form, which directly testifies to its colloquial form. It must be said that this is not the only secret language associated with gay culture in the English-speaking world. For example, gayle is an African dialect that is mainly used by gay townspeople in South Africa. Given the connection between English-speaking countries, it is not surprising that many Polari words have appeared in the gale. South Africa boasts another secret language for Bantu homosexuals called Isinkumo. And although according to the South African constitution, gays have their rights, the numerous murders of homosexuals and corrective rape of lesbians indicate that there really is a need for these people to keep their secrets using a special language.
Hieroglyphs of tramps (hobo). This language appeared in America immediately after the end of the Civil War. Then many vagabonds appeared around the country who were looking for work. And during the Great Depression, the language became even more popular, then destitute vagabonds became the norm. These people traveled around the country, leading a nomadic lifestyle, making odd jobs and not demanding more from fate. They usually traveled by jumping onto passing freight trains. Tramps were admired, pitied, feared and idolized. And the writer John Steinbeck generally called these Americans "the last free people." Not the best attitude from the settled Americans forced the Hobo to create a secret language. To exchange information, hobos developed their own language based on encoded characters. Hieroglyphs spoke of danger, potential, and even made food for religious conversations. The signs were intentionally abstract, they were written openly. And no one could understand the essence of the hieroglyphs, except for the tramps. This language made it possible for vagabonds to survive in the new world of technology and trains. Those people practically did not know diplomas, so a graphic way of communication was chosen. For example, a square with a dot inside did not say anything to the layman, and the tramps saw this as a sign of danger. Today, the symbols of vagrants are practically not found, because the possibilities of civilized travel are available to almost everyone, and the security services of the railways monitor free riders. Those who have remained in this image, exploit it more often for the purpose of shows and at festivals, and not for the sake of a hard real lifestyle and life along the rails. The vagrant phenomenon is disappearing, but their coded language is still in use. For example, hieroglyphs inspire the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who calls the dictionary of symbols one of his favorite books. From it, we learn that a circle with two arrows means a call to immediately run away, two shovels said that there was work here, a cylinder or a triangle meant wealth of living people, and a grave mound with a cross spoke of a bad person. Two diamonds called to keep quiet, and a circle crossed out by two lines spoke of the possibility of receiving food as alms.
Lunfardo. Linguists still cannot understand how this language was formed. It is likely that Spanish convicts brought it to Argentina and Uruguay in the 17th-18th centuries, who shared their dialect. Lunfardo replenished with northern Italian dialects, the vocabulary of the British and French, absorbed Gypsy words, and some phrases were simply invented by the users themselves. And this language became popular in the slums of Buenos Aires among the dregs of society. Over time, Lunfardo emerged from prisons and criminal dens, becoming a popular language in the city. He neglected class lines and boundaries. The secret language is called today the language of tango, there are many metaphors and inversions of syllables. And even the terminology of the dance included many of the words of Lunfardo. He generally defines Argentine culture. Lunfardo's dictionary is quite large due to numerous borrowings. The word tango transformed into gotan, mujer (woman) into jermu. It is a sensual language that pays attention to man, woman and body parts. Today, even good connoisseurs of Spanish cannot decode the lyrics in the Lunfardo language. But with the spread and popularization of tango in the world, the language itself has largely lost its mystery.
French peddlers. The first known reference to French peddlers dates back to 1567 and belongs to Thomas Harman. A coded vernacular secret language created the Frankish-based British underworld for thieves, vagabonds and beggars. Frankish does not speak of Gaulish origin, but simply testifies to foreign roots. And what exactly served as the basis of the language is a mystery. The same Harman speaks of gypsy ancestry. And the most colorful origin story says that the secret code was created by the gypsy king in the Devil's Cave. Other experts believe that the gypsy origin of the language is impossible, because it appeared in England half a century before the arrival of the nomadic people there. But no one has any doubts that the language was formed under the influence of the nomads of North India. And the very term "peddler" or "merchant" in England had a criminal connotation. Independent vendors have become a stumbling block to securing government-approved monopolies. These wandering peddlers had lower prices than ordinary shopkeepers. But the authorities could not tolerate such unauthorized competition, so itinerant traders were simply dubbed crooks. In fact, you shouldn't assume that the language has nothing to do with English. There was an exchange of words and expressions with the encoding of the true values. This is how slang was formed with a very confused and varied vocabulary. Linguists claim the language is still used in UK prisons. The terms are used by smugglers as in the time of Thomas Harman. Already in our time, police officers intercepted drugs, a phrase in the language of French peddlers gave a link to the cargo.
Russian criminal tattoos. From the very beginning of human civilization, people have learned to decorate their bodies with tattoos. The oldest European mummy, Otzi, which is 5,300 years old, was adorned with such designs. Egyptian mummies also owned body art. But the Romans prohibited tattoos, believing that they violate the harmony of the human body. But in the fight against the painted British, the Latins' views changed. Over time, Roman doctors also mastered the art of drawing drawings on bodies. The tattoos on the bodies of the crusaders indicated that they were Christians. So the Europeans reported on the method of their burial if they died in battle. After the time of the Crusades, tattoos disappeared from European culture until sailors brought them from the South Seas in the 18th century. In 1769, Captain James Cook landed in Tahiti, where the practice of body painting was very popular. The modern term art comes from the phrase Tahitian Tatau. Tattoos are ubiquitous today. These are fashionable jewelry, status symbols or subculture affiliation. In any case, colorful drawings have a symbolic meaning. But no other modification of the body is as "talking" as the tattoos of Soviet criminals. It was forbidden by the Soviet authorities to get tattoos in prison, so radical methods were chosen to bypass the restrictions. The ink was sometimes molten heels mixed with blood and urine, and the needles were made from any sharp object available. Fatalism is clearly visible in the theme of Russian tattoos of criminals. Many lived only for today and did not think about the consequences. And the criminal's knowledge of the secret language of body drawings came from Danzig Baldaev, an employee of the famous Leningrad prison "Kresty". After his project was discovered by the KGB, the work received official approval from the authorities. It was clear that the study of tattoos could provide invaluable information about the criminal subculture. The decoding of the secret language was published after the death of Baldaev, and this is how a real encyclopedia of Russian criminal tattoos appeared. Baldaev revealed many secrets of bodily symbols. So, the cat stood for a thief, crosses on the joints - the number of prison sentences, the penis on the woman's body testified to her engaging in prostitution. The drawing on the shoulder meant that the person had been in solitary confinement. The most popular drawings were about ridiculing Soviet leaders, who were portrayed in ridiculous and compromising poses. This is how the criminals expressed their attitude to the authorities. In Soviet times, the absence of a tattoo on the prisoner's body indicated a person's lack of status. But it is much worse if the prisoner had a drawing in the form of a heart inside a white triangle. This tattoo was a sign of a child rapist. Such a symbol deprived the prisoner of any immunity and made him available to satisfy the sexual desires of other inmates.
Machai Huai. In the Bolivian Andes, there are Kallawaya itinerant folk healers. Their culture dates back to the time of the Incas. And they passed on their healing skills from father to son through the secret language of Machai Huai. Its origins are the subject of controversy among linguists. Some believe that the Inca kings spoke this way, while others look for roots in the Amazonian dialects. It was believed that healers, traveling to the jungle in search of medicinal plants, adopted some of the words of the local tribes. The Kalawaya were able to successfully perform operations on the brains of warriors, thanks to the healers the West learned about quinine. So, during the construction of the Panama Canal, it was possible to prevent mass deaths from malaria. Despite a good track record of medicine men, they were persecuted by church and state until the 20th century. And only in 1984, in Bolivia, alternative medicine was officially recognized. Until then, healers had been underground, communicating in their secret language in anxiety for their freedom. In those days, the Kallawaya were considered sorcerers, and a prison was imposed for the practice of ancient art. Machai Huai remained an illegal language, even though it had been 400 years after the fall of the Inca empire. Today, the demand for the services of Bolivian healers far exceeds the supply. The secret language lives on in the rituals and medical practices of the Kallawaya. But the rapid urbanization interrupted the tradition of inheritance of craftsmanship. Sons learn less and less the ancient skill of the fathers and their secret language. So the Kallawaya tradition is quickly disappearing. Meanwhile, pharmacists are showing a serious interest in the knowledge accumulated over centuries. However, with the help of a secret language, healers keep their secrets. One cannot touch the healing wisdom without the permission of the Kallawaya.
Los Angeles Gangsta Graffiti. On the buildings of this American city, you can often see youth drawings. But this is not at all an act of vandalism. Drawings seem meaningless to those who do not know the secret language. But for the initiated, it is a street newspaper. It reflects territorial boundaries, rivalry and loyalty. Law enforcement officials have even learned how to decode graffiti to solve crimes. Often the names of the gangs themselves are encrypted in the code. For example, ES DKS SGV may stand for Eastside Dukes of the San Gabriel Valley. Sometimes gangs use Roman numbers or even symbols of the Mayan tribes in their names. Gangsta graffiti appeared in Los Angeles with the emergence of Latin gangs over 70 years ago. Initially, it was just a way for the gang to assert themselves and mark territory. Black gangs quickly adapted to this language. The 1970s and 1980s saw the peak of the gangsta graffiti movement and ordinary urban tagging artists in Los Angeles. The latter are also involved in encrypted vandalism, but their work has more to do with underground art than the underworld. Differentiation is complicated by the fact that taggers have begun painting on the walls of buildings in gang-controlled areas. City authorities today began to generally prohibit the use of the visual language of graffiti.
Parlache. This Colombian criminal dialect appeared on the streets of Medellin in the 1980s. The city suffered from poor planning, social instability and a poor education system. Outback residents came here, discovering that the main business here was the sale of cocaine. The outcasts from the working class have become cartel fighters. Young drug dealers used a secret language to encrypt their illegal risky activities. Nevertheless, parliament did not become the language of the drug lords themselves. There are foreign words in the vocabulary, as well as ordinary words that have received a new meaning. So "cocina" (kitchen) began to mean a drug laboratory, "oficina" (office) means a drug mafia, a criminal organization in which the order is passed from person to person so that it is not clear who is responsible. The analysis of this language is very important for law enforcement agencies. They relied on the work of linguistic experts in parliament to decipher the messages of Colombian drug cartels operating in the Pyrenees.Parlace finally became a Colombian dialect, not only spoken, but also written. Words began to penetrate into everyday life, becoming a way to express colorfully and emotionally thoughts. The parliament is written by the media in some Latin American countries, some words are included in the Spanish academic dictionary. In the 1990s, the parliament is actively used in advertising, books, films, which are about youth from poor neighborhoods. They are the main speakers of the language. And even politicians do not hesitate to insert "people's" words into their speech. Nevertheless, the language itself remains a kind of stigma for the speaker, speaks of a criminal past. Usually people moving up the social ladder try not to use parliament anymore. For others, the language remains the secret code of the marginalized, contributing to their self-identification and expressions of solidarity. In 2001, the first parliamentary dictionary appeared, so the once secret language is today the subject of study by linguists around the world.
The da Pinci code. In 2009, some chalk symbols were seen on houses in Surrey. Children's drawings were actually used by burglar thieves. With the help of their secret language, the criminals passed on information to each other about which houses were worthy of burglary. Since then, the code has been found in various places in England. The police noticed that the owners of all the houses marked with chalk on the sidewalk were robbed. The symbols have been deciphered, and they carry an ominous meaning. One of the signs spoke of the presence of a defenseless woman in the house, others directly called the object an excellent option for robbery. The symbols indicated anxiety, nervousness, fear, degree of risk, or indicated that there was nothing to profit from. Police in England were only able to issue instructions to English homeowners to decipher the mysterious code. Residents were advised to remove them in case of detection of incomprehensible characters, report them to the police and wash them off as soon as possible. For the authorities, such an organization of criminals becomes a problem, but is it not too late to announce the alarm? Experts believe that decrypting the secret code will simply force the thieves to come up with a new language, which will remain secret until it is discovered. It is possible that thieves are already exchanging information right in front of our eyes, and so far no one notices.
Fenya. There were itinerant traders in the Russian Empire, ofeni. Over time, they began to consider themselves a separate secret society. The way of life was borrowed from itinerant merchants, wisdom and Greek words from pilgrims. Today the language in which those people communicated is well known. The base was borrowed from different languages, including Greek, Yiddish, Turkic, Finno-Ugric, Latin, Gypsy. Skillful word formation is also noted. The buyer, who was present at the conversation between the two sly sellers, basically could not understand what they were talking about. The words seem to be similar to Russian, but the meaning is impossible to grasp. Vladimir Dal said that the traders artificially invented a secret language in order to conduct "rogue meetings." With this in mind, it is not surprising that the cunning traders with their incomprehensible language attracted the keen interest of the police. The authorities have repeatedly tried to deal with the officers and their strange manner of communication. From the middle of the 19th century, the number of fucks began to decrease in Russia, and at the beginning of the last century, this pretentious and mysterious language was practically not heard at domestic fairs.
Aryan brotherhood. One of the most terrible prison gangs in America is known under this name. It officially has less than a hundred members associated with drug trafficking and gambling in prisons across the country. In order to secure their income, members of the fraternity do not hesitate to use terror and extreme forms of violence. Many of the organization's leaders are in high security solitary confinement, so sophisticated tools have been developed to communicate with each other. Some of the techniques are surprisingly ancient. So, TD Bingham, one of the leaders of the Aryan brotherhood, is behind bars in one of the safest prison in the country. He used invisible ink and 400-year-old binary code. The message ended up in another maximum security prison, having traveled 2,700 kilometers. This code was developed by Sir Francis Bacon and was used by spies in the revolutionary army of George Washington. And the technique of invisible ink was described by Pliny the Elder more than two thousand years ago. Then simple technologies were used - people wrote with urine or lemon juice on ordinary parchment. The message remained invisible until it was exposed to heat. The simplicity of the technique fooled law enforcement. Bacon's code is a two-sided cipher with two alphabets. One is regular, while the other contains crosses, loops, and tails at the bottom of the characters. These alphabets are combined, a sequence of five characters encrypts the letters of the English alphabet. Jonathan McGinley served as the Master of Encryption in the Aryan Brotherhood. He was also the head of intelligence and security in the gang, responsible for introducing the secret language of the leaders of the Brotherhood. His interest in ciphers originated when he was still young. McGinley was able to decode the rings in the cereal box. Another simple but effective way to send messages from a general security prison was found by circling letters in library books. The accomplices then checked the documents and formed a message. The Brotherhood keeps its secrets carefully. Those who simply admit to belonging to the organization face death. So we managed to learn little from the defectors. And there is an opinion that not all of them spoke the truth. It is likely that the desertion was a ruse to gain privileges not accorded to other prisoners. So it is likely that someday the views on the Aryan brotherhood and its role will be revised.