When I was small I had always wanted to create a secret language, but then again, when I was small I wanted to do a whole lot of things that were way out of my mental reach.
I wish we could learn linguistics as a part of the language curriculum! Then I could have learned to make a secret language. It’s actually really easy, all you have to do is pick a language you and your friends are fluent in (i.e. English) and then make some rules to change up the words.
There are four things you can do to a word:
- Add some fun-sounding syllable in the word. Example: add the syllable -tuc before the last syllable of every word. Almost becomes altucmost.
- Rearrange the word the way you want to. (keep in mind that the word shouldn’t be too difficult to pronounce!) Example: Move the last letter to the front of the word. Almost becomes talmost.
- Remove something from the word. You have to be careful with this one, if you remove too much then it might be too difficult for your friends to understand. Example: remove the second last letter from each word. Almost becomes almot.
- Insert something in place of something else. Example: remove the second last letter of the word and replace with -tuc. Almost becomes almotuct.
You don’t have to use all of these strategies, but the point is that you use them to make different rules. You will have to try these rules out on different types of words, and you may have to make rules for exceptions. For example, what do you do with a one letter word, can you still apply the rules you made?
Here is a language a friend and I made called Enoyo, can you decode it? Try and figure out what the sentence would say in regular English.
Whenoyo lifoyo esgivoyo onlemoyos, chuckoyos themoyos atoyos epyoyopl youoyo hatoyo.
If you need a hint I will translate this sentence in Enoyo: Ifoyo youoyo needoyo aoyo hintoyo ioyo willoyo etransoyolat thisoyo esenoyotenc inoyo Enoyo.
Do you have this ritual dance you do, every time a test comes along? I definitely do. This is a checklist that will lead to success (almost) every time. Actually I’m pretty sure most of them have nothing to do with test success, they just make me feel good.
- I start by opening all my books on my desk, make a checklist of all the things I need to cover. Have sticky notes, a highlighter, stapler, pencil, and eraser… everything ready!
- I could start studying but…I type my way to blackboard to check all my grades and try and set my future mark. “Test genie, I need an 80 to balance out that 60 mark! Oh, but wouldn’t it be awesome to get a 90? I think I should get a 90 on the next test.”
Did you see what I just did there? That’s right I set an unrealistic goal, here I am getting 60s and I jump straight to 90. Never happened in course before, but for some reason I plan to get a 90 anyway.
- As I am flipping through notes, I realize there were some days where my notes weren’t so good. Missing information here and there, so I call my friends and plan a study group, even though no actual independent study has happened yet. Whatever.
- Start studying late: The day before the test, I still haven’t studied so I speed through my notes and text book. Cross my fingers and hope that that was enough.
- An hour before the test we all assemble a study group. (This is where most of the studying actually happens, where everyone talks over each other, asking and answering questions.)
- After the test there are two possible feelings and accompanying analyses:
- “I think I did well! The answers basically popped out at me… wait. You shouldn’t be feeling good! Now of course you didn’t do well, you probably jinxed it. Ok, ok calm down, maybe it’s not too late yet, feel bad. Start thinking of all the things that could have been wrong. Be sad, be sad!” This is ridiculous I know, but everytime I think I do well I actually don’t get the mark I expect!
- “I probably failed! I didn’t know the answer to anything!!!! Ignore the test, go have some ice cream.” You know that feeling after a test you don’t think you did so well on? I give myself an internal speech about how it’s all ok, I shouldn’t ruminate…Although, usually what ends up happening is that I have exaggerated my mistakes in my head so much that I don’t realize that they were really small mistakes. I end up doing really well!
So that’s my story of how most my tests go at university. Test time is actually a lot of fun, because you feel like you’re actually doing something, and you learn and remember the material better when you are actually studying (which is why studying works!).