There are a lot of small things about a language that you might not even recognize until you’re studying another one. I’ve known Pig Latin since I was a kid, but it never really occurred to me that other languages also had weird language games.
That’s why when, in our post about Tohoku-ben a few weeks ago, commenter Heogw showed us a Japanese language game called Babigo, I was really interested. I’d never heard of a language game in another language, and I guess I’d never really thought about it before. Heogw posted this video of actress Kiritani Mirei demonstrating Babigo on a Japanese variety show:
…wait, what? Let’s back up a little bit and talk about how Babigo works.
Babigo (バビ語) revolves around the Japanese characters ba, bi, bu, be, and bo (バビブベボ). You slip these b characters in between other characters in a word to mix it up. So for instance, konnichiwa would turn into kobonnibichibiwaba, Tofugu becomes Tobofubugubu, and Hashi becomes Habashibi.
Confusing? Absolutely. Babigo can confuse even a native Japanese speaker. But it can also be a lot of fun to try out and use on unsuspecting friends.
If you want a better idea of how Babigo works, maybe retro pop group Triangle can help you out:
Will playing Babigo make you fluent in Japanese, a kanji master, and the most popular kid on your block? Probably not, but it’s still a fun tongue-twisting game to try out.
Do you know any other language games? Let us know in the comments.
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