Twin Language Acquisition Critical Review



The acquisition of language in the preschool years by multiple-birth children is often reported to be atypical. Some researchers have claimed that they use ‘twin language’, i.e. an autonomous language specific to a multiple-birth set (Barbara Dodd and Sandra McEvoy,1994). The “secret language” of children, is developed in two scenarios; twins develop crytophasia to overcome their phonological disorders and the deaf people develop a homesigns, gestural way of communicating.

The first part of the article explains the factors that influence twins to develop ‘twin language.’ Twins are the offspring that spend the gestation period together in mother’s womb. Science tells us that there are two types of twins, identical and fraternal or non identical twins. Identical are those who are developed from single fertile egg that splits and form two embryos later. The identical twins share same characteristics of chromosomes and have a lot in common .Fraternal twins are those that are developed from two separate eggs that are fertile by two different sperms .They both have different chromosomes characteristics and are different from each other in many ways.

The type of bonding that is shared by twins is not shared by other siblings. One of the most interesting myths about twins is that they share a private language, a captivating notion that has intrigued the doctors, researchers and parents. The process of developing a secret language is known asidioglossia, autonomous language or cryptophasia. The fabricated secret language of twins is due to delay in phonology (process of pronouncing words). Researchers have found out that twins do not create their secret language but they imitate each other’s undeveloped verbal communication pattern and due to their uniform growth they strengthen each others’ communication and form their own language.

Some people believe twins have the ability to generate their own detailed language, a twin language, but it doesn’t seem to be true in terms of a fully developed language system (Stephen Camarata, professor of hearing and speech sciences at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine). Phonological development in twins is slow as compared to that of singleton. They try to communicate in their mother tongue but the verbalization is so poor that it is not comprehensible by other people due to phonological disorder. So, the twin language is basically their key to develop their speech sound system. If such disorder is not treated at time they can result into long term impairment. Twins usually makes same kind of mistakes so they can understand each other’s speech in more appropriate manner.

The article establishes a cause and effect relation .It tells us that twins develop ‘twin language’ due to slow phonological development. It also highlights that if such disorders are not treated at time they can result into a long term problem.

The second part of the article throws light on ‘homesign’ that is a gestural communication for deaf people. Deaf children often create their own signs to communicate to each other that are not part of sign language and in this way they create their own secret language. Deaf people can also effectively communicate to each other vocally, lip reading and made up signs helps them to comprehend. The article gives a very authentic and valid example, in a deaf school of Nicaraguan; teachers were instructed to teach deaf students vocally rather than with the help of signs. This shows us that it is a survey based research

Children are not able to establish an accurate secrete language using homesigns or Nicaraguan sign language because there are limited number of signs that are being used because children combine two or more signs to create their own secret language .But , they do have created complexity to the existing language. The new generation innovate signs and the previous generation refine them. All languages have been developed in a similar way and penetrate into the communities rather than a group of people.

The article involved dependent variable, communication is necessary for every human being. Humans can’t survive without communicating, and the one who face difficulty in it , they invent different ways for communicating. Twin language and homesign are the dependent variable on the independent variable that is communication.

The article highlighted the use of vocal language then sign language by deaf people. It also put emphasis on how the new generation is inventing signs and the previous one is refining them and in such manner a new language is evolved. It changes the perception of deaf people for sure.






Approximately 250 words