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I've often heard about twins forming their own "language", but I've always assumed that it only applies to identical twins. Is there any research out there on the subject? Does it apply to both fraternal and identical twins?

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Vocabulary is not encoded in the genes. :-) – Lennart Regebro Mar 30 '11 at 9:57
Sure, but I figured that maybe sharing DNA could influence thoughts and learning...enabling identical twins to build their own language faster – efalcao Mar 30 '11 at 17:16
I can however say that you don't need twins for this. My daughter (soon three) has developed a whole set of words with unknown origins. She says "dlang" for round, counts "mooneh", "te" instead of "ett", "två" (Swedish) or "ras", "dva" (Polish), and also use words we haven't figured out what she means yet. She even resists trying to learn the "proper" words. I have no doubt that if we had twins there would be much more of this. – Lennart Regebro Jan 18 '13 at 12:22
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Here's what I saw with my fraternal twins:

While learning to speak, all children develop some of their own dialect. Some words they will use incorrectly for a while. Many they can't pronounce correctly, so they say them differently.

For a singleton child, this usually gets corrected pretty quickly, as everyone around them is using correct language all the time. If they want to be understood, they need to use correct language, too, so they strive towards that.

With twins, they learn from each other a lot of the time. If they can make themselves understood to each other, that will support their dialect. So it persists, at least for a time.

One of my twins spoke early and very clearly. The other knew just as much language, but had a very difficult time with consonants, so most people couldn't understand him. He ended up with his own, vowel-based dialect. The clear-spoken twin would translate the other.

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I am a fraternal twin. My parents swore my sister and I had our own language. Even after we started speaking, we still talked to each other in a different language.

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Yes, twins can develop their own language, but it's not a given. They may, or they may not. Don't worry either way. I'm convinced that it doesn't matter at all whether the twins are identical or fraternal.

I'm an identical twin. I never had a baby language, but then again I grew up bilingual so there were plenty of languages in the first place.

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This is not scientific evidence, but it is nonetheless an interesting video showing a pair of twins communicating on some level:

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Cute, but wouldn't you be able to make a similar movie on two non related babies in kindergarten? – user35 Mar 29 '11 at 22:57
Kindergarten? Kindergarten has kids who are 5-6 years old (at least in the US). – David Murdoch Mar 31 '11 at 11:01
They do however just sat "dadadadadadada" which hardly can be construed as a "language". – Lennart Regebro Jan 18 '13 at 12:17

Even with our identical twins we missed the twin language. I have not found proper proof that there is such a thing as "twin" language. So my answer would be that based on my own experience and document search, there is no such thing as a twin language. Causal examples should be tested with same age children that interact on a daily basis.

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why the down vote? I honestly believe that the twin language is just another urban language – user35 Mar 30 '11 at 6:43
Not my downvote, but it's not really an answer, more of a comment. – Lennart Regebro Mar 30 '11 at 9:18
I have edited answer to your comment. People should really explain their downvote. I have already seen downvotes on other answers, where the answer was actually quite appropriate. – user35 Mar 30 '11 at 9:25
I don't think anybody claims there is "a twin language". What happens is that children that learn to speak at the same time, which twins does, will start using words that they got from each other, which means they get a vocabulary where some words are unique to them. This is what is meant, and hardly controversial that it exists. :) – Lennart Regebro Mar 30 '11 at 9:54

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