The majority of us who has surfed YouTube to waste time may have came upon this video of two adorable twins talking to each other. Perhaps they were arguing if they should raid the refrigerator or do something about the mess on the kitchen floor. Whatever the case may be they seemed to have a language of their own that they can only understand- known as cryptophasia (Lilienfed, 2010). However, the secret is out. For those who believe that this bond helps them invent secret, they are wrong.
Although, around 40% of twins have this phenomenon, it usually disappears later on (Bakker, 1987). This babbling between siblings is not limited to twins; Bakker suggests that children who grow up together during the language acquisition period use each other as model to practice their language skills. However, this can result in long-term language impairment. If they are only talking to each other, they are using language with significant amounts of error. Additionally, the twins can't correct each other because they tend to make similar kinds of errors so that speech is only understandable to them, but not to us. Therefore, encouraging them to play with other kids and correcting them on their speech helps develop their language skills.
As for their funny hand gestures, the twins may have picked this up from their own parents or other adults by observational learning- learning by watching others. Even though this video may have provided us with two minutes of mindless entertainment, we have to remind ourselves to take a step back and realize that they don't have a secret language. We have to evaluate these extraordinary claims using our knowledge about learning, language and reasoning to help us understand what is going on and why it occurs.
Bakker, Peter. Autonomous languages of twins. Acta Geneticae Medicae et Gemellologiae: Twin Research, Vol 36(2), 1987, 233-238.
Lilienfeld, Scott, Steven Lynn, Laura Namy, and Nancy Woolf. Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding. Custom Edition for the University of Minnesota ed. Boston: Pearson Learning Solutions, 2010.