Date: Sat, 26 Jul 1997 16:38:58 -0400

From: Gregory {Greg} Downing downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]IS2.NYU.EDU

Subject: boro-talk?

In a literary document set in the late 1890s, there is a snatch of a

children's "secret language" that a colleague of mine is trying to source.

It is a simplified variant of pig-latin where you add -boro to the end of

every word, apparently so your younger siblings (or whoever else doesn't

know the lingo) can't follow what you're saying:

"Goneboro toboro lookboro atboro aboro houseboro.... Becauseboro theboro

landboro lordboro willboro putboro usboro outboro."

The book is set in the United Kingdom, but it's not impossible that such a

code-language was used in the U.S. as well. Does anyone recognize this

particular "secret language," or have suggestions for where to track down

some written documentation of it? I tried the Opies' _Lore and Language of

Schoolchildren_ (1959) and came up with analogies (pp. 320-22) but not

boro-talk itself. Of course, it is possible that the novelist made it up for

the novel, or that it was a "secret language" used by a family or very small

group the novelist happened to be familiar with. But it does seem possible

that it's a fairly widely used "secret language."

Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]