We have one very important question on our minds today. Did anyone else’s parents add sounds like “chi-,” “p-,” and “f-” in front of syllables to make their own language? And did anyone else get the inside scoop and learn the “language” to find out all the secret chisme growing up?

Well, it seems like we really did all live the same life.

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Interestingly, that secret language with all the extra sounds actually has an official name. This fun, widespread custom is called “Jeringonza,” otherwise known as the Spanish answer to Pig Latin. While Pig Latin traditionally changes around the syllables of English words and adds the syllable “ay,” Jeringonza varies widely in its structure. As you can expect, Jeringonza changes depending on the country where it is used.

Here’s everything to know about the “secret” language your parents may have used to hide chisme from you. Or that you used for maximum sneakiness, of course.

One Instagram user resurfaced questions about “Jeringonza,” asking, “Latinos, did your parents speak like this?”

Instagram couple account @shellyrob9719 resurfaced this topic on social media last week, with Roberto Perez explaining, “When I was a kid, my parents used to speak this thing. I don’t know why.”

“It was like, chi-ro, chi-ra, chi-ri,” he explained. Wife Shelly Perez added, “So you add [the ‘ch’ sound or ‘f’ sound] before every word… If I’m not mistaken, they used to call it Pig Latin.”

“My mom and my aunt still talk like that,” she continued. “I figured it out when I was 11 years old, and I was like ‘Why are you even bothering, I know what you’re saying.'” Who else?!

Roberto Perez added, “Who originated it? Was there like a news article that they all just started doing that?” This is a valid point. Latino families definitely didn’t have TikTok back in the day, so how did this trend spread?

Unbelievably enough, there isn’t much information online about the true origin of Jeringonza, A.K.A. the Spanish language game of adding different sounds to syllables.

It is similar to Pig Latin, though, which may even predate William Shakespeare. As per Straight Dope, Shakespeare’s 1597 play, “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” includes an early example of Pig Latin (even if they called it “False Latin” at the time). By the 18th century, the practice became “dog Latin,” then “hog Latin.”

Interestingly, as per the outlet, Pig Latin is much more of a common practice in the United States than Britain. Jeringonza, though — whose history is less documented — can be found throughout Spain and many Latin American countries.

According to Spanish Dictionary, the three most common forms of Jeringonza are speaking in “Efe,” “Pe,” or “Chi.”

For one, to speak in “Efe” means adding the “f-” sound to words and repeating the words’ vowels. For example, “hoy” becomes “hoyfoy” and “hola” becomes “hofolafa.” Even more, as per the outlet, this type of Jeringonza is most common in Mexico.

On the other hand, the “Pe” version of Jeringonza adds — you guessed it — the “p” sound to syllables and repeats vowels. In this way, “casa” becomes “capasapa.”

Lastly, the “Chi” type of Spanish Pig Latin simply adds the sound “chi” in front of every single syllable in a word. This time around, “casa” would actually become “chicachisa.” Interestingly, this form has different variations, with some people using “cha” or “ti” sounds instead. Whichever version, though, the “Chi” type of Jeringonza is most common in Caribbean countries like Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

Meanwhile, Brazil has their own special name for Jeringonza, which they refer to as Língua do Pê. In their version, they add “p” sounds to Portuguese and can even change vowels.

No matter the type of Jeringonza used, the motive remains the same. As one X user wrote, “My parents speak two types of Spanish Pig Latin that they always speak to each other when they don’t want my sisters and I to understand them.”

While that is definitely “couple goals,” it is fascinating, too. Many of our abuelos, mothers, fathers, and tíos traditionally use Jeringonza as a way to keep chisme top-secret. Many of us grew up scratching our heads at this magical language, and had to put our thinking caps on to learn it fast (we’re chismosos from birth).

This kind of special, secret communication has a Latino thumbprint, and we still marvel at how fast our abuelitas can speak it.

What is your experience with Jeringonza?