It’s well known that twins share a special bond; they are said to think the same things at the same time and to feel what the other twin feels. Many studies have been carried out by psychologists to ascertain whether twins can achieve identical results in tests and I’m wondering whether there is anything to suggest that twins have an increased learning ability owing to the fact that ‘two minds are better than one’.

Apparently not, it seems. On the contrary. Many twins suffer from learning disabilities which researchers have concluded is tied to early delays in language abilities. But how can that be when twins are known to share their own secret language from a very early age? Otherwise known as idioglossia or cryptophasia, this language is invented and developed by twins and cannot be understood by others, sounding just like a foreign language.

It turns out that this private language is purely one twin’s interpretation and mimicking of the other twin’s attempt at trying to speak. As one twin makes disordered sounds while attempting vocalization, the other twin copies this incorrect speech, and vice versa. As the twins happily babble together, it is often misconstrued as the phenomenon of ‘twin talk’.

Twins often display delayed speech and language skills leading to problems with articulation and the ability to express themselves. However, whilst their expressive language skills might fall behind, their receptive skills are considerably higher, meaning they have a much wider understanding of vocabulary and can understand what is being said to them far better than their peers can.

Are you a twin and did you develop a way of communicating with your sibling so that no-one else could understand you? How do you compare with each other in the learning of ‘real’ foreign languages?