I mentioned a little while ago that I was intrigued by a Luisa Sobral song called “Língua Dos Pês”, which means “The Language of Ps” or if you prefer “P Language”. As it turns out, this is a song with a back-story. It’s a made-up language, similar to the Pig Latin or Egg-language (aka Eggy-Peggy or Egglish) that you might be familiar with if you went to the right school. It isn’t a proper language or even a secret code, more of a language game you can play just for the fun of it.
Like everything else in Portuguese, it has a European and a Brazilian variant. As you know, this blog is fully on-side with Europe, so we’ll stick to that. Basically, all you need to do is repeat each syllable of each word, but with a P at the start, either before the vowel or in place of the consonant. So for example the name of Luisa’s album is also her first name, Luisa, which, in Língua dos Pês is Lu–Pu–I–Pi–Sa–Pa.
It sounds quite nice in Portuguese:
da-pa ten-pen-ta-pa-ção-pão son-pon-o-po-ra-pa de-pe u-pu-ma-pa me-pe-tá-pá-for-por-a-pa*
which is why she is able to sing a song in it, but it’s awkward in English:
He-pe-llo-po My-py name-pame is-pis Col-pol-in-pin
and similarly, eggy-peggy sounds like a disaster in Portuguese
Peggor eggexeggempleggo eggestegga freggasegge
And it gets worse if you use the actual Portuguese word for egg:
Povoor ovoexovoemplovoo ovoestovoa frovoasovoe
Geggood legguck preggoneggouncegging theggat!
It’s interesting that certain types of language game suit specific languages better than others, although I admit I don’t know quite what it means.
OK, are you ready to look at that video again? Well, the one I posted last time, from the children’s TV show “Panda and Friends” was pretty toe-curling, but there’s a much better version here in an an interview with O Observador. She talks a bit about the track and the album in general, then starts singing Língua Dos Pês at about 5:42 and carries on with “Onde Foi o Avô?” (“Where did Grandpa go?”) and her single “João”.
If you need any help, there’s a translation of the song here but only into straightforward Portuguese. You’ll have to do the rest yourself!
Wikipedia Page about Língua dos Pês, with various dialects (includes links to other similar dialects in other languages)
The Brazilian equivalent if you’re interested is called Língua do P.
*=this is a line from a poem by José Jorge Letria. I heard it on a podcast and didn’t understand the whole thing but picked out “A poem born of an impulse, of a fever… of the sonorous temptation of a metaphor” early on. Ooh yeah, more of that please!