Some Pig Latin from 1907

Well, the “modern” form of pig latin (or something very close to it) clearly dates back to at least 1907. Here’s some dialogue (well, monologue) from a 1907 comic strip (I don’t ave an exact date, but its early in the 1907 section of Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, Winsor McCay Early Works III, Checker Publishing Group, 2004):
OG DAY ON GAY EE THAY OL DAY OOL SKAY!
I ISH WAY I TAY OULD WAY URN BAY OWN DAY!
I ISH WAY A EARTH AKE QUAY OOD WAY AKE SHAY IT OO TAY EESES PAY.
I ATE HAY OOT TAY O GAY OO TAY OOL SKAY ORS WAY AN THAY ET GAY A EATING BAY!
OO WHAY INVENTED OOL SKAY I UNDER WAY?
EE JAY I ISH WAY I IDDENT DAY HAVE OOTAY OO GAY!
OOTAY ISS THAY UMBAY OOL SKAY!
I AM TIRED OF OOL SKAY. UCKS SHAY!

Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Board, aleixx, we’re glad to have you with us.

When you start a thread, it’s helpful to other readers if you provide a link to the column or Staff Report that you’re commenting on. It saves a lot of search time, and helps keep us all on the same page. In this case, I presume, it’s Straight Dope Staff Report: What’s the origin of pig Latin?

alexx. Thanks for that great early example of Pig Latin as we know it today. I just searched one of my newspaper databases, and found the comic in the April 1, 1909 issue of the Syracuse(NY) Herald. It might have appeared earlier in the NY Evening Telegram, but I have no way of knowing.

Checking some later strips, I see that the copyright dates DO correspond to the dates on the masthead of the Syracuse Herald.

So, the strip probably appeared in 1909.

Very sincere thanks for dating this early cite. There was no way to electronically search for examples of Pig Latin. Only the phrase “Pig Latin.”

This probably means that the modern version goes back before the 20th Century.

The book I got this from references it as appearing in the New York Evening Telegram in 1907. I have noticed what I think are some “re-runs” from time to time in their reprints, so it’s possible that, under deadline pressure, he re-used this strip two years later. On the other hand, it’s possible that my source got it wrong.

So, definitely by 1909, quite possibly by 1907.

On a completely tangential note, a sunday Rarebit strip from the same year features a person traveling “by wireless telegraph” in a very science-fictional manner – and at the bottom says “thanks to Huck Gernsback”! He was still some decades away from becoming the famous Hugo Gernsback in 1907, but was clearly already thinking about SF :slight_smile:

An auspicious beginning, alexx@panix.com; well done. I only wish I were in a position to sponsor your first year in recogntion of it.

Anyway, hope to see you around for a while.