Folk Speech – Evanston, Illinois

The Language of “Op”

Sample sentence:    Opop opis mopy fopavoporite lopanguopage.

Op      is     my     favorite        language

Mari was telling me one day about a language called “Op” that she and her friends speak at home in Evanston, Illinois. The structure and grammar of the language is the same as English however, Mari and her friends add an ‘op’ before every vowel. In order to make words distinguishable, Mari says that they make sure to emphasis the sound flow of the word and keep similar sound patterns.

According to Mari, her friend’s mother came up with the language when she was younger and taught it to her children. This friend of Mari is fluent in the language and can apparently speak it rapid fire to her mother and her two siblings, who also share the same fast-talking ability. Eventually, the kids started using “Op” at school where it caught on quickly, mostly with the female population. Mari tells me that about 15-20 of her closest friends can all speak it and understand it well. They are all so talented in the made up language that they use it to their advantage. Whenever boys are around, the girls do not want them to know what or whom they are talking about, Mari and her friends speak “Op” as a way of communicating. This language seems silly to me and it sounds even funnier when it is actually spoken but Mari finds nothing unusual about it.