Concerning that secrecie of speech which consists in the words, Either
|By inventing new ones,
| / Canting.|
|Or by a changing
of the knowne
| / Inversion.|
The secret wayes of speaking, which consists in the matter of discourse have beene already handled. Those that are in the words are twofold. Either
1. By inventing new words of our owne, which shall signifie upon compact.
2. Or by such an alteration of any knowne language, that in pronuntiation it shall seeme as obscure, as if it were altogether barbarous.
To the first kind we may referre the Canting of beggars; who though they retaine the common particles, yet have imposed new names upon all such matters, as may happen to be of greatest consequence and secrecy.
And of this nature the charms of Witches, and language of Magitians seeme to be. Though of these it may well be doubted, whether they have any signification at all; And if they have, whether any understand them but the Devill himselfe? 'Tis probable, he did invent such horrid and barbarous sounds, that by them, he might more easily delude the weake imaginations of his credulous disciples. Martinus de Arles, an Arch-deacon in Navare, speaking of a conjuring booke, that was found in a Parish under his visitation, repeats out of it these formes of discoursing with the Devill. Conjuro te per aelim, per aelion, per seboan, per adonay, per allelujah, per tanti, per archabulon, &c. And a little after, Sitis alligati & constricti per ista sancta nomina Dei, Hir, aelli, habet, sat, mi, filisgae, adrotiagundi, tat, chamiteram, &c. And in another place, Coriscion, Matatron, Caladafon, Ozcozo, Xosiel, &c.
In which formes, the common particles and words of usuall sence, are plainely set downe in ordinary Latin; but many of the other, which seeme to have the greater efficacy, are of such secret sence, as I thinke no linguist can discover.
The inventions of this kind, doe not fall under any particular rule or maxime, but may be equally infinite to the variety of articulate sounds.
The second way of secrecy in speech, is by an alteration of any knowne language, which is farre more easie, and may prove of as much use for the privacy of it, as the other. This may be performed, foure wayes.
1. By Inversion, when either the Letters or Syllables are spelled backwards.
Mitto tibi M E T V L A S cancros imitare legendo, where the word S A L V T E M is expressed by an inversion of the letters. Or as in this other example, Stisho estad, veca biti, which by an inversion of the Syllables, is Hostis adest, cave tibi.
2. By Transmutation, or a mutuall changing of one letter for another in pronunciation, answerable to that forme of writing mentioned in the seventh Chapter. And though this may seeme of great difficulty, yet use and experience will make it easie.
3. By contracting some words, and leaving part of them out; pronouncing them after some such way as they were wont to be both written and printed in antient Copies. Thus ãã stands anima, Art*s for Aristoteles. But this can be but of small use in the English tongue, because that does consist most of Monosyllables.
4. By augmenting words with the addition of other letters. Of which kind, is that secret way of discoursing in ordinary use, by doubling the vowels that make the syllables, and interposing G. or any other consonant K. P. T. R. &c. or other syllables, as Porta lib. 1. cap. 5 de furtiv. liter. notis. Thus, if I would say, Our plot is discovered, it must be pronounced thus, Ougour plogot igis digiscogovegereged. Which doe's not seeme so obscure in writing, as it will in speech and pronuntiation. And it is so easie to be learnt, that I have knowne little children, almost as soone as they could speake, discourse to one another as fast this way, as they could in their plainest English.
But all these later kinds of secrecy in speech, have this grand inconvenience in them, that they are not without suspition.
There are some other wayes of speaking by inarticulate sounds, which I shall mention afterwards.