Code talkers

The role of the Navajo and other Native American tribes played in secret communications or code talking in World War II is fairly well known, and today I found out on the BBC News magazine that members of Choctaw Nation played a similar role in World War I. They communicated military information via phone, and to the Germans who tapped the phone lines Choctaw, and the other Native American languages that were used, sounded utterly baffling – they apparently thought the the US had invented a contraption to speak underwater.

Very few people knew about this until recently as in Choctaw culture one doesn’t boast about one’s achievements, so those involved rarely mentioned it, even to their own families. At the same time Choctaw, and other Native American, children were being punished for speaking their mother tongues in schools.

Do you know of other languages used for secret communications like this?

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This entry was posted in Endangered languages, Language.

One Response to Code talkers

  1. Jim Morrison says:

    Wikipedia says that one of your own languages, Welsh, was used in the Balkan peace-keeping efforts for non-vital messages. It’s obviously not very secure but better than just shouting it out in English!

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