The Fun Of Codebreaking

I loved puzzles as a kid.

Crosswords, word searches, secret codes for games, code-breaking games, brain teasers, you name it. Pretty much anything that contained searching for some secret sequence of characters was a large part of my childhood.

Sometimes books or toys would come with attached “secret codes” and I would spend the day learning them, then writing secret messages all over the walls in my room. Then somewhere along the way I stopped with the codes and puzzles. I’m still not sure why.

It wasn’t until recently that I noticed how similar languages are to those codes I’d find at the back of a kid’s magazine.  Learning the Russian alphabet and trying to read simple words has reawakened the “code geek” in me.  I’ve realized that I’ve never actually thought about languages in this way until recently.

Languages are a code just waiting to be broken. It’s not impossible. There are already cities and countries full of people speaking/reading your l2/3/4/5 . They just broke the code before you did, and with lots of help from their environment.




Author: Koyami

I'm Koyami. I am a freelance Japanese-English Translator and I enjoy learning new skills and reading in my spare time. Current pursuits include juggling, piano, and collecting all of the 十二国記 books. Follow me on Twitter and Google+ for blog updates, my Japanese word of the day, and more!

  • I thought for an instant that this was something I wrote.

    I recruited everyone I could (not many!) into my “code club” back in elementary school. Good times … come to think of it, I was still making up scripts in college …

    New goal: invent a new kanji and convince a native it’s a real one 😉

    • Thanks for the comment.

      You had a code club?! That sounds awesome.

      I’d say that’s a pretty awesome goal. Have you heard of the 創作漢字コンテスト? (
      It’s this contest where people make up their own kanji and it’s really cool. If you don’t already know about it, I’d highly recommend checking out some of the entries from previous contests.

      • A very tiny one!

        And, that is kind of amazing. Had no idea. Not really surprising though I suppose! Love the panda one 🙂

  • Love this metaphor.

    • Thanks for the comment, Adshap! I’ve been having a much easier time balancing languages after looking at each one as a different code.