There are two things to marvel at in the Texas Prison Gangs Dictionary, which comes to us via the good folks over at Public Intelligence. The first is the incredible effort it took to document 168-pages worth of vocabulary that is expressly designed to be as indecipherable as possible. The second is the sheer linguistic inventiveness of the incarcerated, who essentially commit themselves to learning a second tongue in order to thrive behind bars. I would love to read a learned linguist’s take on whether all languages originate in not-too-dissimilar manners—as efforts to conceal the machinations of one group from those in power. Based on what I know about how English grew out of a vernacular employed by peasants whose masters spoke courtly French, I bet there’s more than a grain of truth to that assumption.