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Stephen Colbert gets his own language

The Colbert Report host commonly makes up words, but some researchers have turned his technique into a whole language.

Stephen ColbertianStephen Colbert has been known to make up a word or two. Often this is to make fun of someone, but it seems that more than most, his words actually make it into the English language.

Colbert coined the term “truthiness” during his debut episode of The Colbert Report in 2005, and according to, the word has been defined as “The quality of seeming to be true according to one’s intuition, opinion or perception without regard to logic, factual evidence, or the like.”

But Northwestern University has taken Colbert’s talent to another level.

Researchers at Colbert’s alma mater have created a new language they are calling Colbertian.

“In a new study on the website of the journal Cognitive Science, the researchers explain that they created the language in order to test whether knowing multiple tongues makes it easier to learn another one,” said the Chicago-Sun Times. “It does, they concluded, just like knowing more than one real languages helps.”

The point of the experiment was not to create a new language, but instead to enter into the study a new language no one had heard before.

They then tested the subjects, both those who speak one language and those who speak two languages.

“We found that people who learned both English and Spanish at an early age and continued to speak them, better retained the words in Colbertian,” said James Bartolotti, a Northwestern Ph.D. candidate and co-author of the study.

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the language consisted of both words that Colbert created, and some the scientists created. The words were all nouns, so they could match them to pictures.

According to the study, the bilingual candidates learned it faster because, “They switch between languages their whole lives. That’s why the [they] learned Colbertian faster,” Bartolotti said.

Learn Colbertian yourself, here.

Photo courtesy Stefan Jeremiah/

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