xBlackHeartx wrote:I've heard of codes that involved simply replacing words, but those are mostly used by children. I have heard about the story of the US using a code that simply involved replacing words with the expressions that the Navajo used in their native language (such as referring to a tank as a 'turtle'). But its possible that they used some sort of further decryption after that. Such as one of those ciphers you need a specialized machine to encrypt and decrypt the message. I can't remember what they're called, but they looked like typewriters.
The Navajo-based code was purely spoken; codetalkers weren't even allowed to take their codebooks into the field. It employed a combination of word substitutions like you mention and encrypted letters. That is, each English letter was mapped to a Navajo word (e.g. "p" to bisóodi
which means "pig"). To save time, certain frequently-used words were replaced with Navajo neologisms--not
the ordinary Navajo words. For instance, a "bomber" was a jeeshóóʼ
("buzzard"), not a chidí naatʼáʼiʼtsoh beeʼeldǫǫh bikǫʼ neiyéhé
. These replacements changed over time and some were in use only for a particular operation and not reused after that.
Deciphering unknown languages works somewhat differently from codebreaking. You can find a lot of resources on both. Having frequently-recurring affixes does help, but so does having frequently-recurring function words (like the articles in English).
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons