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From glosso- +‎ -lalia.



glossolalia (plural glossolalias)

  1. Speaking in tongues; speaking a language one does not know, or speaking elaborate but apparently meaningless speech, while in a trance-like state (or, supposedly, under the influence of spirits).
    • 1972 September, Samarin, William J., “Sociolinguistic vs. Neurophysiological Explanations for Glossolalia: Comment on Goodman's Paper”, in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, volume 11, number 3, Blackwell, ISSN 0021-8294, JSTOR 1384556, page 293:
      But glossolalia by definition makes no such sense, because it consists of strings of syllables, made up of sounds taken from all those that the speaker knows, put together more or less haphazardly but emerging nevertheless as word-like and sentence-like units because of realistic, language-like rhythm and melody.
    • 1981 June, “Chronology of Events”, in Trance, Healing, and Hallucination: Three Field Studies in Religious Experience, Robert E. Krieger, ISBN 9780898742466, LCCN 80020043, OL 8272012M, page 301:
      Lorenzo is still kneeling at the box, once more Luisa wipes her eyes, Violeta is sobbing and rocking, her glossolalia now at the -sə-sə-sə-level of near exhaustion.
    • 2000 Winter, Rosenberg, Daniel, “Speaking Martian”, in Cabinet[1], number 1, ISSN 1531-1430:
      As he indicated in the subtitle of his study, Flournoy regarded Smith's Martian as a kind of "glossolalia." In this category, he also included her "Hindu," "Ultra-Martian," and the other extraterrestrial tongues that she would later speak.
    • 2012, Andy Martin, ‘Text Messenger’, Literary Review 404:
      Everything was a labyrinthine amalgam of languages, a towering Babel of puns and glossolalia.
  2. Xenoglossy.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Some writers distinguish glossolalia from xenoglossy, taking the former to mean roughly "speaking a language one does not know" and the latter to mean roughly "knowledge of a language one has never learned". Others do not distinguish the two, using the terms interchangeably or using one term exclusively. When in doubt, it may be preferable to preserve this distinction, and/or to explain what one means when using each term.

Derived terms[edit]