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From Ancient Greek ξενογλωσσία ‎(xenoglōssía), from ξένος ‎(xénos, foreign) and γλῶσσα ‎(glôssa, language).


xenoglossy ‎(plural xenoglossies)

  1. Knowledge of a language one has never learned.
    • 2007 September 1, J. Gordon Melton, The Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomena, Canton: Visible Ink, ISBN 9781578592098, OL 9470288M, keyword “xenoglossy”, page 359:
      The most well-documented case of xenoglossy, however, concerned Swiss Medium Hélène Smith (1861-1929), who falsely claimed to speak the Martian language.
  2. Glossolalia.

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Usage notes[edit]

  • Some writers distinguish xenoglossy from glossolalia, taking the former to mean roughly "knowledge of a language one has never learned" and the latter to mean roughly "speaking a language one does not know". 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.