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Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was not moved – no consensus — ækTalk 06:56, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

GlossolaliaSpeaking in tongues — per WP:NC, article title should be the most commonly used and recognized, for which readers are most likely to look, and to which editors will most naturally link. Ἀλήθεια 19:30, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

  • I oppose reversing the current redirect. There doubtlessly are some populations (denominations?) where "speaking in tongues" is the more common usage, but it does not appear to be predominant in reliable sources overall. Of (distinct) titles in the article's current References section, 12 use "glossolalia", 3 use "speaking in tongues", and 4 use the word "tongues" alone or in other phrases. (One is counted twice because it uses both, and one is ommitted because it is just a wiki.) GoogleBooks lists 248 titles using "glosolalia" vs. 200 using "speaking in tongues"; and GoogleScholar lists 310 titles using "glossolalia" vs. 283 using "speaking in tongues". ~ Ningauble (talk) 20:22, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
    • Take out your "allintitle" qualifier, and you'll find exactly the opposite. Note, also, that these searches don't account for variations such as "speak in tongues" and simply "tongues". 2,046 tongues vs. 1,660 glossolalia in books and 10,700 tongues vs. 5,350 glossolalia in scholar. While the titles qualifier gives a slight edge to the more erudite and pedantic term, regular usage shows a huge margin in favor of the common and more understandable term. Accessibility should prevail in this argument. Ἀλήθεια 21:58, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
      I am sorry that, having solicited opinions with a {{movereq}} tag, you consider it argumentative for someone to offer one. At the risk of seeming even more argumentative, I would like to offer a clarification of my thinking about titles, and a point of information about Google searches. This is all I have to say – opinion solicited, opinion offered. Hopefully some other editors will share their insights on the question as well.
      (1) I think it appropriate in choosing a title to use what is chosen more often in titles of reliable sources. I think it not unduly pedantic for an encyclopedia addressing the topic to follow the lead of others who set out to address the topic. Note also that the subject index for GoogleBooks lists 560 titles under "glossolalia" but has no entry for "speaking in tongues", which more or less reflects their findings on library cataloguing data. Other nomenclatures are indeed also common, so it is felicitous to provide accessibility via redirects, which is even better than library catalogue cross-references.
      (2) Bear in mind that Google's initial estimates of hits are quite rough, and tend to grossly overcount. Looking at mentions, not just titles, GoogleBooks reports quite comparable actual hits, but these tend to undercount due to idiosyncrasies described in the above linked article. ~ Ningauble (talk) 20:10, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
    • Counter-point (not to sound argumentative) - on the first page of hits in the aforementioned subject search, here's the usage count: tongue/tongues = 6, glossolalia = 2. The second page is similar 5 vs. 2, and the third is 6 vs. 3. So even here, the predominant usage remains tongues or speaking in tongues, not glossolalia.
  • Oppose: Ningauble's research is persuasive; glossolalia seems to be at least as common use in reliable sources. Knepflerle (talk) 00:39, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Glossolalia is the standard way to refer to this, and Speaking in tongues already redirects properly. The latter is also dialectical; it's in "regular" usage only in some communities. Whereas "glossolalia" is an international scientific term. Sai Emrys ¿? 18:58, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Terence McKenna[edit]

Anyone has any reference to McKenna talking about Glossolalia in one of his books? Twipley (talk) 15:54, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

small edit[edit]

I removed a portion that stated "shunda" and its equivalents "shindar", "shinda", etc. were universal in the tongue-speaking world. A closer inspection of the source says the contrary (find it by searching 'tikitiki'). Whoever originally posted it misread the second half of the sentence, I suppose. There's also no mentions of conjugations of the word, so I have no idea where they made that up =/ . Here's the original source they...'used': . --a guest —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:12, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Incorrect Definition[edit]

This article is rather disturbing to me, in the fact that the definition of "speaking in tongues" it gives, although maybe accepted by a large community, is completely different from the definition used in the bible. A tongue, in the bible, has meant "language," and as it describes in 1 Cor. 14 (Annotated KJV), as men from different countries spoke with one another and understood one another; it isn't unintelligible babble, but that the men were speaking in more language than once, so people could speak a language they did not know, while simultaneously speaking their own. This leads me to believe that much of this "modern interpretation" is completely wrong, except for maybe the psychoanalysis part. -- (talk) 02:38, 21 July 2010 (UTC) (not logged in, actual wiki id: inthend9)

(Response to the above) Speaking in tongues also refers to prayer to God with words inspired by the Holy Spirit, not understood by the one praying, or by others, unless interpreted by the inspiration of the Spirit. (1 Cor 12:10, 14:1-5 (& the rest of the chapter)) The language may be human or angelic. (1 Cor 13:1)
On the day of Pentecost, the disciples were Spirit-inspired to praise God in known human languages which they had not learned. (Acts 2:4 "as the Spirit enabled them." NIV)
As for "modern interpretation", the Gospel of Christ has never changed. (I can give you a whole long list of scriptures to back that up if you want.)
The only way you can guarantee to get a true understanding of scripture is to read it in prayer, crying out to the Lord for wisdom, knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:1-6), listening to the Lord and letting Him teach you (Exodus 15:26 &c &c). And of course, putting the gospel into practice. Then you will understand the Bible a million times better than any theologian ever has, or ever will. (Matthew 11:25,26, 1 John 2:26,27, &c &c)
(Note to Wikipedia moderators: Please forgive me if this is beyond what is appropriate for even a discussion page, but the person I'm responding to seemed to need reassurance, and I can't see how to send them a personal message.) Darkman101 (talk) 21:48, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
You are correct. Tongues are languages. This wiki article is a huge, generally accepted misconception on something blatantly obvious. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:35, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

I agree with the OP. The only place "speaking in tongues" is described is in Acts. It's quite clear in this passage that the disciples are speaking in human languages because the congregation remarks on hearing them speak their own native tongues. It's true that "speaking in tongues" is mentioned in Corinthians but you have to read-in the idea that Paul meant glossolalia rather than speaking in a foreign tongue the speaker himself did not know. Both meanings are perfectly viable but only the latter makes sense in the context of Acts. Korona (talk) 02:09, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

Concerning the Requested Move: I want to vote in favour[edit]

(I may be late, but I have only just come across this page.)

The term: "Speaking in Tongues" is the term generally used by:

(1) Those who do it, (2) Those who argue against it, (3) The vast majority of the population who have any reason to want to know anything about it.

The term: "Glossolalia" is generally only used by theologians and (allegedly) scientific researchers.

Most ordinary people would have absolutely no idea what "Glossolalia" means.

I propose we go with the people on this one. That's who Wikipedia is for.

(Just in case anyone wants to know: Yes, I'm a plain ordinary bog-standard Christian who does it.) Darkman101 (talk) 21:00, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

Glossolalia exists in non-Christian contexts too, though. I believe "glossolalia" is used because it's more culturally neutral whereas the term "(speaking in) tongues" is mostly used by Christians. Soap 22:08, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
Try looking at the other language wiki's. (talk) 16:39, 8 October 2010 (UTC)


This article needs audio samples to illustrate the practice of glossolia. Else, it is too windy.Sindhbadh (talk) 08:49, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

In Anime[edit]

Has this shown up in anime? I think wikipedia should discuss Glossolalia in Anime. -- (talk) 14:27, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

If you're serious, then you could do that: find reliable sources, create a new section above "See Also" called "In the media", and describe and cite your reliable source in that section. You don't have to do it perfectly - but good enough that people take it seriously and improve it, rather than delete it. "In the media" sections do tend to survive pretty well though.-Tesseract2(talk) 16:24, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

What is Igmo? I tried to find a lyrics translation for the song Dance of Curse, from Esxaflowne, and it doesn`t seem to be a language. I can find the words, but not what they mean.

Non-religious study and interpretation[edit]

All of the information I have been able to find about this topic focuses on religion or spiritual aspects of the event. What about when it occurs in people without any religious context?

-Is there a seperate term for that?

-Many definitions mention a "trance-like state" - what about when a person doesn't "trance", just suddenly shifts into an alternative verbal pattern without any accompanying physical/emotional/situational change?

-Have there been any studies done of the behavior without it being in a faith-invoked/involved setting?

- Are there currently any studies being done that do not involve a religious element? (talk) 01:41, 5 May 2011 (UTC) ←

I'm not aware of any. But just to clarify, within Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity, speaking in tongues is not dependent on any "trance-like state". It can be done at will and is understood as the person yielding his or her vocal chords to speak whatever the spirit desires to be spoken. The content of the utterance is spontaneous, one doesn't determine what one says, but the timing is not necessarily spontaneous and no ecstatic emotional state is required. Ltwin (talk) 22:14, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

There are indeed people who can do this voluntarily with no religious connotation to it whatsoever (I know at least one personally). If anyone can find some studies or source material covering non-religious glossolalia, please add it; it would be much appreciated. (talk) 20:58, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Citation removal[edit]

I removed the following footnote cited in several places in the article: "Personal Interview with Deborah Cox. Professor of Writing about the Bible as Literature. 4 May 2009. Lonestar College Library. Conroe, Texas, 77384[verification needed]". Wikipedia's guidelines on No original research is clear. Since "personal interviews" are not published, they are not verifiable. Ltwin (talk) 01:35, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

Speaking in tongues or with tongues ?[edit]

The OED seems to show the latter preposition is the standard. Why then the most frequent preposition in the phrase in the article is "in" ?

c.II.8.c The knowledge or use of a language. Esp. in phrases gift of tongues, to speak with a tongue (tongues), in reference to the Pentecostal miracle and the miraculous gift in the early Church; also simply tongues (pl. in collect. sense).

   1526 Tindale [see 2 a].    ― 1 Cor. xii. 30 Do all speake with tonges?    Ibid. xiii. 8 Though that prophesyinge fayle, other tonges shall cease, or knowledge vanysshe awaye.    1533 Gau Richt Vay 48 The halie spreit‥gaif to thayme ye gift to speik with al twngis.    1538 Cromwell in Merriman Life & Lett. (1902) II. 144 Ioynyng wyth you Maister Mason‥to declare your purpose for that having the tongue he may doo‥it more fully thenne you could percace easly vtter the same.    1593 R. Harvey Philad. 3 Neither can you proue that hee had not wealth enough to serue his vses, or tongue enough in euery place of his trauell.    a 1637 B. Jonson Underwoods, Execration upon Vulcan 75 Their‥bright stone that brings Invisibility, and strength, and tongues.    1879 Farrar St. Paul I. 96 The glossolalia or ‘speaking with a tongue’, is connected with ‘prophesying’, that is, exalted preaching.   1965 Sunday Mail (Brisbane) 5 Dec. 31/5 Some parishioners have complained to the Diocesan authorities‥about Mr. Schofield's interest in speaking with tongues.    1972 S. Tugwell Did you receive Spirit? v. 40 Some manifestation, usually tongues, is generally expected; indeed, strict Pentecostals demand it.    1976 Church Times 5 Mar. 14/2 Tongues is a personal and devotional gift as opposed to the others, which are intended to help people. 

9.II.9 transf. in biblical use: A people or nation having a language of their own. Usually in plural: all tongues, people of every tongue. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:38, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Introduction neutrality[edit]

The introduction gives one definition as the most correct, when later in the article there are many given. Plasmic Physics (talk) 21:23, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

Can you be more specific please? Ltwin (talk) 01:46, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
In the lead, it is stated that glossolalia is incomprehensible babble (paraphrasing), while later in the article it is indicated that there are various definitions, by various religious groups. The lead is favouring one group's view over the various others. Plasmic Physics (talk) 06:57, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
Well, part of the problem is that the article is about Glossolalia, which is the preferred scholarly term for speaking gibberish, sometimes in ritual contexts. However, Speaking in tongues also redirects here. Depending on what kind of Christian you are, "speaking in tongues" can be either glossolalia or xenoglossia which is miraculously speaking foreign languages. So, the definition in the lead is correct. Glossolalia is gibberish to observers (though it holds religious importance to the speaker). However, if you talk about glossolalia in Christianity you can't avoid getting into the discussion about what exactly is the spiritual gift known as speaking in tongues.
The lead should not create multiple definitions for glossolalia, there is no scientific proof that it is actual language. However, what we do need to do is expand the lead to better summarize the entire article as it exists currently, which means we would have to explain that there is disagreement among Christians whether the "gift" of speaking in tongues was glossolalia or xenoglossy. Ltwin (talk) 14:14, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

Would it be appropriate to present the tradition on the phenomena of glossolalia in the Eastern Christian perspective?[edit]

I was raised in Russian Orthodoxy, & when I stumbled to this page, I was surprised that the term glossolalia is in the Greek, as opposed to the more frequently used form „speaking in tongues.“ The occurrence could be read in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2. Which made me wondered, „Why is not the Greek Christian or any other Eastern Church have a section on this page?“ So I accompanied the matter with some research, & I did find some interesting perspectives about the speaking in tongues from Orthodox sources. Here are a few that I found reliable to start a section:

Here are some blogs that cover the subject:

Here is an extensive sermon [video on the website YouTube,] which I am not sure is reliable but dœs cover the perspective:

A podcast:

Thank you for your time reading my question, I hope & am seeing into the construction of an Orthodox perspective section. 序名三「Jyonasan」 TalkStalk 04:13, 3 August 2012 (UTC)


It seems that on April 10, 2012, someone added the section on Catholicism. Why does Catholicism get its own section when it seems that the way the article is outlined is by time period, not by Christian denomination. Furthermore, the section asserts that "Glossolalia is the miraculous ability to speak in a foreign language so that foreigners can hear the Gospel." If this is indeed the "Catholic" definition of speaking in tongues, then it belongs at the article xenoglossia. One more thing, it contradicts the very real and vibrant charismatic movement within the Catholic Church, which has official papal approval. These blanket statements that glossolalia is always understood as speaking a foreign language and never as speaking a heavenly or sacred language cannot be supported. The current teaching of the Catholic Church on this charism is much more nuanced than this section leads one to believe. For this reason, I am removing this section. Ltwin (talk) 08:23, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

Missing: Science / Article completely biased[edit]

Totally church biased, the whole article is. There is a point "science" missing as psychology and medical sciences have a very different opinion which is absolutely neglected and practically not mentioned in the article. The majority - by far - of the Western world population does not see glossolalia as anything religious but as something not working right in the human brain. Also, the majority of "Protestants" rejects glossolalia as something not being part of the religion and not belonging in a church. Only pentecostals and a few other fringe sects see glossolalia as part of religion and church service. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2003:45:4958:D783:24E7:F51E:26FD:9ACC (talk) 18:36, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Not quite accurate. Scientists have much to say on the issue of glossolalia, but the notion that it is seen as "something not working right in the human brain" is outdated and not supported by science. Rather they use their brains in different ways when utilizing glossolalia-which aligns with what glossolalists have described about their own behavior. Science has shown that people who speak in tongues are not emotionally or physically disturbed as was once assumed. In addition, there are many Protestants who believe in glossolalia, not just Pentecostals and not simply "fringe sects." The current Archbishop of Canterbury has a background in the charismatic movement after all. Ltwin (talk) 01:37, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

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Complaining in gibberish when nervous, and or Ned Flanders speak[edit]

Is this what the article is trying to explain? I don`t diddly, but I do ramble on in gibberish when nervous or angry. Kaskada Zglovos zjidaku hlanak mlavad.

Secular Interpretations[edit]

I suggest adding a section on secular interpretations of the phenomenon. An example reliable reference is: The measurement of regional cerebral blood flow during glossolalia: A preliminary SPECT study See:

Also, chapter 6 of book "How Enlightenment Changes your Brain" by Andrew Newburg discusses this in some depth. Glossolalia is likely one of many forms of "enlightenment" that can be induced by various secular practices of meditation and other secular rituals.

Thanks! --Lbeaumont (talk) 18:51, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Glossolalia lead sentence[edit]

There seems to be some disagreement over the first sentence of the article. Since at least 2013, the article has opened with essentially the following sentence, "Glossolalia or (speaking in tongues) is the fluid vocalizing of speech-like syllables that lack any readily comprehended meaning, in some cases as part of religious practice.[1]." As of this edit, the article begins with "Glossolalia or (speaking in tongues) is the religious phenomenon of persons speaking languages not known to them." I have two problems with this sentence. First, it is vague and doesn't actually describe what the article is about. It could be referring either glossolalia or xenoglossy. Second, we discuss what xenoglossy is before we even define glossolalia. It is only at the end of the paragraph that we actually find out what glossolalia is as opposed to xenoglossy. Whatever the etymology of the word, as it is used today it is not simply "speaking languages not known to them" but speaking what are believed to be non-human languages. The reader shouldn't have to read the entire lead section before they understand the difference. Ltwin (talk) 06:29, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

Glossolalia is first a religious phenomenon. That has been its meaning since the term was coined. The psychological interpretation of this is important but to state this as the lead sentence is to disregard the historical significance and derivation of the term. Taxee (talk) 15:44, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
How are we disregarding it simply because the first word after "speaking in tongues" doesn't mention religion? The entire paragraph is about its religious associations. We even cite Scripture in the lead. Ltwin (talk) 21:55, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
Then why can't you live with the obvious solution of providing the predominant meaning of the term first. If it was a psychological term (which it is not) then I could understand your point. It is, in fact, a religious term which derives directly from the Bible, and therefore, that should figure first in its introduction. Providing a psychological explanation for something that is not a psychological term is inappropriate. According to WP:LEAD, the lead section should identify the topic, establish context, explain why the topic is notable, and summarize the most important points, including any prominent controversies. That's not what the lead section currently does. Taxee (talk) 23:24, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
I don't see the lead as favoring a "psychological" definition over a "religious" definition. You are the one splitting hairs. The first sentence currently starts out by describing what glossolalia is first, what it "sounds" and "looks" like and what it means to the people who speak it. As a Pentecostal Christian who speaks in tongues, and probably does so "more than you all" lol, I'm not understanding why you see the current lead sentence as privileging a psychological definition over a religious one. It's not vague and simplistic like "speaking in an unknown language" is, but I think that's actually a good thing. Ltwin (talk) 00:04, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

The Oracle of Delphi[edit]

The history section should probably include a proper reference to the Pythia. This is a contemporary reference that was popular to those in the Greco-Roman world and actually sets the stage for why this behavior would be accepted and found to be intriguing to them in the first place. This citation references what is likely the origin of this practice. (talk) 23:40, 16 March 2017 (UTC)