What is glossolalia?
It’s speaking in tongues, a religious practice that makes some people feel closer to god, and other people feel deeply uncomfortable. Is it the language of angels, or a psychological artefact? And what can linguistics tell us about this manner of speaking?
Linguist Daniel Midgley suspends his disbelief on this episode of Talk the Talk.
Listen to this episode
This week was about glossolalia, or speaking in tongues, and I just want to say that for a couple of atheist dudes, we gave the topic a pretty fair shake. We even tried a little glossolalia ourselves, though this was kind of unintentional, and we end up doing that at least once every time we do a taping.
T.M. Luhrmann’s article
P.Z. Myers’ response
The audio clip is from here.
Glossolalia isn’t just a Christian thing, by the way.
but not all Christians are into it.
William Samarin’s pioneering linguistic study of glossolalia (PDF)
Dawn Heverly’s phonological study (PDF). People don’t use sounds not in their native language.
Andrew Newberg’s brain scan study
“Holy Laughter”, if you’re into that. Note the falling down on cue.
A skeptical view from the great Skeptics’ Dictionary
and another from the Skeptic Tank
‘Speaking in Tongues’ by Eagles of Death Metal
from the album Peace Love Death Metal
‘A Million Angels’ by Severed Heads
from the album Since the Accident