Glossolalia

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Glossolalia or speaking in tongues is the fluid vocalizing (or, less commonly, the writing) of speech-like syllables, often as part of religious practice. Though some consider these utterances to be meaningless, those that use them consider them to be part of a holy language.

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Etymology

'Glossolalia' is constructed from the Greek word γλωσσολαλία, itself a compound of the words γλῶσσα (glossa, meaning "tongue" or "language") and λαλεῖν (lalein, "to talk"). The term 'speaking in tongues' is a translation of these two components of the same word. The Greek expression (in various forms) appears in the New Testament in the books of Acts and 1 Corinthians.

'Speaking in tongues' has been used at least since the translation of the New Testament into Middle English in the Wycliffe Bible in the 14th century.[1] Frederic William Farrar first used the word glossolalia in 1879.[2]

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