Episode 41 (Glossolalia)

Paul de Lacy

The topic for the June 2021 podcast is glossolalia, which this month’s guest, phonologist Paul de Lacy, defines as “spontaneous, sustained speech that doesn’t convey complex meaning.” Sometimes referred to as “speaking in tongues,” glossolalia has been de Lacy’s passion since he began researching it in the mid-1990s.

De Lacy is professor emeritus of linguistics at Rutgers University in New Jersey and an honorary associate professor at the University of Auckland in his native New Zealand. He is a phonologist, specializing in the part of the brain that plans speech sound production. His research has focused on how cognitive limitations produce asymmetries in the sound patterns of human speech. He has worked with speakers of diverse languages, including Māori and Nevisian Creole.

For more on Paul, visit https://www.pauldelacy.net.

The snippets from YouTube clips featured in this episode are used under fair use. To watch and listen to the entire scene from Cape Fear (copyright 1991 Amblin Entertainment), go here. For the Sid Caesar clip (copyright 1952 NBC), click here. The full “Omnish” recording can be found here while the full “speaking in tongues” recording can be heard here. Lastly, go here for the “raw tongues” prayer.

(Bach’s Cello Suite #1 in G Major BMV 1007 Prelude (by Ivan Dolgunov) courtesy of Jamendo Licensing.)