While attending the University of South Alabama, I met and befriended alot of foreign students.  Many of them were from Bangladesh, and I visited them often.  Sometimes another American student would stop by, and we’d play a mild gag on him.  It was my idea–I’d always had a strange talent for making up languages, as well as using different dialects of English with ease.  So they’d say something in Bengali, and I’d pretend to converse with them.  And it worked every time–no visiting fellow-American student could ever tell I didn’t know Bengali!

Long after I’d graduated, I attended a writers’ workshop of my writers’ group–and the term, glossolalia, came up one day in our discussion.  Inspired by this, I used knowledge I’d gained in high-school speech class, as well as my strange talent for making up  languages, to write the following tongue-in-cheek poem:


Scott ____

There are over four hundred possible human vocalizations

(English uses only forty).

As babbling babies, we actually make all four hundred sounds

Our minds slowly narrowing them down to those

Of the languages to which we are regularly exposed.

As adults, we sometimes regress

Particularly when in states of extreme emotional transcendence.

We use these four hundred sounds repeatedly el azmet.

Troisun kang dimonion alat franchasn

Shyn pur’lout fra tojestantin veradoiteg.

Mi frun toben chyn welbet t’pran foven

Yarlet pogoi ai vo rintwix.

Kiso lugryp herval foculaze

Cotelac wung gryt vebow seloi te nack.

U p’likota ny

Tu flagorm sech pychang wotib mwa qelyd glossolalia.

2 Responses to “SPEAKING IN TONGUES?”

  1. 1 bschooled May 13, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Haha! I had to read it three times to make sure my mind wasn’t just playing tricks on me.

    I taught English in Mexico, and I swear I probably did more harm than good. Thanks to me, there are countless Mexicans walking around today believing that in English, a baby horse is called a “calf”.

    • 2 solosocial May 14, 2011 at 9:27 am

      Glad you enjoyed it! And your story is hilarious! I remember learning in a public relations class about a similar incident: When the Chevrolet Nova was advertised on billboards in Mexico, the American advertisers couldn’t figure out why more Mexicans weren’t buying it–until they discovered, to their embarrassment, that “No va” meant “It doesn’t go!”

      Thanks for stopping by!

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