It is written:
“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.” (Acts 2:4-6)
The Bible gift of tongues was the ability to speak fluently in the language of another nation, which the speaker had not previously studied.
In contrast, many churches today practice a form of glossolalia today where the speaker speaks in gibberish. Yet some maintain that these “sounds”’are actually languages. What are the facts?
“And I must report without reservation that my sample does not sound like a language structurally. There can be no more than two conflicting vowel sounds, and a most peculiarly restricted set of consonant sounds; these combine into a very few syllable clusters which recur many times in various orders. The consonants and vowels do not all sound like English (the speaker’s native language), but the intonation patterns are so completely American English that the total effect is a bit ludicrous. (William Welmes, Professor of African Languages at The University of California at Los Angeles, “Letter to the Editor,” Christianity Today, VIII, November 8, 1963, pp. 19-20.)
“The types of inventory and distribution would indicate clearly that this recording bears no resemblance to any actual language which has ever been treated by linguists… On the basis of what I have learned about this type of “tongues” in other parts of the world, apparently there is the same tendency to employ one’s own inventory of sounds, in nonsense combinations, but with simulated “foreign” features. (Eugene Nida, (linguist of the American Bible Society), “Divine or Devilish?,” Christian Herald, May 1964, p. 16.)
“As far as I know, there is no case of speaking in strange tongues which has been strictly and scientifically investigated that cannot be explained by recognized psychological laws. (George B.Cutten, Speaking with Tongues: Historically and Psychologically Considered, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1927, p. 181.)
Make no mistake: what is taking place in modern day charismatic churches, falsely called the Bible gift of tongues, is nothing of the sort.