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Is it Possible to Sleep Talk in a Different Language?

We’ve heard of sleep talking and you may have had dreams where you could speak another language, but have you ever been sleep talking in a foreign language? Did you even know it was possible?

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The dreaming mind is a mystery that researchers are still trying to fully understand. But, believe it or not, sleep talking in a different language is a known phenomenon that’s been reported since ancient times.


Xenoglossy: Is it Possible to Speak an Unknown Language? 

Xenoglossy is a fascinating phenomenon where people can suddenly speak, write, or even understand a foreign language without ever having actually learned it. Even though instances of this have been happening since the ancient roman times, researchers still only have theories as to why it occurs.

Some researchers think xenoglossy comes from brain injuries or illnesses, whereas paranormal buffs believe it could be proof of reincarnation or even psychic powers. But honestly, researchers just don't know enough to say for sure either way.

Theory #1: You’re Subconsciously Learning Another Language in Your Sleep

Your brain takes in a lot during the day, so if you overhear various languages, even those you don't understand, these unfamiliar words might reappear in your dreams or sleep talking. You could even be subconsciously learning another language while you’re sleeping.

This would be an instance of cryptomnesia: When you think you've come up with a new idea, but in reality, your brain is just recalling forgotten information. But, some experts believe you can only pick up a language by having conversations, not just from overhearing it.


Theory #2: You’re Speaking Gibberish in Your Sleep

You are not awake when you’re sleep-talking, therefore you have no idea what you are saying. Your partner might tell you that you spoke another language, but does that person know that language or just what it sounds like? They might tell you it sounded like you were speaking French when really you were simply speaking gibberish in a French accent.


Theory #3: You’re Dreaming in Another Language

If you have ever immersed yourself in another culture, taken a few Spanish classes, or even know a different language well, then you might actually have dreams in that language. In those cases, it is quite possible for you to speak another language outside your native tongue while you’re sleeping. You are experiencing that language when you dream, so you might talk in it when you are asleep as well.


Theory #4: It’s a Phenomenon of the Collective Consciousness

Could there be a shared pool of knowledge accessible beyond our individual learning experiences? Researchers are still exploring why some people can speak different languages in their sleep, but one theory is that this might be an example of how all human consciousness is connected.

If some have learned new languages seemingly from nowhere–or in their sleep–, then maybe there is more knowledge in our subconscious than we can explain. But, scientists still have lots of digging to do before they can back this theory up with strong evidence.


Whether you’re sleep-talking in Spanish or dreaming in French, everyone in the world needs a good night’s sleep. Download Land of Sleep’s Guide to a Better Night’s Sleep to create the perfect bedroom to drift off into dreamland.

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Tags: Sleep Tips, Sleep Health