Glossophilia & glossophobia: no, they’re not the same (or the opposite, for that matter)


A new TV ad  (for Google’s Nexus 7 tablet) opens with a young voice asking: “What is glossophobia“? And then we watch and find out — while following the ad’s nervous teenager about to give a speech — exactly what this colorful word means, as we also find out about Google’s new product.

Glossophobia means speech anxiety, or the fear of public speaking. It comes from the Greek word glōssa, meaning “tongue”, and φόβος (phobos), meaning “fear” or “dread”.

Glossophilia doesn’t mean the opposite of glossophobia, as we might logically assume it does (with “-philia”, meaning fondness or abnormal love, replacing “-phobia”). I’m a glossophile, but I’m also glossophobic. Glossophilia means a love of language, whether foreign or native. Glossophiles are people with a deep and passionate love of language and the structure of language, and they are often involved in the study of literary terminology as well as grammar, punctuation, and language structure and usage. But there’s nothing stopping them from being glossophobes too…



2 thoughts on “Glossophilia & glossophobia: no, they’re not the same (or the opposite, for that matter)

  1. Glossophobia

    I was fascinated by the google advert, did you know they produced the same advert twice? Once with Roosevelt for the Americans and once with Churchill for the British.


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