egypt
AR
belarus
BE
bulgaria
BG
bangladesh
BN
bosnia
BS
spain
CA
czech_republic
CS
germany
DE
greece
EL
usa
EM
great_britain
EN
esperanto
EO
spain
ES
estonia
ET
iran
FA
finnland
FI
france
FR
israel
HE
croatia
HR
hungary
HU
indonesia
ID
italy
IT
japan
JA
georgia
KA
india
KN
south_korea
KO
lithuania
LT
latvia
LV
india
MR
netherlands
NL
norway
NN
india
PA
poland
PL
portugal
PT
brazil
PX
romania
RO
russia
RU
slovakia
SK
serbia
SR
sweden
SV
ukraine
UK
vietnam
VI
china
ZH

Genes influence language

The language we speak is dependent on our ancestry. But our genes are also responsible for our language. Scottish researchers have come to this conclusion. They examined how English differs from Chinese. In doing so they discovered that genes play a role, too. Because genes influence the development of our brain. That is to say, they shape our brain structures. With this, our ability to learn languages is determined. Variants of two genes are crucial to this. If a particular variant is scarce, tonal languages develop. So tonal languages are spoken by people without these gene variants. In tonal languages, the meaning of words is determined by the pitch of the tones. Chinese is included in the tonal languages, for example. If this gene variant is dominant, however, other languages develop. English is not a tonal language. The variants of this gene are not evenly distributed. That means they occur with differing frequency in the world. But languages only survive if they are passed down. In order to do this, children must be able to imitate the language of their parents. So they must be able to learn the language well. Only then will it be passed down from generation to generation. The older gene variant is the one that promotes tonal languages. So there were probably more tonal languages in the past than there are today. But one mustn't overestimate the genetic components. They can only add to explaining the development of languages. But there isn't a gene for English, or a gene for Chinese. Anybody can learn any language. You don't need genes for that, but rather only curiosity and discipline!

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