Genetics and Language

A. McMahon, R. McMahon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

1 Citation (SciVal)


Genetics interacts with and influences language and linguistics in at least four ways. First, and perhaps most obviously, human language is certainly underpinned by a human genetic component, though the details will be highly complex and are not yet clear. Second, formalist linguists making hypotheses about the existence and contents of Universal Grammar must recognize that their proposals have genetic and evolutionary implications. The third and fourth interactions are interlinked: genetic and linguistic characteristics of populations may be correlated; and testing and investigating such potential correlations may benefit from the adoption in linguistics of computational methods developed for population genetics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Language & Linguistics
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)978-008044854-1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2006


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