Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-78bd46657c-j4m62 Total loading time: 0.194 Render date: 2021-05-09T11:45:26.761Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

The potential for genetic adaptations to language

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 October 2008

Mark Pagel
Affiliation:
School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6AJ, United Kingdomm.pagel@reading.ac.ukwww.evolution.rdg.ac.uk
Quentin D. Atkinson
Affiliation:
Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX2 6PN, United Kingdom. quentin.atkinson@anthro.ox.ac.ukhttp://users.ox.ac.uk/~soca0108/Quentins_website/Home.html

Abstract

We suggest there is somewhat more potential than Christiansen & Chater (C&C) allow for genetic adaptations specific to language. Our uniquely cooperative social system requires sophisticated language skills. Learning and performance of some culturally transmitted elements in animals is genetically based, and we give examples of features of human language that evolve slowly enough that genetic adaptations to them may arise.

Type
Open Peer Commentary
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

Atkinson, Q., Meade, A., Venditti, C., Greenhill, S. & Pagel, M. (2008) Languages evolve in punctuational bursts. Science 319:588.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bleasdale, F. A. (1987) Concreteness-dependent associative priming: Separate lexical organization for concrete and abstract words. Journal of Experimental Psychology 13:582–94.Google Scholar
Burger, J., Kirchner, M., Bramanti, B., Haak, W. & Thomas, M. G. (2007) Absence of the lactase-persistence-associated allele in early Neolithic Europeans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 104:3736–41.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dunn, M., Terrill, A., Reesink, G., Foley, R. & Levinson, S. C. (2005) Structural phylogenetics and the reconstruction of ancient language history. Science 309:2072–75.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Glasser, M. F. & Rilling, J. K. (in press) DTI tractography of the human brain's language pathways. Cerebral Cortex. DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhn011.Google ScholarPubMed
Jessen, F., Heun, R., Erb, M., Granath, D. O., Klose, U., Papassotiropoulos, A. & Grodd, W. (2000) The concreteness effect: Evidence for dual coding and context availability. Brain and Language 7:103–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nottebohm, F. (2005) The neural basis of birdsong. PLoS Biology 3:e164.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Pagel, M. (2008) Rise of the digital machine. Nature 452:699.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Pagel, M., Atkinson, Q. D. & Meade, A. (2007) Frequency of word-use predicts rates of lexical evolution throughout Indo-European history. Nature 449:717–21.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Thompson, P. M., Cannon, T. D., Narr, K. L., van Erp, T., Poutanen, V. P., Huttunen, M., Lönnqvist, J., Standertskjöld-Nordenstam, C. G., Kaprio, J., Khaledy, M., Dail, R., Zoumalan, C. I. & Toga, A. W. (2001) Genetic influences on brain structure. Nature Neuroscience 4:1253–58.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The potential for genetic adaptations to language
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

The potential for genetic adaptations to language
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

The potential for genetic adaptations to language
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *