Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Origins of Language

The New York Times reports on a recent analysis of the origins of language, which suggests that language began once, in southern Africa, around 50,000 years ago. Quentin D. Atkinson, a biologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, used mathematical analysis and "what biologists call a serial founder effect. Each time a smaller group moves away, there is a reduction in its genetic diversity," which he used by analyzing phonemic diversity.

Who knows what, if anything, this has to do with literature, but it seemed to be something that would be of interest to those of us interested in evolution-based analyses of literature.

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