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Mother tongue actually comes from prehistoric fathers: Study

LONDON: Language change among our prehistoric ancestors came about via the arrival of immigrant men – rather than women – into new settlements, according to a new research . The claim is made by two University of Cambridge academics, Peter Forster and Colin Renfrew, in a report published in Science journal.

They studied the instances of genetic markers (the male Y chromosome and female mtDNA) from several thousand individuals in communities around the world that seem to show the emergence globally of sex-specific transmission of language, a university release said.

From Scandinavian Vikings who ferried kidnappedBritish women to Iceland – to African, Indian and Polynesian tribes, a pattern has emerged which appears to show that the arrival of men to particular geographic locations – through either agricultural dispersal or arrival of military forces – can have a significant impact on what language is spoken there.

Renfrew said: “During colonization episodes men generally outnumber women in the pioneering groups and take wives from the local community . When the parents have different linguistic backgrounds , it may often be the language of the father which is dominant in the family.”


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This entry was posted on September 12, 2011 by in Science and tagged .
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