[ExI] Genes and the Great Vowel Shift

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Mon Feb 25 00:07:55 UTC 2008

At 03:20 PM 2/24/2008 -0700, Keith wrote:

>I don't see how you can just rule out a possible connection.

I don't (I mentioned the possibility of tonality-conducive phenotypes 
built by certain alleles) but I do generally, for the reason I gave: 
kids learn what's around them.

I suppose you could say: "Aha! But why did "what's around them" 
*alter* so suddenly? Was there a crucial genetic change in the 
population of speakers?" To which I say: "Right, a bit like the 
genetic change that caused people to stop sweeping with straw brooms 
and start using vacuum cleaners instead, and use keyboards instead of 
quills--obviously something to do with the genes governing grasping, 
manipulation and fine motor control, since what else could it be?"

Damien Broderick

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