Climate, vocal folds, and tonal languages: Connecting the physiological and geographic dots.

@article{Everett2015ClimateVF,
  title={Climate, vocal folds, and tonal languages: Connecting the physiological and geographic dots.},
  author={Caleb Everett and Dami{\'a}n E. Blasi and Se{\'a}n G. Roberts},
  journal={Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
  year={2015},
  volume={112 5},
  pages={
          1322-7
        }
}
We summarize a number of findings in laryngology demonstrating that perturbations of phonation, including increased jitter and shimmer, are associated with desiccated ambient air. We predict that, given the relative imprecision of vocal fold vibration in desiccated versus humid contexts, arid and cold ecologies should be less amenable, when contrasted to warm and humid ecologies, to the development of languages with phonemic tone, especially complex tone. This prediction is supported by data… CONTINUE READING

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