LINGUIST List 13.2096

Thu Aug 15 2002

Media: BBC Website, "First Lang Gene Discovered"

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Martin Wynne, "First language gene discovered"

Message 1: "First language gene discovered"

Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2002 15:48:55 +0100
From: Martin Wynne <>
Subject: "First language gene discovered"

An article on the BBC website reports claims to have found the language
gene. You can read it online at

The journalist seems to me to have confused grammatical and
articulatory ability. The article appears to claim that the gene
sequence in question controls facial muscles, yet a mistake in this
sequence causes agrammaticism.

The field of linguistics is summarised in the article:

"Scientists argue that there must be a genetic basis to speech and

It is universal, complex and acquired almost instinctively by children
at a young age."

Martin Wynne
Linguistics Officer
Oxford Text Archive
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