Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Link: A fascinating article about the genetics of language

I discovered this article yesterday and thought you all would find it fascinating. Apparently there is a family in England whose members have difficulty associating word sounds with meanings. Obviously this has a large effect on their ability to deal with standard modes of education, and also influences their social interactions. The cool part is, they have traced this difficulty to a gene called FOXP2, and are getting insights into the genetics of language.

And by the way, for those who might be wondering if we have a "language gene," it's not as simple as all that. FOXP2 occurs through a lot of nonhuman world species as well. So a further exploration of the complexities of FOXP2 is here


  1. Fascinating. Thanks for pointing this article out. As the parent of a young person with autism with semantic pragmatic elements in his diagnosis I can't help but wonder if this gene is linked in too.

  2. Foxp2 is actally the gene that was problematic for the other famous British family with language problems "KE", I remember how the news got all excited about it a few years ago and I spent about 2 months explaining to all the relatives that, "no, they haven't found the language gene, just like they haven't found a 'thought gene' even though there are lots of genes that they know are involved with thought"

  3. Erm, that was me for some reason it has me signed in as unknown?


    1. Well, thanks for the comment, Erin! KE is also mentioned in the article. And I'm sure a lot of people were jumping on it for a language gene, because people seem very keen to find one. I'm actually glad there isn't one - a lot more people would have problems with language!