In the Guardian, there is an article on cultural determinants of phonological feature choice. A recent article in Science supposedly supports the hypothesis that the existence of labiodental fricatives, namely 'f' and 'v', appear in languages of societies that favor cooking over raw food (cultivation vs hunter-gatherer). That is, that there are extant linguistic behaviors that are due to "changes in dietary and behavioral practices since the Neolithic".

The two articles both refer to an article by Charles Hockett around 1984 that sets forth the hypothesis by using an inventory of languages and noticing that those that have an 'f' were from slightly different anthropological situations than those without.

The simple question here is not what is the strength of the evidence, if there are other phonological phenomena with similar cultural determinants, etc etc, but ...

Where can one find this original article by Charles Hockett?

Science is behind a paywall so I can't see the bibliographical reference in the Blasi article in Science. And a google search gives only partial list of Hockett's publications. Is there a list of all publications by author in linguistics?

  • 2
    I wonder what is left over of this study when one takes the Australian languages out: Not having any fricatives is a regional feature there, ans they were all hunter-gatherers. Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 21:57
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    @jknappen - they controlled for genetic and areal effects. Assuming their model was good, it shouldn't affect the results of the study much. Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 7:22

1 Answer 1


Here's the citation:

Hockett, C. F. (1985). Distinguished lecture: F. American Anthropologist, 87(2), 263-281.

The link is here, but it's also behind a paywall.

Google Scholar profiles, personal webpages and CVs are the most common places where we find publication lists of a certain author, though this doesn't work for Hockett, who passed away in 2000 and presumably didn't put these up on the Internet.

  • Nice! JSTOR, like the OED, is also available through my local public library (and I'm guessing any US or UK public library) or a university library.
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 20:33
  • In a plain google search I hoped to get a CV of some kind, but for someone as famous as Hockett I only found 'selected' works, mostly swamped by his language universals work and Chomsky debates. Is Google Scholar what you used?
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 20:35
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    @Mitch I have access to the Science paper, so I just used that. Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 21:04

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