Langauges that are closer to eachother geographically tend to share features.

However, can it be said that language communities in distant but geographically similar regions tend to have similar phonetic features?

Like, for example, would a language in a mountainous region tend to have a specific phonetic feature? Perhaps some place where it might be more noisy?


1 Answer 1


Caleb Everett has a series of studies on these, most notably the relationship between humidity and tone. However, these have mostly not been widely accepted by linguists; the commentary to the last article contains objections to the authors' arguments.

Everett, Caleb. 2013. Evidence for direct geographic influences on linguistic sounds: The case of ejectives. PloS one 8(6).

Everett, Caleb, Damián E. Blasi & Seán G. Roberts. 2015. Climate, vocal folds, and tonal languages: Connecting the physiological and geographic dots. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(5). 1322–1327.

Everett, Caleb, Damián E. Blasi & Seán G. Roberts. 2016. Language evolution and climate: the case of desiccation and tone. Journal of Language Evolution 1(1). 33–46.

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