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Worldwide Analysis of Genetic and Linguistic Relationships of Human Populations


In this study we relate language differences on a global scale with genetic distances for the same populations. The analysis is carried out on more populations (130) but fewer genetic systems (11) than earlier studies. We constructed an overall genetic distance matrix that allowed for missing values. A separate genetic distance matrix was also computed for each genetic system, and matching matrices of linguistic and geographic distances were associated with each genetic distance matrix, because the number of populations used differed among the genetic systems studied. Significant matrix correlations between language and genetics were found for both overall genetic distances and a substantial number of genetic systems, even when the effects of geographic distances were held constant. This demonstrates a significant correspondence between genetics and language on a global scale. Genetic matrices were correlated with two different linguistic distance matrices: one with higher (supraphyletic) taxonomic structure, in which among other features sub-Saharan Africans separate from non-Africans in the basal split and the Eurasiatic superphylum is postulated; and one without such structure. The correlations yield no genetic evidence to support the proposed higher linguistic structure. UPGMA and neighbor-joining trees were constructed for linguistic and genetic data. The proposed African split pattern is not supported by these data. Both types of trees indicate a pattern of grouping of east Asians, Arctic populations, and Australian natives separating from Caucasoid and African populations.

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