How Topography Affects Language

Dark circles represent languages with ejectives, clear circles represent those without ejectives. Clusters of languages with ejectives are highlighted with white rectangles. For illustrative purposes only. Inset: Lat-long plot of polygons exceeding 1500 m in elevation. The six major inhabitable areas of high elevation are highlighted via ellipses: (1) North American cordillera (2) Andes (3) Southern African plateau (4) East African rift (5) Caucasus and Javakheti plateau (6) Tibetan plateau and adjacent regions. Map from: Evidence for Direct Geographic Influences on Linguistic Sounds: The Case of Ejectives by Caleb Everett.

How high up you live affects your spoken language.  Caleb Everett, an associate professors in the Athropology Department at the University of Miami published the results of his research into the correlation between elevation and phonemic ejective consonants in PLoS ONE Journal. Everett looked at ejective consonants which are voiceless consonants which require […]