Languages not out of Africa, according to articles in Ars Technica 28 January 2015 and PNAS, 2015. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1424033112. A group of researchers from Canada and USA have conducted a wide ranging survey of the geographical distribution of human genomes and phonemes (speech sounds). They found that as populations split up and migrate away from one another genetic diversity within the groups decrease. However, languages show the opposite effect – they become more diverse.

This was surprising enough, but the real surprise was that languages did not fit an “out of Africa” pattern. The researchers wrote: “the geographic distribution of phoneme inventory sizes does not follow the predictions of a serial founder effect during human expansion out of Africa. Furthermore, although geographically isolated populations lose genetic diversity via genetic drift, phonemes are not subject to drift in the same way: within a given geographic radius, languages that are relatively isolated exhibit more variance in number of phonemes than languages with many neighbours”.

Ars Technica

Editorial Comment: This is no surprise to us. It is exactly what you would expect from the Biblical record of the origin and dispersion of modern human populations. Genesis tells that all human populations are ultimately derived from the people who gathered at the Tower of Babel in the region we now call Iran. At that time they all spoke one language. God had told them to spread out and fill the earth, but they wanted to make a name for themselves, rather than obey God’s instructions (Genesis 11:4). God judged them by splitting them into different language groups.

This means the people who settled in Africa were derived from the original population in Babel, just like all other human populations. Languages did not evolve in Africa by turning ape noises into human speech. Language was originally programmed into Adam’s human brain by God, then re-programmed at Babel, and then creatively modified and developed by our human minds as people spread all over the world. This is the real cause of the rich variation in language, even in fairly small populations. (Ref. linguistics, phonetics, genetics, judgement)