Reconciling the father tongue & mother tongue hypotheses in Indo-European populations


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Reconciling the father tongue & mother tongue hypotheses in Indo-European populations

Does the mother or father have a stronger influence on their children's language? The mother tongue hypothesis suggests that language usage follows matrilineal inheritance. The father tongue hypothesis holds that paternal lines dominate the local language in an already populated region, which was proposed based on other genetic and anthropological research.

A team of researchers led by population geneticist Li Jin found that in Indo-European populations, the paternal lineages (Y-chromosome) were correlated to the vocabulary (lexicon) of their languages, while the maternal lineages were associated with pronunciation (phonemes). For the study, the authors explored the genetic-linguistic relationship of 34 populations speaking different Indo-European (IE) languages. They assembled compositions of the Y-chromosomal and mtDNA haplogroups or paragroups from these IE populations, which reflect paternal and maternal lines, respectively. These haplogroups or paragroups were defined using stable mutations that all developed in the Paleolithic Age (over 10,000 years ago). For comparing the IE languages, the basic word list and phonemic inventory they used reflect the vocabulary system and sound system in a language, respectively.

The team found that that the change in lexicon reflects the differences in paternal lines, while phonemic dissimilarity reflects the differences in maternal lines, after removing the effect of geography. Such observations of unbalanced correlations were consistent with differently sized lexical datasets, and were successfully evaluated for their robustness based on alternative statistical approaches.

Dr. Menghan Zhang, the first author of this paper indicated that the unbalanced correlation between genetics and linguistics can be explained by male-dominant population contact, and the strategy of language learning by local females, which is similar to second language acquisition.

The authors note that this study was on the basis of correlation analysis, but not causal inference. However, they also proposed one hypothetical scenario of language evolution that fathers could affect the usage of words, while mothers could pass down pronunciations. The research was published in the National Science Review.

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I'm a little bit confused about the whole idea, why applied the hypothesis because of indo-european languages? Semites weren't patriarchal? and Turco-Mongols? I got the idea they try to propose and it might make sense, but the fact it use indo-european languages exclusively to explain a certain linguistic or cultural pattern is strange. Plus, it totally abstract the fact that a lot of ancient indo-european people have a culture of fosterage wich means the son is given to the mother's uncle at a young age or the greek and the ephebia.
All they had to do was to analyze the (overwhelmingly patriarchal) colonial Americas and see the result:
1) where the foreign paternal lineages were economically and socially dominant for a long time, and numerous enough to make the presence of their language felt in everyday life from the top to the lower strata of society, people adopted the language of the conquerors (most parts of Latin America, particularly eastern South America and central-northern Mexico);
2) where they were relatively few and mainly distant rulers and masters, the population usually became bilingual, but didn't give up on their language, certainly not until much later when the cultural/political imbalance between the two languages became too large (in many parts of the Andes and Mesoamerica, as well as in Paraguay);
3) and where the foreign males were a minority fleetingly occupying the territory - mobile explorers maybe? - or absorbed by local, more isolated populations without a clearly dominant role within the existing social structure, and having to learn and adapt to an alien social, economic and cultural environment, they often absorbed the language of the native women they met (e.g. the Garifuna, who absorbed former enslaved Africans; many native tribes throughout the Americas that have absorbed a relevant proportion of European and/or African Y-DNA lineages).
Nihil novi. They are over and over again discovering America.
All ancient populations were patriarchal, patrilineal and patrilocal.
Some of them declined and decayed as Old Europe for example,
or some Micronesian islands - but in general whole humanity was
and is patriconstructed, and there is really nothing new in discovery
such as: "wow, they did transmit language such and such beacause
they have to be patrisomething. Astonishing!
" It is obvious, especially,
that is allready proven by genetic research. Only people who deny the
reality can over and over make such "shocking surpisingly discoveries".

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