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How did accents first develop? Was it climate dependent? or was it a social behavioural issue?

Is there any biological reason for the development of accents?

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    $\begingroup$ Your question is (badly) based on the assumption that there is something out there with no accent. EVERYONE has an accent, just like everyone has a fingerprint. $\endgroup$ – John Smith Mar 13 '12 at 4:28
  • $\begingroup$ It has to do partly with brain wiring and partly with the mouth musculature, as nicely examplified by this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_accent_syndrome $\endgroup$ – nico Mar 13 '12 at 7:25
  • $\begingroup$ A better question: "Is there a genetic basis for different accents?" Almost everything in biology has a biological reason. $\endgroup$ – kmm Mar 13 '12 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ Surely the evidence indicates that it is unlikely and that this is strictly nurture rather than nature? Take a kid from anywhere and raise them while they learn to speak and they will have the accent of those around them with exceptions being rare. $\endgroup$ – Sonny Ordell Mar 14 '12 at 5:41
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No. Accent is purely environmental. The ability to pick up the unique sounds of a language or variation of a language ceases around puberty: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_acquisition

This is why adults learning a second language have trouble distinguishing the unique sounds of the second language. For learners of English, the "th" sounds and the difference between "l" and "r" can be difficult. For languages based on Sanskrit, there are a variety of aspirated/unaspirated consonants somewhere between "b" and "v" that English-speakers have a hard time distinguishing, much less imitating.

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