What do trees, deserts and mountains have to do with languages? Researchers think the environment people live in might have had an influence on the evolution of their language, which would also explain why there are so many different forms of human communication.
In a study published last year, researchers from the University of New Mexico and Laboratoire Dynamique du Langage-CNRS found there is a relationship between sound structures in spoken language and climatic and ecological factors including temperature, precipitation, vegetation and geomorphology.
In general, the study found that languages which are spoken in tropical areas with high temperatures and a lot of trees use less consonants and more vowels as these sounds travel better in this kind of environment.
Other natural factors that affect the travel of sound are air temperature, wind and rain which also could have had an effect on how humans adapted their language to different regions.
The Acoustic Adaptation Hypothesis argues that animals like songbirds adapted their acoustic signals for an optimal sound transmission according to the region they live in and the density of vegetation. The new study shows that human language might have evolved the same way.