Friday, 3 July 2015


The people who speak Hungarian is an Internet-based science, research and technology news service that aims to provide the most complete and comprehensive daily coverage of the full sweep of science, technology, and medicine news.

No, it has yet to touch on Conductive Education but today it reports recent findings that offer perhaps unexpected confirmation to a non-biological answer to the question 'Who are the Hungarians?'

They are the people who speak Hungarian – and not many peoples in Europe can offer such a straightforwardly linguistic definition of their identity. Arpad and his tribes brought their language – but not much in the way of genes. 
The study, led by Professor Giuseppe Longobardi in York's Department of Language and Linguistic Science, in collaboration with geneticists and linguists at the Universities of Ferrara and Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy, has discovered that language proves a better predictor of genetic differences than the geographical distribution of population.
As part of his study he observed significant correlations between genetic and linguistic diversity across the Indo-European and non-Indo-European-speaking populations of Europe.
Professor Longobardi said: "To a very large extent linguistic differences correspond to genetic differences in the relevant populations. So, if a population speaks French and another speaks Russian they have a certain degree of linguistic diversity that we can now measure with unprecedented precision and the degree of genetic diversity is proportional.
'Is it the case that the French and Italians and Spanish, who speak very close languages, are really similar to each other in genetic terms? Is it really the case the Japanese, and say a population from Sub Saharan Africa, are really very different both in terms of language and in terms of their genetic ancestry? To some extent our answer, based on the published study and further work in progress, is yes: at least as a general historical rule.'

Nothing particularly surprising here, but in Europe there is a striking exception, the Hungarians –
...the exception in Europe is the Hungarians, who are genetically very similar to Slavic and Germanic populations.
"That's one case where some populations of central Europe just picked up a new language which was brought in to Hungary by a small group of conquerors. But apart from that exception the distribution of languages and the distribution of the genetic structure of the populations in Europe tend to correspond to each other," he added.
The study, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, suggests that migrating populations carried their genes alongside their language, rather than just a cultural diffusion of linguistic features from one population to another...
Except apparently in the Carpathian Basin.

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And for a most welcome change, the original, published scientific report on which a news item is based is freely open to all, with no requirement for a fee to view it:


(2015) Mapping the world's linguistic diversity—scientists discover links between your genes and the language you speak,, 3 July

Longobardi, G. et al. (2015) American Journal of Physical Anthropology,

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