Language in the Americas: Out of Beringia

Norbert Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Linguistically, the Western Hemisphere harbors a great typological diversity, by some estimates, the greatest in the world. Controversy regarding classification aside, much work lies ahead to identify the movements up through to include the final leg of the journey of modern humans, in terms of distance travelled from our continent of origin, to Tierra del Fuego. This article will briefly summarize the advances that the language sciences have made in describing these migrations and the languages that accompanied them, to then discuss viable proposals for collaboration with other fields. Such an interdisciplinary program of study is necessary because the tools of linguistics do not suffice. Continuing work on the processes of origin, dispersion and convergence will help us better understand fundamental properties of language. Research on the description of individual languages and how they can be classified will contribute to this understanding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-191
Number of pages21
JournalLengua y Migracion
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • Human evolution
  • Language evolution
  • Language universals
  • Linguistic typology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Linguistics and Language


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