> The phonological systems of the world should be full of clicks. They
> make ideal consonants, being extremely salient and easy to pronounce.
> Yet there are absolutely no click phonemes outside Sub-Saharan
> Africa, and even there their occurrence is restricted to Khoisan and
> a few neighbouring languages which have borrowed them from Khoisan
> and which have much smaller inventories (up to a dozen clicks or so,
> as compared with 20-83 distinct phonemes in typical Khoisan systems).
> A comparable mystery is the nearly absolute non-occurrence of
> fricatives and affricates in Australian languages. Facts like these
> make me suspect that there are some biologically determined
> differences between human populations as regards the mechanism of
> language learning, and in particular the "innate knowledge" of what
> type of sound should be expected in the input data a child is exposed
> to. This hasn't really been studied, but the oft-repeated assumption
> that the innate "language acquisition device", or "language
> instinct", or what, is universal in the sense of being exactly the
> same in all humans doesn't make much sense from the point of view of
> population genetics. If it's genetically determined, it *must* be
> variable to a certain extent, just like all other hereditary traits.
Leaving aside the issue of 'universal grammar' (I am really scpetical we have a preprogrammed universal grammatical structure -- it is anyway, beyond testing), I don't think the genetic difference between human population is big enough to influence the language faculty. There are racial differences in the vocal track (shape of teeth,the implantation of nerves etc) but so limited that we can easily compensate the difference in the articulators to produce the same sound. The difference between a european male and female is much greater that the difference between of a euorpean with a chinese.
Is there a racial difference in the perception of music, colour etc ?