July 6th, 2013| Topic: RaMbLeS | 2


Despite all the advances we’ve made towards equality of the sexes, in one area girls are better off than boys: language skills—they acquire it faster and employ it with greater ease and complexity than boys of the same age. It’s often been said women talk more than men. Well, now we may have scientific proof of these facts. There is apparently a biological explanation for the discrepancy between a woman’s 20,000 words/day and a man’s 7,000.

For many years, scientists have attempted to figure what genes are associated with speech and language, centering their studies on a British family, known to researchers as “KE.” Many in the “KE” family suffer an inherited speech disorder, including garbled pronounciation, putting words in the wrong order, etc. About a decade ago, scientists discovered a mutation in a gene called FOXP2, in affected “KE” members. Over the years, it became clear that FOXP2 is critical in human communication. The human version of the protein produced by this gene differs only by two amino acids from that produced by FOXP2 in primates.

Now scientists have gone further.

In a Journal of Neuroscience article earlier this year, Michael Bowers and Margaret McCarthy of the University of Maryland School of Medicine reported on studies conducted in young rats and young children. In the former, males cried more than females when separated from their mothers—and the males were found to have twice as much FOXP2 protein in their brains as females did. In contrast to rodents, girls in their studies tended to have 30% more FOXP2 protein in their brains than did boys.

The scientists concluded that “the more communicative sex” in both species have higher FOXP2 levels. This culprit protein seems to be a key molecule for communication in mammals. And, it might explain why women tend to be better at making small talk than men. Said McCarthy:

This study is one of the first to report a sex difference in the expression of a language-associated protein in humans or animals. The findings raise the possibility that sex differences in brain and behavior are more pervasive and established earlier than previously appreciated.”

However, whatever may be the level of FOXP2 in our brains, the Bible exhorts us to speak less.

He who gives an answer before he hears,
It is folly and shame to him.
Proverbs 18:13

He who guards his mouth and his tongue,
Guards his soul from troubles.
Proverbs 21:23

Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought
to bring up a matter in the presence of God.
For God is in heaven and you are on the earth;
therefore let your words be few.
Ecclesiastes 5:2

Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak ….
If anyone thinks himself to be religious,
and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart,
this one’s religion is worthless.
James 1:19, 26

Instead, we are called to speak graciously and wisely.

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt,
so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
Colossians 4:6

The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
And his tongue speaks justice.
Psalm 37:30

Whenever (and whatever) we speak, it must be pleasing to God.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

In the end, FOXP2 or no …

Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue,
but in deed and truth.
1 John 3:18




  1. Richard July 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Does this indicate a fertile FOXP2 is a hardwired ‘pride’ gene?

    Very interesting. Thanks for your sharing insights from God’s Word.

    • Abe Kuruvilla July 13, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      I like that: a pride gene!

      But, of course, that would be something both genders have in equal measure.

      Thanks, Richard!


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