This chapter lists the generations that emerged from Noach’s (Noah’s) sons after the flood, implying that the nations spread out as a result of natural population growth. Hence, the word nifridu (נפרדו), ‘divided,’ which connotes natural separation, is used here, as opposed to the term vayafetz (ויפץ), ‘scattered,’ used in the story of the Tower of Babylon (11:8), which connotes forced dispersion. Similarly, the choice of the word lashon (לשון), ’tongue,’ as opposed to safa (שפה),‘language,’ which is used in chapter eleven, indicates a natural evolution of dialects as nations moved away from each other. Conceivably, new languages were not yet initiated, only dialects of Hebrew. Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin, who fled Europe and arrived in Israel during World War II, points out that this verse mentions the three aspects that unite a nation; common ancestry, land and language. Although the Jewish people can be found all over the world, they are united by their common ancestry, their connection to the Land of Israel and their ability to converse in Hebrew.

Source: Israel in the News