The origin of language (spoken and signed, as well as language-related technological systems such as writing), its relationship with human evolution, and its consequences have been subjects of study for centuries. Scholars wishing to study the origins of language must draw inferences from evidence such as the fossil record, archaeological evidence, contemporary language diversity, studies of language acquisition, and comparisons between human language and systems of communication existing among animals (particularly other primates). Many argue that the origins of language probably relate closely to the origins of modern human behavior, but there is little agreement about the facts and implications of this connection.

The shortage of direct, empirical evidence has caused many scholars to regard the entire topic as unsuitable for serious study; in 1866, the Linguistic Society of Paris banned any existing or future debates on the subject, a prohibition which remained influential across much of the Western world until late in the twentieth century.[

1][2] Various hypotheses have been developed about how, why, when, and where language might have emerged.[3] Still, little more has been universally agreed upon today than a hundred years ago, when Charles Darwin‘s theory of evolution by natural selection provoked a surge of speculation on the topic.[4] Since the early 1990s, however, a number of linguists, archaeologists, psychologists, anthropologists, and others have attempted to address this issue with new, modern methods.[5]