We will never know how and when language emerged but we are getting closer.
You’ll have heard of the expression Indo-European, as in the Indo-European languages. They are spoken by almost half of the world’s population. But what this suggests is there was an actual Proto-Indo-European language spoken by humans living one or other side, or maybe both, of the Black Sea. But that leaves out the Hungarian and Finnish languages. So, maybe better to go back one stage to Proto-Indo-Uralic, spoken maybe 9,000 years ago. But what about Mongolian and Turkic? Lo and behold, Proto-Indo-Uralo-Mongolo-Turkic, spoken perhaps 12,000 years ago. Then, there’s Proto-Afro-Asiatic, spoken elsewhere altogether, perhaps 18,000 years ago. The trouble is that the advent of the written word came at around the time of Proto-Indo-European, no earlier. So, it’s very exciting that we are peering back into our ancestors’ lives but the curtain will only ever be pulled back a little bit.
You may also like to browse other language posts: https://www.thesentientrobot.com/category/language/