The invention of language was not as clear-cut as that of the lightbulb or the car, in actuality, academics lack a widely accepted theory behind the first steps of language development. The majority of speculation regarding the early stages of language come from philosophers rather than linguists or academics.
One early speculation, nicknamed the Pooh-pooh theory, believes the first words were rooted around emotional interjections and exclamations triggered by physical responses (such as pain or pleasure). Others focus on the early human’s attempts to imitate the sounds of animals or natural tongue movements that create noise (such as a click).
While traditional speculators focused on the basis of language, modern theorists look towards primates as methods for early human communicative abilities. Primates differentiate themselves from other communicative animals for their Machiavellian tendencies that are mirrored in humans, but not other mammals. For example, apes will use cries and screams to deceive their fellow apes, but when a cat purrs it cannot and does not purr to deceive. They focus on the gestural communications of primates and the similarities between non-human primates’ methods of communications and that of nonverbal adults and children. The striking similarities are then used to postulate that the earliest form of language was gestural language that then evolved later into a verbal language. This evolution is theoretically stimulated by the necessity for vocalization following the increasing use of tools occupying the hands of the early humans.
The steps leading to the invention of language are unsubstantiated by concrete evidence and the development of more modern and fluid languages is often obscure at best, lacking the necessary written aspects to validate. However, academics have a clear understanding of the development of written languages. The obvious and first attempt at written language came with the Egyptian hieroglyphics, which intuitively makes sense. Hieroglyphics work as a way of describing things through imagery, the natural first step in materializing oral language. Written language was painfully slow to create, with hieroglyphics being a relatively easy language to understand, but lacking the efficiency modern language possesses in terms of communicative ability. Early hieroglyphics required the impressing of shapes onto clay to create imagery.
Language without a written component is extremely difficult to track and create a proper history of. As tribes fell, their languages came down with them, as tribes merged or migrated they often assimilated to their host region, losing their language. This makes the written text the primary evidence for creating a history of language prior to the advent of written histories. This is simply because of the fact archaeological evidence cannot tell academics enough about oral language, without having a written language to corroborate or extrapolate evidence from, to allow for any substantial conclusions. Simply put, the earliest concrete history of language is based on or derived from Egyptian hieroglyphics.