Humans have speculated about the emergence of language and linguistic diversity since Antiquity. Perhaps the earliest reference to this question is in the book of Genesis in the Judeo-Christian Bible.
In this narrative, God spoke to Adam and gave him authority to name every being in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve could apparently also communicate with animals, as it was a snake that convinced Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. This makes us all the more curious about the nature of this unnamed, primordial language.
According to the same story, when humans attempted to build a tower tall enough to reach the heavens God destroyed it. His punishment was to make these people speak several, mutually unintelligible languages. He then scattered them all over the world, making it harder for them to collaborate.
For the longest time, this Tower of Babel myth was invoked to account for the multitude of languages around the world today and to speculate on the nature of the primordial language.
Read more: Observer