Language is commonly believed to have begun with hand gestures, but a new study suggests that humans developed language as a result of both noise-making and gesturing.

Researchers asked volunteers to make noises to convey the meanings of different words without using body language or even facial expressions. Word ideas included up, down, big, small, etc. The researchers found that the participants improved the longer they played, reaching a point where partners could figure out which word idea was being expressed on an average of 82.2%. Researchers also noticed patterns among the participants' expressions: words like up tended to involve a rising pitch, as opposed to down which involved a descending pitch.

According to the researchers, the results of the study suggest that our ancestors used both hand-signals and noise to convey meaning, which over a long period of time, evolved into more complex sounds associated with common ideas among entire communities of people.

 Cover image: Wikipedia