Broca's area is a region of the hominid brain with functions linked to speech production.
The pursuit of a satisfying theory that addresses the origin of language in humans has led to the consideration of a number of evolutionary "models." These models attempt to show how modern language might have evolved, and a common feature of many of these theories is the idea that vocal communication was initially used to complement a far more dominant mode of communication through gesture. Human language might have evolved as the evolutionary refinement of an implicit communication system already present in lower primates, based on a set of hand/mouth goal-directed action representations. "Hand/mouth goal-directed action representations" is another way of saying "gestural communication", "gestural language", or "communication through body language." The recent finding that Broca's area is active when people are observing others engaged in meaningful action is evidence in support of this idea. It was hypothesized that a precursor to the modern Broca's area was involved in translating gestures into abstract ideas by interpreting the movements of others as meaningful action with an intelligent purpose. It is argued that over time the ability to predict the intended outcome and purpose of a set of movements eventually gave this area the capability to deal with truly abstract ideas, and therefore (eventually) became capable of associating sounds (words) with abstract meanings.