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Our goal in this article is to review a debate over the evolution of language and to suggest some keys to its resolution. We begin with a review of some of the theoretical and empirical evidence for the innateness of language that has caused renewed interest in the evolution of language. In a second section we review some prominent theories of the evolution of language, focusing on the controversy over whether language could have been adapted for some purpose. We argue that for evolutionary studies of language to advance, theorists must make more persuasive arguments for the purpose of language, and, furthermore, linguists must continue to develop a detailed theory of syntax. Finally, we suggest ways that behavioral and population genetics could help to inform studies of the evolution of language.