Language is a complex cognitive system of rules and regularities that enables us to communicate about our thoughts, experiences and intentions. It is considered to be a uniquely human trait. All animals have ways to communicate, but these communication systems do not seem to reach the semantic and syntactic complexity of human language. To disentangle how language might have evolved, non-human animals are a great group to start. Mechanisms that are shared between many species might be at the foundation of language as we know it now. In this talk, I will show studies on the perception of language by birds, monkeys and humans. With this, I will discuss which underlying mechanisms might have shaped the evolution of human language.