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Still Waters

What would an alien language sound like?

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Still Waters

Projects like SETI and Breakthrough Listen are dedicated to spotting the signals extraterrestrials may be sending out into the universe. But there’s an additional side to the story — if E.T. did contact us, would we even be able to understand him? That was the topic of a recent gathering of linguists that took place in Los Angeles, California, over the Memorial Day weekend.

http://astronomy.com/news/2018/05/what-would-an-alien-language-sound-like

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Astra.
38 minutes ago, Still Waters said:

 if E.T. did contact us, would we even be able to understand him?

Absolutely....

:D

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acute
2 hours ago, Still Waters said:

What would an alien language sound like?

Welsh.

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Phaeton80

Erm.. alien.

Thats pretty much all that can be said in response to that question without making meaningless assumptions.

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third_eye

As long as they have ears, I'm all ears ...

~

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acute
1 hour ago, acute said:

Welsh.

 

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Tom the Photon
On 02/06/2018 at 6:05 PM, Phaeton80 said:

Erm.. alien.

Thats pretty much all that can be said in response to that question without making meaningless assumptions.

Quite correct.  

According to the linked article:

On Earth, according to linguist Noam Chomsky, there is a sort of “universal grammar” that connects our languages, no matter how varied: “Chomsky has often said that if a Martian visited Earth, it would think we all speak dialects of the same language, because all terrestrial languages share a common underlying structure,” said Douglas Vakoch, president of METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence).

Even though I'm no expert I know dialects are just variations of a generally mutually-understandable language.  There's no way this could be claimed for 99+% of language pairs on this planet, making this statement rather silly.

I wonder if all these illustrious linguists have given up trying to decode Linear A and all the other undeciphered languages?  Wouldn't that be a better use of their collective genius, rather than speculating on something about which we can know exactly, totally, absolutely zero?

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pallidin

It would sound like this:

Yanni...Laurel...

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WolfHawk

That's why we have to be sure we include mathematicians when interpreting an alien language Math is the only "language" that can be considered universal. Whether human or alien the concept of "one" of any item is the same. The same with more than one whether "two," "more," or "many."

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Rolci
5 hours ago, WolfHawk said:

That's why we have to be sure we include mathematicians when interpreting an alien language Math is the only "language" that can be considered universal. Whether human or alien the concept of "one" of any item is the same. The same with more than one whether "two," "more," or "many."

That's long been disputed. We now know that mathematics is no more universal than anything else that has to do with mind, and its windows to the world (senses). It's almost like saying, we must include colours, because what I see as green must be what you see as the same. People in some Earth cultures simply do not perceive a difference between green and blue. Heck, there are cultures that don't even have words for colours, though that doesn't mean they cannot see or differentiate them, or at least some of them. It's all constructs in the human mind, just like the passage of time. We cannot know for certain that time is something "out there", rather than a way we perceive and interpret stuff. We named it, called it time, and we say it passes, or moves.

The obvious alternative suggestion that I do not see mentioned here would be mental telepathy, which would be the next logical step in evolution, unless you believe that after the Universe "invented" energy, then matter, then life, then consciousness, the Universe ran out of ideas at that point and we are the ultimate final step of all possible quantum leap evolution. We are the peak of universal evolution and there is nothing beyond. And if there is life out there, surely they all must be inferior to us, 'cause we're the best. ;)

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cyclopes500

Life on earth began in the oceans and sound travels well in water. Its why we have ears I presume. One way of having a rough idea of an alien language is just to listen to the various sounds sea creatures make. Also we can look at our fossil records to get a rough idea. Remember the Raptor voice box in the film jurassic park? Also electronic equipment can pick up signals from the electric currents some animals produce, and if I remember rightly I think some plants if wired up to equipment can generate some signals too. The thing is plants also talk to each other using chemical signals. If being eaten they create the chemicals that call the catapiller predetors in. Elsewhere a creature that is both plant and animal might have a language that works on smell. The smell could be generated by hundreds of different glands, it then drifts and is picked up by something like the human tongue. The different nerve pulses then go to the brain, if the creature has a brain, is decoded, and the bits and combinations become words that the beings understand. The other method I can think of is pulsed lights like those found on deep sea creatures, also I wonder if naturally generated radio waves could be another method. I mean pigeons have a compass inside them. Could the electric sea creatures on another world use the compass as a detector.

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The Narcisse

I've seen HUNDREDS of movies about aliens...most of them speak English.

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cyclopes500

In reality we're limited to examples that have evolved on Earth. Space is indescribably huge. We humans haven't even left the cot when it comes to space exploration. The more we use our crazy impossible imagination to picture smell and hear an alien world, the more likely we are "right" when it comes to at least one world.

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cyclopes500

We might be lucky you know. We hear an alien language but with it comes telepathic English subtitles.

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moonman

They might not even breath oxygen, or any gas for that matter. They might breath liquid. We might not hear it, it might deafen us, they may not communicate with sound waves. What are the chances of them having spoken language using vocal cords and not something completely and utterly alien?

We probably can't even begin to imagine what it would "sound" like.

 

Edited by moonman
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paperdyer

We'll be fine.  We just need Uhura's universal translator.

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MissJatti

errrr the same way how Artificial Intelligence communicate with us.

10011100100010010010111

Rendlesham Forest

Edited by MissJatti
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John from Lowell
On 6/10/2018 at 4:25 AM, MissJatti said:

errrr the same way how Artificial Intelligence communicate with us.

10011100100010010010111

Rendlesham Forest

Hi,

Ha Ha. You actually make a good point. Language, as we understand it, is a verbal representation of our thoughts. We even represent our thinking in one or more languages. So naturallly we attribute interpersonal communication with a verbal language.

So how do ETs communicate with others. What is the universal language which all evolved races of beings use for commuication with those that do not speak their language? That answer is Telepathy.

It is also the way that spirits, who have no verbal languge, communicate with those that still use a verbal language for communication.

So yes there is a common language for computers and for physical beings. For some reason we never attempt to think of what it would be.

John

 

 

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fred_mc

Considering that we have been trying to understand what dolphins are saying for a long time without success, I think it might be difficult to understand what aliens are saying.

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psyche101
On 6/5/2018 at 1:29 AM, paperdyer said:

We'll be fine.  We just need Uhura's universal translator.

I'll go you one better. 

:)

 

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