Would communication be possible ? Image Credit: Alpharetta Department of Public Safety / Facebook
If we ever do make contact with intelligent aliens, would we have any chance of understanding them ?
While astronomers have been scouring the skies for years in search of extraterrestrial signals, comparatively little research has been done on the matter of interpreting an alien message.
To help address this, a group of linguists recently got together in Los Angeles in an effort to discuss the challenges of translating an extraterrestrial language.
Entitled 'Language of the Cosmos', the workshop was attended by several high-profile language experts including David Peterson who invented the Dothraki language for Game of Thrones
According to linguist Noam Chomsky, there is a 'universal grammar' that connects all languages.
"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 ).
"But if aliens have language, would it be similar to ours? That's the big question."
While some of the presentations at the conference offered a positive vision of a future where contact with extraterrestrials would be possible, others were less optimistic, instead suggesting that the potential for miscommunication and misunderstanding would be too high.
Ultimately however, until such a scenario occurs for real, we will never truly know for sure.
Source: Astronomy Magazine | Comments (19)