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What would an alien language sound like ?


Posted on Sunday, 3 June, 2018 | Comment icon 16 comments

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 (16)

Tags: Alien, Extraterrestrial

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by pallidin on 3 June, 2018, 23:11
It would sound like this: Yanni...Laurel...
Comment icon #8 Posted by WolfHawk on 4 June, 2018, 0:34
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."
Comment icon #9 Posted by Rolci on 4 June, 2018, 6:43
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 kn... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by cyclopes500 on 4 June, 2018, 12:04
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 bein... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by The Narcisse on 4 June, 2018, 12:08
I've seen HUNDREDS of movies about aliens...most of them speak English.
Comment icon #12 Posted by cyclopes500 on 4 June, 2018, 12:13
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.
Comment icon #13 Posted by cyclopes500 on 4 June, 2018, 12:20
We might be lucky you know. We hear an alien language but with it comes telepathic English subtitles.
Comment icon #14 Posted by moonman on 4 June, 2018, 15:12
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.
Comment icon #15 Posted by paperdyer on 4 June, 2018, 15:29
We'll be fine. We just need Uhura's universal translator.
Comment icon #16 Posted by MissJatti on 10 June, 2018, 8:25
errrr the same way how Artificial Intelligence communicate with us. 10011100100010010010111 Rendlesham Forest


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