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Showing posts from November, 2016

Arrival: A nice linguistic fiction

-----SPOILER ALERT----- Arrival was an amazing experience. Firstly, it is the first alien film I have seen, in which they are not here to kill us.  That itself is a breath of fresh air.  Given that it is not about killing each other, we need to communicate. This leads to several interesting ideas.  Would we be able to communicate with an alien species?  Many linguists believe that communication between people speaking different languages on earth was possible because there are a lot of basic similarities between any two languages.  Some also believe that this "Universal grammar" is wired in the brain.  Now a sentient species from another planet might have a very different brain.  So, it does not seem obvious that we might be able to communicate with each other.  In the movie, however, different the language might have looked, followed a "Universal grammar" similar to languages on earth.  Notice that the book written by Louise (the protagonist) had "Univera