What would an alien language be like?

The new trailer for the film Arrival has got us pretty excited, and there’s even a whole field of study called xenolinguistics. How will we know what to say when we make contact?

Linguist Daniel Midgley explores the final frontier on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Kylie Sturgess


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Show notes

Try out problems from the International Linguistic Olympiad
http://www.ioling.org/problems/

Apple to replace gun emoji with water pistol when iOS 10 rolls out
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/03/apple-to-replace-gun-emoji-with-water-pistol-when-ios-10-rolls-out.html

Herhold: Apple got it right in changing emoji to water gun
http://www.mercurynews.com/scott-herhold/ci_30258541/apple-got-it-right-changing-gun-emoji

Microsoft replaced its toy gun emoji with a real revolver
http://www.theverge.com/2016/8/4/12382894/microsoft-emoji-toy-gun-revolver-update-apple

Finally, a Hollywood sci-fi alien movie with a linguist as the hero
http://qz.com/761363/finally-a-hollywood-sci-fi-alien-movie-with-a-linguist-as-the-hero/

‘Arrival’: First Full Trailer Further Reveals Denis Villeneuve’s Alien Encounter
http://collider.com/arrival-trailer-amy-adams-jeremy-renner/

Alien Linguists Like Amy Adams’s Character in ‘Arrival’ Exist
https://www.inverse.com/article/19803-arrival-alien-linguist-amy-adams

The Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang (PDF)
https://mathisgasser.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/ted-chiang_story-of-your-life_2000.pdf

Wittgenstein Light: Real Refreshment
https://wittgensteinforum.wordpress.com/2007/06/13/wittgenstein-if-a-lion-could-speak-we-could-not-understand-him-pi-p223/

Humpty Dumpty was a Wittgensteinian?
https://inferential.wordpress.com/2007/02/20/humpty-dumpty-was-a-wittgensteinian/

Why We Would Not Understand a Talking Lion (PDF)
http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1811&context=bts

Could We Understand Their Language?
http://personal.bgsu.edu/~swellsj/xenolinguistics/presentation.html

Languages without adjectives
https://linguistlist.org/issues/4/4-442.html

Driverless cars need Australia’s latitude and longitude coordinates to be corrected
http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-28/why-it-matters-that-australias-coordinates-are-moving/7668014

What is a Datum?
https://www.maptoaster.com/maptoaster-topo-nz/articles/projection/datum-projection.html

Australia’s GPS Was Off Because the Whole Country Moved
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/a22125/australia-gps/

Australia moving up in the world… literally
http://phys.org/news/2016-07-australia-world-literally.html

Language is messy, part 2: Arabic script in “Arrival”
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=27588

Hong Kong netizens rage over Hollywood film ‘Arrival’ poster blunder
http://mashable.com/2016/08/22/arrival-movie-poster-blunder/


Show tunes

Find the tracks we play on the RTRFM webpage for this episode.

Image credit: https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/arrival-movie-4-e1471529984165.png?w=1497