Alright people, by now you must have seen the movie “Arrival” (not to be confused with the other movie “The Arrival” where Charlie Sheen is chasing after some aliens that look like a satyr but not quite). There are several articles out there talking about the role of the linguists in the movie, or of the fact that we have a sci-fi movie showing how aliens and humans could communicate via language and not just numbers or sounds (anyone remember the mashed potato mountain of… the third kind?:P).
I have tried to collect as many of the articles as I can and you can follow the real time coverage of this movie and the discussions stemming from it here. Arrival does not represent a movie where we have a full system of a language like we have had with Klingon or the Na ‘avi language from Avatar, or Tolkien’s elven language. This movie challenges us to think outside the proverbial box. To understand that not everything is linear; not everything is black and white, and that grey might not be the in between color.
But… besides being (or trying to be) a linguist, I am also a translator. So I could help but laugh really hard when the “Ahoy, Universe!” cartoonist gave a very succinct version of how the real market scenario would be if someone came to me in order to translate / decode an alien language:
Because in the end, it’s not about the money but the thirst to investigate. I know it sounds idealistic, but give me some leeway to satisfy my inner nerd :). In any case, I find movies that involve language on some level or another to be quite interesting. Let me know what you thought of this one in particular!