icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

ET phone home? Chomsky’s Universal language theory could help us chat with aliens (POLL)

ET phone home? Chomsky’s Universal language theory could help us chat with aliens (POLL)
There is a universal language throughout the cosmos that, once cracked, could allow us to speak to aliens. That’s the opinion of linguistics icon Noam Chomsky, who presented his theory at a space science conference.

READ MORE: Trump’s America: Weaker, divided & losing international prestige – Chomsky to RT

Chomsky, a linguistics professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has long argued the case that the same basic grammar underscores all languages, meaning that alien visitors would find it hard to spot differences between our various tongues.

At a workshop entitled ‘Language in the Cosmos’ at the International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles last week, Chomsky argued that if there is a universal grammar on Earth, the same theory can be applied to languages from outer space – maybe one day we could even find ourselves shooting the breeze with an ET-like creature stranded on our pale blue dot.

Presenting separately, Jeffrey Punske from Southern Illinois University and Ian Roberts from the University of Cambridge, highlighted ‘Merge,’ a Chomsky-borne theory of combining individual words and repetitions to form new sentences, as the key to understanding any new alien language. "To put it whimsically, the Martian language might not be so different from human language after all," said Chomsky.

Douglas Vakoch, the founder of the group Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) and the organizer of the workshop, has been trying to communicate with extraterrestrials for the last year. METI is trying to work out which type of message could be most understandable. For Vakoch, the idea of that human grammar could also underlie alien dialects has huge appeal.

"That's a radical shift for search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) scientists, who have scoffed at the idea of creating interstellar messages inspired by natural languages," Vakoch told Cnet.

READ MORE: Alien invasion: French territory under siege from giant predatory worms (PHOTOS)

Professor Emeritus Gonzalo Munevar of Lawrence Technological University provided the dissenting voice. According to Munevar, aliens would most likely have different brains to humans, if they have brains at all, and so would have an entirely different way of communicating. "An intelligent creature whose main sensory modality is electric rather than visual would have patterns of thought completely foreign to us," he said.

So maybe we won’t be repetitively clicking and rhyming to communicate with aliens, and will instead just be wiped out by their superior weaponry in the good old-fashioned way.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Dear readers and commenters,

We have implemented a new engine for our comment section. We hope the transition goes smoothly for all of you. Unfortunately, the comments made before the change have been lost due to a technical problem. We are working on restoring them, and hoping to see you fill up the comment section with new ones. You should still be able to log in to comment using your social-media profiles, but if you signed up under an RT profile before, you are invited to create a new profile with the new commenting system.

Sorry for the inconvenience, and looking forward to your future comments,

RT Team.

Podcasts