Thursday, November 03, 2016

The Ling Space: What Could Alien Languages Look Like?

(The Ling Space)

An interesting (if possibly theoretical question) is posed in this week's The Ling Space.

Namely: If, according to Noam Chomsky's Universal Grammar, our ability to create grammar is innate, then what happens when we meet intelligent creatures with different biology.  Their grammar and syntax would not be defined by Universal Grammar, and could be something completely different.

In all my years of watching Star Trek, that question has never occurred to me before.   I wonder how the universal translator (W) would handle that.

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