Extraterrestrial linguistics

Noel Rude nrude at UCINET.COM
Sat Nov 4 00:11:43 UTC 2000


    Your request brought to mind -- maverick that I am -- the writings of
today's "Design Theorists".  What they're trying to do is define the
fingerprint (one might say) of a mind, be it human, extraterrestrial, or
God.  Though we may dislike the implications of their efforts (i.e.
demolishing Darwin), their work is significant and -- I believe -- worth
noting in such a class as you are about to teach.  Of particular interest
would be William Dembski's recent, "The Design Inference" (or some such
title), published in the Cambridge Mathematical Series.


on 11/3/00 12:43 PM, Sheri Wells Jensen at swellsj at BGNET.BGSU.EDU wrote:

> Dear Colleagues,
> This summer, I have the wonderful opportunity to teach a graduate seminar
> called "Extraterrestrial Language'.  My plan is to provide a survey of what
> linguistics, literature and the natural sciences have to tell us about the
> possible structure of a truly alien language.  As you may imagine, I'm
> having a wonderful time collecting material from everywhere (science
> fiction, the SETI folks, phonetics...)
> I don't want to miss  anything important here.  I'd be grateful for any
> suggestions for readings anyone might care to pass along.  In particular,
> I'm looking for:
> 1.  An accessible reading in typology  for nonlinguists (we must know
> what's terrestrial before thinking about what is extraterrestrial...)
> 2.  Philosophy of language or cognition readings on what concept that
> underly language might be present across species.
> 3. An intro to what we know about complex animal communication systems on
> earth (something about dolphin communication perhaps).
> 4.  Musings on whether a non-human language would even be learnable by humans.
> 5. Anything else?  Imaginative suggestions appreciated!
> Thanks much, and I'll post a summary.
> Best,
> Sheri
> --------------------
> Dr. Sheri Wells-Jensen
> 423 East Hall
> Bowling Green State University
> Bowling Green, Ohio 43402
> (419) 372-8935
> swellsj at bgnet.bgsu.edu

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