Like or reblog this if you have a crime blog, or have shown interest in a crime, and you’ve been told you’re a freak, psychopath, or a future murderer. I want to see how many people are personally bashed for their interests.
Arrival is an upcoming movie starring Amy Adams as an xenolinguist and based on a short story by Ted Chiang called Story of Your Life. I happen to know the linguists who were consulted on the linguistics aspects of the movie, and can report that the books in Adams’s office were borrowed from the offices of a couple linguists at McGill.
Last night I went to an advanced showing of Denis Villeneuve’s new film Arrival, which is showing as part of the London Film Festival (a perk of being on the committee of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain that was a little unexpected!). Linguistics is central to the film, and, it’s very well done. Based on a Ted Chiang short story, the film tells of the arrival of enigmatic alien ships on Earth, and the involvement of Louise Banks, a professor of linguistics, in figuring out the aliens’ language. It’s an intelligent, beautifully designed, and thought provoking film. And the linguistics in it is a real step above what linguists have come to expect of cinematic portrayals of our discipline (thanks in no small part to Jessica Coon acting as a consultant).
The film turns on the visual language of the heptapods, the name given to the aliens because of their seven tentacular feet. In Chiang’s short story, the spoken language looks pretty familiar to Dr Banks; nouns have special markers, similar to the grammatical cases of Latin or German, that signify meaning; there are words, and they seem to come in particular orders depending on what their function is in the grammar of the sentence.
But it is the visual language that is at the heart of the story. This language, as presented in the film, is just beautiful; the aliens squirt some kind of squid-like ink into the air which resolves holistically into a presentation of the thought they want to express. It looks like a circular whorl drawn with complex curlicues twisting off of the main circumference. The form of the language is not linear in any sense. The whorls emerge simultaneously as wholes. The orientation, shape, modulation, and direction of the tendrils that build the whorls serve to convey the meaningful connections of the parts to the whole. Multiple sentences can all be combined into more and more complex forms that, in the film, require GPS style computer analysis. The atemporality and multidimensionality of the heptapods’ written language is a core part of the plot.
So, could a human language work like this, or is that just too alien?
hey so if you’re aginst true crime and the people interested in it, please dont post in the fucking serial killer/mass murderer tags…. it makes my research on specific cases, and yes I said fucking research, very very annoying to do. Just stay in your lane, because literally no one, no one, is hurting you by having a different fucking opinion.