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Babel Lecture 2019: Jessica Coon on ‘The linguistics of Arrival: Aliens, fi...

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University of Huddersfield

Queensgate

Huddersfield

HD1 3DH

United Kingdom

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The fifth annual Babel Lecture will be given by Jessica Coon, the linguistic consultant on the Hollywood film Arrival.

If aliens arrived, could we communicate with them? How would we do it? What are the tools that linguists use to decipher unknown languages? How different can human languages be from one another? Do these differences have bigger consequences for how we see the world?

The recent science-fiction film Arrival touches on these and other real questions in the field of linguistics. In Arrival, linguistics professor Dr Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is recruited by the military to translate the language of the newly-arrived Heptapods in order to answer the question everyone wants to know: why are they here? Language, it turns out, is a crucial piece of the answer.

Linguistics professor Jessica Coon, scientific consultant for the linguistics in Arrival, has never worked with an alien, but will discuss her own fieldwork on Mayan languages, and what these languages can tell us about linguistic diversity and Universal Grammar - and how much any of this will help us at first contact.

Jessica has previously appeared in Babel’s Meet the Professionals – read her interview here.

The event will take place on Friday 24 May at Babel's HQ, the University of Huddersfield, and is free to attend for all Babel readers. Jessica's talk will begin at 7.30pm, preceded by a wine reception.

If you are not yet a Babel subscriber, visit the Babel website to learn more about us and to read our free sampler issue.

If you have any queries, please get in touch at editors@babelzine.com.

We will email all attendees with details, including a campus map, shortly ahead of the event.

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Location

University of Huddersfield

Queensgate

Huddersfield

HD1 3DH

United Kingdom

View Map

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