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> On 13 Feb 2014, at 14:10, Herman Miller <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>> On 2/13/2014 12:42 AM, Adam Walker wrote:
>> Some aliens might not be able to percieve or produce sound. I have one
>> speciec that can hear. But has no physical structures capable of
>> producing anything like speech sounds. Another of my species does
>> talk, but with it's rigid, insectoid mouth parts, the sounds it can
>> make are all accoustically similar to clicks.
> 
> In a galactic civilization, surely there's technology that can perceive speech sounds and present them in a form more understandable to aliens (perhaps a spectrogram of some sort). Even with our limited technology, we have speech recognition software. I imagine that much of the human and alien language would have to be preprocessed in some way by software. Or humans could learn to understand clicks and vice versa.
> 
> There's also the possibility that the pace of communication varies greatly. Aliens might speak too quickly for humans to process, or so slowly that it's like being at an Entmoot.
> 
>>> On 2/12/14, Daniel Demski<[log in to unmask]>  wrote:
>>> I'm designing a setting which involves a galactic civilization with
>>> thousands of alien species, and taking the resulting biological and
>>> cultural diversity fairly seriously. (That's the point of the undertaking.)
>>> The conceit that I'm allowing myself is that a human empire, somehow
>>> speaking something close to modern English, took over most of the Galaxy
>>> and then collapsed, so that we are left with a form of English as the
>>> common language in some situations.
>>> 
>>> Now naturally spacefaring alien species will vary in their ability to
>>> acquire fairly flawless English. But I want to make sure that when I do
>>> have a species fail at English, I'm pulling possible failings from an
>>> interesting space. I could certainly decide some species don't understand
>>> personal pronouns, or pronouns in general, or basic sentence structure.
>>> It's always fun to try and think about a species which views everything as
>>> dynamic, and thus misunderstanding essentially static nouns... and the
>>> opposite of course.
> 
> You could always use the convention that English is just a representation of the common language they speak. That allows for the possibility that the common language has features that are absent from English, and some aliens use those strange grammatical structures that don't make sense to humans. It's hard to imagine that something close to modern English would still be recognizable by the time that humans are advanced enough to take over most of the galaxy.
> 
>>> Naturally it's best to try and decide what strategy the alien's native
>>> language uses to replace these missing parts. But anyway this is certainly
>>> one avenue.
>>> 
>>> Another, which would quickly get tiresome, would be to assume something
>>> like a fixed word order of various roles; such aliens could learn
>>> neo-English vocabulary and phrases, but absorb none or very little of the
>>> syntax. Two such species would sure have trouble understanding each other!
> 
> I don't know, Yoda isn't that hard to understand.

To go off on a tangent slightly, shouldn't "Do, or do not. There is no 'try'" have been "Do or do not. No 'try' there is."?

Jeff