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Two short stories that come to mind about learning a language are
"Omnilingual" by H. Beam Piper (one of my favorite stories, especially the
version edited/modernized by John Cowan) and, to a lesser extent, "Gulf",
by Robert A. Heinlein.

stevo

On Mon, Mar 19, 2018 at 3:34 PM, Krista D. Casada <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Someone (Meyers in Aliens and Linguists, maybe?) said that the one crisis
> science fiction characters never realistically go through is that of
> learning a new language. Most have handy little universal translator
> gadgets or instantly acquire the language via miracle, telepathy, brain
> damage, or as in this movie, inexplicable alien intervention. Would y'all
> agree with this? Is it only time constraints that cause this to be true (if
> you even think it is?) And yes, Renner's character was a jerk. And I was
> seriously rooting for the aliens to successfully communicate with the
> canary. It at least didn't have a whiteboard. And did anybody ever figure
> out why the second alien died? Or went through "the dying process"?
>
>
> Krista
>
> ________________________________
> From: Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]> on behalf
> of A Walker Scott <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Monday, March 19, 2018 4:19:52 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: OT: "Arrival" the 2016 film
>
> I will agree that the one thing they got right was the time and confusion
> involved in learning an unknown language. The Whorfian thing is just so
> overdone. But absolutely none of the characters was at all interesting to
> me. I was sitting there watching a movie about aliens AND linguistics
> written buy a CHINESE author (A perfect storm for me!!) wondering when the
> thing would ever just get it over and END. I found the whole thing
> massively boring. And the plot twist at the end just made the whole story
> stupid, to me. I still plan to read the short story to see if it's
> significantly better than the movie.
>
> On Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 8:04 AM, Dirk Elzinga <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
> > I actually thought the movie was a pretty good representation of
> > what field linguists do, given the constraints film-makers have put
> > on themselves.
> >
> > The Whorfian thinking didn't bother me a bit. For some perspective,
> > talk to a physicist sometime about time- / faster-than-light travel to
> > see how SF can get stuff intentionally and spectacularly wrong for
> > the sake of telling an interesting story.[1]
> >
> > AND THE MAIN CHARACTER IS A WOMAN WHO DOESN'T HAVE
> > TO ACT LIKE A MAN IN ORDER TO GET THINGS DONE.
> >
> > So I think that there's a lot to love about Arrival. But if what you're
> > interested in is linguistic realism, go take a linguistics course or do
> > your own fieldwork.
> >
> > Dirk
> >
> > [1] Whether you found the story of Arrival interesting or not is another
> > matter. I found it to be quite moving; it's a story of a mother's love
> for
> > her child, not first contact with aliens and saving the world.
> >
> >
> > On Mon, Mar 19, 2018 at 2:34 PM, Asher Jaffe <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> >
> > > The film does treat the audience like idiots who know nothing about
> > > language whatsoever, so Forrest Whitaker is a complete idiot.  The rest
> > of
> > > it was a little lame.  It took the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis too goddamn
> > far.
> > > I hate the S-W hypothesis.  It's fine in small doses but NO!  Time does
> > not
> > > work that way!  Language doesn't allow you to make a paradox!  Overall,
> > > it's a linguistically uninteresting and inaccurate rehash of
> Christopher
> > > Nolan's* The Prestige* or* Memento*.
> > >
> > > On Mon, Mar 19, 2018 at 4:27 PM, A Walker Scott <
> [log in to unmask]>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > LOL There was a thread right about the time of the release. It seems
> > like
> > > > Alex, or maybe Sai, was involved, or maybe even started it. I don't
> > > > remember much about the content, and may have been putting of reading
> > the
> > > > thread until I saw the movie, which I did after it came out on
> video. I
> > > > felt much like you. I wanted to strangle SOMEbody. Not another
> > > Sapir-Whorf
> > > > rehash. It's been done. It's not fresh. It's not cutting edge. It
> isn't
> > > > even valid.
> > > >
> > > > Adam
> > > >
> > > > On Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 7:01 AM, Krista D. Casada <[log in to unmask]>
> > > > wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > Hello all,
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Has there been any discussion of the 2016 film "The Arrival,"
> > starring
> > > > Amy
> > > > > Adams and Jeremy Renner, on this list--on a thread I might have
> > missed?
> > > > > Watched it and wanted to strangle someone, but have not yet decided
> > > whom.
> > > > > 😉 Would be very interested in others' opinions, especially of the
> > > > > linguistic aspects. ("You translated Farsi videos in, like, ten
> > > minutes.
> > > > > Whaddya mean you can't *translate* this unknown alien language?!?")
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Krista C.
> > > > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
>