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19

This is interesting to me because what you want to explore both happens and doesn't happen. As you have noticed, it's mighty difficult to hold a conversation when both parties are trying to talk over each other. However, we have plenty of examples in singing where we indeed are vocalizing over the top of someone while listening to them. There's no other ...


16

One example would be aliens that communicate in a parallel fashion. Take an alien that has multiple mouths, and talks with all of them simultaneously (using pitch or some other factor to differentiate). Or possibly it just has a more complex vocal apparatus. They might therefore simultaneously communicate nouns, verbs, and adjectives all at once, grouping ...


9

Cort Ammon's answer is good, but I want to add comments and I have more commentary than the comment section will take. Human language has the flexibility for simultaneous conversation First, as he pointed out, the human language is very flexible. There are so many things that you can do with your voice above and beyond what we use to speak. For example, ...


9

The answer is, we do not know. There are indeed some universal grammar features, Chomsky hypothesised that those are inborn to human brains. Even if that is true, alien brains can differ. On the other hand, we have no idea of knowing if there could be a human language that differs markedly in some aspects from every known language, or indeed if there has ...


7

I think the answer is actually "clearly, yes, you can have a truly alien grammar". The reason I think this is that to be truly alien the language must have none of the elements we think of. These are (simplistically) nouns, verbs, adjective and adverbs. So - candidate alien grammar: every word means a sentence. foo: how are you today bar: I'm well, ...


6

If I understand thing correctly, if a righty person carries a box of righty food around the world and back to the same place in a certain way, he will end up a lefty person with a box of lefty food - without the feeling of having changed himself, so the other righties around him will look like lefties to him. I'm not fully with you on the math, so I hope ...


5

Syntactic components of spoken languages (which most of the times are not context-free but context-aware) are defined by human interaction. There are a lot of problems: Semantic elements like pronouns are defined in a per-language basis. We could say that in English we have a pronoun "nosotros" which can be translated as "we" in english. It is the same in ...


5

There's a real-life example of listening and speaking at the same time in the case of real-time translators. This is at a different time-scale than milliseconds; a translator typically needs to hear a few seconds of speech before they begin translating, and depending on the languages involved or if ambiguities arise may want to build up a longer backlog of ...


4

There is a reasonable case that this is exactly what does happen. Quite a lot of human verbal communication is a bit redundant purely in terms of the information content and in many cases the real conversation is more about more subtle cues of tone, context, inflection and body language and quite a lot of conversation is more or less automatic in terms of ...


4

Kind of. Natural languages and most practical computer languages tend to fall between context free and context sensitive languages. Thus an alien language that would have fully context sensitive grammar (no structures not expressible as context free) would be almost certainly too complex for humans to use and entirely different from any human language. ...


4

Their communication could be more rudimentary: They say they are sad, angry, happy, etc... But with no information why. That's quite different than our communication, where we would often give the information (why) but not the emotion. The aliens could, for example, say what they see in a way that transmits their emotion, but to understand what they mean - ...


3

Try Star Trek: "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra". For another alien grammar, Sheri Tepper's "The Companions" features scent as a major communication method, and how this forms messages is definitely interesting.


3

If I understand the question correctly, you're wondering how to label the effects on human mentation of manifestations by Cthulhu and Its ilk. Insofar as Lovecraft himself is consistent about this -- and he is certainly never systematic-- the poles of the effect seem to lie between sanity-blasting destruction and a kind of semi-effective denial. This leads ...


2

Languages can be as different as the experience of the alien species is. Imagine something as alien as possible: Sentient crystal formations (a favorite of mine). They perceive the world only through vibrations and electromagnetic waves of some frequencies, using radio to communicate with each other. They recognize each other by shared resonance frequencies ...


2

Let's start the investigation from the other end. Ignoring the eldritch insights for now, let's take note of a peculiar hole in our current scientific knowledge... life. We know what living things are made of, because we've taken them apart more times than any sane species should admit to. We have pretty well supported theories about how all of their ...


1

One thing that I think is universal throughout human languages is that they are a sequence of words. So how if this principle doesn't hold for alien languages? While the aliens would still have syntactic units, those units would not fulfil the role that words fulfil in human languages. A single concept, like "dog" or "bite" would be distributed over several ...


1

"Alien nature of the speakers" contains an assumption that may be completely unwarranted: that your aliens communicate by means of sound waves. Even here on earth, we have creatures that communicate visually, and creatures that can create complex patterns on their skins and vary those patterns at high speed (using chromatophores). So how about aliens who ...


1

I think a common property of all human languages is their ambiguity. E.g. english is full of these, on very different levels including homonymes, grammar and syntax, often all munched together ("Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana"). An alien race communicating completely "logical", exact and unambigous would be very hard to understand. ...


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