Always Learning!

The world through the prism of my mind

SciFi story around linguistics

Posted by Alexandre Rafalovitch on April 8, 2006

I have read Science Fiction stories based around physics, chemistry, biology and computers. But I have not seen one before based around linguistics. For all I know there are many of them out there and I just wasn't interested before. 

I am interested now, and so I really enjoyed "We Have Always Spoken Panglish" story by Suzette Haden Elgin (via Esperanto blog entry). I especially enjoyed the in-jokes such as

…there's no need for a detailed study of yet one more run-of-the-mill humanoid subject/verb/object language.

Her Real World Linguistics 101 lectures look quite interesting too.

For those who can read Russian, there is a story that is similar and somewhat socio-linguistical in its core. It is called Переговорщики (Negotiators) by Sergey Lukyanenko. The subject of the story is communications between human and aliens where humans turn out to be too adaptable and therefore suspicious. The punchline of the story is that the human males and females are so different, that we already have all the training required to adapt (or at least negotiate) with those who think in a completely different way from us.

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