4 – Communication is the Key


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Professor: “Ahem. Greetings, class. Welcome to Linguistics 101. Here we will study communication with an analytical approach. Linguistics, in essence, is the scientific study of language, which is at the heart of all communication.

“An expansive view of language may include many forms of communication, not just verbal methods. All sentient beings communicate through some form of language. 

“If we were to imagine an Alien being who came to visit from another planet, our first task would be to establish communication with them. It is an interesting thought experiment to surmise how we could accomplish this. Some have proposed mathematics as a vehicle. Others have proposed….”

Dog: “wuf wuf wuf. Woooof…Woooof…Woooof. wuf wuf wuf. 

wuf wuf wuf. Woooof…Woooof…Woooof. wuf wuf wuf.”

Professor: “Excuse me, young lady, can you please silence your dog? He is interrupting our lecture. While I am generally supportive of our ‘pet friendly’ policy at this university, let me remind you that said policy clearly states that emotional support animals must remain quiet during class.”

Student: “I’m so sorry, Professor. Please forgive the interruption.” 

Professor: “Very well. Now let’s return to our intellectual peregrinations concerning the challenge of communicating with alien beings, and how language could be used as a vehicle to expedite said communication. 

“What sort of content would we convey? What would be the most important thing that humanity would have to say to this Alien? Class? Any ideas?”

Dog: “wuf wuf wuf. Woooof…Woooof…Woooof. wuf wuf wuf. 

wuf wuf wuf. Woooof…Woooof…Woooof. wuf wuf wuf.”

Professor: “I’m sorry young lady, but I must ask you to remove your comfort animal from the classroom, so that we may continue our discussion.” 

Student: “Sorry, Professor. But I think he’s trying to tell you something.” 

Professor: “Don’t be ridiculous! We are engaged in a serious discussion that is intellectually challenging, even for us humans. Your dog is not in a position to communicate anything meaningful to this topic. Now, let us continue. Class, any ideas?” 

Dog: “wuf wuf wuf. Woooof…Woooof…Woooof. wuf wuf wuf.” 

Student: “Sorry, Professor. We’re leaving now. Clearly my dog is not getting the message that his input is not welcome here.

Student: “Dumb beast! No treat for you today! What’s gotten into you?”

Dog: “Woof!”

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