If extraterrestrials talk to us, how will we understand them?

Monday, 31 August, 2015

There are still some ancient languages on Earth that linguists are still struggling to understand, so how would we fare if an alien intelligence tried to contact us? How might we ever make sense of what they were saying?

Yet, any carefully thought-out message sent to us may be composed in a way that we might be able to comprehend, without too much difficulty:

“If an advanced civilization did want to communicate with us, they would probably choose to base their communication on something we have in common, such as the fact that we live in the same physical universe,” says Siemion. “They might use the properties of astrophysical objects, like pulsars, quasars or the shape of our galaxy, as a first step at teaching us their language.”

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