16
   

Could an Alien learn english from books?

 
 
Sirisse
 
Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2016 07:05 am
Lets say an alien landed on earth and the human race had extinguished. would he be able to learn english from books? Lets say he had the same aprox IQ as Albert Einstein.
 
sky123
 
  2  
Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2016 07:37 am
@Sirisse,
My first language is not English. I learned English through books like stories and textbooks. Also my IQ and memory is good enough but since I came here I understood that I know apparently nothing about English. Although it's beautiful language but the spoken and informal English is totally different from what I had read before.
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  2  
Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2016 07:51 am
@Sirisse,
Learning English has nothing to do with how high your IQ is.
Can this alien our alphabets?
No, then it will not be able to learn any of the languages spoken on earth.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  4  
Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2016 08:51 am
@Sirisse,
If there were some picture books it would be helpful.

And since we were able to learn an alien language (took some time to figure out what this book was about), I suspect they could do the same.

http://www.metatech.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/to-serve-man-cookbook.jpg
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2016 09:03 am
My grandmother was an alien.

She learned English from reading the old comic strip Maggie and Jiggs.

She did become a citizen though at some point.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  2  
Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2016 09:12 am
@Sirisse,
If those books include children's picture books written in English, then yes, the alien would have a very good chance at learning English.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  3  
Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2016 09:13 am
You all are just too quick on the draw for me.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  4  
Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2016 09:45 am
@Sirisse,
Assuming you are talking about extra-terrestrial aliens, and that they might arrive at a time when humans no longer existed, I think it might be extremely difficult for them to understand our language just from books.

Many people debate whether it's possible/likely for aliens to understand us at all, even if they met us face to face and both parties tried very hard. We might encounter an aliens species that communicates through chemical smells rather than linguistics, or they might emit ranges of light that we cannot see (like Infra-Red patterns on their bodies, which we might not even notice).

The challenge to this question is first understanding just how alien the alien could be. If it had similar senses to ours and a similar body plan then I think the chances would increase, but still might be daunting just on a linguistic level.
fresco
 
  2  
Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2016 09:52 am
@Sirisse,
(Ditto the last post +......)Its unlikely, because
(1) There many varieties of 'English' whose adequacy is a function of the social context in which it is used. Which contexts would be significant for aliens, if any, remains undefined purely speculative and requires an anthropomorphic view of alien intentions.
(2) There is no guarantee that 'pictures' would be meaningful to aliens, and anyway a 'representational' (picture theory) of language has largely been dismissed by modern linguists.
(3) The acquisition of what we call language has been said to be a specific (genetically programmed) aspect of being human independent from IQ. That might be why we can't speak Dolphin and dolphins can't speak English. Of course species can 'interact' perhaps using a pseudo-language, but such interaction is a far cry from the central role of language in human consciousness .
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2016 10:01 am
@fresco,
You apparently are unfamiliar with the twilight zone .
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  6  
Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2016 05:03 pm
Linear A and Linear B provide a clue to this question. Eventually, Linear B was deciphered because of its link to Mycenaean civilization--as with the Rosetta Stone, upon which an unknown script was correlated to known scripts--this allowed the language to be related to known languages. But there is no such correlation with any known language for Linear A. Linear A has never been deciphered. How could an "alien" be expected to understand any human language without any reference points? Even rudimentary correlations established from picture books are going to be no help with dialects, spelling variants, humor, irony and sarcasm. Language is not just a puzzle, it is a complex artifact of culture.
0 Replies
 
mark noble
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 08:49 am
@Sirisse,
Yes - All aliens read books.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 09:12 am
@Sirisse,
(I would point out Setanta's point above is a useful answer to your question and did not deserve to be 'thumb downed').
saab
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 09:29 am
@fresco,
agree with you
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 10:38 am
@saab,
A lot can be learned by deciphering the books via Numbers and what these numbers indicate(pge nos, ISBN codes, year and TOC's and indexes), Also, if there are illutrations or a dust jcket illustration, those can provide clues to understanding the lnguqge somewhat.
A compparison to known thing obviously helps most. But sometimes we can only go with what we have.

If the book is one of cosmology and maps of the cosmos or some star systems are shown, these would be of immense help.
saab
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 10:56 am
@farmerman,
Yes a lot can be learned by books. We show children a picture or a thing to tell them what it is.
In this case an Alien is absolutely alone on earth, no contact with people probably not knowing our alphabete how will this Alien be able to know pronounciation, understand pictures which not always show what the text says.
Picture of dog. Text: This is a dog. Next picture is a cat. Text Is this a dog?
If this Alien does not know what ISBN means how can they learn a language that way?
saab
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 11:23 am
@saab,
Try to learn this language
Vilja tær hoyra kvæði mítt,
vilja tær orðum trúgv,
um hann Ólav Trúgvason,
higar skal ríman snúgva.
Niðurlag: Glymur dansur í høll,
dans sláði í ring!
Glaðir ríða noregis menn
til hildarting.

2. Kongurin letur snekju smíða
har á sløttumsandi;
Ormurin Langi støstur var,
Sum gjørdur á Noregis landi.

Niðurlag: Glymur dansur í høll,
dans sláði í ring!
Glaðir ríða noregis menn
til hildarting.

3. Knørrur var gjørdur á Noregis landi,
gott var í honum evni:
átjan alil og fjøruti
var kjølurin millum stevni

Niðurlag: Glymur dansur í høll,
dans sláði í ring!
Glaðir ríða noregis menn
til hildarting.

fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 12:43 pm
@saab,
No wonder England were frozen out of the Europeans ! Very Happy
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 01:07 pm
@saab,
Im saying that an alien, can gather much about the understanding of the langige by starting with numerals. Hed compare the ISBNs with the page numbers and ask himself
"hmmm similar uses, one seems to tb the order of the (he doesnt know the word pages).

Hed know that a bok is somw form of communication and hed see an ORDER of things. Alphaneumeric tuff is possible to build on.

I dont think that pronunciation would stand in the way of understanding. OF course the unerstanding would be rudimentary.
How is the book presented? An alien alone only has a book? Does he (or she) not hqve other senses?

Str Trek hs always dealt with unknown communications and someone usually SPock or Dt would intuit how the communication went.

saab
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 01:08 pm
@fresco,
still I can find at least ten words that you have taken over in English
 

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