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How could we talk fluently to aliens?

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Han Solo’s mouth and throat anatomy may mean that he’s physically incapable of speaking Wookiee, but that doesn’t mean he can’t understand it.

The same way that the early explorers and missionaries learnt the native languages of Southeast Asia and South America. You begin with pointing and other gestures, and slowly build from there.

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Children younger than five are much better at this than older kids and adults, so we could train a generation of interpreters by raising children in a mixed human and alien environment.

If the aliens were particularly strange, we might not actually be able to speak their language at all. Han Solo and Chewbacca can understand each other, but Han never speaks a word of Wookiee.


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Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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