British scientists have developed a program that recognizes and even translates messages from aliens. Even if extraterrestrial beings are discovered one day, scientists fear that we will not be able to understand their language.
But John Eliot of Leeds Metropolitan University believes he has developed software to at least decipher the structure of their language – and this will be the first step towards understanding what they are saying.
Dr. Eliot’s program will be able to compare the language of aliens with a database of 60 different languages of the world to find a language with a similar structure. He believes that the language of aliens, even if it is completely unlike any of the existing earthly languages, most likely has recognizable patterns that can help determine how intelligent these living things are. “The language must be structured in a certain way, otherwise it will be ineffective and cumbersome,” he told NewScientist magazine.
Previous studies have shown that it is quite possible to determine whether a signal carries language rather than pictures or music. Dr. Eliot took it a step further by inventing a way to recognize words and sentences.
Human language has “functional terms” that frame phrases – words like “if” and “but”. According to Elliott, similar terms in any language are separated from each other by less than nine words or hieroglyphs.
This limiting phrase length seems to correspond to a person’s cognitive ability – how much information we are able to process at the same time.
Analysis of phrases in the language of aliens will allow you to measure how developed the intelligence of these creatures. If they are much smarter than us, their phrases will contain many words. The program will also be able to break the language into keywords – such as nouns and verbs, even if their meaning is not clear.
She will also be able to locate adjectives, because they almost always appear with nouns. Because the word order differs from language to language, Dr. Eliot builds a syntax library for 60 human languages.
If a message is received from space, it will be possible to compare it with the existing database. Scientists will be able to understand if it resembles any of the human languages, or a mixture of earthly languages. Dr. Eliot admits that in order to translate what the aliens say, you will need to have a “code dictionary.”