Posted on Saturday, April 19, 2014
By Kadri

Astrolinguistics by Alexander Ollongren

Rating: 7/10

Astrolinguistics is the study of interstellar languages and possibility of communication using an artificially created language that is self-contained and wouldn't include some of the aspects of natural languages.

Although the search for extraterrestrial life has been in running for more than fifty years, ordinary people might still be a little confused as to what kind of signals are SETI scientists looking for with radio telescopes, and might have an impression that all intelligent extraterrestrial life might be sending us messages in plain English.

This false impression will be dealt with as soon as you delve into the science of astrolinguistics and the problem of establishing a language that might enable communication between intelligent creatures that might have tens of thousand of languages that they speak or understand, but would probably not easily understandable to some other civilization via electromagnetic signals

Ollongren introduces the reader in his book Astrolinguistics to LINCOS - a new lingua cosmica, a language system based on applied logic, the understanding of which might be expected from a civilization that has developed technology advanced enough to receive radio emissions.

It is an interesting, albeit a technical look at communication, that might remind one of programming languages, in which the purpose is to make the computer do or understand, what the programmer wants it to do, without any ingrained knowledge of the world.

The book is a bit philosophical as after reading this book one might look more closely at human activity and life on Earth and the way it could be communicated through space, and also whether or not there even might be a need for an interstellar language, and if there is a need for it, would it be like Ollongren's LINCOS?

The book raises interesting questions while showing some of the solutions this far, and also some messages that might be constructed using LINCOS.

It is also interesting to know, that messages in LINCOS have been transmitted to some of the nearest stars via radio telescopes, whether or not there is a receiver, we can’t know, but we are certainly closer to understanding any extraterrestrial signals coming from intelligent civilizations, as they might be using a same kind of system and mathematics as the language, just a avid science fiction fans have read about and seen in the movie Contact.

So Ollongren's new LINCOS has already been more successful or useful, as the previous artificial languages like Hans Freudenthal's Lincos wasn't ever used for any transmissions.

It makes for slow reading to understand the logic and calculus of constructions used as the building blocks for LINCOS, but the appendix in the end of the book is very helpful, and it’s useful to start perusing the book from the appendix and then continue from beginning, when necessary level of understanding has been reached.

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