约翰逊语言专栏--如何与外星人交谈(1)

作者:未知 来源:译生译世 2019-12-06

Johnson
约翰逊语言专栏

How to talk to aliens
如何与外星人交谈

The challenge says a lot about talk among people, too
这个挑战也说明了很多人与人沟通的问题

Imagine dining in a European capital where you do not know the local language. The waiter speaks little English, but by hook or by crook you manage to order something on the menu that you recognise, eat and pay for. Now picture instead that, after a hike goes wrong, you emerge, starving, in an Amazonian village. The people there have no idea what to make of you. You mime chewing sounds, which they mistake for your primitive tongue. When you raise your hands to signify surrender, they think you are launching an attack.
想象一下,你在一个不懂当地语言的欧洲首都用餐。服务员几乎不会说英语,但你想尽办法点了菜单上你认识的菜,吃了,付了钱。现在想象一下,一次远足出了问题,你饿着肚子出现在亚马逊的一个村庄。那里的人根本不知道你是干什么的。你模仿咀嚼的声音,他们会误认为是你的原始舌头有什么问题。当你举手示意投降时,他们认为你是在发起进攻。

Communicating without a shared context is hard. For example, radioactive sites must be left undisturbed for tens of thousands of years; yet, given that the English of just 1,000 years ago is now unintelligible to most of its modern speakers, agencies have struggled to create warnings to accompany nuclear waste. Committees responsible for doing so have come up with everything from towering concrete spikes, to Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”, to plants genetically modified to turn an alarming blue. None is guaranteed to be future-proof.
没有共享背景信息的沟通是困难的。例如,放射性场所必须保持数万年不受干扰;然而现在,考虑到仅仅1000年前的英语对大多数说现代英语的人来说是难以理解的,各机构一直在努力创造核废料的警告话语。负责这项工作的委员会想出了各种各样的办法,从高耸的混凝土建筑物,到爱德华·蒙克的《呐喊》,再到变成令人担忧的蓝色的转基因植物。没有一个是可以保证万无一失的。

Some of the same people who worked on these waste-site messages have also been part of an even bigger challenge: communicating with extraterrestrial life. This is the subject of “Extraterrestrial Languages”, a new book by Daniel Oberhaus, a journalist at Wired.
同样是这些垃圾填埋场信息的工作人员也面临着更大的挑战:与外星生命交流。这是《外星语言》的主题,《外星语言》是《连线》杂志记者丹尼尔·奥伯豪斯的新书。

Nothing is known about how extraterrestrials might take in information. A pair of plaques sent in the early 1970s with Pioneer 10 and 11, two spacecraft, show nude human beings and a rough map to find Earth—rudimentary stuff, but even that assumes aliens can see. Since such craft have no more than an infinitesimal chance of being found, radio broadcasts from Earth, travelling at the speed of light, are more likely to make contact. But just as a terrestrial radio must be tuned to the right frequency, so must the interstellar kind. How would aliens happen upon the correct one? The Pioneer plaque gives a hint in the form of a basic diagram of a hydrogen atom, the magnetic polarity of which flips at regular intervals, with a frequency of 1,420MHz. Since hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, the hope is that this sketch might act as a sort of telephone number.
关于外星人如何获取信息,我们一无所知。上世纪70年代初,“先锋10号”和“11号”两艘宇宙飞船发射了一对牌匾,上面展示了裸体的人类,还有一张寻找地球基础生命的粗略地图,但仍假设外星人能看到。由于这种飞行器被发现的机会微乎其微,所以来自地球的以光速飞行的无线电广播更有可能与之接触。但是,就像地球上的无线电必须调到合适的频率一样,星际间的无线电也必须调到合适的频率。外星人如何碰巧找到正确的频率呢?先驱牌匾以氢原子基本图的形式给出了一个提示,氢原子的磁极按一定的间隔翻转,频率为1420mhz。因为氢是宇宙中最丰富的元素,所以希望这张草图能充当某种通讯号码。

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