Language

Arrival caught my eye for a couple reasons. The first was because a YouTube cannel called “Lessons from the Screenplay” had featured it in one of their videos. The second was because Amy Adams was the lead and I love her movies. Arrival is about the story about a linguist named Dr. Louise who is tasked to serve as a translator between newly arrived aliens and the U.S. government. The aliens have landed 12 ships in various countries and so the all the countries are trying to share data on how they are attempting to communicate with the aliens. Around halfway through the movie, the aliens in China tell them to “use weapon” and China takes them as a threat. This is around the time where the world stops talking to each other- during the moment where the world needs to talk to each other the most. This was one of the many themes throughout the movie, but I never thought about the importance of language and communication until I watched this movie. Why do humans have audible sounds for written characters? The aliens’ written language did not written characters that could be audibly expressed. Who do humans write from one direction to another? The aliens wrote in a way that they would start at both ends and meet in the middle. See, language influences the way we think and this is proposed by the Sapir-Wharf Hypothesis which states: the structure of a language determines a native speaker’s perception and categorization of experience. We speak and read in a linear structure thus we perceive time from a linear perspective. The past must come before present and the future must come after the present. Past. Present. Future. We use language to communicate and perceive. We learn it early on in our lives and we never stop and think about how language affects us and our perception of life experiences. Arrival made me do that. It made me question how do the languages I know and use affect my perception. How do they affect yours?