Arrival, Movie 2016

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .
arrival movie 2016
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there it is, the vulnerability, the expectation, and the fear.

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holy cow, this chick explained movie “Arrival” so good. in Chinese, u no unstand.

喵嗷污 讲解 《降临》 Buy at amazon

this poor sob wanna watch Arrival, but don't have money, nor feel like pirate, and fear it's all tracked now.

so, the movie Arrival, is is based on a award-winning scifi fiction “Story of Your Life”, written by the award winning Chinese American Ted Chiang.

“Story of Your Life” is a science fiction short story by Ted Chiang. It was the winner of the 2000 Nebula Award for Best Novella as well as the 1999 Sturgeon award.[1] The major themes explored by this tale are determinism, language, and the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis. The story was adapted into the 2016 film Arrival.[2]

and the major theme is about determinism, language, and the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis. Wow, fascinating, right there.

Arrival, is about 12 giant kidneys descending upon earth.

it entails determinism, language, and Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, with Chinese characteristics

when i grow up, am gonna be a heptapod.

now, here's the spoilers. Here's the outline of the novelette:

The story is narrated by Dr. Louise Banks, writing in the past tense. After a race of aliens, known as heptapods (due to their 7-pointed radially symmetrical appearance), initiate first contact with humanity, the military hires Dr. Banks to discover their language and communicate with them. The story revolves around Dr. Banks and Gary Donnelly, a physicist also working for the military to gain knowledge of physics from the aliens.

The heptapods have two distinct forms of language. Heptapod A is their spoken language, which is described as having free word order and many levels of center-embedded clauses. Understanding Heptapod B, the written language of the aliens, is central to the plot. Unlike its spoken counterpart, Heptapod B has such complex structure that a single semantic symbol cannot be excluded without changing the entire meaning of a sentence.

When writing in Heptapod B, the writer knows how the sentence will end. The phenomenon of Heptapod B is explained by the aliens' understanding of mathematics and Fermat's principle of least time. Dr. Banks' understanding of the heptapods' writing system affects the way she perceives time and suggests a deterministic universe where free will is exercised by not affecting the outcome of events.

A frame for the story, written in the present tense, indicates that the story is being written at the time of the daughter's conception. The sections describing the daughter's life—from birth to death and beyond—are written as Dr. Banks' remembrances that she nonetheless describes using the future tense, because learning Heptapod B enables Dr. Banks to know her daughter's entire life even before she agrees to conceive her. As the story proceeds, we see Dr Banks and Dr Donnelly growing closer, until it is revealed that Dr Donnelly will be the father of her child.

[from Story of Your Life]

Linguistics: Center Embedding

In linguistics, center embedding is the process of embedding a phrase in the middle of another phrase of the same type. This often leads to difficulty with parsing which would be difficult to explain on grammatical grounds alone. The most frequently used example involves embedding a relative clause inside another one as in:

In theories of natural language parsing, the difficulty with multiple center embedding is thought to arise from limitations of the human short term memory. In order to process multiple center embeddings, we have to store many subjects in order to connect them to their predicates.

An interesting theoretical point is that sentences with multiple center embedding are grammatical, but unacceptable. Such examples are behind Noam Chomsky's comment that, “Languages are not ‘designed for parsability’ … we may say that languages, as such, are not usable.” (Chomsky, 1991)

2017-11-08 Wikipedia Center embedding

see also Avatar and District 9 Movie Review

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