When mysterious alien spacecraft appears on Earth, linguistics professor Louise Banks is brusquely pressed into service by the US military. Her mission: nothing less than to understand and communicate with the new lifeforms. The fate of humankind depends on it.

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How should she go about learning the aliens’ language? Describe the problem and how she could go about solving it.
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Question 1

Louise is first approached by military officer Colonel Weber. He plays an audio recording of the alien speech and asks her to translate it. Louise tells the colonel that she can only translate the speech sounds if she can have direct contact with the aliens.

a. Why does she ask for this?

b. How should she go about learning the aliens’ language? Describe the problem and how she could go about solving it.

Question 2

Louise begins to experience time out of order – e.g., precognitive moments of her future as well as the present and past. It seems that her efforts to understand the alien language is changing how she perceives and conceptualises time. Can language really determine how we perceive and conceptualise the world? Discuss.

INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR THIS ASSESSMENT:

Demonstrate a critical understanding of the implications of psychological research for the question of human rationality.

Demonstrate knowledge of the basic processes involved in speech, reading and spelling and the implications of brain damage on these processes; understanding of theories on language processing based on

findings from language impairments

Critically evaluate theories and evidence relating to human reasoning processes.

Analyse and critically evaluate the theories concerning the acquisition and structure of human first and

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