In linguistics, one of the main areas of modern research involves the capabilities and possibilities of there being a 'lingua cosmica,' a LINCOS, a universal language that could be used to communicate with non-human intelligences. This book touches on the area of the development and use of a 'lingua universalis' for interstellar communication, but it also presents concepts that cover a broad area of linguistics. Chomsky's paradigm on universal properties of natural languages, for a long time a leading general theory of natural languages, includes the strong assumption that humans are born with some kind of universals stored in their brains. Are there universals of this kind of language used by intelligent beings and societies elsewhere in the universe? We do not know whether such languages exist. It seems to be impossible to determine, simply because the universe is too large for an exhaustive search. Even verification will be hard to obtain, without quite a bit of luck. This book uses astrolinguistic principles in message construction and is helpful in clarifying and giving perspective to discussions on existential questions such as these. Alexander Ollongren began his career as a mathematical astronomer at the Dept. of Astronomy at Leiden University in the Netherlands, where he obtained his PhD. He then left the university and worked almost two years in Celestial Mechanics at Yale University in the US. Ollongren returned to Holland and became director of the newly established computer center of Leiden University. He spent a sabbatical leave as a visiting scientist at the IBM Laboratory in Vienna and was later appointed full professor of theoretical computer science at the Dept. of Computer Science of Leiden University. He was a guest professor in the same science for about a year at Linkoping University in Sweden. After retirement he became a member of the Permanent Study Group Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (PSGSETI) of the International Astronautical Academy. He has written books and articles on the semantics of programming languages.
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