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ZetaTalk: Language Barriers
Note: written on Feb 15, 1996

Where humans think of language as their premiere communication vehicle, right up there with symbols and pictures but able to support a precision beyond any other vehicle - most misunderstand the mental process in the physiology of the brain required to communicate in words or any other such abstraction. When the toddler says "dog" in reference to the big fuzzy hulk he has been nuzzled by, whom everyone else is calling "dog", he has made Connection One, entity. When the toddler says "Johnny go potty", connecting two such Connection Ones together with a Connection Two, activity, he has made Connection Three - relationship. This goes on in increasing complexity to hundreds of Connections.

These Connections are not the same between intelligent species from different worlds, nor are they even the same among factions of the intelligent species on a single world. Your Earth has many such languages, and for you to assume that all such languages portray the same concepts would be shallow thinking indeed. There are concepts the aboriginals in Australia hold that they cannot communicate to others, as there is no equivalent in other languages. This is one source of communication glitches, where western thinking says, just give me the equivalent word, and taking the closest candidate, makes a statement that carries a quite different meaning than was intended. Language barriers are not just due to a failure of one party to memorize the vocabulary of another. One would have to be raised, simultaneously, in the two cultures involved, to truly translate.

In ZetaTalk we are in a cooperative effort with our emissary, Nancy. We do not give her the equivalent word, in English, to our word. In the first place, we do not use words. We give her the concept, in all its many permutations - visuals, movements, emotions, timing, analogies. She puts the words to this, and plays back to us what the words relay to her, a playback. If her words have described to her an erroneous concept, we go at it again, fine tuning. Thus, if Nancy does not have a concept of chemistry, for instance, how crystals are constructed, then we must give her this concept in terms she can understand, in order for her to relay our message in this regard. Just as a radio announcer is limited by his vehicle, so we are limited by our vehicle, in ZetaTalk. However, except for those who wish to gain a technological advantage from ZetaTalk answers, this has not proved to be a communication hindrance.

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