Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


26 July 2017

'Arrival’ screening and discussion

Presented By Emily Hofstetter
  • 1-3pm (a DARG event)
  • B1.14 Brockington Building

About this event

“We are having a discussion group about the 2016 film Arrival, which tells the story of how a linguist deciphers messages from (literal) alien visitors. For those who have not seen it, we will be viewing components as pertain to our discussion. Some initial questions to start discussion include:

  • How is language portrayed in the film?
  • How can we incorporate or consider fictional creations when researching communication, if at all?
  • How are our members' beliefs about language used in film and fictional media?
  • How does the Kuleshov effect show up in Arrival, and how can we connect this to adjacency pairs? (see this video for more about Arrival and the Kuleshov effect)
  • What do EMCA and DP have to say about the Duhem-Quine hypothesis (the idea that our language affects how we think)?

Arrival gives us an opportunity to revisit these ideas and see how they can be used, by members, to enact their own knowledge of our language systems.
(Note: Arrival is based on a short story, 'Story of Your Life', by Ted Chiang, which is a) excellent, and b) goes into more detail about how the alien language works - see the wiki summary here

There are also moments when Sacks drew on 'non-natural' interaction. Besides his use of newspaper clippings (see, e.g., The Navy Pilot), you can also find some references to fiction in the Lectures on:

  • pg. 86, briefly referencing F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • pg.123-124, using an autobiography of a patient as data
  • pg. 468-471, considers how members' categories might be displayed, and analyzed, in both an actual novel and a hypothetical film

Sacks also criticizes Goffman for using largely invented and fictional examples (such as novels), and proclaims he will not do that in the lectures (although clearly he does, a little), pg.725.”