Arrival: Linguistic fieldwork on the big screen

In the summer of 2015, I was invited to consult on the screen-adaptation of Ted Chiang’s sci-fi story, Story of Your Life. Directed by Montreal-local Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer, the resulting film, Arrival, is about the fieldworker linguist who is recruited by the military to translate for the aliens who have just landed all over the globe.

Though my short time directly involved with the film was a lot of fun, the best part of Arrival is the press it has generated for linguists and linguistics as a science. I wrote this piece about fieldwork and alien grammars for Museum of the Moving Image, and a larger article here:

Here is a compilation of some of the news that came out around the November 2016 release:





Presenting at GMIS 2017 in Beijing

Public Lectures

Want to know more about linguistics? Check out this page for more information and further linguistics resources by internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch!

photo by Owen Egan

photo by Owen Egan