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Q: Identifying that a signal contains language information ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Identifying that a signal contains language information
Category: Science
Asked by: rjsawyer-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 27 Nov 2006 15:09 PST
Expires: 27 Dec 2006 15:09 PST
Question ID: 786044
I'm trying to find an article I read online sometime in the last two
years.  It was a report, perhaps in a popular-interest science
magazine (and the one I read the most online is NEW SCIENTIST) about
language having a distinctive pattern that enables it to be
distinguished from noise in signal processing, even if you don't
recognize the language.  I can't remember if the article made a
specific parallel with SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial
Intelligence), but I think it did:  the notion was that we should be
able to recognize that a signal contains language (because of the
distinctive statistical skew caused by repetition of common words, or
something like that) even if we don't know and can't decode the
language.  One of the key words, I imagine, would be "information," as
in information content.  Thanks!

Request for Question Clarification by rainbow-ga on 27 Nov 2006 22:02 PST
Please take a look at the preview of this article and let me know if
you think this could be the one you remember:


Clarification of Question by rjsawyer-ga on 28 Nov 2006 08:01 PST
Hi, Rainbow!  That's precisely the answer I was looking for, and I'm
fully satisfied.

(And don't worry, I have a paid NEW SCIENTIST account, and had no
trouble accessing the full text once you'd pointed me to it.)

Please post your comment as an actual answer so that you can be paid.

Many, many thanks!

All best wishes.


  ROBERT J. SAWYER, Science Fiction Writer

  Hugo Award winner for HOMINIDS
  Nebula Award winner for THE TERMINAL EXPERIMENT
  John W. Campbell Memorial Award winner for MINDSCAN  *
Subject: Re: Identifying that a signal contains language information
Answered By: rainbow-ga on 28 Nov 2006 09:58 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi Rob,

I'm glad I was able to find the article you were looking for.

Best regards,
rjsawyer-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Fast, complete response -- exactly what I was looking for!  First-rate
job.  Many thanks!

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