In the recently released film Arrival, Amy Adams plays a linguist responsible for figuring out how to communicate with aliens who have landed on Earth. Visually, the aliens, called heptapods, are a testament to masterful movie magic: Everything from their subtle, fluid movements to the dense atmosphere where they breathe fits with the idea of biological possibility. These otherworldly life forms seem truly feasible and may even be mistaken to be real.
"Early on before they started filming, I read a few drafts of the screenplay, and I was asked to give feedback on some of the more linguistically relevant parts," said Professor Jessica Coon, who teaches linguistics at McGill University, recently told Business Insider.
"A lot of the comments they took into account. Some of them they said, 'Linguists in the end are not Hollywood's main audience, it'll be all right if some of these don't make it in' in the end, it turned out great, I think."
The movie is believed to have portrayed how people think aliens look like. However, what makes the heptapods in Arrival very believable is the fact that they are not all that alien to start with. From their body shape to their tentacles to their ability to squirt an ink of sorts, heptapods bear a strong resemblance to Earth's most alien intelligent life: cephalopods (squid and octopus).To read more, click here.