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<   No. 4643   2021-11-10   >

Comic #4643

1 Spanners: Okay, if you’re going to help, what is this alien saying?
1 Alien: Manotu at Telparta.
2 X: Couldn’t be simpler! It’s referring to their folk hero Manotu, and the famous incident it had on the island of Telparta.
3 Spanners: Yeah, we get that it’s a metaphorical allusion. But what does it mean?
4 X: Wow. It means you really needs to brush up on your alien mythology.

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Continuing the spoof of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Darmok", I'm now wondering how babies learn to speak in that culture. Before they can articulate the concept of "mama!" they have to learn an entire legend about a child being raised by its mother, and then learn how to say, "The relationship that Penelope is to Telemachus".

This also raises the question of how the child learns to understand the story in the first place. How do you bootstrap this sort of language?

Philip J. Fry, his eyes squinting...

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