Alien languages, refers to languages of extraterrestrial beings, are a hypothetical subject since none have been encountered so far. The research in these hypothetical languages is variously called exolinguistics, xenolinguisticsor astrolinguistics. The question of what form alien languages might take and the possibility for humans to recognize and translate them has been part of the linguistics and language studies courses, e.g., at the Bowling Green State University (2001).
Noam Chomsky (1983), basing on his theory of the existence of a genetically-predetermined universal grammar of human languages, holds that it would be impossible for a human to naturally learn an alien language because it would most probably violate the universal grammar inborn in humans. Humans would have to study an alien language by the slow way of discovery, the same way as scientists do research in, say, physics.
Linguist Keren Rice posits that basic communication between humans and aliens should be possible, unless "the things that we think are common to languages—situating in time [and] space, talking about participants, etc.—are so radically different that the human language provides no starting point for it."
McGill University Linguistics Professor, Jessica Coon was consulted for the linguistic aspect of the 2016 film Arrival . While acknowledging that the language used in the film was art, she states that film is a fairly accurate portrayal of the approach human linguists would use in trying to understand an alien language.