Linguistics and Tests on Aliens

Imagine that humans have made contact with an intelligent alien species that, contrary to all expectations, seems to be able to learn to speak and to understand spoken and written English (and other human languages), despite having a very different brain and other physiology. What linguistic, psycholinguistic, and neurolinguistic tests would you (ethically) perform on the (willing) members of this alien species to understand their linguistic capabilities and processing? How would you interpret the results?
Your response should be 2-4 pages, single-spaced, with 12 pt. Times New Roman font. Cite all your sources, and use only academic sources.

To give you hints about the kinds of tests you might perform, here is a reminder of relevant topics we’ve covered. You don’t need to talk about all of them. Pick a few that you feel confident about.

Units of language processing: sounds, words, phrases, and sentences
Phrase structure vs. finite state grammars
Syntactic movement and traces
Syntactic transformations
Garden pathing and the effects of transitivity and telicity
Acoustic cues in language processing
Categorical perception
McGurk Effect and incorporating auditory, visual, and other sensory information in language
Language modality (signed, spoken, tactile, and written)
Speech perception, including coarticulation, normalization, lexical segmentation, etc.
Brain and language (assume that the aliens’ brain uses oxygen and produces electricity)
Production errors, e.g. sound exchanges, word substitutions
Visual and auditory priming
Lexical access
First language acquisition
Second language acquisition

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