Imagine telepathic aliens. Imagine aliens who have no concept of language, who maybe didn’t figure out writing or math until they were figuring out electronics, who still struggle with the entire idea of symbolic thinking, and then they find us. And they’re going “I can see the technology and cities, and it all looks made for and by these bipeds, but where is the sapience and WHAT IS ALL THIS EFFING HOOTY MOUTH NOISE?!” until someone wonders if the hooty mouth noise has meaning in it.
Imagine aliens going “OMG they’re communicating by noise” and “OMG they’re using code naturally” and “OMG they’re using open-ended productive recursive code how is that POSSIBLE” and “OMG writing” and “OMG they have THOUSANDS of codes”, and it’s all paraoxysms of academic delight and then someone discovers metaphor, and someone discovers encryption, and someone discovers slang and l33t and txting and emoji, and this entire telepathic species has its minds completely blown and the one who went “what if the hooty noise has meaning” wins the alien Nobel.
*hooty mouth noise of approval*