Silenc

silenc is a tangible visualization of an interpretation of silent letters within Danish, English and French.

Project Details

Team: Manas Karambelkar, Momo Miyazaki, Kenneth Robertsen
Duration: 3 days
Course: Data Visualisation at CIID
Guides: Golan Levin, Marcin Ignac

Description

How much of a language is silent? What does it look like when you take the silence out? Can we use code as a tool to answer these questions?

silenc is a tangible visualization of an interpretation of silent letters within Danish, English and French.

One of the hardest parts about language learning is pronunciation; the less phonetic the alphabet, the harder it is to correctly say the words. A common peculiarity amongst many Western languages is the silent letter. A silent letter is a letter that appears in a particular word, but does not correspond to any sound in the word’s pronunciation.

A selection of works by Hans Christian Andersen is used as a common denominator for these “translations”. All the silent letters are set in red text. When viewed with a red light filter, these letters disappear, leaving only the pronounced text.

silenc is based on the concept of the find-and-replace command. This function is applied to a body of text using a database of rules. The silenc database is constructed from hundreds of rules and exceptions composed from known guidelines for “un”pronunciation. Processing code marks up the silent letters and GREP commands format the text.

silenc is visualized in different ways. In one form of a book, silent letters are marked up in red yet remain in their original position. In another iteration, silent letters are separated from the pronounced text and exhibited on their own pages in the back of the book, the prevalence of silent letters is clearly evident.

Silenc

The little mermaid in French with the silent letters highlighted

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The little mermaid in Danish with the silent letters highlighted

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The little mermaid in Danish with the silent letters highlighted

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The silent letters disappear as the text is viewed through the red filter helping in reading

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Various layouts were made to visualize how much of each language was silent and to compare between them

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Two books were printed in different layouts containing selected stories by H. C. Andersen

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The two different layouts of same text provides a different point of view towards the language

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One book with the silent letters in their place with highlights to help in reading

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The other book had the silent letters subtracted from the text

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All the silent letters were subtracted and put in the back of the book with different coloured paper

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When the book is viewed from side the visualisation of how much of the language is silent is seen

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Credits

The little mermaid in French with the silent letters highlightedThe little mermaid in Danish with the silent letters highlightedThe little mermaid in Danish with the silent letters highlightedThe silent letters disappear as the text is viewed through the red filter helping in readingVarious layouts were made to visualize how much of each language was silent and to compare between themTwo books were printed in different layouts containing selected stories by H. C. AndersenThe two different layouts of same text provides a different point of view towards the languageOne book with the silent letters in their place with highlights to help in readingThe other book had the silent letters subtracted from the textAll the silent letters were subtracted and put in the back of the book with different coloured paperWhen the book is viewed from side the visualisation of how much of the language is silent is seenCredits


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