Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

visual sentences - Timothy Ingen Housz in France

Elephant's Memory is an interesting project by Timothy Ingen Housz - a pictoral and iconic way of representing language.

this is interesting as letters and characters were derived as symbols from icons and pictures of cave drawings and such. And here Timothy is going back to idea of pictoral communication / pictograms. However these are more "contemporary" and grpahic in their approach.

Timothy's work is at Elephant's Memory site.

some examples-



interesting work - kind of related

I found some interesting work done by - Paul Haeberli on this site -

Paul sorted through 6000 Hiragana, Katagana and Kanji characters to locate the ones that look the most like the letters A-Z. This Kanji/Roman alphabet can be seen here.

attempts at new ways of writing - mixing hindi and English

This is an example I ran across on this site -

Rakesh Raju, who speaks both English and Hindi - devised a way of writing combigning both alphabets for each word to enable him to write faster -

Devnaagri vowels + English Consonants

I tried to utilize this system and user test it with simple examples - my attempts were as follows

1) English Lowercase consonants with devnaagri vowels

2) English Uppercase consonants with devnaagri vowels

3) Hindi Consonants with English vowels

What I learnt:

1) I thought it was an interesting combination and unique and something different to see -

1) Took me a very long time to write it - defeats the purpose of making a script for a language which is meant for quick, easy, friendly, casual usage.

2) English and Hindi work on very different systems. Figuring out rules for it would be complicated.
- hindi has 12 vowels, and 33 consonants, and any combination of 1, 2, ,3 or 4 of these can make up numerous letters.
- English has 26 fixed letters - with 5 vowels and 21 consonants

3) English has a lot of silent letters and some letters are pronounced differently when spoken.
Hindi is written exactly as it is spoken, it is completely phonetic.

Upon user testing feedback:
1) interesting to look at - specially the devnaagri accents on the english letters but will only work for single words, and not phrases or sentences

2) confusing - can only be understood by someone who speaks both hindi and english and would need a fixed rule about when to use what vowel and consonant

3) hard to read fast and can't understand at first glance.

4) better to use English to write Hinglish than to use this as it is an existing script. Where as with with we have to learn a new way of writing and what's the use as anyways you will have to learn Hindi and English before learning this.

5) hindi is written as it is spoken but english involves a different system, so hard to combine both. example - cat and censor - so this does seem a little pointless

1) as we can write hinglish anyways by using english alphabets - devising a new system to write this language does not help it or add value to it.

2) atleast with all english characters the word can be added to the English language if used enough, but with Devnaagri accents its becoming a third language - complicating communication.

700+ words adopted into the English DIctionary - Why? - some examples

1) The Oxford Dictionary makes it a point to include all new terms which are in use in the English language. The words are chosen by the Oxford English Dictionary’s Reading Programme, a huge project employing fifty readers. The findings of the Reading Programme are fed into a vast database called ‘Incomings.’

2) Indian words began trickling into English vocabulary with the establishment of trade relations between the East and West. Common words like ginger, mango and orange find their roots in the ancient Dravidian tongue, Tamil.

3) A large number of native words like pariah, sati, purdah, chintz, catamarans, mulligatawny, pukka and others became part of the English language during the three centuries of British rule in India.

4) Award winning Indian writers like Salman Rushdie, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Vikram Sheth, Arundhati Roy and others introduced more native terms into English.

5) Indian cuisine has achieved a high degree of popularity in England and along with it names of culinary items like curry, ghee and kebab have become familiar and widely used.

6) English speaking Indians, outnumbering the entire British population, form the third largest English speaking community. England now has several Indian migrants who have made native terms part of the English language.

The Oxford dictionary, with every edition, faithfully records all the Indian words absorbed into the English vocabulary. English has accepted words from Sanskrit, Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Gujarathi and Marathi. The following is an interesting list.

1. Philosophical and Spiritual terms
  • Aryan (Sanskrit) – a group of people who spoke the parent language of the Indo-European group of languages.
  • Chakra (Sanskrit) – center of spiritual energy in the human body, wheel or circle.
  • Dharma (Sanskrit) – moral law.
  • Guru (Sanskrit) – a teacher, guide or mentor.
  • Nirvana (Sanskrit) – a state of perfect happiness.
2. Social and Religious terms
  • Juggernaut (Hindi) – an overwhelming force that crushes everything in its path.
  • Pariah (Tamil) - social outcast.
  • Sati (Hindi) – the former Hindu practice of a widow immolating herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.
  • Pundit (Hindi) – a learned person.
  • Purdah (Urdu) – a curtain or screen used for purposes of sex segregation.
3. Terms of Fashion
  • Bandana (Hindi) – a large, handkerchief brightly coloured.
  • Bindi (Hindi) – a dot marked on the forehead by Hindu wives.
  • Bangle (Hindi) – a rigid bracelet or anklet.
  • Dhoti (Hindi) – a loincloth worn by Hindu men in India.
  • Jodhpurs (Rajasthani) – long riding breeches.
4. Culinary Terms

  • Curry (Tamil) – a spicy dish.
  • Basmati (Hindi) – a type of rice.
  • Ghee (Hindi) – clarified butter.
  • Kebab (Urdu) – roasted meat.
  • Chutney (Hindi) – a side dish for food.
5. Others
  • Bungalow (Bengali) – a small house.
  • Loot (Hindi) – stolen goods.
  • Chit (Marathi) – a note or letter.
  • Catamaran (Tamil) – a raft made of wood.
  • Cheetah (Sanskrit) – long legged, African or South West Asian wild cat that can run at tremendous speed.

Hinglish in Chatrooms

Hinglish - videos - CNN IBN

"New Desi words make their mark on the English Lexicon"

click on image below for video -

Tracking words that have finally made it to the English Lexicon

"It happens only in India! Have a word in Hinglish

click on image below for video -

- Indians made English their own - without the stiff upper lip
- its an undemanding dialect
- flatteringhow they speak, makes it OK to speak in this way as they see it used in media, on the streets, public spaces