Field of interest

When working on Unit 1, I looked at the etymologies of a range of words. I’m really interested in linguistic shifts both in the evolution of meaning and the visual transformation of words as well as in pronounciation changes.
Bringing together many etymology definitions, I also found it amazing and striking how complicated these definitions appeared to be. The number of abbreviations they display, the languages they mix, the use of both roman and arabic numbers make them complex to the point where it is really difficult to make a unified sense of it. Try to read one of them out loud, as you see it, and it comes to be just a series of sounds put one after another.

It’s conflicting with both the reading and the understanding and tends to be more visual and abstract than the contrary.

As a first set of experiments, and in the continuity of Unit 1, I’m interested in focusing on emphasing the research part about word etymology, going back to the idea of exploring visual systems to represent the shifts I’ve listed before. I’ll then maybe investigate the possible displays of these definitions, focusing on the visual aspect of it but trying to lead to a better/easier understanding.
As I want these experiments to be purely objective, the words I’m working on are taken from official listings of the most commonly used terms in the English language. The first 4 ones are : “The”, “of”, “to”, “and”.


Posted on April 14, 2011, in Unit 2. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Hi Elisabeth,
    Great, sounds really interesting and good to see it builds on your Unit One work too.
    Think about the ways you can extend your research, and also the visual tools you might use here.
    You could look at comparisons between different languages, or different regional accents of one language etc. We have a really good project in the MAGD archives on the subject of onomatopoeia in different languages that you may find interesting – I will try to send you the report if I can find it.

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