Thursday, July 17, 2008

Language Project

Apparently 2008 is the International Year of Languages, so declares the UN. The folks over at Language Log blogged about it a bit today, and left me inspired. Yes, language is a bit abstract a subject for art, but hey! I'm a calligrapher, and I already have a bit of a language theme going on in my work, and wouldn't mind riffing on it a bit more. I think I'll have a go at it. I like a challenge.

Here's my plan: one new piece per day for the rest of the year in another language. I'll aim for one or two new different languages per week. I may do a number of words and phrases for each language, depending on where my whim takes me, but for each I will at the very least do pieces featuring the equivalents of 'listen' and 'tell me'.
Yeah, I know, a tall order! I'll have to go do a little research to figure out how to say those things, since it's a little more involved than just looking them up in a dictionary. Sounds like fun to me (I welcome any excuse to go hang out in the library and study languages). If you happen to speak another language well, I'd love a helping hand with the translations. And I'm game to do non-Roman scripts, too-- though anything non-alphabetic might require a little (um, or a lot) of coaching.
Up first, my favorite second language, KiSwahili. To kick it all off, I'm listing these earrings in my shop this afternoon. 'Amani' and 'imani' are KiSwahili for 'peace' and 'faith', respectively.

Asante kwa kusoma na karibu tena!


Don said...

FYI, I posted a link to this entry on a list of blogs that mention the International Year of Languages.

And also on a page about art projects in the IYL.

Joanna said...

Excellent, thank you!

I'll be updating frequently with photos and discussion of the resulting pieces, so please check the rest of the blog for more polyglot goodness.