Hybrid Phonics

California College of the Arts

final outcome
solid forms

Hybrid Phonics is a multi-sensory transcription of 26 letters spoken in four languages.

The goal of this experiment is to [de]construct the phonetic alphabet into a new graphic language that is both visual and audible.

In this exploration, 26 letters of the American alphabet are recorded in English, Spanish, German and Japanese and collaged in order to render a new visual form from each linguistic sound wave. This amalgamation of sounds and languages becomes a personal montage of spoken languages and their phonetic interpretations. I chose these four languages because they are the ones I speak, studied and have always wanted to learn. I organized the content in the order of my language fluency: English is first, and Japanese is last.

Deconstructing the Alphabet with Sound
The project began with a script of each phonetic letterform for the four languages I speak. I then recorded each language using Audacity and saved each language in separate files. After every sound has been recorded, I determined that I would layer each sound for per letter form and order the languages from native (English) to least fluent (Japanese).

Information Design
I realized that my initial interpretations of my phonetic alphabet were visually complex so I simplified my sound forms by isolating each language for each letter. This new form then allowed me to create a color code to distinguish one language from another when collaged.

Sensory Design
This phonetic alphabet becomes a personalized montage of sound forms derived from each letter spoken that is unique to me. The alphabet shown here is a graphic and sensory interpretation of the letters A to Z pronounced in the four languages I speak: English, Spanish, German and Japanese.
*(see video).

Graduate Graphic Designer / Interaction Designer
Raquel Kalil
Project link