Phonetic Type Design 


Font to show differences in pronouncing a letter in the context of a word that can be understood intuitively.


Psychological Idea
Availability Heuristic

Published 
Page Online
Page Magazine


Without the ability to hear, learning how to speak is a challenge one can barely meet. Without it, people neither know how words should sound nor how they sound when they pronounce them, not to mention that there is no way of learning how to pronounce words intuitively. However many deaf people face that challenge and succeed. But no matter how hard they try it will not be possible to learn the tiny differences in pronouncing some words. So I started thinking of a method that could visualize those differences in a way everybody can understand. After a while I came up with the idea that there is no better way of showing how things are differently pronounced than by showing it with signs the people have already learned: The Latin Alphabet. In fact almost all the differences in pronounciation can be shown just with this limited amount of signs by replacing special letters with others. That is how this font was created.

After finishing the project I realized that such a font might not confront the real problem that deaf people are facing, which is the missing sensibility for and acceptance of inequality. Helping people who cannot hear to speak like somebody who can hear might not be the type of equality we should aim for. The better way would be to create acceptance of this existing inequality rather than trying to eliminate it. 




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In the phonetic font, letters are replaced with specifically altered versions that show the pronounciation of the letter in the context of a word.

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When one letter has two different phonems, these are almost exclusively owned by other letters that only have this one phonem. Therefore two alterations of the letter with two phonems are created: one fusion with the letter of the first and another fusion with the letter of the second possible phonem.
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Phonems that are constituted by two letters are visualized with specifically designed ligatures.
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The length of the pronounciation is shown through expansion or shrinking of the letter.
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I programmed the replacing of the letters into the unicode file, so that the letters are replaced automatically.


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