Upgraded “Internet Swadesh” Site

Data Representation, Internet Art, Linguistic Deconstruction

My dream of having the Internet Swadesh website be a completely automated and daily glimpse on the linguistic proclivities of the Internet was not going to come true anytime soon, so I decided to get things working manually. So I updated the site to a simple WordPress install and went to Google Image Search myself to get image results for each of the 208 Swadesh terms in English. I’m going to try to update these myself every month for now, and maybe throw in some other languages as I have time.

So not much to see now, but hopefully it will get better as the year progresses.

Finally, an Image of the Letterpress Swadesh Project

Letterpress, Linguistic Deconstruction

I posted about the conceptual print based on the Swadesh list used in linguistics studies some time back. Well, it’s been printed for a couple of weeks, I just never got around to photographing it. No longer! I might to another photoshoot just to see if I can get the embossing nailed down properly, but this particular shot contains two detail insets with the embossing more prominent. Click to embiggen.


New Letterpress Project: An Arrangement of the 208 Swadesh Terms Distributed in Conceptual Order

Letterpress, Linguistic Deconstruction

I sent off for the plates today, so here’s a preview of a new letterpress edition I will be producing at the Bow and Arrow Press in the next couple of weeks:

Swadesh Letterpress Layout-01

This will be printed on 20″ x 13″ Lettra 220# fluorescent white paper. The light gray words will not be printed, they will be embossed on the paper. There will be 27 members in the edition. Price has not yet been set. Email if interested!

More images to come.

English GIS Swadesh List

Internet Art, Linguistic Deconstruction

I recorded a French Swadesh list today, but didn’t have time to process it. One of the reasons I didn’t is because I decided I need to work on a new, totally random idea that is actually pretty funny, at least to myself. I decided to get Google’s help in translating the Swadesh list to visual format, using the first image that comes up in Google Image Search for each Swadesh entry. Fortunately the Swadesh list has 207 words, which, when the language name is added as a “zero” entry, makes a nice 13×16 grid. So, here is the English GIS Swadesh list for 9 March 12:

Here is the original file at full size, which is rather big. Here is a copy of the Swadesh list, for those who wish to follow along at home.

I’m assuming that the roster of images will change as events progress in the Googles. I will probably revisit this concept in weeks to come, just to see what happens. Sometimes the first image that popped up really sucked, and the subsequent images were much more interesting. And I believe I was noticing quite a few SEO troll sites with crap content just to increase their Google page ranking. Anyway, an interesting experiment in Internet linguistic interpretation.