What song connects new-wave rock with American vaudeville and William Caxton, England's first printer and publisher? Why, it's Swingin' the Alphabet [text link], which was based on The Alphabet Song, otherwise called Ba-Be-Bi-Bo-Bu and The Cuz's Anthem.
Here it is performed by The Three Stooges, and by Oingo Boingo. [more inside]
Here it is performed by The Three Stooges, and by Oingo Boingo. [more inside]
The Alphabet That Will Save a People From Disappearing - "“Why do Fulani people not have their own writing system?” Abdoulaye Barry remembers asking his father one day in elementary school. The variety of writing styles made it difficult for families and friends who lived in different countries to communicate easily. Abdoulaye’s father, who learned Arabic in Koranic schools, often helped friends and family in Nzérékoré—Guinea’s second-largest city—decipher letters they received, reading aloud the idiosyncratically modified Arabic scripts. As they grew older, Abdoulaye and his brother Ibrahima began to translate letters, too. “Those letters were very difficult to read even if you were educated in Arabic,” Abdoulaye said. “You could hardly make out what was written.” So, in 1990, the brothers started coming up with an alternative. Abdoulaye was 10 years old; Ibrahima was 14." [more inside]
Buildings used to be designed less as big blocks and more as complex shapes, even shaped like letters, to minimize the distance to an exterior wall and maximize natural light and ventilation. In fact, in 1773, Johann David Steingruber (Google auto-translation) published Architectonisches Alphabet, or Architectural Alphabet (Archive.org), providing an alphabet (more or less) worth of floor plans. It's in German, so you'll probably skip ahead and start with A. Of course, you can still find plenty of letter-shaped buildings (and write geo-greetings), thanks to the ubiquity of aerial photography.
For Inktober, an A-Z of D&D monsters.
”Google’s new logo is its biggest update in 16 years“ (says Fast Company) “[I]t's now using a sans-serif typeface, making it look a lot more modern and playful. The colors are also softer than they used to be. The logo bears a bit more resemblance to the logo of Google's new parent company, Alphabet, as well.” (says Verge) The Google Blog has more. And, of course, there’s an introductory doodle.
Larry Page announces, in a blog post, a massive restructuring of Google. Google is now a subsidiary of Larry and Sergey Brin's new company "Alphabet", and Sundar Pichai Google's new CEO.
In the 1970's, Sesame Street wasn't the only educational puppet show in town. The Letter People was a literacy program and television series that taught phonics with an unusual bunch of 26 characters. Here's the entire 60 episode run. The production values improved a bit as the show went on, evolving from black backgrounds and simple sets to more elaborate ones. Every Letter Person had their own theme song, featured in their introductory episode; here's all twenty-six of those in alphabetical, and thus wildly anachronic, order. Absent from the show are the songs of Misters R, X and Q (the last three Letter People to debut in the show - they'd clearly gone through design changes by then, ESPECIALLY Mr. X). [more inside]
PangramTweets automatically finds and retweets tweets which include all of the letters of the alphabet. [more inside]
Let’s say you’re a writer, working a novel set in Minneapolis. Your protagonist arrives home after a long day of doing whatever it is your protagonist does all day. To this point, you’ve been very specific with local landmarks and a general feeling of the city — your protagonist rides the 21A, eats breakfast at the Grand Cafe, and meets his or her attorney in an office on the 12th floor of the Rand Tower. All good so far. You’ve set the scene very effectively. People are going to say, “This is a great Minneapolis novel" after they read it. However, the time has now come for you to insert a specific street address into the text. You like specifics, and you need a real-sounding mailing address for, say, a situation where the protagonist receives a mysterious letter. How will you accomplish this? Here you have a problem. You only have two options, neither one very good. [more inside]
The ABC of Architects. A bouncy animation of 26 well-known buildings.
A collaboration between 26 designers to create 26 space and sci-fi themed letters. A series of 26 sci-fi and space themed typographic art prints.
Alphabet Horror Vacui is a satire of children's alphabet books utilizing unnerving themes such as nightmares, war, monsters, institutionalized ignorance, and willful ambivalence to human suffering in lieu of familiar alphabet scenes of busy city streets, animals amongst nature, and happy fanciful scenes. Each piece takes a slightly different tack with Marsh's self-imposed assignment, and while some of them are funny in an almost Edward Gorey way, others worm their way into your brain. (via io9) [more inside]
Mysteries of Vernacular is a series of delightful papercraft animations about etymology, by filmmaker Jessica Oreck. Four of a projected 26 videos, one for each letter of the alphabet, have been completed so far: Assassin, Hearse, Pants, and Clue. (via)
U is for USB Drive: A collection of flash cards for “design geek-hipster-interwebbers” to teach their children the A-B-Cs in their own style. It is currently only a concept.
If you revolve the letters of the alphabet around an axis, you get the 3D alphabet.
Arkitypo — Using the 26 letters of the alphabet as the starting point, the curators selected a specific typeface that began with each respective letter to develop a 3d alphabet of alphabets. After thoroughly researching the history of each letter, they set out to represent each individual character graphically with elements of its history serving as the foundation. Arkitypo: letter rotations on Vimeo.
"Running Alphabet is a project by the designer and runner Joan Pons Moll. The purpose of it is to run every character from the alphabet, captured by GPS and create a complete typeface from it. This is a collaborative initiative so if you are interested in running a letter go to participate and follow the instructions. Ready, Type, Go!" [more inside]
Inspired by a recent AskMe, a search for videos featuring the 'Iroha Uta' turned up a number of interesting versions. The iroha is a pangram based on the Japanese syllabary, and thus uses each of the 48 characters once and only once (Wikipedia explanation). Let's start with the 'lovely' Hatsune Miku singing it. (Bonus: she includes hand symbols for each character - used by this young lady for her version.) [more inside]
Beware the Electronic Automatic Sound-Spectrograph Computing Digit Translator Playback Recognizer Machine
Telephoneme: Even if your Alphabet Conspiracy succeeds and you destroy the books, machines have no minds of their own. They are easily confused by different voices and different accents. It is the brain of man that tells them what to do. [more inside]
We see it every day on signs, billboards, packaging, in books and magazines; in fact, you are looking at it now — the Latin or Roman alphabet, the world’s most prolific, most widespread abc. Typography is a relatively recent invention, but to unearth the origins of alphabets, we will need to travel much farther back in time, to an era contemporaneous with the emergence of civilisation itself. The origins of abc.
Raising a geek child in a geek household? The Geek Alphabet is the ideal primer for teaching your budding geek their ABCs.
October 9th is 한글날, or Hangul Day. Hangul is the Korean alphabet, and it has a fascinating history, so let's celebrate! (YT). Better yet, here are some videos that will help you learn Hangul for yourself: [Introduction] [Advanced] [Hangul Rap!] [Beginner's Vocabulary]
Japanese Element Symbols is an introduction for non-Japanese to the Japanese language through Kanji symbols, its alphabet, elements of Japan's culture, and what to expect on the culinary front.
Java Demo: "four-letter words have a special status in the english language and culture. counting in at over 1650 words,...this small project is an attempt to give a spacial overview of the entirety of this part of english language heritage, as well as to explore and visualize relations between all those words."
Make your handwriting into a font with Yourfonts. Download the PDF, draw your alphabet, scan and upload, then download the finished result. Examples. Via Drawn!
The Geek ABCs. A is for Alignment, which is why I stabbed you... G is for Grue, likely to eat you... R is for RuneQuest where old people roll the dice.
A is for Automobile, B is for Bazooka. An Iranian kids' coloring book made during the Iraq-Iran War, intended to teach the Farsi alphabet, has been scanned and uploaded to Photobucket. [more inside]
ABC3D is an elegant pop-up book featuring the letters of the alphabet. Plus: a flip book that generates a rainbow.
Whew--just squeaked this post in for Black History Month. Vintage YouTubery of Richard Pryor, Jackie Robinson, Bill Cosby, and James Earl Jones, each reciting The Alphabet on Sesame Street. And then Patti LaBelle blows 'em all away with a Gospel Rendition.
Phonetic alphabets have taken many forms across many languages. But why go with Alpha-Bravo-Charlie when you can choose Bread-Debt-Indictment , Abides-Bowling-Chinaman, Are-Beady-Cue, and Ackbar-BadgerBadgerBadger-Camwhore? What's the MetaFilter phonetic alphabet?
Illustrator Apelad has many various projects & flickrsets, including the fairly well known Laugh Out Loud Cats & the Hodgman inspired Hobo Names project, but some of the lesser known ones are awesome as well, including this set of images created for common HTTP Errors, this Alphabet of Monsters, and a personal favorite, Monkey!, wherein users send in a monkey description and receive in return a drawing.
The concept of alphabetization was invented at the Great Library of Alexandria in the third century BC, with words grouped by first letter. It wasn't until 1053, in the Elementarium doctrinae erudimentum that recursive alphabetization (where "Aab" comes before "Aac" and after "Aaa") appeared in rudimentary form. You'd think that by now we'd have the process down, but controversies still rage. Does "sea foam" come before "seaborne"? Does "Michael Jackson" come before "Nick Cave"? Throw in international characters and an occasional foray into ASCIIbetical order and it's no wonder the alphabet can be so frustrating.
Ancient Alchemical Alphabetologists. From the wonderful Giornale Nuovo: Basoli's fantastical architectural alphabet, Steingruber's blueprint alphabet, De Bry's Biblical decorative alphabet, and general figurative alphabets.
Write your name in Tengwar, the Elvish language/alphabet created by JRR Tolkien. You can work with Tengwar fonts based on Middle Earth languages and runes and see many examples of the script via a Google Image search. According to Tolkien, "there is quite a bit of linguistic wisdom in it." There are certainly websites devoted to his languages and thier history. And It took some thought and work to make the speech sound right in the movies.
The Ecology of Magic is the abbreviated first chapter of David Abram's Spell of the Sensuous. Abram explores the intersection of phenomenology, synesthesia and linguistics to discover the magic of the alphabet, the sacred winds, and ultimately, the root of animism. Abram finds the locus of these superstitions not in an imagined metaphysical sphere, but rooted in our sensuous experience of the world around us. He attributes much of our cavalier attitude towards our environment to our separation from our own experience, and ultimately, our loss of magic. "The fate of the earth depends on a return to our senses."
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