Tag Archives: Synaesthesia

Colored letters revisited in other languages.


Someone asked me what a bunch of letters, I think in the Russian alphabet, would look like to me synaesthetically. My answer was that at first they would look like the colors of the letters that most resembled them in English (although some of them, I noticed that even if the Russian letter was, say, similar to a standard English numeral, I often interpreted it as a rotated and/or flipped letter instead of a numeral. No idea why). And then, if I ever learned the actual pronunciations, it’s a good bet that they would, if analogous to pronunciation I knew in my usual alphabet, grow to resemble the colors of those letters, and even the ones that were not the usual, would gain pronunciations of their own.

And, I know I have a lot of people’s mail to answer, but I’ve been among other things pretty absorbed in documenting how I now see Arabic letters. I took Arabic for a year in college, and while I remember almost none of the words (I remember some long strings of words, but reciting the Quran is not exactly conversational), I retained the alphabet just fine. So this is a foreign language whose alphabet I’ve already learned, which has correlations to the colors of letters in English now, as well as some of its own colors for sounds that can’t be easily approximated by English sounds.

So I’m going to warn you that what’s up ahead in this post is very long, very graphic-intensive, and not necessarily all that blind-accessible (I try to do descriptions, but don’t always succeed well). Also, please note that I was wearing tinted glasses and using as dark a monitor setting as possible when I made my last letters, so I just remade them again and they’ll look a bit different than before. (I still have copies of the old ones but they look all wrong.)

I’m now going to try to post this and hope it came out right.

Edited to add: You can hear the sounds of the Arabic alphabet here:

(corrected because I’d accidentally posted one of them twice)

Or, if you like it musical, here:

Or, if you like it musical with cute little kids singing it:

Anyway, on to the synaesthetic stuff.

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