Tag Archives: videos

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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The difference between what’s normal for someone and what isn’t.


I remember being confused about something that happened during my first Autreat.

After Autreat, someone was talking about how surprised she was to see a particular person having a particular kind of trouble. (I’m being vague on purpose, the kind isn’t all that important and the people involved probably want to be anonymous.) I was surprised how focused she was on this, given that lots of people there (including me) had the same kind of trouble and she did not seem alarmed that the rest of us did. I asked her about it but she hemmed and hawed more than she gave an actual answer.

I eventually got an answer from a friend of hers that was more blunt: “Nobody looking at you expected you to be high-functioning enough not to have that trouble anyway.”

Oh. (Keep in mind at that point I regarded myself as being, and looking, extremely “high functioning”, and believed in functioning levels. This was awhile ago. But, more to the point, I didn’t always have that trouble to the extent that I had it after flying across the country, especially after getting stranded between flights.)

Today a guy came over who works for the nighttime emergency service I use in lieu of a roommate. Normally, they’re sent over here for bad situations. Often I’m some combination of very ill, in pain, and immobile. Apparently there’s some mandatory part of the program that involves them coming out and meeting us on an ordinary day periodically. And I’m beginning to see why.

Someone who mainly sees me during emergencies is going to have a much different understanding of what my baseline abilities are, than someone who sees me on an ordinary day. In fact, a person who doesn’t know me well could easily mistake the way I’m doing on a bad day, for the usual, and thus not really worry even if I’m showing clear signs of something being incredibly wrong.

This isn’t just true in medical situations, either. People who worked for this agency have disregarded signs of emotional stress on my part before because their presence caused me enough stress that they never saw me un-stressed. When my friend had to explain to them that normally I’m a fairly animated person and don’t sit meekly in a corner saying yes to everything unless I’m terrified out of my mind, they had trouble believing her.

So it actually seems like a really good idea to have people get familiar with what someone is usually like, even if what they’re normally going to be dealing with is emergencies. That way, they can tell the difference between something being wrong and something being normal for that person.

(BTW, the recent absence of posting is because I’m working on a video about my cat, and cats take a lot of time to film, at least in the contexts I’m trying to film her in.)