2012 ~ now
Sound, Algorithm, Performance

A multilingual might think why can't I talk in the way I want? Why do I always have to use the language others understand while sacrificing using a much more beautiful word in another language? Language is one of the major elements that represent our identity, why do I need to selectively avoid using the words I love and be restrained in one language? Why not use the languages more freely? To design our own aesthetically appealing language which represents our personality without being a poet, just like we dress ourselves without being a fashion designer? This project is intended to discover the new use of language - to create personalised languages for the multilingual people that would hold the maximum ability of expression emotions.

Creating languages is never easy. This project is inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien's constructed languages for his Middle-earth beings and Klingon, where the languages were created by taken phonetic aesthetic into consideration. The purpose of Esperanto also influence the core idea of the project - to make the world more flat through language. This project is trying to facilitate the mixture of languages on an individual level to bridge the separate parts of self by designing an algorithm (or a process, in a less computational way) that would allows any person who are multilingual to be able to design their own language through their own attachment of each word in different languages and cultural context. And hopefully through the process of using and mixing the languages to find an emotionally unified person.

Algorithm for Generating Personalised Language
paragraph = write_self_description(first_language)
best_words = []
for word in words_of(paragraph)
    append(best_words , first(sort_by_attachment(translations_of(word))))
while sounds_weird(best_words)

Algorithm in Human Language Translation
  1. Compose a paragraph that would represent yourself in the language you are most familiar with. Do not afraid to use words from other languages if you find them relevant.
  2. Go through the texts word by word. For each word, search your language database for the most powerful, emotional-attached, or memories-attached translation. Example: If you find the word "stars" in Chinese sounds more beautiful than any other languages you know, then use it.
  3. Review the translated words, fix the grammar using the grammar system you find most natural. Rephrase any oddities to something that sounds more natural when spoken.
  4. Read it out loud. If weird, repeat step 2 to 4.


The performance part of the project consists of seven monologues done by seven individuals who are more or less foreign to UK and speak more than two languages, each focusing on one of the emotion categories that I have managed to identify through discussion, workshops, and scientific research references. I chose a second generation Ghana immigrant in London, an Icelandic who has been living in Portugal and works in London, an Iranian who knows the Urdu language which was originally created through a mixture of Persian and Hindi, a Singaporean who grew up using English, Mandarin, Hokkien, and Malay in daily life and is fascinated by Welsh, a Taiwanese whose parents are from France and Taiwan, a Lithuanian who knows Russian because it was a part of USSR, and a Romanian who is doing linguistic research in Computer Science. All of the individuals represent a story that's linked by different languages.

Voices and Translation: Diana Tanase, Alois Bordenave, George Lampty, Mahshid Torkan, Alex Liang, Neringa Plange, Robyn Peters.
Special Thanks: Jaen Saul

Contact Pei-Ying Lin at (ca3rine at gmail.com)