Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Anyone Got a Vowel?

Strč prst skrz krk is a Czech and Slovak tongue-twister meaning "stick your finger down your throat." It is sometimes used to judge whether or not a particular person is drunk.[1]

Wearing a T-shirt displaying a script in a "foreign" language is definitely an attention getter. People will come up to you and ask: "What language is that? How do you pronounce it? What does it mean?"

Assuming the person wearing the shirt knows and gives you an explanation, you may pass along and never again encounter another instance of that particular language in print, but some part of you will probably make a mental note of the diacritically marked letters and remember the sounds they're connected to. For example, with this t-shirt message pictured at the right, the letter "c" with a little check mark at the top (called a háček) is pronounced "ch" (as in "chomp")--as opposed to, say, the "c" that has a little tail underneath
(the cedilla) in the French language, that's pronounced as a soft "s" (as in "cedar").

This T-shirt can be ordered from Typotheque, a graphic design studio/type foundry located in the Netherlands.

Commenting on the fact that the number of native English speakers is less than the number of native Hindi and Arabic speakers, Typotheque founder Peter Biľak,, suggests that "we should pay as much attention to Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, Armenian or Devanagari scripts as we pay to Latin."[2] He has acted on that belief, in founding a company that specializes in creating custom type solutions for a variety of applications and languages.

Cool t-shirt!! One day I'm going to get one!

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