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“English Language” poster

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Mar 14th, 2018. Artwork published in .
    “English Language” poster 1
    Source: https://web.archive.org Michael Ciancio. License: All Rights Reserved.

    “Basically this was a conclusion I came to at the end of my one-year stay in Europe.”

    Michael Ciancio’s homage to the diversity of diacritical marks found in European languages represents an early and rather charming example of what Christoph called “diacritics madness”. The use of such faux diacritics became an annoying trope in font marketing and elsewhere, see also this older post about Misereor’s Vietnam campaign. There must be historical antecedents for this. If you know of any, let us know!

    This reprise is different not only in the colors, but also in several of the characters and letterforms. The inclusion of a section sign (§)—which neither is an alphabetic character nor foreign to the English language—kind of dilutes the message.
    Source: https://work-by-michael-ciancio.myshopify.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    This reprise is different not only in the colors, but also in several of the characters and letterforms. The inclusion of a section sign (§)—which neither is an alphabetic character nor foreign to the English language—kind of dilutes the message.

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    3 Comments on ““English Language” poster”

    1. Thiago says:
      Mar 14th, 2018  8:07 pm

      Well, they’re mostly not that interesting to natives. We on the other hand wish more fonts had our characters.

    2. Oliver Scholz says:
      Dec 28th, 2018  1:15 pm

      Well, that is certainly one self defeating message …

      My language (German) does have four characters not in the English alphabet, two of them are used in the poster. I fail to see what’s “interesting” about them. They’re quite mundane to any native speaker. It’s just four more.

      It’s “interesting” only as long as it’s exotic. Nothing wrong per se with finding something exotic and fascinating that you’re not used to. However, what’s the idea here? That those characters are “interesting” in and by themselves? Or is the message “I want them to be normal in my language so I can stop finding them interesting”?

      The self-defeating part stems from the fact that these characters are not used as characters but as glyph variants. I feel tempted to make an answering poster that reads: “Even if the English language had more characters, you wouldn’t do anything with them.”

      A non-self-defeating variant of the message could use actual alternative characters, like the long-s and or the eth, and read, for instance: “I wiſh ðe Engliſh language had more intereſting characters.”

      But I guess it’s, uh, “ironic … d’oh”.

      The way faux diacritics are used in e.g. the Misereor poster does make much more sense: It’s meant to evoke the script of the referenced language. Even the use of e.g. German characters in older Heavy Metal covers is at least meaningful. But here it’s just an aggregation of arbitrary characters.

    3. Oliver Scholz says:
      Dec 28th, 2018  1:22 pm

      I forgot: Older antecedents of faux diacritics would be the use of faux umlauts in a ton of heavy metal posters and covers: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal…

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