Language shapes our communication, our perception and our being. Language is far more than the structured articulation of words. It embodies our sufferings, joys, fears and hopes, through it we explain the world to ourselves and form our reality.
The master´s thesis called “Languages of the World – World of Languages” is divided into three segments, which are also haptically differentiable through a variation of uncoated and coated paper. The theoretical parts are accompanied by a photographical series, visualizing languages as fluently changing objects.
Every day we toss around words, but at the same time their semantics? How can language be defined? What gives language its diversity? Where are its limits? The core of the thesis is formed by the practical part which is dedicated to distinguishing untranslatable words and their meanings. Those words are reflecting concepts from all over the world and cannot be translated by using just one single term, instead these untranslatable words need descriptions in order to be comprehensible in other languages.
A catalogue and a map have been created based on the untranslatable words and their languages, showing a new perspective on the world. The catalogue is arranged by the coordinates from the map and categorized by the meanings of the untranslatable words. The intention is to explain the role of language in the creation of visions and ideas and to draw attention to the limits it can simultaneously impose on us. Through language it becomes possible to grasp constructs of thought and to encourage lateral thinking in a way that would otherwise remain hidden.

The thesis won the Europen Design Award 2019.

Text & Photography: Julia Baldauf