/ˈlo.kwiː/ (pronounced Loqui) is a fictitious alphabet created to promote the idea that as humans, we are all entitled to our own form of communication: it is the right of every individual to be able to express themselves without being judged for the language they speak.
Lokwi (pronounced Loqui) is a fictitious alphabet that takes inspiration from the phonetic qualities of language — the sounds we make when speaking aloud. Specifically, this alphabet combines Arabic, Persian and Urdu characters with their Latin counterparts, and each character is named using International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). This project was originally created as part of FORTY FIVE SYMBOLS, an international design competition for post-secondary graphic design students. It was one of 6 global winners and was featured in the traveling group exhibition in New York Design Week as well as TYPO Berlin.
Lokwi promotes the idea that as humans, we are all entitled to our own form of unencumbered communication; It is the right of every individual to be able to express themselves without being judged for the way their language sounds.
Each language can be thought of as having a different melody, and the differencesin pronunciation are the result of distinct manners of articulation. These sound variants are usually physiological in nature, the key to language development may lie in the environment in which it is spoken. Acoustic adaptation is a phenomenon often apparent in songbirds: the frequencies of their songs alter depending on the level of vegetation in their habitat. If a relationship exists between a bird’s song and the average yearly temperature, rainfall anddegree of tree cover; is there an analogous relationship between environment and human speech? This may be a poetic way of looking at speech development, but one that doesn’t negate the fact that difference often leads tobias and stigma.
Discrimination is caused not only by the way we look and the way we dress, but also by the language we speak. Recently, negative portrayals of the Middle-East has led to an increase in racism against Arabic speakers. Individuals who may sound different, or speak a language other than English often face discrimination based on the origins of the language spoken.
If songbirds can be celebrated for their diverse, melodious song, why can’t we?
Since then, /ˈlo.kwiː/ has been shown in multiple exhibitions globally including:
- Through Lines, Koffler Gallery, Toronto 2017
- Mother Tongue, Varley Art Gallery, Toronto 2017
- (Mus)interpreted, Daniels Spectrum, Toronto 2016
- Typo Berlin, House of World Cultures, Berlin 2016
- NYCxDESIGN, South Street Seaport, New York 2016
- 900, Third Space, Houston 2015