An Intervention of Language Evolution and Human Communication
A Project by Pei-Ying Lin
The reciprocal integration of the body and of language, origin of the imaginary, decenters man in relation to himself, and marks the beginning of his wanderings. The ineluctable corollary of this is the impossibility of the return to the body as the secure place of his identity to himself. All he is is mediated by the word, and his trace can be found only in the words of the others.
- Luce Irigaray, To Speak is Never Neutral


Unspeakableness is a project that investigates human emotions and languages. By re-looking at how humans communicate, it searches for a way to connect our inner self and personal emotions, through the design of a personal language and several new ways of communication. It is is an investigation of how language can be improvised to connect our emotions in this multilingual world.

The focus of the project is human being, and the artefacts created through the most basic human needs - language. It is a process for me and the participants to re-define the languages we are using today, to take control ourselves instead of being controlled by the structure of languages.

2013/09/22 - Unspeakableness #1 on sale on Etsy!

Part 1 - The Untranslatable Words - Untranslatable Words in Languages other than English, v.s. Parrott's Classification is now available for order on Etsy. Available in A2 and A3 formats. I'm still researching for smaller size prints so it might suites some psychotherapists' needs. Sorry for the delay for the fact that there were too many things going on in my life recently.

2013/09/22 - Unspeakableness #1 Got Published in Best American Infographics 2013

Part 1 - The Untranslatable Words - Untranslatable Words in Languages other than English, v.s. Parrott's Classification has been selected as the Best American Infographics 2013, which will be publish in Oct. You can get the preorder through Amazon.

2013/08/10 - Exhibiting in NTMOFA

The whole project is currently exhibiting in National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts in Taichung, Taiwan as a part of the 2013 International Techno Art Exhibition alongside with Stelarc, Art Oriente Objet, Julius von Bismarck. The show opens until 2013/10/27.


The first part of the project: Part 1 - The Untranslatable Words has been featured in several media including Visua.ly, io9, The Globe and Mail, The Atlantic, PopSci, and Salon, as well as BBC Radio Global Service. Thank you for all the support.

There were also many requests for the prints of the visualizations in Part 1 - The Untranslatable Words. Good news that there will be prints for sale if you want high quality prints. Bad news is that it will take a while. So please drop me a line if you would like to have prints. It will be available internationally. Meanwhile, for recognizing all the helps I have got for this project, I feel there is an obligation to make it available to whoever find the visualization helpful. So the infographics will be licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. I will be very happy to know how they are being put to use.

[ Errata ]
Corrections to the Estonian word "Viitsima", it should be "ei viitsi" as "can't be bothered". My apologies to all the Estonian speakers.

Emotion Archive
Language Support: Anastasia Vikhornova, Mathias Vef, Julika Welge, Clemens Winkler, Neil Usher, Mark McKeague
Acting: Claire Thill
Recording: Agatha Haines
Editing: Lingxizhu Meng, Mathias Vef, Amina Abbas-Nazari
Programming: Jaen Saul
Trans-Language Communication
Participants: Ai Hasegawa, Koby Barhad, Anastasia Vikhornova, George Lampty, Seta White.
Special Thanks: Agatha Haines, Ling Xizhu Meng.
Personalized Language
Voices and Translation: Diana Tanase, Alois Bordenave, George Lampty, Mahshid Torkan, Alex Liang, Neringa Plange, Robyn Peters.
Special Thanks: Jaen Saul

Special Thanks

Joana Espirito Santo, Mark McKeague, Koby Barhad, Jaemin Paik, Ai Hasegawa, Alois Bordenave, Bertrand Clerc, Fflur Owen, David Chatting, Yijing Zhang, Ling Xizhu Meng, Magnus Loppe, Anastasia Kirillova, Anastasia Vikhornova, Bilge Nur Saltik, Yosuke Ushigome, Christophe Machet, Tamsin Nagel, Stine Linnemann, Bjorn Veno, Anna Ogden-Smith, Benedikt Gross, Niels van Roij, Iva Minkova, Marie Jacotey-voyatzis, Mathias Vef, Charlotte Brown, David Bellisario, Lina Patsiou, George Little, Sebastian Thielke, Clemes Winkler, Julika Welge, Neil Usher, Tobias Revell, Joseph Popper, Shing Tat Chung, Raphael Sun-Tat Kim, Agatha Haines, Tom Lynch, Claire Thill, Emil Jonsson, Emmanuel Akintunde, George Lampty, Seta White, Alois Bordenave, Diana Tanase, George Lampty, Mahshid Torkan, Robyn Peters, Alex Liang, Neringa Plange.