The Conceptual Interface Metaphor (TCIM)

Today, more and more scholars are proposing to introduce cognitive principles into the structure of lexicons. The idea that lexicons should mirror the way language is organized in our brains seems like the most logical conclusion to the scientific evidence that our language reflects our cognitive processes. From a designers point of view, the fact that interfaces and language are metaphorical by nature and both reflect the structure of our cognition makes IxD the perfect medium for bringing cognitive research into lexicography. In this project I examine the way we think about language so as to deduce how we should interact with it. I base my work on the Conceptual Metaphor Theory which claims that the words we use on a specific topic reflect our understanding of it, namely that abstract ideas are always spoken about in terms of concrete entities from our physical surroundings. For this work I chose four metaphors corresponding to four abstract concepts: conceptual-metaphors Each metaphor is given a physical interpretation; in form, behavior or interaction. The resulting artifacts exploit knowledge that the user already has of the real world to provide insight into characteristics of the concepts mentioned above. This project is the outset of a larger research. The final goal of this research is to develop an intuitive interface for lexicons based on the Conceptual Metaphor Theory. A short PDF for additional info about the objects

LangWidgets – Navigation System for Semantic Fields

The project examines new variations of interactive lexicographical arrangements. One of the innovations brought along by online dictionaries was the elimination of alphabetical organization needed for orientation in a vocabulary. Although this was a positive development, it has not constituted a change in the manner in which we use dictionaries. The standard online dictionary does not allow the users to browse, but instead forces them to look for a specific word. The goal is to find a visual and technological solution that will allow the user to experience and internalize the structure of a new vocabulary through their senses rather than memorizing it. LangWidgets are based on psycholinguistic theories, some of which are outlined in WordNet, an ongoing Princeton University lexicographical project.

WordNet is a large database of words grouped into sets of cognitive synonyms, and maps of conceptual relations between words, similar to the way they are reticulated in our mind. The suggested interface involves a set of physical interactive widgets and a GUI. It allows the user to search for a specific word and browse through its semantic field, synthesizing the user's verbal cognition and spatial orientation.

Lost in Translation

A video installation that displays the progression of translation from Russian to Hebrew. It conveys the disparities between original source and translated outcome, as well as the variety of possible translations which occur when two verbal cultures are compared.

The inaccuracies of translation which are inevitably embedded in any translation process, are presented in a strictly non-verbal fashion. This way the viewer doesn't have to read or understand the languages, to view and appreciate the losses of meaning when a word “migrates” to another language and culture.

Possible wordings in Hebrew are weighed against the Russian source in an attempt to find the most suitable phrasing. With each Hebrew word presented, part of the Russian semantic field "dries out", demonstrating the semantic relations that will be lost in the Hebrew output. As individual words are examined in the top screens, they are simultaneously tested within their context in the paragraph. Visuals contributed by native speakers of both languages accompany the progress in an attempt to fathom the associative worlds of both Russian and Hebrew speakers. At the end of each translation cycle a different output text is printed out. The text used in the installation is a prologue to the Russian version of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, which he initially wrote in English and later translated himself to Russian.