Phonetic Constellations of the First Magnitude
letterpress | 9″ x 6.25″ (closed), 9″ x 30″ (open) | edition of 30 | 2016
This book represents the most common vowel and consonant sounds among the world’s languages according to the UCLA Phonological Segment Inventory Database. I have paired the layouts of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) charts with imagery from early modern astronomical charts to create new diagrams of linguistic sounds as constellations, with star size correlated to the sound’s frequency. The title of the book refers to the traditional system of classifying stellar brightness in which the classification “of the first magnitude” was used for the brightest stars, as seen from earth. The sounds represented here occur again and again, across a great range of languages and language families around the world–the brightest of human sounds.