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Can You Say Kvæsthusgade?

Can You Say Kvæsthusgade?
Andrew Spitz

Copenhagen. The idyllic Danish city of bikes and canals and bikes and walkable streets and bikes is also the home of street names and neighborhoods that can be nearly impossible for the non-Danish to pronounce. Kvæsthusgade? Brolæggerstræde? Klaksvigsgade? You don't have to be a lazy American to get discouraged (though it certainly helps).

To try to help foreigners verbally traverse this phonically complicated streetscape, two expats have created a light and sound installation that sounds out these throat-chokers syllable by consonant-riddled syllable.

Through a light panel and an attached speaker, passersby can watch and listen as the street names are slowly sounded out. The installations are documented in this film, WTPh? – or What the Phonics? – by sound and interaction designer Andrew Spitz and interaction design grad student Momo Miyazaki.

Maybe not too practical to roll out citywide, but still a cool idea for helping people navigate their way through unfamiliar and unpronounceable territory.

Via to Broken City Lab

Image credit: Andrew Spitz

Nate Berg is a freelance reporter and a former staff writer for The Atlantic Cities. He lives in Los Angeles. All posts »

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