0 Menu

"STRENGTH" letterpress print


The borrowed text on this print is set in Earthish, a Midwestern English dialect-reading phonetic alphabet developed within the editorial pages of The Sphere in the early 1990s. The alphabet was subsequently refined and the rules finalized in the private journals of Mike Koppa. This is the first time the alphabet appeared in print (2003), and as of 15 November 2016, it remains the only time.

The alphabet was designed, from the beginning, to use only existing characters in order to be used with existing hand set type. This broadside is set in (mostly) ATF News Gothic, with Century Old Style characters when it became necessary.

A very short summary of the basic rules of Earthish
Vowels have only two sounds, long and short, and the q has become an additional 6th vowel to cover the 2 “oo” sounds. Each vowel has a default “short” sound and a “long” sound, which is indicated by a preceding silent x. This is the only use for the letter x: a silent indicator of a long vowel sound. The x is the only modifier of a vowel sound.

There are no contractions. The ch sound, for example, is represented by an upside-down K. The C, which is unnecessary as a representative of either the K or S sounds, represents the sh sound. An upside-down F represents the th as in “the.” An upside-down lower-case h represents the th sound as in “think.” There’s a flaw in the system there…an upside-down uppercase H is hard to differentiate from a right-side-up H! (See the official manual [forthcoming?] to learn how this was resolved, or take a good look a the title.) Y is the ng sound.

The translation, in part:

A man’s intellectual character is determined by what he habitually thinks about. The mind cannot always be consciously directed to definite ends; it has hours of relaxation. There are many hours in the life of the most strenuous and arduous man when the mind goes its own way and thinks its own thoughts. These times of relaxation, when the mind follows its own bent, are perhaps the most fruitful and significant periods in a rich and noble intellectual life. The real nature, the deeper instincts of the man, come out of these moments, as essential refinement and genuine breeding are revealed when the man is off guard and acts and speaks instinctually….

The rest is left as a challenge for anyone interested in finishing.

Signed edition of 30 prints on cotton rag paper
15.5" x 10.5"