matt duncan creates a language tool.
This and That
is an interactive narrative web application designed in collaboration with Raphael Wenger to assist intermediate-level English speakers in understanding how prominent words in the language can be used in many different contexts. Try it out for yourself here.
This project grew out of a fascination with language and communication. Our research started with linguistic relativity, semiotics, and exploring the function of emoji as valuable context enhancers; ultimately we were looking at how context influences meaning. Based on the research of I. A. Richards, we identified a number of highly important English words. These words in almost all cases can be very ambiguous alone; their meaning is contingent on the context they are used in. We believe that a strong understanding of these core words is paramount in communicating effectively in the English language, and due to their crucial role these words were chosen to be implemented as our primary arsenal of vocabulary for this project.