travelling words

The journey of words is a linguistic voyage that sheds light on cultural contributions to common language while celebrating its diverse influences. The idea is to focus on words that have travelled before being considered French and shared by all speakers of the language. 

Run-ins, encounters and loans from others’ languages constitute a part of both erudite French and street slang. There are thousands of common words that originated elsewhere: elixir from Arabic, mosquito from Spanish, banana and cola from African languages, jungle from Hindi, catamaran from Tamil, ketchup from Chinese… The goal is to provide a public forum for this linguistic heritage that embodies the Tout-monde (“Whole world”) concept set forth by Edouard Glissant. It’s a way to extend a hand to new arrivals through language. 

As part of his role as an associate artist at the La Courneuve Cultural Centre, Malte Martin created 12 typographic designs, each for a word of foreign origin. He then produced three items presenting the work: a teaching kit for conducting workshops with residents, a citywide poster campaign, and a newspaper printed in high quantities, which featured the art and stories for the travelling words and promoted a world music festival. 

Pas d'actualité pour l'instant…