Call for Words and Languages

Teach Me a Word You’re Afraid to Forget

Record it here:

 According to a study there are at least 50 languages being spoken daily in Govanhill (Southside, Glasgow). ‘Teach me a word you’re afraid to forget’ is an art project and an ongoing research into how sound conveys meaning. How do languages impact the way we see the world? The artist Aga Paulina Młyńczak seeks contributors from Glasgow to each share a voice recording about their chosen language or mother tongue. 

To record. Think of a word you’d not want to forget. This will take 10-20 min. Please follow the prompts:


  • Introduce yourself (first name only)
  • Where are you based?
  • Which languages do you speak?
  • Which language do you use everyday? / And, how long have you been using it? 
  • Which language does the society you live in use (if different).
  • Would you say you’re fluent in the society’s dominant language?
  • Which language do you consider your mother tongue? Would you say you’re fluent in your mother tongue? 
  • Do you have some thoughts about the sense of humour (or sarcasm) in different languages? How is it different/similar? Examples? (If anything comes to mind. If not skip this question.)
  • Teach me a word – it could be a word of special significance to yourself or else one that is in your opinion untranslatable. Record it in the following format:
    – Your word repeated x2
    – Your definition
    – Your reason for choosing it
  • To study the way sounds convey meaning alphabets. I’d like to ask you to record your alphabet.

Now, please go ahead and send the recording to or use the automated form in the link at the top of the page.


In this project, I build a multilingual, interactive, linguistic map based on an invitation to participants to ‘teach me a word you’re afraid to forget’ in any language they speak – a model which will go on to be replicated in other cities. This map became a resource that informs a subsequent body of work about language and the legacy of the multicultural communities. 

‘What if language assumes meaning through its usage in the community that gives birth to it, and its primary function is not the internal thought but the social interaction?’(1)

Through this project I seek to answer this and other questions about language. I am interested in language’s possibility to provide non-linguistic prompts for understanding e.g. via sound or symbol. Therefore, l seek to investigate the development of protolanguages, curious if they shaped or reflected the archetypes for human relationship to the society as well as environment. Based on that research, I would like to find intuitive ways of expanding communication using microphones, programming and sound installations. Finally, I aim to reflect on the possibility that language and the way it defines the world takes on an unshakable quality as long as we are a part of the linguistic majority. 

I welcome any thoughts and comments. Contact me here: 

(1) ‘Fifty Sounds’ by Polly Barton