WTPh? (What the Phonics?) is an interactive installation that pronounces Danish street names in Copenhagen and saves you a lot of trouble when explaining the taxi driver where to pick you up.
Street names can be hard to read, especially in non-phonetic languages, where what is written can be totally different from how it is read and pronounced, a problem well experienced by the designers behind this project, American Momo Miyazaki and French Andrew Spitz. Their inability to confidently pronounce the street name their school was on eventually led them to design a speaker that teaches you how to pronounce the street names correctly and save you the embarrassment.
“We recorded a Dane pronouncing the street names then split up the word into syllables; lights are placed above the matching syllable so that in real-time, you can see which part of the word is being spoken. When participants lift the speaker off the wall, it starts playing,” say Miyazaki and Spitz about their interactive speaker attached to the street signs.
Not only is this interactive speaker a fun experience, but it allows “foreigners a chance to feel that excitement, connection, and pride of knowing one more thing about the surrounding community they wanted to experience.”
Now try pronouncing the word Jægersborggade and then compare it to the correct pronunciation, you’ll easily understand the problem and wish there was a WTPh? speaker placed right next to you.