How Learning Yo (ญ) Alphabet Constitutes Thai Femininity Discourses?

During our pre-school childhood before we can read, write, or speak, learning through illustrated alphabet primers are our universal experiences. We become familiar with each alphabet by recognizing and memorizing its shape and the sound of its pronunciation, along with the accompanying words and images representing their meanings. Occasionally, the rhyming words are added in order to make them easier to learn by rote. My design research explores 114-year history of Yo Ying (), one Thai alphabet from the set of 44. The combinations of texts and images, as verbal and non-verbal codes, in these Yo Ying () learning tools lead us to understand how these design artifacts construct the meaning of women through their visual representations. The in-depth investigations of Yo Ying () primers along with other related graphic design works, such as posters, book covers, and advertisements, reveal patterns of paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations of visual languages representing social discourses about Thai women. For further studies, this method of visual deconstruction can be used as a model for designers, design curators, or design educators to understand the relationship between the design artifacts and their contextual meanings relating to cultural and social issues.

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