Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Translation: AKA a Typical Warm-up

Things are often not as they seem.
In this typical warm-up (typical in that language lies at its heart), students sought to unravel the mystery of this artwork by Xu Bing. What at first seems like calligraphy is in fact the entirety of the poem, The Song of Wandering Aengus by W.B. Yeats....

Students tried their hand at translating this, with much success!
Then we wrote our own work in the same vein....

And then we endeavored to make it more calligraphic:

We had fun thinking about translation. 

As a corollary, and a way to talk about the implications translations with your child, why not listen to the theme song from Disney's Frozen, as ably sung by Malinda Kathleen Reese... and not so ably translated by google.translator.

Here's the first stanza of the poem, above...
I WENT out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,         5
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.


  1. And how many connections can my math students make to our work with codes earlier this year? Are all languages considered codes? Did this appear to be a code from the start before the readers took a closer look?

  2. Great Questions. Speaking for myself, I might have walked right by this piece without realizing what was going on. I'm glad I didn't. I suspect that this sort of missed code cracking opportunity happens quite a bit. What is that painting saying? And the birds? The stream? The sky?

  3. Absolutely! We're surrounded by codes in the form of symbols, letters, numbers, pictures, sounds and ideas. The world is an exciting place; we just have to open our eyes!!