In-Depth #5

The In-Depth project is now in full swing, and I am giving more thought about what my presentation and final project will look like. I had lots of time to practice calligraphy over Spring Break, however, my recent trip to Cuba and the school catch-up afterward has taken up so much time that I have not practiced at all for the past 1.5 weeks. So, when I met with my mentor this Sunday, I was a little rusty with my traditional Copperplate Script. Due to this, we spent some more time writing out full-size sentences and poems to practice complete Copperplate Script with connections and capital letters.

After that, I had an introduction to Modern Calligraphy. One of the main differences that I noticed between traditional and modern calligraphy is that there are not nearly as many rules surrounding letter shapes and variations. When practicing Copperplate, when I asked about what variation of a letter I should use, most of the time the answer depended on a variety of rules that were established by the previous and next letter I was writing. Letter shapes were also very strict, with a letter that did not perfectly follow the proportions and design of the script considered ‘wrong’ by traditional calligraphers. However, when asking about which shape, connection or variation of a letter I should use in Modern Calligraphy, my mentor’s usual answer was “that’s up to you. Whatever you think fits best aesthetically.” This was an interesting new concept for me that was fun and creatively challenging to explore. Nevertheless, the Modern Calligraphy script that I was exploring was her own personal script, so I didn’t have the freedoms I will have when I create my own script.

 

When meeting with my mentor, Liza Child, I was able to analyze some of our conversation with the six hats. Here is a conversation that shows all of the hats:

This example happened when I was writing the word ‘lemon’ and I didn’t know what type of L to use to start it off. There are two different variations of the lowercase letter L, one with a loop at the top and one without a loop.

Me:

“What type of L do I use here? There are two different types and I don’t know which one fits best”

Liza:

“Remember to look at the other shapes in the rest of the word and find which type of L fits the other shapes best. What L do you think would work best?”

Me, after some time to analyze the word:

“I guess the E in the lemon comes right after the L and would look a lot like a small loopy L. I think it would be better if I used the regular L without a loop to differentiate between the L and the E. It would also help complement the loop-less shapes of N and M in the lemon. Would that work?”

Liza:

“Great job! Try to use this type of analysis and figure out what type of letter to use yourself for the next word.”

White hat: I ask, “What type of L do I use here?”. I am asking a question that asks for a factual answer.

Red hat: Liza says, “Great job!”. It is Liza’s opinion and feeling that I am doing a great job. She does not back it up with any evidence.

Black hat: I ask, “Would that work?”. I am asking if this suits the design of the word. I am also giving my mentor the ability to point out places where I could be wrong.

Yellow hat: I say, “I guess the E in the lemon comes right after the L and would look a lot like a small loopy L. I think it would be better if I used the regular L without a loop to differentiate between the L and the E. It would also help complement the loop-less shapes of N and M in the lemon”. I provide multiple insights on why the non-loopy L would work better than the loopy L in the word design of ‘lemon’.

Green hat: Liza says, “What L do you think would work best?”. Liza is asking for my ideas on what L would work best in the word. She is also letting me think creatively about the design of the word so I could gain a better understanding of how word design works.

Blue hat: I say, “There are two different types and I don’t know which one fits best”. I ask for advice on which L would work best in this scenario. This shifts the focus of the conversation on word design and analysis to pick a good letter variation. It completely sets the tone and purpose for an entire conversation.

Is Canada a “postnational” state?

Justin Trudeau’s definition of a post-national state is a place where “race, religion, language, culture – are vanquished in favor of an inclusive citizenship based on simple acknowledgment of shared humanity” (The Washington Post, 2017). What Trudeau struggles to define is the dictionary definition of post-nationalism, which is “a mindset in which the identity of a nation is no longer important” (Oxford Dictionary). Canada is still a regular country; however, it is made up of a vast amount of different ethnic groups and cultures. Due to this wide array of communities, Canada has “no core identity, no mainstream” (Justin Trudeau). Instead, we have a wonderful thing called multiculturalism, which, as stated in the library of the Canadian Parliament “consists of a relatively coherent set of ideas and ideals pertaining to the celebration of Canada’s cultural diversity” (Canadian Multiculturalism, pg. 1). The popular beliefs from the plethora of cultures in Canada are used to create a set of common ideals, a Canadian identity. This identity is important to most, if not all Canadians, because it is comprised of their own cultures’ ideals. Therefore, Canada does have an identity that people feel the need to protect, because in protecting Canadian identity, they are protecting their own cultures’ identities. Thus, Canadians find the country’s identity important, which goes against the dictionary definition of post-nationalism, making Canada not a post-nationalist state.

In-Depth #4

Over the past two weeks, I have finished learning about the basics of Copperplate Script. In my last mentoring session, Liza (my mentor) and I went over capital letters for Copperplate, connectors for lowercase letters, and started on the writing of complete words and sentences. This was my last mentorship lesson that included Copperplate Script. From now on, I have to practice Copperplate on my own, and will learn about modern calligraphy in the next mentorship sessions.

Some of the practices I have been doing for Copperplate are shown below:

Lowercase practice sheets:

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Capital letters sheet:

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Lowercase connections:

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Complete words (with and without capitals):

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Warm up sheet (used to loosen the wrist and prepare for writing):

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When meeting with Liza Child, I was able to apply some of De Bono’s recommendations. I made sure to probe into topics that I was interested in and in which I felt like I needed to ask about to gain a better understanding of calligraphy. As discussed in my previous blog post, there is more than one type of letter shape per letter. I asked about which letter shapes are used in what scenarios. Liza answered with “sometimes it depends on the connector that you’re using, but most of the time it’s just personal preference”. She also introduced a new view on concentration during our mentoring sessions. One thing that we both agreed on is that calligraphy takes a lot of concentration. However, she had a different point of view from me on how to achieve that concentration, as she thought that listening to music improved concentration. I on the other hand, always thought that music distracted me from things that needed concentration. Yet, when she played some music during our mentorship session, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it didn’t bother me at all. In fact, it helped me relax and get into the right, Zen-type, mood I needed to be in to properly do calligraphy.

 

Currently, I am finishing up my practice with Copperplate Script, and getting ready for my next mentorship session in which I will be learning Modern Calligraphy.

In-Depth #3

Over the last two weeks, I have almost completed learning the lowercase letters of Copperplate script. I have also acquired all the materials I would need for calligraphy. Those materials include an elbow pen, straight pen, 4 nibs (different types), Sumi ink, and several types of paper. Learning the lowercase letters just includes learning the shapes and strokes that each letter consists of, and then writing that letter repeatedly until you are confident with it and until it looks exactly like the Copperplate script is supposed to look like. This might sound somewhat dreary and repetitive, but I have found it to be an incredibly relaxing way to de-stress. I think the repetitive motions and the amount of concentration required to make a perfect line takes your mind off everything except the task, or letter, at hand.

Here is a picture of the lowercase letters I have learned and mastered:

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There are some blank spaces in the picture between some letters. This is because letters often have several different variations that I have not completely learned yet. These variations are mostly for personal preference, but some only apply in rare case scenarios or only with other specific letters.

When meeting with Liza Child, I was able to apply some of De Bono’s techniques. When I tried out my first couple of strokes and letters, Liza gave me a special type of practice paper with slanted lines, so I know the exact degree of the calligraphy slant. This reminded me of a very similar practice paper I used in Russian school, which made Liza interested, stimulating a lot of conversation about my prior experience with Russian cursive. This personal story was also a response to the conversation about the paper that we were working with. Another example of a response was because I needed clarification on how to write a letter. Each letter has a specific design, a series of strokes, and pressures applied to specific parts of the letter. Due to this, I needed to clarify many letters to make sure I had every letter perfect.

Romeo and Juliet Act II: Critical Response

  1. Based on our readings so far, do you agree or disagree that Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is one of “’infatuated children’ engaging in ‘puppy love’”? Why or why not? Provide at least two pieces of textual evidence.

I think that “’infatuated children’ engaging in ‘puppy love’” is a perfect way to describe Romeo and Juliet’s love. Their ‘love’ is extremely impulsive and doesn’t involve any meetings in which they get to know each other and each other’s personalities. The suddenness of this relationship can be seen with the first thing that Romeo ever says to Juliet: “If I profane with my unworthiest hand / This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this: / My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand / To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.” (1.5.93-96). Romeo proposes to kiss Juliet in the first words he ever says to her. However, it usually takes more than several seconds after meeting someone to get to this stage in a regular relationship. By the second time they meet, which is only several hours after the first meeting, Juliet is already setting an ultimatum for a marriage proposal: “If thy bent of love be honourable, / Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow, […] But if thou mean’st not well, / I do beseech thee – […] To cease thy suit, and leave me to my grief.” (2.2.143-144, 150-151, l52). These children are planning a marriage only a few hours after meeting each other, which furthermore proves the impulsivity and unnatural speed of this relationship. The couple meets for a third time on the next day, this time to marry. In a regular relationship, people spend many months, if not years, getting to know a person before they decide to marry them because they want to be sure that they love that person. People must make sure that they truly understand and know a person that they are interested in before they can develop a love for that person. This is because many people hide certain details that might render them unlovable. Romeo and Juliet have little to no knowledge of each other’s personalities, characters and overall selves, and therefore don’t understand each other to the extent they need to, to love one another.

  1. To what extent is Kulich’s argument that Romeo and Juliet should not be viewed as children effective, or even historically accurate? Do some brief online research to back up your claim, providing links/citation to your research at the end of your response.

Kulich’s argument that Romeo and Juliet should not be viewed as children is not effective. Teenagers in the sixteenth century, especially in wealthy families, didn’t do much work. Unlike in poorer families, in which double-digit families worked away on fields to provide enough food to last the winter, most of the work in a wealthy house was done by people like the Nurse or the Servant. This allowed teenagers in rich families to stay homeschooled and to have free time to participate in fun activities. With the lack of work, and surplus of schooling and careless fun, most of these teenagers still act like children: irresponsible and impulsive. We can see irresponsibility and impulsivity in several different points throughout the story, but one great example is at the very beginning of the book. “Draw if you be men. Gregory, remember thy smashing blow.” (1.1.60-61). The play begins with wealthy teenagers starting a fight that puts the people around them in the street at risk, themselves at risk and their family’s reputation and safety, as the prince later demonstrates, at risk. All this dispute happens over a bit thumb. This clearly demonstrates the childishness, impulsivity, and irresponsibility of wealthy teenagers at the time. This example shows how privileged adolescents, like Romeo and Juliet, act like children, and therefore should be treated like children, rendering Kulich’s argument ineffective.

https://prezi.com/vlyf6jybbv8k/typical-day-of-teenage-during-the-16th-century/

In-Depth #2

I recently had my first meeting with my new mentor, Liza Child. We got along very well and didn’t particularly disagree on any subjects. However, she did find that my plan to learn three completely different scripts was a little too ambitious and needed some editing. I stayed very open minded during this discussion because I recognized that she knows a person’s learning speed for calligraphy much better than I do because she is an expert in calligraphy and because she has led several different workshops in calligraphy before. However, I made sure to comment on the fact that I would be open to a more frequent learning schedule to learn more about calligraphy and to maintain a challenge. From this, we have designed a more attainable and practical learning process that relates directly to her expertise and to my goals.

 

First, I will start by trying out the first two basic scripts on which all modern and traditional calligraphy is based on: Spencerian and Copperplate. After I have tried both, I will pick one that I will study more in-depth, to a point that I thoroughly know and understand all the letter forms and rules of that script. With this knowledge, I will have a base from which to start exploring modern calligraphy. Modern calligraphy allows more room for personal preference and creativity and doesn’t have to strictly follow the unmoving rules of traditional scripts; however, it is based off traditional scripts and therefore requires the knowledge of a traditional script to learn. I will start learning modern calligraphy by learning the modern script that my mentor has developed and uses for her own projects. This will help me understand the difference between a traditional script and modern calligraphy and will help me start designing my own style and script of modern calligraphy towards the end of the project.

 

Due to the time I lost during my search for a mentor, I have not had any advances with learning calligraphy. However, Liza and I have planned a more rigorous and frequent meeting arrangement to make up for the time I lost. This will also greatly aid me with the catch-up blog post that I aim to have finished by next Sunday. After the first meeting and a lot of planning, I am very excited and looking forward to my next meeting to learn more about traditional scripts and modern calligraphy.

ZIP #5

  1. My inquiry question for this project was “What obstacles does a person face when translating poetry from Russian to English?”. My question did not change throughout the project, because I became more and more familiarized with the obstacles and challenges a translator faces by translating, which gave me the opportunity to have a good first-hand answer to this question.
  2. The main skill that I learned during this project is how to translate poetry from Russian to English. I think this helped me with forming poetry in English and helped me appreciate how there are no boundaries or restrictions set when writing poetry, whereas, with translating, there are a lot of guidelines and rules that you must follow to make sure that you translate correctly. Through translating, I have improved greatly in finding rhyming synonyms, shuffling around in sentences to find the best rhyme, fit and flow for the poem, and rhyming in general. This will help me write better poetry in everyday English class.
  3. From this project, I have learned that translating poetry from Russian to English is very difficult and many obstacles arise when trying to translate. First of all, Russian and English are very different languages, with different grammatical structures, which makes translating sentences and sentence structure difficult. Secondly, the rhyming scheme is hard to keep in another language, because sometimes a different rhyming scheme would work much better with the translation. Thirdly, the content was hard to retain in the translation. Sometimes, some content would have to be added or taken away just to have the translation rhyme. Most importantly, it was difficult to retain the mood of the poem. Even if the content of the translation was a little different from the original poem, if it retains the same mood and idea that the author was originally trying to convey, then the poem sounds and flows the same. Throughout my research, I found that many translations of Russian poems failed to convey the correct mood that the original poem easily gave off. I also struggled with this, because through the process of translating, rhyming and double-checking content, it is very easy to lose the original mood of the poem, which would call for more editing and comparison with the original poem until the translation fully conveyed the mood of the poem.
  4. My final learning artifacts connected to my inquiry question because, as English translations of Russian poems, they provided me a perfect, first-person experience on the difficulties that a person faces when translating a Russian poem into English. I demonstrated my learning of how to overcome these obstacles by creating a process to follow while translating to ensure that my translation stays as accurate as possible. This shows that I have a good understanding of what obstacles I must overcome to create a good translation. For one of my curricular competencies I chose “Recognize how language constructs personal, social, and cultural ” I mentioned in my notes a couple of times that the mood or idea that the author was conveying in Russian will never sound or be perceived the same since, firstly, they are being read in different languages, and secondly, that they will be read in different cultural settings and to people with different identities. I tried to convey the Russian cultural literature as best as I could in the translation, but I recognize that I cannot perfectly translate a poem because I cannot control how a person perceives or receives the poem. Another curricular competency that I chose for my assessment was “Assess and refine texts to improve their clarity, effectiveness, and impact according to purpose, audience, and message.” I think my final learning artifact connects to this because I had to refine a text from one language to another to improve its clarity. If I did not ‘refine’, or translate, the text/poem, it would still be in Russian, and would not be clear, would have no effect, would give no impact, no purpose and no message to my audience: English speaking people. I also had to assess the Russian text before translating to make sure that I would translate it accurately and correctly. My last curricular competency was “Recognize and identify the role of personal, social, and cultural contexts, values, and perspectives in texts.” This connects to my final artifact because the general point of translation is that you can change a text so a person from another culture, with different values and cultural contexts, can understand that text the same way someone from the original culture of the text can understand it. This is what I tried to accomplish throughout my translating because I think this is the essence and overall goal of all translations.
  5. https://sites.google.com/site/poetryandtranslations/

This site was valuable to me because it has many different Russian poets and poems, all of which are translated into English. The original poems and the translations were always side by side which made comparisons and notes easy to do.

http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/pushkin/pushkin_ind.html

This site proved valuable because it contained a lot of translated poems by Alexander Pushkin, the main Russian author I was interested in translating. This helped me with taking notes on translating this one specific poet.

http://www.stihi-rus.ru/

This is a Russian website that was valuable because it has a staggeringly large number of Russian poems and poets (not translated) that I could refer to when comparing a translation.

А. С. Пушкин, Избранные Сочинения

This is a Russian book that is a collection of many of Alexander Pushkin’s poems. I used this book when comparing translations to original poems, and for general research and observations on Russian poetry.

  1. I am now interested in how I can make my translations as clear and concise as possible. I am interested in this because I noticed that my translation lines were usually 1.5 times as long and heavily worded compared to the original Russian poem. I understand that this is because I was trying to convey the content as accurately as possible from Russian to English, which requires more wording due to the grammatical and structural difference between the languages, but I am still curious as to how I can retain the same simplicity and flow that these Russian poems have, in English.

In-Depth

For In-Depth this year, I have decided to learn calligraphy. Calligraphy is writing, but done as aesthetically as possible, to the point that it is considered an art form. This type of writing was used for very important documents in the past but is now mostly used for pure aesthetics. Due to this, calligraphy is dropping in popularity with the population, because there isn’t much use for it. However, science has contradicted this, showing that there is a lot of self-benefit that a person can gain from partaking in calligraphy. Calligraphy is a very calming art form, as it is known to slow down heart rate and raise skin temperature, which is also how meditation commonly affects individuals. It has also been proven that it increases cognitive function and concentration, due to the large amounts of concentration needed for a perfect outcome.

I was very excited about these health benefits when I heard of them because I have always been very interested in trying calligraphy. I realized this just as In-Depth was coming up, and thought it was the perfect fit for this project. It would be the perfect opportunity to have some relaxing time in the day to unwind and create something I would like. After handing in my In-Depth proposal, I immediately got to researching the different materials needed for the project. I have learned that there are different types of pen ink, each has different properties and qualities. I learned about different pieces of paper, which have different amounts of ink tolerance: on some, the ink soaks into the paper and spreads causing unpleasant smudges, but on higher quality paper the ink does not bleed through or soak as much. Lastly, and most importantly, I have learned about the most important tool, the pen. There are different types of pens, but most are comprised of a nib and a nib holder. The nib is the part that is dipped into the ink, usually made from metal. Some are called wedge or italic nibs, which are designed for gothic fonts, and some are called flex nibs, which are made more for handwriting, with a wider line created when more pressure is applied. The nib holder, made of wood or plastic, holds the nib and is the part that you hold when writing, kind of like the body of a pen.

I have not had much luck finding a mentor yet. However, I have sent many emails to different calligraphy studios in Vancouver, introducing who I am, what I am seeking to accomplish in my project and asking for a mentorship position. Hopefully I will get a response soon.

ZIP #4

            Related to your learning evidence, what have you done to make retrieving information easier or more effective in class?

To make my research and work more effective in class, I have mainly been focused on reading poems, poems comparison, and notes in class. I do this because this is easier to do and takes less time. The classroom can also be a little loud at times, which could be very distracting when trying to translate and look for synonyms. Due to this, I like to leave the translation and the harder bits of the project for home, where I can really concentrate and focus on translation and finding the correct, rhyming synonyms that correctly translate what the word means in that scenario. When researching, I have made it a requirement to use translation websites that use both Russian and English versions of the poem side by side, so I can make my comparisons as accurate and articulate as possible. I hope that this will provide quality notes that I can rely on later when translating my poems.

ZIP #3

            Describe the ups and downs you have encountered to date in your inquiry. Specifically, when you were frustrated or struggling in your inquiry, what did you do to address the situation?

One of the biggest obstacles that I have faced so far is the limited amount of Russian poetry translation accessible on the internet. It is especially rare that a site has both the Russian and English version together. This makes poetry comparison inefficient and slows down my note-taking. However, through the site I referenced I mentioned in my first blog post, I had a huge speedup in analyzing, as the site has both Russian and English versions side by side. This came with another struggle, all of the poems on the website were translated by one person, which is not enough of a source to base all of my notes from. I solved this by using other sources that use other authors and have both Russian and English versions of poems side by side. This helped me compare translating styles and confirm some patterns that occur from translator to translator.