Speak Like an Immigrant – rwet final

For the final project of rwet, I decided to continue the process of creating poetic visual structures using space. I’ve been building more or less on the same structure this semester:

(Taking two articles from different sources about the same content, randomize them, and piece them together)

(Simulating the shape of the crack in Antarctic Ice Shelf)

(Text message style conversation)

For the content, I wanted to simulate the experience of speaking English as a foreign language. To maximize the effect, I chose to create the form of a “dialogue” between two parties: one speaking English as a native speaker, the other as a foreigner. I decided to build my program around source texts that are “dramatically American”. For example, a few texts I tried are the U.S. Constitution, the lyrics of Star-Spangled Banner, and the Declaration of Independence.

“We the People of the United States
in Order to form a more perfect Union
establish Justice
insure domestic Tranquility
provide for the common defence
promote the general Welfare
and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity
do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America “

I also did some research on some common mistakes people make when speaking English as a foreign language. They include:

1. the missing of “the”s and “a”s
2. the mis-use of pronouns, prepositions
3. the difference between singular and plural forms
4. the changing between tenses

Therefore, I made changes to the “immigrant” part of the poem accordingly.

Below are a few outcomes I enjoyed (source taken from the U.S. Constitution):

View code on github

Programming method:

I used space/an empty string to create the gap between the left and the right part. For the first “stanza”, the left “American” part was the original source text

Some alternative project proposals (about air pollution)


I tried to think of the “fluid nature” of air pollution: that products and nations have borders but pollution in the air do not. I thought about combining the map of air/wind traveling across the globe and the map of export/import products from China to the U.S.:

(goods map)

(wind map)

(combined map)


An alternative pricing system that reflects the real price of imported products. On the labels there mark the price of fixing the damages cost by air pollution, and the “actual cost” of the products. I am deciding between an online version of labels and the real physical labels.

In terms of the products, I found out some of the largest manufacturing companies from the U.S. in China, including General Motors, Ford, Hewlett-Packard, etc. If the project lives online, it will be an alternative shopping page of some of these companies’ products.


A matching visualization of U.S. largest import industries from China, matched with chemicals that make up the components of air pollution:


Some of my sources:


Final Project Proposal

For the past weeks I’ve been building (more or less) on the same structure of texts. I take two very different texts and place them together, or I separate one text into two different ones. For the final project I would like to continue working on this concept. Below are two examples respectively:

Language Neutralizer (two different texts side by side):

Speak Like an Immigrant (the same text taken apart into two):

This week I’ve been playing with spaCy using Trump’s and Obama’s inauguration speeches: