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