ShiGe 诗歌 (poetry): “To the Oak Tree 致橡树” by Shu Ting 舒婷

Jun 2, 2020

Zhang Daqian "Retreat in the Bamboo Grove" (1977)
Credit Christies

If you'd set out to design two language with nothing in common, English and Chinese would be a couple of great candidates. 

English belongs to the Indo-European language family and its writing system is known as “Latin script.”  Chinese, on the other hand, comes from the Syno-Tibetan language family and its written language is logographic – symbols represent the words themselves, not letters like in alphabetic systems.

In China, however, colleges require two years of foreign language learning.  UMD’s Weiqing Zhang started learning English in middle school and she’s fascinated by the similarities and differences, not only between Chinese and English, but in terms of how language can connect people with their own ancestors … and even with what she calls “the ancient wisdom hidden in the language.

  You can read more about "To the Oak Tree" here.