4 pitfalls that English learners in China should avoid:
Why it’s difficult to read in English
Why you can’t build your vocabulary efficiently
Why you still can’t communicate in English after taking so many English classes
We tend to check grammar like tense.
- Why it’s difficult to read in English
Because English books are written by English native speakers, and they are in English order. However, we always use Chinese to translate it in Chinese order. Moreover, we don't choose the material suitable to us.
Writing is Not Only an Action Along with the uprising of literati painting, when the relationship between writing of calligraphy and the drawing of painting was emphasized, the writing in painting became a more important issue gradually. Su Shi who promoted li terati painting has once said that poem and painting were essentially the same, both are works of the nature, fresh and clean, except for consideration in technique; there should also be concern for the expression of temperament as well as the artistic conception of poem and painting. Zhao Mengfu of Yuan Dynasty had made the former more clear and definite, he mentioned that stone and wood are just like writing strokes, and to depict bamboo, one should be familiar with the eight strokes skill in calligraphy. Then Zheng Banqiao in Qing Dynasty, and Zhao Zhiqian, Wu Changshuo, Qi Baishi of late Qing all practiced this view; their calligraphy style influenced their painting style to a large extent.
I actually have some bad habits as July mentioned in his lecture. I like to translate the sentence into Chinese if the sentence is too difficult for me. When I try to express myself in English, I like to form a Chinese outline in my mind first and then translate them to my listeners. Moreover, I prefer to look for English-Chinese dictionaries because I think it is more convenient for me to understand the word's meaning.
Writing and drawing tools are all brush, ink, paper and inkstone. Press the brush on the paper then calligraphy or paintings will show. At the very moment when the brush touch the paper, artists accomplishment as well as his personalities will be completely revealed in the traces left in this moment. We could even say that, it is just through the many years efforts made in the relationship between brushes and paper that calligrapher and artists constructed their own world of art. Therefore we could say that, writing is not only an action but also a kind of existence, especially a cultural posture.
Chinese painting artist Wang Huangsheng has always been showing his traditional Chinese painting, but his recent Motion/Imagination series has purified writing. He not only discarded specific physical appearances, but also the imagery. When his brush moves on paper, the brush strokes are elegant like ancient silk yarns, or powerful like traces of an awl on sand, or light and graceful like the flowing cloud and water. Lines are relieved from depicting material appearances; they are packed closely together or weaved together randomly. Or light ink is adopted while ink points are added to show the vigor. The picture thus gets a vivid and lively flavor. From then on, Wang Huangsheng took on a brand new painting style which made a feast for the eyes of viewers who would, be moved and touched, and cannot help pondering on the origin of this painting style and its value.
- 20-80 principles
The artist Zhu Derun of Yuan Dynasty had ever painted an Integral Whole Picture. On this picture, an old twining pine tree was painted on the left with its branches look like dragons paw. And there was vine twining the pine trunk with its cirrus spreading into the sky in the shape of a circle. The painting skill of vine, cirrus, circles is quite similar with the style of lines in Wang Huangshengs Motion/Imagination series works while the circles are quite coinciding with the circle in this series of works. Is this coincidence? Or necessity crossing time and space? The author of this article prefers to believe the necessity behind the seemingly fortuity. Upon chewing, there are two reasons: one is that the lines of Chinese traditional painting have independent aesthetic characteristics in themselves. Zhu Derun was not incapable, but just didnt do that. He was merely showing the independent aesthetic characteristics of lines occasionally through his Integral Whole Picture and this show together with the oddness which was out of that time, indeed aroused quite a lot of speculation in the later generations and speculation was even scripted on this picture; the second is the title of this series of works-Moving Visions, has precisely coincided with Integral Whole in Zhu Deruns title and the postscript: The integral whole is either round or square. Those exist before the heaven and earth were separated were shapeless but a shape do exist; while those exist after the heaven and earth were separated they have a shape but the shape do not exist. Between folding and unfolding, how can there be any rules to measure it! Zhu Derun specified the integral whole with circle, while Wang Huangsheng is wandering in imagination with a loose circle spreading out, which is also natural.
20% are hard to understand, 80% are what you are familiar with.
Certainly, the origin stated above is an association made by the author, rather than a fact that Wang Huangsheng had imitated Zhu Derun. When history can be represented in contemporary era, it is often the coincidence on high level, rather than following in the meaning of time, which is precisely the wonder in the cultural context. Except for this corresponding with art history found out by the author, what other relationships are there between Wang Huangshengs creation and his formal art?
20% for content, 80 for language.
In Wang Huangshengs early series of works titled Heaven and Earth, especially when depicting the Earth, the round lines written down had appeared frequently. The free lines floating in the heaven are naturally integrated and although still looks harmonious with the whole picture, but has already shown independent possibility. In the Carefree series, Wang Huangshengs brush strokes have already foretold the recent series titled Moving Visions. Gazing at the Carefree artwork, although the represented things are pines and their twining branches, yet the brush and ink have already almost get rid of the depicted objects and the strokes are very powerful; the characteristics of writing itself is quite vivid. Therefore, the Moving Visions series of works were created subsequently by Wang Huangsheng is reasonable.
As you make progress, the proportion should be changed as well.
Comparing with Li Huasheng, another Chinese traditional painter, we could found out more features belong to Wang Huangsheng in his creation. Both of them entered abstract art creation from traditional Chinese painting creation and both abstracted and purified the writing in traditional Chinese painting. However, Li Huasheng is more formalize and ritualized in writing, with grids composed by horizontal and vertical lines on the picture as his feature. While Wang Huangsheng has made writing more like an action and life, with lines in his paintings vivid, wild, lively and vibrant.
- Read a lot and look for English-English dictionaries to build up my vocabulary.
Entering the new century, the trend of being ritualized and formalized in abstract art creation has been shown(there was a concentrated reflection in the two exhibitions of Maximalism and Beads and Brush Strokes ). In such a context, the value of Wang Huangshengs recent works can not be neglected. Because the dimension of these works are large, and the specialty of the action way of lines, Wang Huangshengs writing has involved the body into creation to a much larger (than in the earlier works) extent, and took on the value of action meaning. Thus has made him explore the denotation and add the connotation of writing. If we associate the stated above that writing is in itself a kind of survival condition and cultural posture, we could well understand why Wang Huangsheng could be an artist as well as an outstanding art museum director as well as international curator with high reputation.
Therefore, Wang Huangshengs writing, is far more than an action.
游与象 Motion / Imagination Moving Visions Flowing Forms Travelling . Imagery
Liu Libin Lecturer of China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Critic
I accidentally drew some paintings and some circles and felt that they have some meaning. So I wanted to give them a title and the words 游 象 popped up in my mind after much deliberation. It seems that I like or yearn for the concept of 游 (wandering) in ancient Chinese culture. 游is a word with strong spirituality in Chinese cultural discourse system which often appear in such following texts. Confucianisms so-called Let perfect virtue be accorded with. Let relaxation and enjoyment be found in the polite arts (the Analects of Confucius Shu R), Taoisms enjoying oneself in thinking about the commencement of things (Chuang Tzu ThienTsze-fang), Let your mind find its enjoyment in the circumstances of your position (Chuang Tzu Man in the World) and Mounts on the clouds of the air, rides on the sun and moon, and rambles at ease beyond the four seas (Chuang Tzu The Adjustment of Controversies), 游 is a way to make the spirit detached. 象 is also an image presentation which connects with heart and entertains the eyes and heart. The ancient so called Looking as far as ones eyes can see and broadening ones mind is attributed to 象, and 大象 (great form) is without shape. 象 appears between the tangible and the intangible.
Such a word with Chinese cultural meaning as 游 象, especially when connected with the ink circles which I painted accidentally and hoping to convey its flavor and meaning, it is a hard task. Moreover, it is even harder to translate it into English and try to make Westerners understand its meaning. Thus, I asked for advice from Mr. Tang Xiaobing and Mr. Wang Chunchen, whose translations and understandings are very interesting.
Tang Xiaobing provided three translations of 游 象 in his mail: 1. Motion/Imagination. These two words can be divided by inserting a dot between them like a Chinese title, but slash seems to be more common in English. These two words are quite ordinary and rhyme in Chinese which makes them catchier. Besides, they are both nouns and combined in a very balanced way. Therefore, taking it as the title has the meaning of researching or reflecting on two esoteric concepts; 2. Moving Visions: What is different from the first title is that the emphasis of this title is the noun Visions, namely, mental imagery. I think that Visions is far better than Images which includes imagination and the meaning of state of mind, namely, the scenes you see with your heart, while images is a tangible thing, a picture laid before your eyes. This title also has a meaning that these imagines are not only dynamic but also touching which stir peoples imaginations. 3. Flowing Forms: the structure of this title is consistent with the second title. It also puts the progress form of a verb as adjective before a noun, but in a more abstract way. Flowing matches 游 象 and has a kind of association of dancing with long swaying sleeves and undulating gentleness. In addition, these two words begin with the same consonant which sound beautifully. As for the word Forms, it is also very profound because I think that this group of your works is a deliberate search and exploration of forms.
- Why you can’t build your vocabulary efficiently？
Wang Chunchens translation and explanation is as follows: 游 象 in Chinese has the artistic feeling of ancient Chinese which is difficult to be translated into English. Travelling means the traceless wandering. Imagery is the traces of metamorphosis of images in heart, but has no specific reference. Imagery is hard to be translated into Chinese just like that 象is hard to be translated into English. The uncertainty in English matches the uncertainty in Chinese. Travelling . Imagery is more like the wandering subject which is traceless, remote and without form. Their translations and explanations seem to offer me more and deeper understandings on 游 象 and I was caught in the difficulty on choosing which translation as the title for my painting album. After much deliberation, I decided to choose all of these four translations as the title. Lets feel 游 象 together.
Because a single word doesn't mean anything.
Written in Beijing Green Emerging Garden on June 10, 2011
Because we use Chinese to memorize English words
- Why you still can’t communicate in English after taking so many English classes？
The teachers and classes are not professional. You always learn the history of the language rather than use them.
word collecting methods:
collect words in your notebook.（40 words）
think about it and use context to guess the meaning.
use an E-E dictionary
sense the words in different context and build up the concept of the word
- Use the language first!
Use the language a lot!
Steps taken to build your vocabulary:
1.READ A LOT!!!!! Indulge yourself in English.
2.Collect words from your reading/binge-watching/academic classes and so on.
Look up E-E dictionary rather than E-C dictionary. Find the English definition of the word and summarize it in 3-5 words.
Try to pronounce it correctly—accent is fine but pronunciation matters more.
Find the stem(root) of the word.
Make a sentence out of it.
Output: use the word as much as possible.
--Talk to yourself
For example, you encounter the word 'egoist' in your reading.
Collect it in your phone or notebook.
Find its English definition and summarize it: me first
Find its pronunciation.
Find the stem of the word: ego.
Ego: from Latin, the pronoun ego, meaning I.
You may find its brothers: egocentric, egomaniac, egoist.
Make a sentence out of it.
Output: use the word as much as possible.
In this week, July points out the common pitfalls that English learners in China should avoid. To be honest, I harvest a lot. I eventually find the reason why I can not stick with my reading materials. It is not because the material itself is uninteresting, but I choose the wrong level which is higher than my present level. July also provides us with a more effective way to bulid up our vocabulary, which is actually different from my previous method. All in all, after this week's method-learning, I become more confident of my following English learning.