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语言误会矫正:关于外语学习的7个常见误解  

2012-03-26 12:50:22|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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  There are over 6,000 languages in the world. Some are more important than others, not better or more advanced, just more important. Why? Because they are spoken by more people, in more countries. That does not mean that Finnish is not important to the Finns, and Maori is not important to the Maoris. It is just that these languages are not so important to the rest of us.

  世界上有6000多种语言。其中一些比另一些更重要,但并不意味着这些语言更好或者更先进,只是更重要。为什么呢?因为这些语言的使用者更多,使用范围更广。并不是说芬兰语对于芬兰人不重要,或者毛利语对于毛利人不重要。只是说这些语言对于我们其余的人来说没有那么重要。

  On the other hand, Mandarin Chinese is spoken by over one billion people. Chinese origin words account for 60% of Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese vocabulary. Knowing Chinese will help you learn these languages too. It helped me. Chinese culture has influenced the world for thousands of years with its art, philosophy, technology, food, medicine and performing arts. Today China’s economy is booming. Chinese seems well worth learning.

  另一方面,中文普通话有10亿多的使用者。汉语起源的词语占到了日语、韩语和越南语词汇的60%之多。懂中文也将会有助于你学习这些语言。它就帮助了我。几千年来中国文化一直在艺术、哲学、技术、饮食、医药和表演艺术方面影响着世界。今天中国的经济正在迅猛发展,中文似乎很值得去学习。

  Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese are essentially dialects of the same language. If you learn one, you can learn the others. I did. If you learn Spanish, you open the door to the culture, music, history and possible business dealings with 800 million people in 60 countries, including the US and Canada.

  西班牙语、法语、意大利语和葡萄牙语从本质上说是同一种语言的不同方言。如果你学会了一种,你也可以学会其他几种。我就是这样。如果你掌握了西班牙语,它就为你打开了一扇门,你可以接触到和8亿人相关的文化、音乐、历史,可能还有商务,这8亿人来自60个国家,其中包括美国和加拿大。

  If you get ambitious you could try Russian, as I have been doing for the last two years. Once you have Russian you can probably communicate with other Slav speakers.

  如果你在语言学习方面有雄心壮志,那么你可以试试俄语,过去两年我一直在学。一旦你掌握了俄语,你应该可以和其他的斯拉夫语言使用者交流。

  But hold it here! Before getting carried away, let’s look at the present situation of language teaching. According to one Canadian survey, after 12 years of daily French classes, only one high school graduate out of 147 (0.68%) achieved “intermediate” proficiency. Another survey of immigrants learning English in the US showed that “classroom instructional hours” had little impact on progress.

  但是先等一等!在头脑发热之前,我们先来看看语言教学的现状。根据加拿大的一项调查,在上了12年日常法语课后,147所高中里只有1所高中(0.68%)的毕业生可以达到“中等”流利程度。另外一项在美国的移民学习英语的调查表明,“课堂教学时间”对语言的进步作用甚微。

  As a speaker of 10 languages I know the benefits of speaking more than one language. We simply have to change the way we go about teaching languages. To start with we need to dispel seven common misconceptions about language learning.

  作为一个掌握了10门语言的人,我知道会说多种语言的好处。我们只是需要改变语言教学的方法。首先我们必须消除关于语言学习的7个普遍的误解。

  1. Language learning is difficult

  语言学习很困难

  It is only difficult to learn a language if you don’t want to. Learning a language takes time, but is not difficult. You mostly need to listen and read. Believe me, it is that simple. I have done it many times. Soon you feel the satisfaction of understanding another language. Before you know it you start speaking. It is the way languages are usually taught that makes language learning hard to like.

  只有当你不想学时,学习这门语言才会变得困难。学习一门语言需要花时间,但并不困难。你主要需要听和读。相信我,就这么简单。我做过许多次。很快你就会体会到理解另一门语言的满足感,而在你意识到这一点之前你就能开口说。真是课堂语言的教学方式让人们很难爱上语言学习。

  2. You have to have a gift for learning languages

  你必须要有学习语言的天赋

  No you don’t. Anyone who wants to, can learn. In Sweden and Holland most people speak more than one language. They can’t just all be gifted at languages. Foreign athletes in North America usually learn to speak English faster than people in more formal learning environments. In language learning it is attitude, not aptitude, that determines success.

  并不是这样的。任何想学的人都可以学会。在瑞典和荷兰,大多数人都会不止一种语言。他们不可能都有语言天赋。在北美的外国运动员学会说英语的速度通常比在正式语言学习环境中的人要快。在语言学习中决定你成功的是态度,而不是天赋。

  3. You have to live where the language is spoken

  你必须生活在那种语言的使用环境中

  Some immigrants to North America never learn to speak more than halting English. Yet we meet people in other countries who speak flawless English. In 1968, I learned to speak Mandarin fluently while living in Hong Kong, where few people spoke it. With the Internet, language content is available to anyone with a computer, and you can download it to your iPod and listen. Where you live is not an obstacle.

  有些去北美的移民永远只会说蹩脚的英语。然而我们在别的国家却见到有人可以说非常完美的英语。1968年,当我在香港居住时我学会了说流利的中文普通话,而很少有香港人会说。在互联网的帮助下,任何人只需要一台电脑就可以获得许多语言内容,你可以把它下载到你的iPod里来听。至于你住在哪里并不会阻碍你学习语言。

  4. Only children can learn to speak another language well

  只有孩子可以学会说一门流利的外语

  Recent brain research has demonstrated that our brains remain plastic well into old age. Adults who lose their eyesight have to learn a new language, braille, for example. Adults have a wide vocabulary in their own language and are better language learners than children. I have learned 4 languages since the age of 55. Adults only need the child’s willingness to experiment and desire to communicate, without the fear of ridicule.

  最近一项关于大脑的研究已经证明,我们的头脑在进入老年时依然可以保持较好的可塑性。比如说,那些失明的成年人必须要学习一门新的语言:布莱叶盲文。跟孩子相比,成年人具备更大的母语词汇量,是更好的语言学习者。我从55岁开始已经学习了4门语言。成年人只需要像孩子那样乐于尝试,渴望交流,不要害怕被嘲笑。

  5. To learn a language you need formal classroom instruction

  语言学习需要正式的课堂教学

  This is the crux of the problem. Classrooms may be economical to run and a great place to meet others. They have the weight of history and tradition behind them. Unfortunately, a classroom is an inefficient place to learn a language. The more students in the class, the more inefficient it is. Languages cannot be taught, they can only be learned. Theoretical grammatical explanations are hard to understand, hard to remember, and even harder to use. Drills and exercises are annoying to most people. A majority of school kids graduate unable to communicate in languages that they study for 10 or more years.

  这就是问题的症结所在。课堂学习花费不高,还是个结交朋友的好地方,这种学习方式有着厚重的历史传统。可是很遗憾,在教室里学习一门语言效率并不高。班上的学生越多,学习效率就越低。语言不是教出来的,而是学出来的。那些理论的语法的解释难以理解,难以记忆,更难以运用。练习和作业让大多数人都很反感。大部分学校的孩子在毕业时还不能用他们已经学了十多年的语言来交流。

  6. You need to speak in order to learn (and I have nobody to speak to)

  为了学语言你需要开口说(但我没有可以交流的对象)

  Speaking the language is usually the goal of language learning, but speaking can wait. Once you have acquired the language, you will find the opportunity to speak. When you are learning the language it is more important to listen. Trying to just pick up a few “handy” phrases to say is likely to just get you into trouble. If you meet a native speaker, you will inevitably spend most of your time listening unless you already know the language. You do not need to speak in order to learn, you need to learn in order to speak.

  能够说一门语言通常是语言学习的目标,但是这个目标可以缓一缓。一旦你掌握了某种语言,你会找到机会开口说的。当你正在学习这门语言时,听更加重要。尝试说一些“脱口而出”的词组有可能会让你陷入困境。如果你遇到了一位说母语的人,你必然会花更多时间来听这个人说话,除非你已经掌握了这门语言。你没有必要为了学习语言而开口说话,而应该为了开口说话来学习语言。

  7. I would love to learn but I don’t have the time

  我很愿意学,但我没有时间

  How about the time you spend waiting in line, commuting, doing things around the house, going for a walk? Why not use that time to listen to a language on your iPod? Once you get started, even 10 or 15 minutes a day will soon grow to 30 minutes a day, or one hour. If you believe you will achieve significant results, and if you enjoy doing it, as I do, you will find the time.

  那些你用来排队,上下班,在房前屋后忙活,散步的时间呢?为什么不利用这些时间用你的iPod练听力呢?一旦你开始这么做,即使每天只有10或者15分钟,也很快会增加到每天半小时或1小时。如果你相信自己可以收获重大成效,如果你喜欢语言学习,就像我一样,你会找到时间的

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