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2014联考英语阅读扩展:中文——中国的“软实力”(双语)

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2014年04月02日 【我要咨询】 】 来源:清大在线

  Here’s how China can extend its soft power

  The most recent inspectors’ report for The RJ Mitchell Primary School in Essex, northeast of London, says it has slightly more pupils on free school meals – a measure of poverty – than average and that the students’ knowledge of other cultures is “under-developed”.英国中小学教学质量检查员最近对RJ米切尔小学(RJ Mitchell Primary School)的评估报告称,在这家位于伦敦东北部埃塞克斯的小学中,享用学校免费午餐的学生人数(衡量贫困情况的一个指标)略高于平均水平,而学生对其他文化的了解“不足”。

  But the six and seven year olds sitting on the classroom carpet look scrubbed, neat and healthy – and are engrossed in a Mandarin lesson.但坐在教室地毯上的那些六、七岁的孩子看上去干净、整洁、健康,正在全神贯注地上中文课。

  As they rush through personal pronouns and numbers from one to five, I have difficulty keeping up. The children then stand up to ask each other’s names in Mandarin. Two boys get permission to show off and also say: “Hello, how are you?”他们迅速地把人称代词和1至5的数字过了一遍,我在一旁都感觉有些跟不上。然后,孩子们站起来互相用中文询问姓名。有两名男孩得到老师的许可,以炫耀一下他们刚学的中文,并用中文问好。

  I was invited to the school after I wrote about the call by David Cameron, the UK prime minister, for British children to ditch French and German and learn Mandarin instead.在写过有关英国首相戴维?卡梅伦(David Cameron)呼吁英国学童抛弃法语和德语转学中文的文章之后,我受邀去这所小学参观。

  Several UK private schools already offer Mandarin. Wellington College in Berkshire has a Mandarin language centre housed in a pagoda with a Chinese water garden.英国已有好几所私立学校开设了中文课。位于伯克郡的威灵顿学院(Wellington College),在一座配有中式水榭的塔式建筑中开设了一家汉语中心。

  But Dragons in Europe, which, with Cambridge University Press, publishes Mandarin teaching materials, asked whether I wanted to see what a state primary was doing.但与剑桥大学出版社(Cambridge University Press)合作出版中文教学材料的“龙在欧洲出版社”(Dragons in Europe)询问我,是否想去参观一所公立小学的中文教学情况。

  Barry Read, RJ Mitchell’s headteacher, says he welcomed the inspectors’ call for wider cultural engagement (the rest of the report described the school as “good”). The local area, he says, can be inward-looking. There has been ill-feeling between a few of the English and Polish pupils, which he believes reflects what they have heard at home. Mandarin lessons are part of an effort to get students to engage with the world.RJ米切尔小学的校长巴里?里德(Barry Read)说,他欢迎中小学教学质量检查员关于拓宽文化接触的建议(报告其余部分称该校“良好”)。他说,当地风气或许比较闭塞。学校有少数一些英格兰学生和波兰学生关系不好,他认为这是受了家里的影响。要让学生了解世界,开设中文课是一个办法。

  The school will not forget its British roots. It was built on an old Royal Air Force base from which pilots flew during both world wars. The school takes its name from Reginald Mitchell, creator of the Spitfire fighter aircraft. The classrooms are named after RAF pilots, including two Polish airmen. One of the school’s exhibits is the nose of an unexploded German bomb that fell on the area.该校将不会遗忘自己的英国传统。它的校址曾经是英国皇家空军的一个基地,在两次世界大战中都曾使用过。RJ米切尔这个校名,是为了纪念“喷火”(Spitfire)战斗机的发明者雷金纳德?米切尔(Reginald Mitchell)。教室以一些皇家空军飞行员的名字命名,其中还包括两名波兰飞行员。该校还展览着德军当年在该地区投放的一枚哑弹弹头。

  The school’s decision to offer Mandarin classes to some of its youngest pupils – those in their second and third years – is interesting. Some researchers have argued that young children are particularly receptive to new languages and that their capacity declines gradually until puberty, after which learning becomes much more difficult.该校在低年级(二、三年级)开设中文课的决定很有意思。一些研究者认为,低龄儿童对新语言的接受能力特别强,这种能力随着年龄的增长而逐渐降低,到青春期结束后,再学习一门新语言就比较困难了。

  The debate is usefully summarised by David Singleton, fellow emeritus of Trinity College Dublin, in his paper “The Critical Period Hypothesis: A coat of many colours.”都柏林大学三一学院(Trinity College, Dublin)荣誉研究员戴维?辛格尔顿(David Singleton)在一篇论文中对这场辩论做了有用的总结。这篇论文的题目是《学习语言的关键时期假说:约瑟夫的彩衣》(The Critical Period Hypothesis: A coat of many colours)。

  Examining how children and adults succeed in transferring speech from damaged parts of the brain to healthy ones after injury, one researcher argues the results show that “the human brain becomes progressively stiff and rigid after the age of nine” and “when languages are taken up for the first time in the second decade of life, it is difficult?.?.?.?to achieve a good result”.一名研究人员在探究儿童和成人受伤后,如何将语言功能从大脑受损区域转移至健康区域之后提出,研究结果显示,“人脑在9岁之后就逐渐变得僵化和不灵活”,并且“10岁以后才首次接触的语言很难……学好”。

  Some argue that language learning declines for social reasons, that children acquire a firmer sense of who they are as they grow older and become embarrassed about acquiring another linguistic identity.有人争辩说,语言学习能力随年龄增长而下降存在社会原因,随着年龄的增长,孩子们自我身份意识逐渐增强,学习另一门语言带来的另一层身份让他们感到难为情。

  Others say that while younger learners have better pronunciation, they do not necessarily acquire a surer command of a new language.还有人说,尽管低龄学习者发音更准确,但他们对新语言的掌握未必更靠谱。

  Mr Read believes, however, that his older students are more inhibited about language learning and, watching the enthusiasm of his younger charges, it is hard to argue.不过里德认为,年龄更大的学生在学习语言时比较拘谨。看到他那些年龄更小的学生学习语言时那股劲头,我们很难反驳他的这种观点。

  The parents need no persuading. “I think it’s fantastic. In years to come, Mandarin is going to become so widely used,” says Mandy Taylor, one of the mothers. Her son Mason greets me confidently in Mandarin and draws the Chinese character for “small” in my notebook.父母不需要怎么说服。一名母亲曼迪?泰勒(Mandy Taylor)表示:“我觉得很好。未来中文将得到非常普遍的使用。”她的儿子梅森(Mason)自信地用中文向我打招呼,还在我的笔记本上写上了中文的“小”。

  The bigger question is whether the school and the children can sustain this. Stephanie Driscoll and Ruthie Davies, their teachers, are sharp and engaging, but do not speak Mandarin. They are staying a step ahead of their pupils.一个更大的问题是,学校和学生能否持续这种学习。他们的老师斯蒂芬妮?德里斯科尔(Stephanie Driscoll)和露茜?戴维斯(Ruthie Davies)非常聪明,并且善于调动课堂气氛,但她们并不会说中文。她们总是提前学一点,然后教孩子们。

  If Mandarin is to become a world language, it needs a huge corps of teachers, as English has – not just native speakers but foreigners trained in it. If China wants to extend its influence and culture, its “soft power”, it should train hundreds of thousands of teachers.如果中文要成为一门世界通用的语言,那么就需要有一大批中文老师,就像英语那样——不仅是母语为中文的老师,还包括经过培训的外国老师。如果中国希望扩大其影响力、输出文化——也就是提高“软实力”,那么该国应当培训数十万名中文教师。

  Young Mandarin learners, with their interest in a new culture and language, may start asking how free their Chinese counterparts are to question their leaders or to use the internet, but that is the scrutiny that comes with being a great power.对一种新文化和新语言的兴趣,或许会让这些学习中文的外国孩子开始问

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