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剑桥雅思4 Test 2阅读原文翻译 Passage 1 消失的语言 lost for words 剑桥雅思4 […]


剑桥雅思4 Test 2阅读原文翻译 Passage 1 消失的语言 lost for words

剑桥雅思4 Test 2 Passage 1的这篇文章介绍了少数民族语言所面临的危机。虽然文章段落比较多,但实际上就说了三件事情:语言消失的原因,为什么要保护语言,以及一些保护语言的方案。


雅思真题阅读词汇 剑4 test 2 passage 1文化类

剑桥雅思4 Test 2阅读答案解析 Passage 1 濒临灭绝的语言


In the Native American Navajo nation, which sprawls across four states in the American south-west, the native language is dying. Most of its speakers are middle-aged or elderly. Although many students take classes in Navajo, the schools are run in English. Street signs, supermarket goods and even their own newspaper are all in English. Not surprisingly, linguists doubt that any native speakers of Navajo will remain in a hundred years’ time.




Navajo is far from alone. Half the world’s 6,800 languages are likely to vanish within two generations – that’s one language lost every ten days. Never before has the planet’s linguistic diversity shrunk at such a pace. At the moment, we are heading for about three or four languages dominating the world,’ says Mark Pagel, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Reading. ‘It’s a mass extinction, and whether we will ever rebound from the loss is difficult to know.’

纳瓦霍人并不孤单。世界上6800种语言的一半都有可能在两代人之内彻底消失,即每十天就有一种语言消失。地球上语言消失的速度从来都没有这么快过。雷丁大学(University of Reading)的进化生物学家马克·佩奇(Mark Pagel )说,“目前我们正在朝着只剩三四种语言主导世界的情况出发。这是一种大规模的灭绝现象,而我们是否能从中恢复还不得而知”。


Isolation breeds linguistic diversity: as a result, the world is peppered with languages spoken by only a few people. Only 250 languages have more than a million speakers, and at least 3,000have fewer than 2,500. It is not necessarily these small languages that are about to disappear. Navajo is considered endangered despite having 150,000speakers. What makes a language endangered is not just the number of speakers, but how old they are. If it is spoken by children it is relatively safe. The critically endangered languages are those that are only spoken by the elderly, according to Michael Krauss, director of the Alassk Native Language Center, in Fairbanks.

隔绝滋生了语言的多样性。结果世界上充满了只有少数人使用的语言。只有250种语言的使用者超过一百万,而至少3,000 种语言的使用者少于2,500。这些小语言并不一定会消失。纳瓦霍语(Navajo)尽管拥有15万名使用者,但仍被视为濒临灭绝。使语言受到威胁的不仅是文章来自老烤鸭雅思说话者的数量,还包括他们的年龄。根据迈克尔·克劳斯,费尔班克斯Alassk 本土语言中心主任的看法,如果是儿童在使用的话,那它相对安全。只有老年人使用的话就会极度濒危。


Why do people reject the language of their parents? It begins with a crisis of confidence, when a small community finds itself alongside a larger, wealthier society, says Nicholas Ostler, of Britain’s Foundation for Endangered Languages, in Bath. ‘People lose faith in their culture,’ he says. ‘When the next generation reaches their teens, they might not want to be induced into the old traditions.’



The change is not always voluntary Quite often, governments try to kill off a minority language by banning its use in public or discouraging its use in schools, all to promote national unity The former US policy of running Indian reservation schools in English, for example, effectively put languages such as Navajo on the danger list. But Salikoko Mufwene, who chairs the Linguistics Department at the University of Chicago, argues that the deadliest weapon is not government policy but economic globalisation. ‘Native Americans have not lost pride in their language, but they have had to adapt to socio-economic pressures,’ he says. ‘They cannot refuse to speak English if most commercial activity is in English.’ But are languages worth saving? At the very least, there is a loss of data for the study of languages and their evolution, which relies on comparisons between languages, both living and dead. When an unwritten and unrecorded language disappears, it is lost to science.

这种改变并不总是自愿的。很多时候,政府试图通过禁止在公共场所使用或劝阻其在学校中使用来消除少数群体的语言。所有这些都是为了促进民族团结。例如,美国以前的以英语运营印第安保留学校的政策就将诸如Navajo之类的语言送入危险清单。但是芝加哥大学语言中心主任萨利科科·马恩认为,最致命的武器并不是政府的政策,而是经济全球化。“ 土著美国人并没有丧失对自己语言的骄傲,但他们不得不适应社会经济的压力,” 他说,“ 如果大多数商业活动用的是英语,他们也不能拒绝说英语”。但语言值得保护吗?至少对于语言及其进化的研究来说,存在数据丢失的问题。这种研究依赖于各种语言的比较,无论是“活着的”还是“死去的”。当一种没有书面形式和没有记录的语言消失时,科学研究就彻底失去了它。


Language is also intimately bound up with culture, so it may be difficult to preserve one without the other. ‘If a person shifts from Navajo to English, they lose something,’ Mufwene says. ‘Moreover, the loss of diversity may also deprive us of different ways of looking at the world,’ says Pagel. There is mounting evidence that learning a language produces physiological changes in the brain. ‘Your brain and mine are different from the brain of someone who speaks French, for instance,’ Pagel says, and this could affect our thoughts and perceptions. ‘The patterns and connections we make among various concepts may be structured by the linguistic habits of our community.’

语言也与文化息息相关,因此可能很难在没有文化的情况下保留其相应的语言。“如果一个人从使用纳瓦霍语转变成使用英语,他就回失去了一些东西,” Mufwene说。“此外,多样性的丧失可能也会剥夺我们看待世界的不同方式,” Pagel说。有越来越多的证据表明,学习一门语言可以促进大脑的胜利变化。Pagel说:“ 例如,你的大脑和我的大脑与讲法语的人的大脑就不同。” 这可能会影响我们的思想和观念。“我们在各种概念之间建立的模式和联系可能是由我们种群的语言习惯构成的。”


So despite linguists’ best efforts, many languages will disappear over the next century. But a growing interest in cultural identity may prevent the direst predictions from coming true. ‘The key to fostering diversity is for people to learn their ancestral tongue, as well as the dominant language,’ says Doug Whalen, founder and president of the Endangered Language Fund in New Haven, Connecticut. ‘Most of these languages will not survive without a large degree of bilingualism,’ he says. In New Zealand, classes for children have slowed the erosion of Maori and rekindled interest in the language. A similar approach in Hawaii has produced about 8,000new speakers of Polynesian languages in the past few years. In California, ‘apprentice’ programmes have provided life support to several indigenous languages. Volunteer ‘apprentices’ pair up with one of the last living speakers of a Native American tongue to learn a traditional skill such as basket weaving, with instruction exclusively in the endangered language. After about 300 hours of training they are generally sufficiently fluent to transmit the language to the next generation. But Mufwene says that preventing a language from dying out is not the same as giving it new life by using it every day. ‘Preserving a language is more like preserving fruits in ajar,’ he says.

所以,尽管语言学家尽了最大努力,许多语言仍然将下个世纪消失。但是人们对文化认同不断增长的兴趣可能阻止这一可怕的预测成为现实。“培育多样性的关键是人们学习他们祖先的语言和占主导地位的语言”,濒危语言基金会的创始人和主席Doug Whalen说。“没有某种程度的双语系统的话,这些语言中的大多数都是无法生存的,” 他说。在新西兰,为儿童开设的课程减缓了毛利语的流失,并重新点燃了人们对该语言的兴趣。在过去的几年中,夏威夷的一种类似方法已经产生了大约8,000名新的波利尼西亚语使用者。在加利福尼亚州,“学徒” 计划为几种土著语言提供支持。志愿者“学徒” 与美国本土语言的最后几名使用者之一配对,学习诸如篮子编织之类的传统技能,并仅使用濒危语言进行教学。经过大约300个小时的培训,他们的流利度就足以将语言传递给下一代。但是Mufwene说,防止一种语言消亡与每天使用一种语言进而赋予它新的生命是不同的。“保护语言更像是在罐子里保存水果,” 他说。


However, preservation can bring a language back from the dead. There are examples of languages that have survived in written form and then been revived by later generations. But a written form is essential for this, so the mere possibility of revival has led many speakers of endangered languages to develop systems of writing where none existed before.


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