剑桥雅思15Test4Passage2阅读原文翻译 Silbo Gomero – the whistle language of the Canary Islands 加那利群岛的口哨语言
剑桥雅思15 Test4 Passage2阅读原文翻译
La Gomera is one of the Canary Islands situated in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of Africa. This small volcanic island is mountainous, with steep rocky slopes and deep, wooded ravines, rising to 1,487 metres at its highest peak. It is also home to the best known of the world’s whistle ‘languages’, a means of transmitting information over long distances which is perfectly adapted to the extreme terrain of the island.
This ‘language’, known as ‘Silbo’ or ‘Silbo Gomero’ – from the Spanish word for ‘whistle’- is now shedding light on the language-processing abilities of the human brain, according to scientists. Researchers say that Silbo activates parts of the brain normally associated with spoken language, suggesting that the brain is remarkably flexible in its ability to interpret sounds as language.
据科学家说，这一被称为“Silbo”或“Silbo Gemero”的语言 – 该名称来自西班牙语，意思是“口哨” – 如今正在揭示人类大脑处理语言的能力。研究者说，Silbo激活大脑中通常与口头语言联系在一起的部分，表明大脑在将声音解析成语言的能力方面具有很高的灵活性。
‘Science has developed the idea of brain areas that are dedicated to language, and we are starting to understand the scope of signals that can be recognised as language,’ says David Corina, co-author of a recent study and associate professor of psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Silbo is a substitute for Spanish, with individual words recoded into whistles which have high- and low-frequency tones. A whistler – or silbador – puts a finger in his or her mouth to increase the whistle’s pitch, while the other hand can be cupped to adjust the direction of the sound. ‘There is much more ambiguity in the whistled signal than in the spoken signal’, explains lead researcher Manuel Carreiras, psychology professor at the University of La Laguna on the Canary island of Tenerife. Because whistled ‘words’ can be hard to distinguish, silbadores rely on repetition, as well as awareness of context, to make themselves understood.
The silbadores of Gomera are traditionally shepherds and other isolated mountain folk, and their novel means of staying in touch allows them to communicate over distances of up to 10 kilometres. Carreiras explains that silbadores are able to pass a surprising amount of information via their whistles. ‘In daily life they use whistles to communicate short commands, but any Spanish sentence could be whistled.’ Silbo has proved particularly useful when fires have occurred on the island and rapid communication across large areas has been vital.
The study team used neuroimaging equipment to contrast the brain activity of silbadores while listening to whistled and spoken Spanish. Results showed the left temporal lobe of the brain, which is usually associated with spoken language, was engaged during the processing of Silbo. The researchers found that other key regions in the brain’s frontal lobe also responded to the whistles, including those activated in response to sign language among deaf people. When the experiments were repeated with non-whistlers, however, activation was observed in all areas of the brain.
‘Our results provide more evidence about the flexibility of human capacity for language in a variety of forms,’ Corina says. ‘These data suggest that left-hemisphere language regions are uniquely adapted for communicative purposes, independent of the modality of signal. The non- Silbo speakers were not recognising Silbo as a language. They had nothing to grab onto, so multiple areas of their brains were activated.’
Carreiras says the origins of Silbo Gomero remain obscure, but that indigenous Canary Islanders, who were of North African origin, already had a whistled language when Spain conquered the volcanic islands in the 15th century. Whistled languages survive today in Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Vietnam, Guyana, China, Nepal, Senegal, and a few mountainous pockets in southern Europe. There are thought to be as many as 70 whistled languages still in use, though only 12 have been described and studied scientifically. This form of communication is an adaptation found among cultures where people are often isolated from each other, according to Julien Meyer, a researcher at the Institute of Human Sciences in Lyon, France. ‘They are mostly used in mountains or dense forests, ‘ he says. ‘Whistled languages are quite clearly defined and represent an original adaptation of the spoken language for the needs of isolated human groups.”
Carreiras说，Silbo Gomero的起源仍属未知，但源于非洲北部的加纳里群岛的本土居民，在西班牙人于15世纪征服这些火山岛的时候，就已经拥有了一门口哨语言。口哨语言如今仍然存在于巴布新几内亚、墨西哥、越南、圭亚那、中国、尼泊尔、塞内加尔，以及欧洲南部的一些地区。据认为，目前仍在使用的口哨语言多达70种，虽然其中只有12种被科学地描述和研究过。法国里昂人类科学研究所的研究员Julien Meyer表示，这种形式的交流是对人们互相隔绝的文化的一种适应。“它们大多在山区和茂密的森林中使用”，他说，“口哨语言定义清晰，代表着为满足孤立的人类群体的需求而对口头语言的一种原始改编”。
But with modern communication technology now widely available, researchers say whistled languages like Silbo are threatened with extinction. With dwindling numbers of Gomera islanders still fluent in the language, Canaries’ authorities are taking steps to try to ensure its survival. Since 1999, Silbo Gomero has been taught in all of the island’s elementary schools. In addition, locals are seeking assistance from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). ‘The local authorities are trying to get an award from the organisation to declare [Silbo Gomero] as something that should be preserved for humanity,’ Carreiras adds.
不过，如今随着现代通信技术的广泛应用，研究者表示，诸如Silbo这样的口哨语言面临着灭绝的危险。随着戈梅拉岛上仍然能够熟练使用该语言的人越来越少，加那利政府当局正采取措施努力保证它的延续。1999年以来，该岛屿上的所有小学都开设了Silbo Gomero这门语言课。除此之外，当地人还寻求联合国教科文组织的帮助。“当地政府正试图从该组织获得认证，以宣布Silbo Gemero是某种出于人类整体利益应该被保护的东西”，Carreiras补充到。