时间:2018年04月25日 00:11:36

The gift of tongues.语言的天赋。What makes some people learn language after language?何者吸引一些人接二连三地学习多门语言?Babel No More: The Search for the World#39;s Most Extraordinary Language Learners.消逝的巴别塔:寻找世间最卓越的语言学习者。 CARDINAL MEZZOFANTI of Bologna was a secular saint. Though he never performed the kind of miracle needed to be officially canonised, his power was close to unearthly. Mezzofanti was said to speak 72 languages. Or 50. Or to have fully mastered 30. No one was certain of the true figure, but it was a lot. Visitors flocked from all corners of Europe to test him and came away stunned. He could switch between languages with ease. Two condemned prisoners were due to be executed, but no one knew their language to hear their confession. Mezzofanti learned it in a night, heard their sins the next morning and saved them from hell.洛尼亚的Mezzofanti红衣主教是一个身处于俗世的圣人。尽管他从未演示过任何奇迹而被正式册封为圣徒,其能力也近乎超自然了。据说Mezzofanti可以说72抑或50种语言,若说精通则是30种。对此,没人能说得准,但总之很多。成群结队从欧洲各地赶来验他能力的游客都带着瞠目结舌的神情离去。他可以轻松地任意在几种语言之间切换。曾有两个被定罪的囚犯即将行刑,却因说一口无人知晓的语言使得最后的忏悔无人听得懂。Mezzofanti用一夜学会了这种语言,并于隔天早晨倾听了他们的罪孽,救赎了他们的灵魂以免于沦落地狱。Or so the legend goes. In ;Babel No More;, Michael Erard has written the first serious book about the people who master vast numbers of languages;or claim to. A journalist with some linguistics training, Mr Erard is not a hyperpolyglot himself (he speaks some Spanish and Chinese), but he approaches his topic with both wonder and a healthy dash of scepticism.如此这般,传言之谓。《消逝的巴别塔》是Michael Erard所写的有关于精通或声称自己精通许多种语言之人的第一本严肃书籍。Erard先生虽是个受过些许语言学训练的记者,但却并没有通晓超多种语言的特殊能力(他能说一点西班牙语和中文),不过他在处理论题时,即带着惊奇艳羡,又带着几许健康的怀疑态度。Mezzofanti, for example, was a high-ranking clergyman born in 1774. In most of his interactions, he would have been the one to pick the topic of conversation, and he could rely on the same formulae he had used many times. He lived in an age when ;knowing; a language more often meant ing and translating rather than speaking fluently with natives. Nonetheless, Mezzofanti clearly had speaking talent; his English accent was so good as to be almost too correct, an Irish observer noted.如Mezzsfanti生于1774年,曾是高级神职人员。多数情况下,他可能正是在与人交流中掌握选择话题主动权的人,如此,他便能够仰仗用过许多次的同一种模式交谈了。他所生活的年代对于;知晓;一种语言的理解更多的是指能读能译而非能够流利地与母语使用者交流。尽管如此,Mezzofanti显然还是拥有语言天赋的:一个爱尔兰目击者指出,他的英语口音好到几乎过了头。To find out whether anyone could really learn so many languages, Mr Erard set out to find modern Mezzofantis. The people he meets are certainly interesting. One man with a mental age of nine has a vast memory for foreign words and the use of grammatical endings, but he cannot seem to break free of English word-order. Ken Hale, who was a linguist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and died in 2001, was said to have learned 50 languages, including notoriously difficult Finnish while on a flight to Helsinki. Professional linguists still swear by his talent. But he insisted he spoke only three (English, Spanish and Warlpiri;from Australia#39;s Northern Territory) and could merely ;talk in; others.为了弄清是否真有人能够学如此多的语言,Erard先生启程去寻找现代的;Mezzofantis;。他果真遇到了有趣之人。一个心理年龄仅9岁的男子拥有大量关于外语单词和词尾的记忆,但似乎不能打破英语词序的思维定式。另据说Ken Hale,这位于2011年去世的麻省理工学院的语言学家,生前学习了50种语言,甚至在一架飞往赫尔辛基的航班上学会被公认极难的芬兰语。语言专家们至今仍对他的天赋确信无疑。而他本人确坚称自己只会三门语言(英语,西班牙语和沃匹利语;;来自于澳洲北领地),而对于其它语言,聊聊尚可。Mr Erard says that true hyperpolyglottery begins at about 11 languages, and that while legends abound, tried and tested exemplars are few. Ziad Fazah, raised in Lebanon and now living in Brazil, once held the Guinness world record for 58 languages. But when surprised on a Chilean television show by native speakers, he utterly flubbed questions in Finnish, Mandarin, Farsi and Russian (including ;What day is it today?; in Russian), a failure that lives in infamy on YouTube. Perhaps he was a fraud; perhaps he simply had a miserable day. Hyperpolyglots must warm up or ;prime; their weaker languages, with a few hours#39; or days#39; practice, to use them comfortably. Switching quickly between more than around six or seven is near-impossible even for the most gifted.Erard先生称真正的精通超多语言者应从掌握11门语言算起,而且尽管传言四起,能经受住考验的实例确少之甚少。成长于黎巴嫩现居于巴西的Ziad Fazah曾因会58种语言而被载入吉尼斯世界纪录,却在一台智利的电视节目中在无准备状态下受到母语使用的突袭,以至于完全弄错了用芬兰语、普通话、波斯语和俄语问的问题(包括俄语的;今天周几?;),这个失败带了的耻辱在因YouTube得以长存。也许Ziad Fazah是个骗子,也许他那天只是特别倒霉。精通超多语言者必须对他较薄弱的语言进行几小时甚至是几天的热身或者说是;事先准备;,才能自如运用这些语言。而迅速地在六、七种语言之间来回切换,即使对于那些天赋异禀者来说,也几乎是不可能的。Does that mean they don#39;t really know them? Is instant availability of native-like competence the only standard for ;nowing; a language? How should partly knowing a tongue be tallied? What if you can only in it? Mr Erard repeatedly peppers his text with such questions, feeling his way through his story as a thoughtful observer, rather than banging about like an academic with a theory to defend or a pitchman with a technique to sell.这就意味着他们并非真正知晓这些语言么?拥有与母语使用者那样呼之即来来之能用的能力即是;知晓;一种语言的唯一标准吗?该如何评估部分知晓一门语言呢?又如果你仅能阅读呢?Erard先生在他的文章中接二连三地提出问题,如一个善思考的观察者根据故事寻找线索,而非言辞激烈地如同一个专家用理论来辩解或像个宣传员以技巧来销售自己的观点。Hyperpolyglots are more likely to be introverted than extroverted, which may come as a surprise to some. Hale#39;s son always said that, in his father#39;s case, languages were a cloak for a shy man. Another, Alexander Arguelles, has learned dozens of languages only to them, saying ;It#39;s rare that you have an interesting conversation in English. Why do I think it would be any better in another language?; Emil Krebs, an early-20th-century German diplomat who was also credited with knowing dozens of languages, was boorish in all of them. He once refused to speak to his wife for several months because she told him to put on a winter coat.令很多人感到惊奇的是,精通超多语言者们的性格更趋于内向。Hale的儿子总是说,在他父亲看来,语言是腼腆者的伪装。另一个名为Alexander Arguelles的人会许多种语言却都仅限于阅读,他解释说;如果你对用英语交谈都罕有兴趣的话,又怎会对说其他语言有更多好感呢?;20世纪上半叶的德国外交官Emil Krebs也被公认会几十种语言,但不管说哪一种都是生硬无礼。他曾有一次几个月都拒绝跟他妻子说话仅因为她让他添一件冬衣。Different hypotheses may explain part of the language-learner#39;s gift. Some hyperpolyglots seem near-autistic. In support, Mr Erard points to the theory of Simon Baron-Cohen, of Cambridge University, that autists have an ;extreme male brain; that seeks to master systems. Another hypothesis is the ;Geschwind-Galaburda; cluster of traits. Supposedly resulting from abnormal antenatal exposure to hormones, this cluster includes maleness, homosexuality, left-handedness, poor visual-spatial skills, immune disorders, and perhaps also language-learning talent. Brain areas are also keyed to certain skills. The left Heschlrsquo;s gyrus is bigger than average in professional phoneticians. People who learn new vocabulary quickly show more activity in the hippocampus. Krebs#39;s brain, preserved in slices at a laboratory in Duuml;sseldorf, shows various unusual features.不同的假说也许能够解释语言学习者的部分天赋。有一些精通超多语言者显现出自闭的倾向。Erard先生以剑桥大学Simon Baron-Cohen的理论作为例,即自闭症患者拥有;极端男性大脑;以寻求对事物系统性地掌握。另一个假设则是;Geschwind-Galaburda;的特征簇。这一被推测为因期非正常接触到荷尔蒙而导致的特征包括男性向、同性恋、左撇子、立体空间辨别力差、免疫系统紊乱,也可能是学习语言的天赋。大脑的区域与特定的人体机能相联系。专业语音学者的左听皮质区比常人大,而能够快速学习新词汇的人大脑海马区域较常人活跃。Kreb的大脑切片被保存在杜塞尔多夫的一个实验室里,其显示出多种不同寻常的特质。The discovery of the FOXP2 brain gene, a mutation of which can cause language loss, was met with considerable excitement when it was announced over a decade ago. But the reality is that many parts of the brain work together to produce speech and no single gene, region of the brain or theory can explain successful language-learning. In the end Mr Erard is happy simply to meet interesting characters, tell fascinating tales and round up the research without trying to judge which is the best work.十多年前,对FOXP2大脑基因突变会导致语言能力丧失这一发现的公布使众人激动不已。事实上,话语能力是大脑的许多部分共同运作而产生的,没有任何单独的基因、大脑区域或理论的不同领域可以成功解释语言学习。最后,Erard先生只能满足于结实有趣之人、叙述精故事和搜集科研的喜悦之情,而非对这些研究的优劣妄加评判。At the end of his story, however, he finds a surprise in Mezzofanti#39;s archive: flashcards. Stacks of them, in Georgian, Hungarian, Arabic, Algonquin and nine other tongues. The world#39;s most celebrated hyperpolyglot relied on the same tools given to first-year language-learners today. The conclusion? Hyperpolyglots may begin with talent, but they aren#39;t geniuses. They simply enjoy tasks that are drudgery to normal people. The talent and enjoyment drive a virtuous cycle that pushes them to feats others simply shake their heads at, admiration mixed with no small amount of incomprehension.然而,在著述的末尾,他在Messofanti的档案资料中找到令人惊讶的发现:抽认卡;;一大堆的抽认卡,格鲁吉亚语,匈牙利语,阿拉伯语,阿尔贡金语以及另外九中语言;;举世最著名的通晓超多语言者也要依靠这一现今我们为语言初学者所准备的工具。结论呢?精通超多语言者最初确实可能由能力而起,但他们也并非天才而只是能够对一般人觉得单调乏味的工作感到乐在其中。这一由天赋和兴趣所形成的良性循环驱策着他们成就另他人望而却步的事业,而在得到他人钦佩的同时也伴随着更多的不解。 /201201/167617

The 10,000-Hour Rule says that you need approximately 10,000 hours of practice to become a world-class expert in a field. There is no other way: if you want to be a world-class expert in your field, you must do your 10,000 hours of practice.一万小时天才理论说的是:要想成为这一领域的世界级专家,你就需要花大约一万个小时来练习。没有其他的法子,如果你想成功,那就必须得花一万个小时。Then, where should you invest my 10,000 hours of practice?那么,你应该把这一万个小时花在哪里呢?This question is important because 10,000 hours is a lot of time. If you consistently practice 4 hours a day for 6 days a week, you will still need 8 years to get 10,000 hours. So answering this question is essential. If you need to invest such a huge amount of time, you#39;d better do it right. You#39;d better find your niche.这个问题很重要,因为一万个小时是很长的一段时间。如果你每天练习4小时,每周练习6天,那么你需要8年的时间才能达到一万个小时的练习量。所以回答“要把一万个小时花在哪”的这个问题就变得非常有必要了。你要付出这么多的时间,你就必须选好方向,选择最合适的方向。To find your niche, I find the three questions below helpful. Answer them and you will have an idea of where you should go. Here they are:为了能找到最合适的方向,我提出了下面的三个问题,如果能回答出来这些问题,你就能找到你的方向了。问题如下:1. Where have you invested your time?1. 你过去都把时间花在了哪里?One way to know where to invest your time is simply to look at where you have invested your time. For example, in the last few years you might have learned how to play music for one or two hours a day. Or you might have blogged about a certain topic. Or you might have spent a lot of time on gardening.要想知道该在哪个方面花时间的最简单的办法就是回头看看自己已经在哪个领域花了时间。比如说,在过去的几年里,你每天都会花一两个小时来演奏音乐,或者在某个问题上持续地发表文章,又或者在园艺上花费了大量的时间。Those are good signs of where you should invest your 10,000 hours. You aly invest part of that 10,000 hours so you only need to invest the rest. The difference is now you do it consciously and deliberately. You will be more effective that way.这些都能很好地说明你应该在哪些方面来利用这一万个小时的时间。你已经花了一部分时间了,那么你只需要把一万个小时中剩下的那部分时间花上去就可以了。区别在于现在你是有意识地、特意地把时间用在某个领域上,而收效也会更好。2. What are your passions?2. 你最感兴趣的是什么?In fact, that#39;s one reason why 10,000 hours is a magic number to become a world-class expert: almost everyone else fails before reaching that point. Only a few people can reach the 10,000 hours mark and that#39;s why they become world class.事实上,兴趣就是一万个小时天才理论的奥妙之处,因为很多人都在达到这个数量级之前就放弃了。只有一小部分人可以坚持一万个小时,而他们就成了世界级的高手。To help you reach the 10,000 hours mark, doing something you love is really helpful. It will help you go through difficult times. It will help you overcome boredom. Without it, the 10,000 hours will feel like a painful journey. It#39;s highly unlikely that you will ever reach the 10,000 hours mark that way.为了让自己能坚持一万个小时,做自己感兴趣的事是非常重要的。它可以帮助你渡过难关,战胜无聊。如果是自己不感兴趣的东西的话,那么要坚持一万个小时简直就是一段痛苦不堪的长途跋涉啊,很有可能你在到达终点前就已经放弃了。3. What opportunities does the age give you?3. 你所处的时代赋予了你什么?Ask yourself: what opportunities does your birth date give you? What opportunities does the history give you at this point in time?问问自己:你出生的那个时代给你带来了什么机会?现在的社会环境又给你创造了什么机遇?Answering these questions is not easy because it#39;s difficult to see whether or not something will be hot. When Bill Gates did his 10,000 hours of practice to learn programming, he might not know that it would eventually put him in a perfect position to be a software mogul. You need to have faith in something and believe that the dots will eventually connect.要回答这个问题并不容易因为没有人可以预见未来,知道什么东西会在将来火起来。当比尔-盖茨把他的一万个小时用于学习编程的时候,他可能也不知道最终自己会因此而成为软件业巨头。你需要对自己选择的方向有信心,要相信最终这些小的点都会连成线。 /201205/184103

Many years after receiving my graduate degree, I returned to the State University of New York at Binghamton as a faculty member. One day in a crowded elevator, someone remarked on its inefficiency. I said the elevators had not changed in the 20 years since I began there as a student. 获取研究生学位多年以后,我回到位于宾翰顿的纽约州立大学当教员。一天,电梯里很拥挤,有人抱怨电梯效率太低。我说自我在那里当学生起,20年来电梯一直没有换过。 When the door finally opened, I felt a compassionate pat on my back, and turned to see an elderly nun smiling at me. ;You#39;ll get that degree, dear,; she whispered. ;Perseverance is a virtue.; 最后当电梯门打开时,我感到有人在我的背上同情地拍了一下,回过头来我看到一位年长的修女正在朝我微笑。;你会拿到学位的,亲爱的,;她低声说道:;坚持不懈是一种美德。; /201203/175513

Late one night at the insane asylum one inmate shouted, ;I am Napoleon!;Another one said, ;How do you know?;The first inmate said, ;God told me!;Just then, a voice from another room shouted, ;I did not!;疯人院 一天晚上,在疯人院里,一个病人说:;我是拿破仑!;另一个说:;你怎么知道?;第一个人说:;上帝对我说的!;一会儿,一个声音从另一个房间传来:;我没说! /201202/171288

电视里的相亲节目不断爆出争议话题,不像是为大家务,更像是精心策划的一场;秀;。在线婚配呢,倒是显得很私人,可是你真的相信网络那一端跟你说话的不是一名刚满7岁的小学生吗?请别误会,小编这不是在泼冷水,只是想向大家介绍一种新的相亲方式。Intellidating, a blend of intelligent and dating, refers to dating that emphasizes intelligence, particularly by attending lectures, ings, or other cultural events.Intellidating,是intelligent(智慧)和dating(相亲、约会)两词的合成词,指一起听讲座、去读书会或其它文化活动,强调才华和智慧层面的约会相亲,我们称之为;智慧相亲;。Call it the courtship equivalent to the slow-food movement. Call it a backlash against point and click matchmaking. Whichever, intellidating ; an unhurried , decidedly highbrow approach to mating ; is catching on in big cities around the world.你可以说这是;慢食运动;的翻版,也可以说是对在线婚配的反击。不管你怎么定义,;智慧相亲;这种不紧不慢、决意走高雅路线的相亲方式已经开始在世界各大城市兴起。Intellidating is also a boon for the shy. In contrast to speed-dating, which demands rigidly timed discussions about pretty much whatever pops to mind, events such as lectures and viewings offer built-in conversational pegs.;智慧相亲;同时也是害羞人士的良方。速配相亲中因为时间有限,所以都是想起什么就聊什么;而;智慧相亲;中的讲座和观赏等活动可以为双方提供很多现成的话题。 /201203/175093

Contrary to popular belief, people who sleep six to seven hours a night live longer, and those who sleep eight hours or more die younger, according to the latest study ever conducted on the subject. The study, which tracked the sleeping habits of 1.1 million Americans for six years, undermines the advice of many sleep doctors who have long recommended that people get eight or nine hours of sleep every night.   与人们的普遍观念恰恰相反,就睡眠所做的最新研究发现每晚睡6-7个小时的人要比睡8个小时或更长时间的人寿命长。这项对110万美国人的睡眠习惯进行为期6年跟踪调查的研究削弱了很多睡眠医生长期以来建议人们每晚要睡8-9个小时的说法。 "There's an old idea that people should sleep eight hours a night, which has no more scientific basis than the gold at the end of the rainbow," said Daniel Kripke, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Diego who led the study, published in a recent issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. "That's an old wives' tale."   "旧的观念认为人们每晚应睡足8小时,但其实这个观点就如同虹末端的金色一样毫无科学依据,"圣狄哥加州大学的精神病学教授Daniel Kripke说道,他领导进行的这项研究的结果发表在最近一期的《大众精神病学档案》上。"这一观点不过是老妇人的老生常谈而已。" The study was not designed to answer why sleeping longer may be deleterious or whether people could extend their life span by sleeping less.这项研究目的不是试图解释为何睡得多可能是有害的,也不是解释人们能否通过减少睡眠来延长寿命。 But Kripke said it was possible that people who slept longer tended to suffer from sleep apnea, a condition where impaired breathing puts stress on the heart and brain. He also speculated that the need for sleep was akin to food, where getting less than people want may be better for them. 但Kripke说这有可能是由于睡得多的人就容易遭受睡眠中的呼吸暂停,这是一种减弱呼吸给心脏和大脑带来压力的状况。他还认为人们对睡眠的需求就如同对食物需求一样,实际摄入量比需求量少一点可能对健康有益。 /201009/113495

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