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2018年英語專業四級聽力真題 演講

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The Linguistic Gift of Babies

嬰兒的語言天賦
Good morning, everyone. In today's lecture, I'm going to talk about something you can't see. That is, what's going on in the little brain of a baby.
大家早上好。在今天的課上,我要講一些你們看不到的東西。也就是:嬰兒的大腦里是如何運轉的。
For example, how babies learn a language.
例如,嬰兒如何學習一門語言。
It is always a question people show great interest in.
這是一個大家很感興趣的問題。
Babies and children are geniuses until they turn seven, and then there's a systematic decline.
嬰兒和七歲之前的兒童都是天才,七歲后就會出現系統性的衰退。
Work in my lab is focused on the first critical period in development, and that is the period in which babies try to master which sounds are used in their language.
我的實驗室里工作的重點就是發育的第一個關鍵時期,在這個關鍵時期,嬰兒試圖掌握在他們的語言中用到的音。
We think, by studying how the sounds are learned, we'll have a model for the rest of language, and perhaps for critical periods that may exist in childhood for social, emotional and cognitive development.
我們認為,通過研究聲音是如何習得的,我們將建立一個適用于語言其他方面的模型,也可能適用于兒童時期可能存在的社交、情感和認知發展關鍵時期的模型。
So we've been studying the babies by conducting an experiment.
所以我們一直在通過實驗來研究這些嬰兒。
During our experiment, the baby, usually a six-monther, sits on a parent's lap, and we train them to turn their heads when a sound changes—like from "ah" to "ee".
在我們的實驗中,嬰兒,通常是6個月大的嬰兒,坐在父母的膝蓋上,我們訓練他們當音變化的時候轉過頭去,比如從“啊”變成“咿”的時候。
If they do so at the appropriate time, the black box lights up and a panda bear pounds a drum. What have we learned?
如果他們在正確的時候這樣做,黑盒子就會亮起來,熊貓就會敲鼓。我們學到了什么?
Well, babies all over the world are what I like to describe as "citizens of the world".
全世界的嬰兒就是我所說的“世界公民”。
They can discriminate all the sounds of all languages, no matter what country we're testing and what language we're using, and that's remarkable because you know, I can't do that.
他們可以區分所有語言的所有音,不管我們測試的是哪個國家,用的是什么語言,這很了不起,因為你知道,我做不到。
We're culture-bound listeners.
我們的聽力受到了文化限制。
We can discriminate the sounds of our own language, but not those of foreign languages.
我們能分辨出自己語言的音,卻分辨不出外語的音。
So the question arises: When do those citizens of the world turn into the language-bound listeners that we are?
所以問題就來了:這些世界公民什么時候會變成我們這樣只能聽懂某一種語言的人?
And the answer: before their first birthdays.
答案是:在他們一周歲之前。
What you see here is performance on that head-turn task for babies tested in Tokyo and the United States, here in Seattle, as they listened to the "ra" and "la" — sounds important to English, but not to Japanese.
這里是東京和美國西雅圖參加測試的嬰兒在轉頭實驗中的表現,此時他們聽到了“ra”和“la”,這是英語中很重要的發音,日語中卻不重要。
So at six to eight months, the babies are totally equivalent.
所以在6到8個月大的時候,嬰兒們的表現是完全一樣的。
Two months later, something, something incredible occurs.
兩個月后,一些不可思議的事情發生了。
The babies in the United States are getting a lot better while babies in Japan are getting a lot worse.
美國的嬰兒表現越來越好,而日本的嬰兒表現越來越差。
So the question is: What's happening during this critical two-month period?
問題是,在這兩個月的關鍵時期發生了什么?
We know this is the critical period for sound development, but what's going on up there?
我們知道這是辯聲能力發展的關鍵時期,但是究竟發生了什么?
Maybe there are two things going on.
也許發生了兩件事。
The first is that the babies are listening intently to us, and they're taking statistics as they listen to us talk—they're taking statistics.
首先,嬰兒們全神貫注地聽我們說話,他們一邊聽我們說話一邊做統計——他們在做統計。
That is to say, the two babies listen to their own mother speaking motherese—the universal language we use when we talk to kids.
也就是說,兩個嬰兒聽他們自己的母親說媽媽語——我們和孩子說話時使用的通用語。
During the production of speech, when babies listen, what they're doing is taking statistics, that is, sound distribution on the language that they hear.
在產生語言的過程中,當嬰兒聽的時候,他們所做的就是做統計,也就是說,他們聽到的語言的聲音分布。
And those sound distributions grow and babies absorb more.
這些聲音分布不斷完善,嬰兒就吸收更多。
And what we've learned is that babies are sensitive to the statistics, and the statistics of Japanese and English are very, very different.
我們發現,嬰兒對統計數據很敏感,而且日語和英語的統計數據非常非常不同。
I mean, the sound distribution of both languages is different.
我的意思是,兩種語言的聲音分布是不同的。
So babies absorb the statistics of the language and it changes their brains;
所以嬰兒會吸收語言的統計數據,這會改變他們的大腦;
it changes them from the citizens of the world to the culture-bound listeners that we are because we as adults are no longer absorbing those statistics.
這使他們從世界公民變成了我們這些受到文化限制只能聽懂某一種語言的人,因為我們成年后就不再吸收這些數據。
In this case, of course, we're arguing that the learning of language material may slow down when our distribution stabilizes.
當然,在這種情況下,我們認為聲音分布趨于穩定時,語言的學習可能會減慢。
OK. Today, we just talked about a recent project on babies' language development.
好的。今天,我們剛剛討論了最近的一個關于嬰兒語言能力發展的項目。
In our next lecture, we will concentrate on bilingual people, how bilinguals keep two sets of statistics in mind at once.
在下一講中,我們將集中討論雙語者,雙語者如何同時記住兩組數據。

重點單詞   查看全部解釋    
sensitive ['sensitiv]

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adj. 敏感的,靈敏的,易受傷害的,感光的,善解人意的

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social ['səuʃəl]

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adj. 社會的,社交的
n. 社交聚會

 
bilingual [bai'liŋgwəl]

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adj. 雙語的,用兩種語言表達或書寫的

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discriminate [di'skrimineit]

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vt. 區分,區別對待
vi. 辨別,差別對待

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decline [di'klain]

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n. 衰微,跌落; 晚年
v. 降低,婉謝

 
emotional [i'məuʃənl]

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adj. 感情的,情緒的

 
cognitive ['kɔgnitiv]

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adj. 認知的,認識的,有認識力的

 
critical ['kritikəl]

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adj. 批評的,決定性的,危險的,挑剔的
a

 
concentrate ['kɔnsntreit]

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v. 集中,專心,濃縮
n. 濃縮物

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describe [dis'kraib]

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vt. 描述,畫(尤指幾何圖形),說成

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