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学英语:说话不带口音,人就显得高级吗

2017/06/0605:37来源:互联网  

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  学英语:说话不带口音,人就显得高级吗?都说佛靠金装,人靠衣装,其实一个人的形象不仅仅取决于其外表,尤其是英语国家的人,口音也是个人形象的一部分。

  为了树立良好的个人形象,有些人甚至会转变自己的英语口音。比如“铁娘子”撒切尔夫人就由林肯郡口音(Lincolnshire accent)转变成了“标准发音”(received pronunciation,简称RP)

  1.那么什么叫标准发音呢?

  原 文

  A standard dialect is simply one local variety of a language which has become most publicly accepted in social institutions such as the media, the law and government. In many Anglophone countries, the dialect spoken by most of the population is considered to be standard, such as Standard American or Standard Australian English. In the UK, however, the so-called standard – known as RP or the Queen’s English – is spoken natively by less than 3%.

  标准方言不过是某个语言一个地方变体,但它被诸如媒体、法律和政府等社会体系最广泛接受。在很多英语国家里,使用人口最多的方言即为标准方言,比如标准美式英语或标准澳大利亚英语。然而在英国,说所谓标准英语——又被称之为“RP”或是“女王英语”——的人在本地不到百分之三。

  2.改变自己的口音到底有没有必要呢?到目前为止,答案似乎是肯定的。

  有事例证明,人的英语口音可能会对人的职业生涯有所影响。不过,随着时代发展,社会越来越要求包容公平的就业环境,如今我们却还是会想着改变口音,这不仅仅是为了就业,而是由于社会上存在的歧视和偏见。

  Today, it is not as simple as moving your speech patterns up the social ladder to boost your career prospects. But when we examine the reasons why anyone would consider changing their accent, we uncover a raft of biases that shouldn’t necessarily be reinforced.

  如今,将你的言语模式朝社会阶梯往上移,不仅仅是为提升职业前景了。当我们调查为什么有人想改变自己的口音时,我们发现了大量偏见,而这些偏见是没有必要被强加的。

  bias

  偏见

  reinforce

  v. 增强,巩固

  3.我们对于不同的口音形成了不同的刻板印象。

  原 文

  No doubt, we find some accents more entertaining or more amusing than others. But accents aren't just purely about how we speak – they are one of the most distinctive cues for where we come from. They immediately mark out who we are and they form a core part of our identity. Entire stereotypes have built up around different accents - New Yorkers are rude, British RP speakers are educated, Yorkshire speakers are trustworthy, Southern Americans are pleasant, and Birmingham speakers, depending on who you ask, either sound melodic or like criminals.

  毫无疑问,我们发现某些口音比其他口音更搞笑或更有趣。但口音不仅仅是我们说话的方式——它们还最明显地标志着我们来自何处。它们快速标志我们是谁,构建了我们身份的核心部分。围绕口音业已建立一整套刻板印象——纽约口音的人粗鲁,标准英音的人受过良好教育,约克郡口音的人值得信任,美国南部口音的人和蔼可亲,而带伯明翰口音的人,有人说音调优美,有些则人说像罪犯。

  distinctive

  独具特色的

  stereotype

  刻板印象

  melodic

  悠扬的

  4.人们对口音的差异非常敏感。

  原 文

  Studies have shown it can take just 30 milliseconds of speech – enough to say “hello” – for listeners to identify a person's ethnic or cultural background as being different from their own and make snap judgements about the kind of person they might be, whether positive or negative. Listeners can attribute all kinds of unrelated personal traits to a speaker – from height, physical attractiveness, social status, intelligence, education, good character, sociability, even criminality – just based on how they sound.

  研究显示,听话人只需通过0.03秒的讲话——够说一句“你好”的时间——来确定一个人的民族或是文化背景和自己不同,然后对这个人的类型做一个快速的判断,不管是积极的或是消极的。仅仅根据所听到的,听话人就可以将不相关的所有个体特征赋予给说话人——从身高,外表吸引力,社会地位,智力,教育,良好的性格,社交能力乃至犯罪可能性。

  snap

  adj.突然的,快的

  attribute ...to...

  把......赋予给......

  5.这样的偏见当然会带来负面影响。

  原 文

  It’s thanks to these language attitudes that for some, an accent becomes a source of cultural pride, but for others, a secret source of shame. But these attitudes about the way we sound are so pervasive that even non-standard speakers may judge their own dialects and accents just as harshly as others do, perpetuating the erroneous belief that their native speech is “incorrect” and needs to change.

  正是由于这些对语言的态度,对某些人来说,口音成为文化自豪感的来源,而对另一些人而言则是难言的羞耻。但是这些对待我们说话方式的态度却十分普遍,即使是操着非标准口音的人也会像其他人一样,严酷地评判自己的方言和口音,从而维系了那个错误的观念,即他们的方言是“不正确的”,需要改变。

  pervasive

  adj. 普遍的

  perpetuate

  v. 保持

  erroneous

  adj. 错误的;

  6.总的来说,这是一个恶性循环:越是有人为了提升社会地位而改变口音,这种偏见就越难消除。

  n. error

  原 文

  The more people change their accents to fit in with prevailing attitudes and stereotypes, the more those views are reinforced.

  人们越是改变口音来迎合盛行的关于语言的态度和刻板印象,这些观念就越被强化。

  prevailing

  盛行的;主流的

  因此,我们认为,虽然口音的选择是一种自由,但若是为了升职或是人际关系而刻意改变自己的口音,恐怕也无意中“助纣为虐”,加深了某种刻板印象。

  栏目作者

  唐伟胜,新航道特约雅思学术顾问,广东外语外贸大学教授、博士,中国知名英语教育专家

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