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2018年英语专业四级听力真题 演讲

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The Linguistic Gift of Babies

婴儿的语言天赋
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。在今天的课上,我要讲一些你们看不到的东西。也就是:婴儿的大脑里是如何运转的。
For example, how babies learn a language.
例如,婴儿如何学习一门语言。
It is always a question people show great interest in.
这是一个大家很感兴趣的问题。
Babies and children are geniuses until they turn seven, and then there's a systematic decline.
婴儿和七岁之前的儿童都是天才,七岁后就会出现系统性的衰退。
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.
我的实验室里工作的重点就是发育的第一个关键时期,在这个关键时期,婴儿试图掌握在他们的语言中用到的音。
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.
我们认为,通过研究声音是如何习得的,我们将建立一个适用于语言其他方面的模型,也可能适用于儿童时期可能存在的社交、情感和认知发展关键时期的模型。
So we've been studying the babies by conducting an experiment.
所以我们一直在通过实验来研究这些婴儿。
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".
在我们的实验中,婴儿,通常是6个月大的婴儿,坐在父母的膝盖上,我们训练他们当音变化的时候转过头去,比如从“啊”变成“咿”的时候。
If they do so at the appropriate time, the black box lights up and a panda bear pounds a drum. What have we learned?
如果他们在正确的时候这样做,黑盒子就会亮起来,熊猫就会敲鼓。我们学到了什么?
Well, babies all over the world are what I like to describe as "citizens of the world".
全世界的婴儿就是我所说的“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.
他们可以区分所有语言的所有音,不管我们测试的是哪个国家,用的是什么语言,这很了不起,因为你知道,我做不到。
We're culture-bound listeners.
我们的听力受到了文化限制。
We can discriminate the sounds of our own language, but not those of foreign languages.
我们能分辨出自己语言的音,却分辨不出外语的音。
So the question arises: When do those citizens of the world turn into the language-bound listeners that we are?
所以问题就来了:这些世界公民什么时候会变成我们这样只能听懂某一种语言的人?
And the answer: before their first birthdays.
答案是:在他们一周岁之前。
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.
这里是东京和美国西雅图参加测试的婴儿在转头实验中的表现,此时他们听到了“ra”和“la”,这是英语中很重要的发音,日语中却不重要。
So at six to eight months, the babies are totally equivalent.
所以在6到8个月大的时候,婴儿们的表现是完全一样的。
Two months later, something, something incredible occurs.
两个月后,一些不可思议的事情发生了。
The babies in the United States are getting a lot better while babies in Japan are getting a lot worse.
美国的婴儿表现越来越好,而日本的婴儿表现越来越差。
So the question is: What's happening during this critical two-month period?
问题是,在这两个月的关键时期发生了什么?
We know this is the critical period for sound development, but what's going on up there?
我们知道这是辩声能力发展的关键时期,但是究竟发生了什么?
Maybe there are two things going on.
也许发生了两件事。
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,婴儿们全神贯注地听我们说话,他们一边听我们说话一边做统计——他们在做统计。
That is to say, the two babies listen to their own mother speaking motherese—the universal language we use when we talk to kids.
也就是说,两个婴儿听他们自己的母亲说妈妈语——我们和孩子说话时使用的通用语。
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.
在产生语言的过程中,当婴儿听的时候,他们所做的就是做统计,也就是说,他们听到的语言的声音分布。
And those sound distributions grow and babies absorb more.
这些声音分布不断完善,婴儿就吸收更多。
And what we've learned is that babies are sensitive to the statistics, and the statistics of Japanese and English are very, very different.
我们发现,婴儿对统计数据很敏感,而且日语和英语的统计数据非常非常不同。
I mean, the sound distribution of both languages is different.
我的意思是,两种语言的声音分布是不同的。
So babies absorb the statistics of the language and it changes their brains;
所以婴儿会吸收语言的统计数据,这会改变他们的大脑;
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.
这使他们从世界公民变成了我们这些受到文化限制只能听懂某一种语言的人,因为我们成年后就不再吸收这些数据。
In this case, of course, we're arguing that the learning of language material may slow down when our distribution stabilizes.
当然,在这种情况下,我们认为声音分布趋于稳定时,语言的学习可能会减慢。
OK. Today, we just talked about a recent project on babies' language development.
好的。今天,我们刚刚讨论了最近的一个关于婴儿语言能力发展的项目。
In our next lecture, we will concentrate on bilingual people, how bilinguals keep two sets of statistics in mind at once.
在下一讲中,我们将集中讨论双语者,双语者如何同时记住两组数据。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
equivalent [i'kwivələnt]

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adj. 等价的,相等的
n. 相等物

联想记忆
critical ['kritikəl]

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adj. 批评的,决定性的,危险的,挑剔的
a

 
emotional [i'məuʃənl]

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adj. 感情的,情绪的

 
decline [di'klain]

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n. 衰微,跌落; 晚年
v. 降低,婉谢

 
bilingual [bai'liŋgwəl]

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adj. 双语的,用两种语言表达或书写的

联想记忆
cognitive ['kɔgnitiv]

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adj. 认知的,认识的,有认识力的

 
universal [.ju:ni'və:səl]

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adj. 普遍的,通用的,宇宙的,全体的,全世界的

 
performance [pə'fɔ:məns]

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n. 表演,表现; 履行,实行
n. 性能,本

联想记忆
concentrate ['kɔnsntreit]

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v. 集中,专心,浓缩
n. 浓缩物

联想记忆
social ['səuʃəl]

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adj. 社会的,社交的
n. 社交聚会

 


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