汉英双语文02. 无心剑汉英双语文《英语自然学习法》

英语自然学习法

Natural Learning Method for English

老子说过:“人法地,地法天,天法道,道法自然。”所以,我们应该树立这样的观念,凡是自然的东西都是好的。我们是自然之子,只要我们顺乎自然地发挥天赋的功能,很多东西就会很容易学会。如果一种学习方法,某人用起来很不自然甚至很痛苦,那么应该认为这个方法不适合这个人。他应该勇敢地抛弃这个不适合他自己实际情况的方法,然后去尝试其他方法。

Laozi has said, "Man takes Earth as his model; Earth takes Heaven as its model; Heaven takes Tao as its model; The Tao takes what is natural as its model." So we should set up such an idea that all natural things are good. Since we are children of nature, many things are easy for us to learn well only if we exert our connate functions. If a learning method is used by someone unnaturally even painfully, we should conclude that this method is unsuitable for him. He should abandon this unsuitable method bravely and then try other methods.

绝对不能认为方法是正确的,而这个人太愚笨。这种错误观念贬低了人的天赋和尊严。在我心目中,人,才是根本,一切方法都是可以考察和选择的对象,没有绝对正确的放之四海而皆准的方法。一切要以人为本,只能要方法来将就人,而不是相反,这是我讨论英语学习时贯穿始终的一条红线。

We shouldn't think the method is right but the learner is too stupid, because this wrong idea deb ases man's endowment and dignity. In my view, only man is the basis for examining and choosing any learning methods, and there isn't such an absolutely correct method being valid everywhere. Man is the measurement of all things, so we shouldn't make man for methods but make methods for man, which is the main thread from beginning to end when I discuss English learning here.

英语作为一种世界语,在现代社会尤其国际交往中起了很重要的作用。我们国家对英语教育应该说非常重视,我国学生在十几年的学生时代花了不少的宝贵时间来学习英语。很多学生都为学习英语感到头疼,不知道该怎样才能学好英语。学习一种语言的乐趣没有体会到,英语水平很难提高的痛苦烦恼倒是一直伴随。其效果是有目共睹的,哑巴英语不乏其人。几乎不能流畅地用英语来表达自己的思想和情感,那就是说,英语的交际功能没有很好地实现。

As a world language, English plays a very important part in the modern society, especially in our international interactions. Our country thinks highly of English education, and Chinese students spend a lot of time learning English within their student age of ten more years. It's a big pain for them to learn English without knowing how to learn English well. They haven't enjoyed the pleasure of learning a foreign language but have suffered a lot for being stagnant in their English learning. The learning effect is obvious to all, and there's no lack of dummy English learners. They can hardly express their thoughts and feelings in fluent English, that is to say, the communicative function of English hasn't been fully realized.

一些本科生和研究生即使托福考试和GRE考试成绩比较好,但是英语的语言表达能力仍然很糟糕。英语并没有融入到他们的头脑和血液中,他们完全不能熟练地运用英语来交际,只是很蹩脚地运用着英语的字词句在做翻译练习。英语没有成为他们擅长表达自己某些思想情感的一种有力武器,正确流畅不用说了,感情色彩和个性风格就更不用提了。他们的头脑一直在思考该如何把自己的想法翻译成英语,根本没有机会把自己的情感灌注到所说的话中去,结果就是干瘪瘪地平铺直叙,缺乏语言表达的动人魅力。

Even some undergraduates and graduates score high in TOEFL and GRE, they fail to express themselves in accurate and fluent English. Without melting English into their mind and blood, they can't communicate skillfully with others in English, and what they can do is only to do translation exercises word by word or sentence by sentence. English hasn't become a sharp tool for them to express some of their thoughts and feelings, so accuracy and fluency is out of their reach, let alone emotional color and personal style in their expressions. They're busy thinking how to translate their thoughts into English without pouring their emotions into what they're taking about, so they just speak in a dull or flat way without any moving charm of language expression.

原因何在?难道是我们中国的学生普遍缺乏学习语言的天赋吗?答案是否定的。一个中国小孩在美国生活,很自然地能说一口流利的英语。因此我们应该思考我们是否遵循了正确的学习规律和采用了正确的学习方法。

What's the reason? Is it true that Chinese students lack the endowment of learning foreign languages? The answer is Negative. If a Chinese kid live in the United States, he can speak fluent English very naturally. Therefore, we should consider whether we follow right learning laws and adopt correct learning methods.

我们要摒弃错误的英语学习方式,树立起新的英语学习习惯。包括英语在内的所有语言都并非是研究的对象,而是熟习的对象。当一切都习惯成自然时,我们就可以完全从迄今为止仍然愈学愈难的英语学习中解放出来了。人们用母语说话时,熟习的内容自动浮现于脑海中,却并不深究语法。我认为,说外语也可以如此。

We should abandon wrong methods and set up new habits for English learning. All languages including English aren't for us to study but to learn. When everything becomes natural, we can free us from the harder and harder English learning so far. If we speak in our native language, what we're going to say will come up to our mind automatically, but we won't go into grammar seriously. I think it's also true for us to speak other foreign languages.

我所提倡的自然学习法只有三条基本原则。

I advocate this natural learning method with three basic principles.

第一、学习英语应该遵循由简入繁、由易到难、由粗至细的原则

I. Learning English should follow the principle from simple to complex, from easy to difficult, and from rough to subtle.

千里之行,始于足下。学习英语切忌好高骛远,学习的开始就挑选难、繁、细的材料进行攻坚战,以为学习效果更好,实践证明这是一种错误的态度。如果学习材料远远超出学习者的语言水平,这样的挑战就失去了乐趣,而只是让人感到丧气和痛苦,材料不恰当,破坏了学习者的兴趣和信心,这是最糟糕的事情。

A journey of a thousand li starts beneath one's feet. We should try to avoid pursuing what's beyond our reach in English learning. If we choose and study some difficult, complex, subtle materials at the very beginning with the hope of having better effect, it's proved to be a wrong attitude by practice. If learning materials go far beyond learners' actual language level, such challenges aren't desirable and just make learners frustrated and painful. It's the worst thing that learners' interest and confidence are destroyed by unsuitable materials.

人的思维要受到精神状态的影响,情绪饱满和信心十足的时候,思维敏捷而且记忆轻松,在这样良好的精神状态下学习英语,就会收到事半功倍的效果。所以,学习英语应该一步一步地提高自己的水平,千万不要抱着十天可以速成的错误心理。语言的学习是一个终生发展的过程,千万不要以为通过一段时间的刻苦努力就能完全掌握英语,要知道对语言是学无止境的。

Your thinking will be affected by your mental state. You'll think quickly and memorize easily if you're in high spirit and full of confidence, then you'll get twice the result with half the effort in such a good mental state. Therefore, you should improve your English step by step in your English learning without the wrong thoughts of cracking English within ten days. Language learning is a lifelong developmental process, so don't think you can master English thoroughly only through a period of great effort, and you should know there's no end for language learning.

只要生命在不断变化,作为表现工具的语言,就会自然而然不断地经历表征重述,从而使语言表达水平越来越高,越来越炉火纯青,学习语言的乐趣就会越来越强烈。

So long as your life keeps changing, your language, as a rendering tool, will constantly undergo representational redescription, which makes your language expressive level higher and higher. It's natural that you'll attain high degree of professional proficiency and enjoy more and more fun in your language learning.

有一点必须指出,有些英文作品对我们如果显得太困难、繁杂或者微妙,除了语言本身(词汇和语法)的障碍之外,更重要的在于我们没有经历过类似的事情,我们的生命层次太低,思想太肤浅,自然无法领悟文章的奥妙。

If some English works seem too difficult, complex and subtle to us, I must point out, it lies in our lack of similar life experiences apart from the obstacles of language itself (vocabulary and grammar). Because we're in too low life levels with too superficial thoughts, it's natural we fail to understand the profound meaning of those articles.

有句话,我印象很深,你要学写诗,功夫在诗外。其实,学习英语的道理又何尝不是如此,要提高英语表达水平,功夫应该花在英语外,没有足够的学识修养,英语技巧掌握得再好,也不过是一个中看不中用的绣花枕头而已。

I've been impressed by a statement, "You must learn more things beyond poems if you want to learn writing them." Actually, English learning isn't different at all. You must learn more things beyond English if you want to improve your English expressive level. You're just an outwardly attractive but actually worthless person without enough knowledge no matter how well you've mastered those English language skills.

其实大家可以想象一下金字塔的形状,或许可以受到一点启发。金字塔稳稳当当地矗立着,那是因为下大上小,我们学习英语也应该借鉴金字塔,简单的作为繁杂的基础,容易的作为困难的基础,粗略的作为精细的基础。简单、容易和粗略就是金字塔庞大的基底,繁杂、困难和精细就是金字塔的顶部。我们按照这样的过程学习英语,就一定能达到金字塔光辉的顶端!

Actually you can get enlightened by imagining the pyramid shape. The pyramid stands firmly with a big bottom but a small top, and we should use it for reference in our English learning. Complex materials base on simple materials, difficult materials base on easy materials, and subtle materials base on rough materials. The simple, easy and rough materials serve as the big base of pyramid, while the complex, difficult and subtle materials serve as the top of pyramid. We can reach the glorious summit of pyramid if we learn English in this way.

第二、学习英语应该遵循先听后说、先读后写、先积累后运用的自然顺序

II. Learning English should follow the natural sequence of listening prior to speaking, reading prior to writing, accumulating prior to applying.

古人有句经验之谈:熟读唐诗三百首,不会写诗也会吟。这个经验完全符合学习的逻辑规律。

There's an ancient saying: After reading up three hundred Tang poems, you can at least intone poems even you can't write them. This experience completely accords with the logical law of learning.

学习英语,应该根据自己的实际水平和兴趣爱好多多吸收语言材料,敞开头脑,充分吸收,积累尽可能多的丰富语言材料,如英文歌、英文小说、报刊杂志、英文电影等等。

Absorb more language materials according to your actual level and interest in your English learning. With your open mind, absorb as much as you can, and accumulate rich language materials as many as possible, such as English songs, novels, newspapers, magazines, movies, etc.

应该持一种来者不拒的态度,一种海纳百川的气势,要知道人脑具有对语言材料的自动加工处理功能,材料积累到一定时候,人脑就会加工处理出一些有用的语言信息。听多了,自然想说,读多了,自然想写,一切都顺其自然,完全是水到渠成的事情。

Hold an attitude of embracing everything just like ocean containing hundreds of rivers. Because human brain has such a function of processing language materials automatically, it can produce some useful language information when materials have been accumulated to a certain extent. It's natural you want to speak when you've heard a lot, and also natural you want to write when you've read a lot. Everything has been done in a natural way, then success will come when conditions are ripe.

听和读,是输入和积累,也可以说是基于观察的学习。应该尽力模仿,每个音调和语调,每个字词和句子,从粗到细地模仿和吸收,要抱着一种不求甚解、顺其自然的态度才好。究竟什么时候该休息一段时间,让输入的语言材料在大脑内部按照个人的特点进行加工处理,这完全是因人而异的事情。

As input and accumulation, listening and reading function as observation-based learning. Try to imitate very pronunciation and intonation, every word and sentence from the rough to the subtle with a natural attitude. It varies with each individual when to rest for a period of time and let those input language materials processed in the brain according to the individual character.

当你觉得你的头脑被很多语言材料充满,就像茶杯已经倒满了水,如果再继续往茶杯里倒水,只会溢出来,好了,抓住那个临界点,开始休息。所谓休息,我是指,完全把所吸收的语言材料统统忘掉,把它们抛入潜意识得到加工处理。

When you feel your head is stuffed with many language materials just like a teacup full of water, it'll overflow if you continue pouring water into it. Well, seize that critical point, then start your rest. So-called rest, I mean you forget all those absorbed language materials and throw them into your subconscious mind.

积极的休息方法是去做跟英语完全无关的事情,不要担心自己学的英语会忘记,心理学研究指出,人会自然记住自己感兴趣的东西,遗忘自己不感兴趣的东西。你感兴趣的东西,无需你时时刻刻想着,也会深深印在你心底深处。正是由于这个原因,我特别建议,选择英语材料应该因人而异,选择自己感兴趣的英文材料才行,否则吸收的效果肯定不好。

The active method of rest is to do anything irrelevant to English without worrying you would really forget them. Psychology research points out a human can remember what he's interested in and forget what he isn't interested in. What attracts your interest will be kept in your mind deeply without thinking of them all the time. Just for this reason, I particularly suggest that choosing English materials should be different for each individual. You must choose what you have interest in, otherwise there won't be any good absorbing effect.

在我看来,对材料有兴趣,表明大脑的那扇门对这个材料是打开的,否则,门是关闭的,所以尽管听了或者看了不少材料,因为不感兴趣,被大脑拒之门外,相当于没有吸收任何原材料。

In my view, your interest in materials shows the door of your mind is open to them, otherwise, the door is closed. Even you've read a lot of materials, but if you have no interest in them and your brain rejects them, it means you've absorbed nothing at all.

说和写,是输出和释放,也可以说是基于反馈的学习。应该积极勇敢地实践,不要怕说错,不要怕写错。只有在大胆的实践中,才能发挥大脑的语言自我纠错功能。在成功与失败中,慢慢地提高英语表达水平。

As output and release, speaking and writing function as feedback-based learning. Try to practice bravely without being afraid of making mistakes in your speaking and writhing. Only in brave practice can you exert your brain's function of self-repairs in language. And your English expressive level will be improved little by little in the process of success and failure.

听和读,是圆的一半,说和写,是圆的另一半,两者不可偏废,共同构成一个完整的圆,而且这个圆要不断地循环,才能不断地提高英语的听说读写能力。

Listening and reading form half of a full circle, complemented by speaking and writing as the other half, and with both given the same attention. Keep Circulating around the circle so that you can constantly improve your ability in English listening, reading, speaking and writing.

第三、学习英语应该尊重从错误到正确、从简陋到完美的渐进过程

III. English learning should cover the gradual process from wrong to right and from rough to perfect.

很多英语教师持这样一种观念,我认为是错误的。他们认为一开始就要让学生说一口绝对正确的英语,每字每句讲得非常认真仔细,对学生出现的错误是孜孜不倦地加以批评和指正,这种急功近利的态度危害很大。

Many English teachers hold such an idea which is wrong in my view. They require students to speak absolutely correct English at the very beginning, so they explain every word and sentence very carefully, and persevere in criticizing and correcting students' mistakes. This eagerness for quick success and instant benefit will do great harm.

太在乎结果而轻视过程,这是一种非常普遍的心理。用之于英语学习,我个人认为,老师很轻松地代劳了学生从错误到正确、从简陋到完美的渐进过程,几乎是剥夺了学生从错误自然成长的大好机会。学习的效果大致是这样,暂时效果好,长远效果差,说明学生没有经历一个漫长的由错误到正确的渐进过程,印象不深,很容易遗忘。

It's very common to care more about the result than about the process. When it comes to English learning, in my opinion, teachers do too much for students in the gradual process from wrong to correct and from rough to perfect, which almost deprives students of good chances for growth from mistakes. It's natural the temporary effect is good, but the long-term effect is opposite. Students don't have deep impression on what they've learned and forget them easily because they don't experience a long process from wrong to right.

有句诗是这样讲的:书上得来终觉浅,绝知此事要躬行。学习英语,教师应该给学生犯错误的自由空间,让学生慢慢体会,自觉纠正,这样印象深,效果好。教师千万不能心急,希望快速看到教学效果,这其实是一种非常自私的态度,应该尊重学习语言的客观规律,一步一个脚印地前进,这样才是真正对学生负责的好教师。

A poem says, knowledge from books isn't enough, only through practice can you really understand it. In English learning, teachers should create free space for students to make mistakes and develop their self-repairs in language with deep impression and good effect. It's a very selfish attitude that teachers are too eager to see the teaching effect. A good and responsible teacher should respect the objective law of language learning and lead students to advance step by step.

初译于2003年1月,重译于2005年12月30日。


让我们从零开始

Let's Go From Scratch

我创建这个英语培训班,目标很明确,帮助大家提高英语水平。但是大家一定要正确认识培训班的作用,处理好课堂英语教学和课外英语培训之间的关系。我认为,课堂英语学习是正规军作战,由英语专业教师给大家进行系统的讲述,其目的是给大家的英语学习和应用奠定坚实的基础,其重要性不言而喻。如果因为课堂教学有时候显得枯燥而不给予足够重视,反而寄希望于课外英语培训,那也是很不明智的行为。

I set up this training group in order to help everyone improve English, but you must have a correct understanding of its function and well handle the relationship between English teaching in class and English training after class. In my view, the English teaching in class seems as if regular army does battle,where English teachers teach you in a systematic way to lay strong groundwork for your English learning and applying, and its importance goes without saying. If you don't pay enough attention to class teaching for it seems a little boring sometimes, on the contrary, you pin your hope on English training after class, and I think it's very unwise.

我希望这个英语培训能成为大家课堂英语学习的一个有益补充。也许这个英语培训和课堂英语相比有它的优点,因为只有六个人,所以我有足够的时间和精力对每个同学给予认真细致的指导和帮助。这种有针对性的互动教学可能是课堂教学无法比拟的,因此我对培训效果还是满有信心的。另外,因为人数少的缘故,容易营造一种宽松的氛围,让大家慢慢克服长久以来英语学习中存在的羞怯和恐惧。一个人最大的敌人是他自己,战胜自己是最大的胜利。

I do hope this English training can become a helpful supplement for your English learning in class. Compared to English teaching in class, this English training has its own advantages. There are only six members in our training group, so I've enough time and energy to guide and help each member carefully. Maybe this English training is more pertinent and interactive than English teaching in class, thus I've full confidence in the training effect. In addition, it's easy to create a loose atmosphere in such a small group to help you gradually overcome the shyness and fear in your English learning. One's biggest enemy is just himself/herself, and the biggest victory is to conquer himself/herself.

大家都知道:"习惯已经成为我们第二本性,不容易改变的"。但是我们既然下定决心要学好英语,那么就要勇敢地同自己的不良习惯作战。把英语学习作为一个武器或者一个突破口,在学习过程中自然而然地改善自己的性格,让自己变得更加自信、更加勇敢、更加充满生命活力,能够更加敏捷地组织自己的思想,更加流畅地表达自己的情感。我们要为实现这样自信、美好的人生而努力奋斗,我相信我们的努力不会白费。

As we know, "Habits are our second nature and die hard". Since we've made our mind to learn English well, we must fight with those bad habits bravely. Regarding English learning as a weapon or a breakthrough point, we should improve our character in the learning process, make us more confident, courageous and dynamic, organize our thoughts more quickly, and express our feelings more smoothly. We should struggle to realize such a confident and beautiful life, and I believe that our efforts won't go to waste.

大家因为相信我而参加这个培训班,而我不过是一个非科班出身的英语学习爱好者。凭着适合自己的方法和持久坚韧的努力,然后在英语学习方面取得一定的进步。当然还远远不够,而且我注定永远是个英语学习者。因为我爱英语,所以情不自禁要追求英语表达的更高境界,那可能需要花费我一生的时间。学无止境,乐在其中。既然我可以取得进步,大家也一定行,我坚信。

You join this training group for your confidence in me, however I'm not an English major but a passionate English learner. With proper method and permanent effort, I've made certain progress in English learning. Of course, it's not enough at all, and I'm doomed to be an English learner all my life. Because I love English, I can't help pursuing higher English expressive level, although it'll cost my whole life. Without end for learning, I enjoy a lot of pleasure in the long process. Since I can make progress, I firmly believe you can also make it.

我们都知道,听说读写译是密切相关的。我们这个培训班主要侧重于听和说两大技能,兼顾另外三方面的技能。

We all know listening, speaking, reading, writing and translating are closely related. We particularly focus on listening and speaking skills, and also give consideration to other three skills in this training group.

译于2006年1月7日。


Yeti (我很敬佩他,在过去的半年里,他在翻译方面给予我不少指点和帮助,对此,我一直是心怀感激的。)

There is no "the" for "nature" ( or information, life, death...except for specific reference.) In case of "nature" there is no specific reference. "The nature of..." is different from "nature." E.g. take comfort in that nature provides us with all that we need. Enjoy the wonders of nature. ( BTW: I have read many similar "adding of "the" in front of 'nature' in writing by Chinese. I don't know if that is specific to Chinese or that other non-English-natives(e.g. Spanish, German...) also make that mistake.)

Using the opening chapter of the Bible (God build man in his image), and the often quoted "Art imitates life", one can think of an alternative to the translation by using the same ideas.

In "人法地,地法天,天法道,道法自然”。“法”是效法或效仿的意思, we can try: Humans imitates the earth; earth imitates heaven; heaven imitates the Way, and the way imitates nature.

Just an idea. I don't know if it is right or not.- Ursula LeGuin

几乎不能流畅地用英语来表达自己的思想和情感,那就是说,英语的交际功能没有很好地实现。--> Depending on the degree of 几乎不能流畅 the communicative function of English (hasn't been realized well.)--> hasn't been fully realized; is hardly realized/hasn't been realized at all.

有力武器 I wonder if replacing it with "tool" would make it sound better. (Again, just an idea on my part.)

听和读,是圆的一半,说和写,是圆的另一半, 两者不可偏废,共同构成一个完整的圆 I would shorten that Listening and reading is (is: with Listening and Reading as one entity) half of a full circle, complemented by speaking and writing as the other half, and with both given the same attention.


nyleda

Exactly as you said, uncle Yeti. The following is found from the internet:

「盘古开天地」,「女娲造人」,「神农尝百草」,「仓颉造字」,奠定了神传文化的初始。「人法地,地法天,天法道,道法自然」,道家天人合一的思想融入文化的血脉;「大学之道,在明明德,」两千多年前的孔子设馆授徒,把「仁义礼智信」为代表的儒家思想传与社会。公元一世纪,「慈悲普度」的释教佛法东传,更为丰富了中华文化。儒、释、道三家思想交相辉映,使盛唐时期达到举世瞩目的辉煌。

The Chinese culture, believed to be passed down by God, started with such myths as Pangu's creation of heaven and the earth [1], Nüwa's creation of humanity [2], Shennong's identification of hundreds of medicinal herbs [3], and Cangjie's invention of Chinese characters [4]. “Man follows the earth, the earth follows heaven, heaven follows the Tao, and the Tao follows what is natural.” [5] The Taoist wisdom of unity of heaven and humanity has coursed through the veins of Chinese culture. “Great learning promotes the cultivation of virtue.”[6] Confucius opened a school to teach students more than 2,000 years ago and imparted to society the Confucian ideals represented by the five cardinal virtues of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and faithfulness. In the first century, Shakyamuni's Buddhism traveled east to China with its emphasis on compassion and salvation for all beings. The Chinese culture became more wide-ranging and profound. Thereafter, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism became complementary beliefs in Chinese society, bringing the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) to the peak of its glory and prosperity, as is known to all under heaven.

[3] Shennong (literally, "The Heavenly Farmer") is a legendary figure in Chinese mythology who lived some 5,000 years ago. He taught the ancient people the practices of agriculture. He is also credited with risking his life to identify hundreds of medicinal (and poisonous) herbs and various plants of that nature, which were crucial to the development of traditional Chinese medicine.

[4] Cangjie or Cang Jie is a fabled and legendary figure from ancient China, is said to have been the Yellow Emperor's official historian, and the inventor of the Chinese characters. The Cangjie method of Chinese character computer input is named after him.

[5] From Tao-te Ching or Dao De Jing, one of the most important Taoist texts, written by Lao Zi or Lao Tze.

[6] Opening remarks from The Great Learning by Confucius.

howard2005

Uncle Yeti, nyleda, thanks for your help. I've learned something from your comments and I expect more help from the friends here.

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