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向孩子学习如何学外语

2021-06-20 00:00:02


THE UNASKED QUESTION – What would happen if an adult were to just listen for a year without speaking?未问到的问题——如果一个成年人在学新语


Learning Languages Like Children

像孩子一样去学习语言

By Dr. J. Marvin Brown

In 1984, the American University Language Center in Bangkok started using a new approach to teach the Thai language. The method is called ‘ The Listening Approach ’. In more recent years it’s become known as ‘Automatic Language Growth’.

1984年,美国在曼谷设立的大学语言中心开始使用一种新的方法教授泰语。该种方法被称为“听力途径”。最近几年,这种方法被广为人知,称之为“语言自动增长机制”。


The method says that any attempt to speak (or even think about language), before automatic speaking comes, will cause damage and limit final results! In other words, the method uses a very long "silent period" .

方法声称,在语言自动输出之前,任何试图去讲该种语言的尝试,都会伤害和限制最终的输出结果。换句话说,这种学习方法使用了一种较长的“沉默期”。


During the "silent period", students focus only on listening . After 6 - 12 months of intensive listening, students begin to speak spontaneously and naturally-- without effort and without thinking!

在沉默期内,学生仅仅努力地去听。经过长达半年到一年精听之后,学生开始自动、自然地用外语讲话——压根不需要任何努力与思考。


ONE - THE CHILD’S SECRET

第一部分:孩子的秘密

Everyone knows that when people move to a new country the children will eventually speak the language natively and the adults won’t . The normal explanation is that children have a special ‘talent’ that they lose as they grow up.

每个人都知道,当人们搬到一个新的环境里时,孩子们总会学会当地的语言。相较之下,成年人就困难得多。通常的解释是,孩子们拥有特殊的学习语言的“能力”。而这种能力会随着自身的长大而逐渐消失。

Teachers said that for adults , languages should be taught and studied instead of learned naturally.

老师们常说,对于成年人,语言应该是教学和钻研,而不是自然习得。

But are we any better with present language teaching? Why, for example, do adults in Central Africa do better when they move to a new language community than our modern students do? Could it be that early teachers were mistaken ? Maybe adults can do what children do. Maybe it’s just adult behavior ( not lack of talent) that prevents them from succeeding.

但是我们目前真的善于语言教学吗?举个例子说吧,为什么中非的成年人当搬到一个新的语言环境中时,在学习新语言方面,总是比我们的学生更出色?会不会是早期老师的结论错了?或许,孩子们能做到的,成年人也能做到。只是,成年的错误行为,阻止了语言学习的成功。

THE MISTAKE – Children can do something that adults cannot.

错误 ——孩子们能做到的,成年人做不到。

THE UNASKED QUESTION – What would happen if an adult were to just listen for a year without speaking ?

未问到的问题 ——如果一个成年人在学新语言时,只听不说,长达一年,结果又会是怎样?

OUR ANSWER Both adults and children can do it right , but only adults can do it wrong. Imagine a 4 year-old child and an adult reacting to somebody talking to them in a foreign language.

The child most often just listens , while the adult usually tries to talk back.

我们的答案——成年人和孩子都会做得很好,但仅有成年人会犯错。设想一下,一个四岁的孩子和一个成年人,在一个讲外语的人面前,他们会如何做?

孩子大部分都是在听,而成年人总是努力去回应。


Now imagine that ‘not trying to speak’ was the child’s secret . It makes sense that listening to things that are always right would build the language right, while saying things that are always wrong would build it wrong.

现在请设想一下,“不去回应”或者说“只听不说”就是孩子们学习语言的秘密了。这个秘密使得下面这个结论顺理成章了:听地道的语言,就会在大脑里构建地道的语言模式;说不地道的语言,亦会在大脑里构建错误的语言模式。

What would happen if adults were to do the same thing children do , (that is, just listen for a year

without trying to say anything).

如果,如果一个成年人也像孩子一样,只听不说,长达一整年,结果又会如何呢?


In 1984, the AUA language center in Bangkok started doing exactly this in its Thai classes. The students just listened for as much as a year without speaking at all. We found that adults get almost the same results that children do . If adults understand natural talk, in real situations, with- out trying to say anything, for a whole year, then fluent speaking with clear pronunciation will come automatically .

1984年,位于泰国曼谷的美国大学语言中心按照上述理论开始了泰语教学。学生只听不说,坚持一年。后来发现成年人取得的成绩和孩子们一样。如果成年人能够在现实情境中去理解自然聊天,而且坚持做到只听不说一整年,那么发音清晰、自然流畅的表达就水到渠成了。


It seems that the difference between adults and children is not that adults have lost the ability to do it right-- but that children haven’t yet gained the ability to do it wrong (that is, to destroy it with forced speaking).

看起来,成年人和儿童在语言学习上的差距,并不在于成年人失去了语言学习能力,而在于儿童在语言学习上没有犯错的能力。

Forced speaking damages adults. Consciously thinking of one’s sentences – with translations, rules, substitutions, or any other kind of thinking prevents you from speaking like a native.

被迫去说一门自己不熟悉的语言,这种行为及大地伤害了成年人的语言学习兴趣和信心。刻意地去思考一个句子——用翻译、语法、替换,以及其他思考方式,及大地阻碍了你像一个本土人一样讲话。


Natural speaking (speaking that comes automatically) won’t cause damage (not even when it’s wrong). The damage doesn’t come from being wrong; it comes from thinking about the language .

相比之下,自然而然地说出来,就不会伤害语言学习的兴趣和信心。这种伤害并不来自于在讲话中犯错误,而来自于“思考这门语言”。

(赵老师注:语言学习应该在现实的生活场景中自然而然展开的,而不是去钻研语法。任何尝试分析、解构句子的行为,都会导致无法形成外语思维,从而导致自己一直用汉语思维学习外语。)

What we’re suggesting is this. The reason that children always end up as native speakers is because they learn to speak by listening . And the reason that adults don’t is because they learn to speak by speaking.

我们的建议就是:孩子们能能够最终学会本土语言,是因为他们通过倾听来学。而成年人却是通过表达来学。


Adults talk too much.

成年人讲得太多。

The formula is this: ‘Listen’, ‘Don’t speak’, and ‘Be patient’ . And now it appears that this is not only the child’s secret. It’s everybody’s secret . And while children do it more faithfully, adults can do it faster .

秘诀就是:倾听、闭嘴、耐心。现在这就不仅仅是孩子们的秘诀了,而是适用于每一个人。孩子们会很忠实地去做,但成年人会做得更快,做得更好。


TWO - HOW ALG WORKS

第2部分:如果做到?

Most language teachers are constantly telling their students to try to speak as much as they can, and to think carefully before they say anything, so they’ll get it right. And now I’m saying that this kind of speaking and thinking is the exact thing that prevents adults from learning languages well.

大部分语言教学老师都会不断地告诉学生:尽可能多地去说(这门外语);在说之前要思考仔细,这样就不会犯错。这里,我想说,正是这种迫使自己用外语来思考和表达的努力,组织了成年人学好外语。


THREE – PUTTING ALG IN THE CLASSROOM

第3部分:如何把自动语言学习机制带进课堂

We look at children who have moved to a new country, and we see them ‘listen, laugh, and stare’. The child’s secret; ears open, mouths shut, no tests . They become near-native within two years.

回过头来,我们看看那些移民国外的孩童,我们看到他们总是在倾听、总是在盯着别人说、总是在跟着别的孩子笑。孩子的秘密就是:打开耳朵,闭紧嘴巴、没有考试。他们在不到两年内,学会了当地语言。

Then we look into language classrooms around the world, and we see just the opposite; ears practically closed (the students use their eyes instead), mouths open, and a lot of tests . Very few of these students become near-native.

同样,我们调查了全球很多语言教学机构,我们看到情景却完全相反:闭塞耳朵、张开嘴巴、经常考试。这种学习模式下,极少学生的语言水平会达到本土人的水平。

Two things are needed for modern students.

对于现代学生,需要做两件事。

First, they need experiences in the language that are so interesting (fun, exciting, suspenseful, etc.), that the students forget that a new language is being used.

首先,他们需要感受到新语言中有趣(好玩、激动人心等积极)的一面。这样,他们就会在趣味中忘记了其中所使用的语言。

And second, the students understanding must be high enough to learn - and this means 80-100% from the very first day!

其次,他们需要充分理解所接触的语言材料——这就意味着,第一天所接触的素材要有80%-100%需要能被学生轻易理解。

It takes a lot of work to train teachers to be both interesting and understandable . But it is the secret to success ! Interesting and understandable listening, and a long "silent period", it's the key to speaking like a native .

让老师的课堂达到既有趣又容易理解,需要对课堂老师做大量的培训。但这就是语言学习的成功秘诀:有趣、易理解,以及长时间的“沉默期”。