经济学人笔记 | 游戏是“精神鸦片”?警惕新的教育不平等

最近,关于网络游戏是不是“精神鸦片”这一话题掀起了热烈讨论。大家更多将关注点放在了农村留守儿童及城市贫困儿童这样的群体上。孩子沉迷“精神鸦片”是谁的错?游戏公司?父母失职?学校缺位?

 

事实上,不同资源条件的家庭有着不同的育儿方式。早些年,《经济学人》曾就家庭教育资源方面存在的不平等展开了深入剖析。今天这篇笔记选自《经济学人》

这篇文章的标题是:

How to help level the playing field

 

level the playing field是一个固定用法:to create a situation where everyone has the same opportunities 创造人人机会均等的局面

level此时的取义为:

[ VN ] to make sth equal or similar 使相等;使平等;使相似,比如:

Davies levelled the score at 2 all. 戴维斯把比分拉成2:2平。

先看第一段:

 

BRITISH CHILDREN used to play conkers in the autumn when the horse-chestnut trees started to drop their shiny brown nuts. They would select a suitable chestnut, drill a hole in it and thread it onto a string, then swing their conker at that of an opponent until one of them broke. But the game has fallen out of favour. Children spend less time outdoors and rarely have access to chestnut trees. Besides, many schools have banned conkers games, worried that they might cause injuries or trigger nut allergies.

过去,英国的孩子在秋天会玩打马栗(conkers)。当马栗树上开始掉下光亮的棕色坚果时,他们会选一个合适的,在上面打个洞,把它穿到一根绳子上,然后用自己的马栗去击打对手的那个,直到其中一个被击碎。现在这个游戏已经没什么人玩了。孩子们在户外的时间少了,也不太见得到马栗树。而且很多学校还不许玩打马栗,担心有人受伤或坚果过敏。

开篇点题,介绍一个过去英国小朋友玩儿的游戏现在已近没什么玩儿了,并简单说明了原因。

 

Thread此处用作动词:

[ VN ] to join two or more objects together by passing sth long and thin through them 穿成串;串在一起,比如:

to thread beads (onto a string) (在绳子上)把珠子串起来

 

该词用作动词时还有一熟词生义,大家写作/翻译时可以留意,一定可以给文章加分:

[ + adv./prep. ] to move or make sth move through a narrow space, avoiding things that are in the way (使)穿过;通过;穿行,比如:

It took me a long time to thread my way through the crowd.我花了很长时间才从人群中挤过去。

The waiters threaded between the crowded tables. 服务员穿行在拥挤的餐桌之间。

 

gain/get/obtain/have access to sth to succeed in entering a place or in seeing someone or something进入〔某地〕; 见到〔某人或某物〕

The police managed to gain access through an upstairs window.警察设法从楼上的一扇窗户进入了屋子。

我们经常看到的术语,访问你的设备,你是否允许该应用访问你的联系人/相机,用的都是这个词,意思就是进入获取。

 

Access作为及物动词的时候,特指获取电脑数据:If you access something, especially information held on a computer, you succeed in finding or obtaining it. 获取 (尤其电脑信息)。比如:

You've illegally accessed and misused confidential security files.你已经非法获取并盗用了机密文件。

相对的:

难以接近的,可以有的形容词有inaccessible, inapproachable, unreachable, 也可以用词组。

 

再关注本段的一个写作表达:

fall/go out of favour (=stop being approved of)失宠,比如:

Grammar-based teaching methods went out of favour in the 60s and 70s. 在60及70年代,以语法为基础的教学法失宠了。

 

Be out of favor with sb. 不受某人欢迎,比如:

The stock is currently out of favor with investors. 这只股票现在已不受投资者追捧了。

Be in favor with sb.则表示受某人欢迎,比如:

The island is very much in favour as a holiday destination. 该岛作为度假地极受欢迎。

 

Come/be back in favor 重新受人喜爱,比如:

Fountain pens have come back in favour. 自来水笔又受人欢迎了。

 

经济学人笔记 | 游戏是“精神鸦片”?警惕新的教育不平等

That sort of risk-averseness now pervades every aspect of childhood. Playgrounds have all the excitement designed out of them to make them safe. Many governments, particularly in litigious societies such as America, have tightened up their rules, requiring parents to supervise young children far more closely than in the past. Frank Furedi of the University of Kent, a critical commentator on modern parenting, argues that “allowing children to play unsupervised or leaving them at home alone is increasingly portrayed as a symptom of irresponsible parenting.”

这样的风险规避现在已经笼罩了童年的方方面面。游乐场的设计移除了所有刺激的部分以确保安全。许多政府——尤其是在美国这样爱诉讼的社会里——已经收紧法规,要求父母用比过去严得多的方式看管幼儿。现代育儿理念的批评家、肯特大学的弗兰克·弗雷迪(Frank Furedi)指出,“让儿童在无人看管的情况下玩耍或把他们单独留在家中被日益描述成不负责任的育儿方式。”

 

上段说的游戏不再受欢迎部分原因是出自于安全的角度,这一段再继续阐述在如今的教育中,安全的重要性更是被放到了前所未有的高度。

Averseness是averse的名词形式:

formal unwilling to do something or not liking something不愿意的;讨厌的,比如:

Some banks are risk averse (= do not like taking a risk ) . 有些银行不喜欢冒风险。

那么not be averse to sth. 则为“喜欢某事物〔尤指略微不好或对你不利的事情〕,并不反对某事物”,比如:

I was not averse to fighting with any boy who challenged me.我并不反对与向我挑战的男孩子打一架。

 

Pervade: [ VN ] ( formal ) to spread through and be noticeable in every part of sth 渗透;弥漫;遍及,比如:

The entire house was pervaded by a sour smell. 整所房子都充满了酸味。

近义词suffuse:

( literary ) [ VN ] ( especially of a colour, light or feeling 尤指颜色、光线或感情 ) ~ sb/sth (with sth) to spread all over or through sb/sth 布满;弥漫于;充满,比如:

Colour suffused her face. 她满脸通红。

The light of the setting sun suffused the clouds. 落日的霞光映红了云层。

She was suffused with happiness. 她心中充满喜悦。

This book is suffused with Shaw's characteristic wry Irish humour.本书充满了萧伯纳风格讽刺意味的爱尔兰幽默。

 

Tighten:V-T/V-I If a government or organization tightens its grip on a group of people or an activity, or if its grip tightens, it begins to have more control over it. 对…加强控制; 加强控制,比如:

He knows he has considerable support for his plans to tighten his grip on the machinery of central government. 他知道他那些对中央政府加强控制的计划拥有相当多的支持。

Tighten up可视为固定词组:

PHRASAL VERB Tighten up means the same as . 使…更严格,比如:

Until this week, every attempt to tighten up the law had failed.到本周为止,一切严格执法的努力都失败了。

 

这段话中,我们可以关注这个翻译技巧:谨慎选择合适的释义。

Frank Furedi of the University of Kent, a critical commentator on modern parenting.

Commentator 是“评论员”的意思,critical则是修饰评论员的,因为critical这个词应该对很多人来说都不陌生,且其最常见的用法是“重要的”,继而直接处理为“重要的评论员”。

但仔细一想,到底什么才算重要的评论员呢?所以不妨先查一查词典,我们就先看“重要的”这个词条:

something that is critical is very important because what happens in the future depends on it紧要的,关键性的,

 

注意到英译了吗?点明是形容something紧要、关键,词典中的例句证明了这一点:

Your decision is critical to our future. 你的决定对我们的将来至关重要。

These talks are critical to the future of the peace process.这些谈判对和平进程的前景至关重要。

 

结合这句话的内容,该专家对现在教育的情况似乎是带有批判性的,词典中正好有对应的词条:

if you are critical, you criticize someone or something批评的,批判的,比如:

Many parents are strongly critical of the school. 许多家长对这所学校提出了强烈的批评。

Many economists are critical of the government’s economic policies.许多经济学家批评政府的经济政策。

所以把两者意思结合起来,处理为“批评家”:

现代育儿理念的批评家、肯特大学的弗兰克·弗雷迪(Frank Furedi)

 

经济学人笔记 | 游戏是“精神鸦片”?警惕新的教育不平等

 

But the child-rearing practices now embraced by affluent parents in many parts of the rich world, particularly in America, go far beyond an adjustment to changes in external conditions. They amount to a strong bid to ensure that the advantages enjoyed by the parents’ generation are passed on to their offspring. Since success in life now turns mainly on education, such parents will do their utmost to provide their children with the schooling, the character training and the social skills that will secure access to the best universities and later the most attractive jobs.

但是,如今在富裕世界的许多地方,尤其在美国,富裕的父母采用的育儿方式远远超出了因外部条件变化而做出的调整。它们实际已经变成一种大力押注,要确保父母一代享有的优势会传递给自己的下一代。由于如今人生的成功主要取决于教育,这些父母会竭尽所能为子女提供一流的学校教育、性格塑造和社交技能训练,以确保他们进入最好的大学,之后又得到最具吸引力的工作。

 

但是在富裕国家的富裕家庭,促使他们改变育儿方式的并不仅仅是社会环境的改变。

 

Amount to 有2种释义,这里的取义是:

to be equal to or the same as sth 等于;相当于(释义中已经给出了替代表达:equal to…),比如:

It'll cost a lot—well, take a lot of time, but it amounts to the same thing. 会花很多—哦,得花大量时间,不过反正都是一回事。

Their actions amount to a breach of contract. 他们的行为已属违反合同。

更常见的用法则是:

to add up to sth; to make sth as a total 总计;共计,比如:

His earnings are said to amount to £300 000 per annum.据说他每年的酬金高达30万英镑。

Consumer spending on sports-related items amounted to $9.75 billion.消费者在体育相关用品上的消费总共达到了97.5亿美元。

 

Turn on这里是英国英语的用法,比较少见:( BrE ) to depend on sth 依靠;依…而定;取决于,比如:

Much turns on the outcome of the current peace talks. 事情主要取决于当前和谈的结果。

 

很多小伙伴在英语阅读时比较头疼代词的指代。关于代词的指代,大家可以看看《中式英语之鉴》的pronoun那一章,一般是找前文离这个代词最近的且与之语法形式一致的名词,比如本段中的这句:

But the child-rearing practices now embraced by affluent parents in many parts of the rich world, particularly in America, go far beyond an adjustment to changes in external conditions. They amount to a strong bid to ensure that the advantages enjoyed by the parents’ generation are passed on to their offspring.

 

根据以上说的原则,第二句中they的指代则可能是:

Practices, parents, parts, changes, conditions.

 

那么什么能与bid(押注)画上等号呢?基本上符合条件的只有practices了,当然的时候可以直接用“它们”取代:

 

但是,如今在富裕世界的许多地方,尤其在美国,富裕的父母采用的育儿方式远远超出了因外部条件变化而做出的调整。它们实际已经变成一种大力押注,要确保父母一代享有的优势会传递给自己的下一代。

 

经济学人笔记 | 游戏是“精神鸦片”?警惕新的教育不平等

What can be done about this? All the evidence suggests that children from poorer backgrounds are at a disadvantage almost as soon as they are born. By the age of five or six they are far less “school-ready” than their better-off peers, so any attempts to help them catch up have to start long before they get to school. America has had some success with various schemes involving regular home visits by nurses or social workers to low-income families with new babies. It also has long experience with programmes for young children from poor families that combine support for parents with good-quality child care. Such programmes do seem to make a difference. Without extra effort, children from low-income families in most countries are much less likely than their better-off peers to attend preschool education, even though they are more likely to benefit from it. And data from the OECD’s PISA programme suggest that children need at least two years of early (preschool) education to perform at their best when they are 15.

对此还能做些什么呢?所有证据都表明,来自较贫困家庭的儿童几乎从一出生就处于劣势。等到他们五六岁时,相比那些更富裕的同龄人,他们远远没能为上学做好准备,所以任何要帮助他们赶上去的努力都必须在他们上学之前很久就启动。美国有各种项目来让护士或社工定期走访有新生儿的低收入家庭,取得了一些成果。它在针对贫困家庭幼儿的项目上也有长期的经验,把对父母的支持和优质的托儿结合起来。这类计划似乎确实起了作用。如果没有额外的帮助,大多数国家低收入家庭的孩子获得学前教育的可能性要远低于富裕家庭的孩子,即便他们更有可能从中受益。而来自经合组织的PISA计划的数据表明,儿童需要至少两年的早期教育(即学前教育)才能在15岁时在学业上有最佳表现。

孩子们一出生差距就拉开了,一些国家也采取了相应的对策。

 

[背景拓展]什么是PISA计划?

PISA(Program for International Student Assessment)(国际学生评估项目的缩写)是一项由经济合作与发展组织(Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development,OECD)统筹的学生能力国际评估计划。主要对接近完成基础教育的15岁学生进行评估,测试学生们能否掌握参与社会所需要的知识与技能。

better-off:being in a more advantageous position;

相对应的是worse-off,比如:

We can't be any worse off than we are already. 我们的状况已经糟得不能再糟了。

 

我们分析一下这个句子的结构:

It also has long experience with programmes for young children from poor families that combine support for parents with good-quality child care.

 

这个句子不长,但比较tricky的是that这个定语从句的修饰对象,先分析下意群:

It(主语)// also has(谓语) //long experience(宾语)// with programmes// for young children from poor families(介词短语后置修饰programmes) that(定语从句修饰programmes) combine(从句谓语) support for parents with good-quality child care.

 

为什么that的先行词是programmes,而不是families呢?还是要看句子的逻辑,从句的大意是把对父母的支持与高质量的托儿结合起来,能做到这一点的不可能是这些家庭,所以只能是修饰programmes.

 

  • 主干:

It also has long experience.

 

  • 再把各个意群处理出来:

拥有长期经验

在一些项目上

针对来自贫困家庭孩子的

把对父母的支持与高质量的托儿结合起来

 

最后再把各个意群适当的连接起来,修饰programmes的介词短语较短,可以前置处理:

它在针对贫困家庭幼儿的项目上也有长期的经验,把对父母的支持和优质的托儿结合起来。

 

经济学人笔记 | 游戏是“精神鸦片”?警惕新的教育不平等

Most rich countries decided more than a century ago that free, compulsory education for all children was a worthwhile investment for society. Since then the school-leaving age has repeatedly been raised. There is now an argument for starting preschool education earlier, as some countries have already done. Before the Industrial Revolution it was the whole village that minded the children, not individual parents. In the face of crushing new inequalities, a modern version of that approach is worth trying.

一个多世纪前,大多数富裕国家认定,为所有儿童提供免费的义务教育是一项有意义的社会投资。从那时起,孩子们离校的年龄被一再提高。现在有一种观点是提前启动学前教育,而一些国家已经在这么做了。在工业革命之前,孩子们由整个村庄而不是父母个人照料。面对严峻的新的不平等,这种方式的现代版本值得一试。

最后一段提出一个观点:借鉴工业革命以前的做法,大家一起负担孩子的教育,而不单是父母。

Mind这里作为动词,意为“照顾”:to be responsible for something for a short time 〔短期地〕看管,照看〔某物〕,比如:

Will you mind my bag while I buy my ticket? 我去买票,你照看一下我的包好吗?

再比如固定搭配mind the shop/store:

informal to be in charge of something, while the person who is usually in charge is not there 临时代管;

文中则更契合如下的解释:

to take care of a child while their parents are not there 〔父母不在时帮忙〕照料,照看〔孩子〕,比如:

My sister minds the baby while I’m at yoga. 我练瑜伽时姐姐帮我照看孩子。

 

Crushing这个词程度比较重,所以在使用时要注意语境:

used to emphasize how bad or severe sth is (强调糟糕或严重的程度)惨重的,毁坏性的,比如:

The shipyard has been dealt another crushing blow with the failure to win this contract.由于未能赢得这份合同,造船厂又遭到了一次惨重的打击。

如何辨别强调句?

先了解下强调句的基本句型:

It is/ was + 被强调部分(通常是主语、宾语或状语)+ that/ who(当强调主语且主语指人)+ 其他部分

 

比如本段中的:

Before the Industrial Revolution it was //the whole village(被强调部分) that// minded the children.

那么如何确定它就是强调句呢?

 

把句子中的it is/was与that去掉时,如果句子不缺少成分,那么原句就是强调句,拿这句试试看:

Before the Industrial Revolution the whole village minded the children.

句子仍然成立,所以可以肯定它是强调句。

 

再了解下特殊疑问句的强调句型

  • 被强调部分(通常是疑问代词或疑问副词)+ is/ was + it + that/ who + 其他部分,比如:

When(被强调部分) was it that you were born?

  • 一般疑问句的强调句型,同上,只是把is/ was提到it前面,比如:

Was it yesterday(被强调部分) that he met Li Ping?

  • not … until … 句型的强调句(其实就是套用陈述句的句型,强调的部分为not until+被强调部分),

    It is/ was not until + 被强调部分 + that + 其他部分,比如:

It was not until her husband came back(被强调部分) that she went to bed.直到她丈夫回家她才上床睡觉。

本系列完结。

原文始发于微信公众号(自由翻译日记):经济学人笔记 | 游戏是“精神鸦片”?警惕新的教育不平等