读读胡适先生的英文

这两天读完了《胡适英文口述自传》


书中没有前言后序,我在网上找到了它的简介:


读读胡适先生的英文


以下是我的几点读书心得。


1. 胡适先生的英语怎么样?


他在国外留学多年,也用英文做科研发表文章,英文综合能力绝对强悍。书中还提到他修过英语文学课程,匿名投稿英文写作得过奖。康奈尔期间还爱上了 public speaking,四处演讲,口语应该也相当不错。


之前我还读过他的自传《四十自述》,里面也提到了他学英语的经历。很早他就开始读英文书、翻译短篇小说作品、跟外国老师练口语,有兴趣的朋友可以读读。


说到英语水平,写到这里我有两点感悟:


1)什么是「英语好」呢?我想能满足自己的使用需求、心理舒服就能算是「好」,不需要拿别人的需求和标准要求自己;


2)语言是表达的工具,简单看是听说读写的内容,下面的根基是学识、经历、认知和沟通能力。样样都强固然好,但如果还无法面面俱到,可以先降低一些要求:口音不影响理解就行,表达也先别追求多地道 ,重点练习言之有物用英语表达自己的观点、讲自己的故事。


如胡适在白话文运动的倡议所说:...the writers must have something worth saying; the emphasis should be laid on the substance, on the content, rather than the form. 言之有物,继而言之有形,先体会到能用语言做事情,学习就有了意义,进步也会更快一些。



2. 这本书的语言和内容怎么样?


书中的英文整体平实,用词较正式,有时还挺幽默,但文采上说不上漂亮,这可能就是胡适先生的个人风格。这本书读起来特别自然流畅,什么话题都能娓娓道来。能用平实的文字说清楚一件事首先需要想清楚,其次才是语言技巧——Hard writing makes easy reading. Easy writing makes hard reading.


读读胡适先生的英文


内容上,上半部分主要聊聊了自己的家乡、留学经历。我印象最深刻的是一个细节:原来阿德勒(心理学家)曾是胡适的老师,两人还有私交,他上课时记了不少阿德勒的语录。这一部分他重点提到了恩师杜威,还介绍了他的著作 How We Think


后半部分聊学术心得、新文化运动。这部分有些小故事很有意思。他说白话文运动的缘起是一系列偶然事件,先是朋友圈范围的讨论和笔战,最后没想到促成新文化运动。


读读胡适先生的英文


3. 阅读中有哪些印象深刻的地方?


读书,顺便学英文。从语言和内容上分别说说我印象深刻的地方。


书中有几处用词我从来都没见过,比如这个 heathen


- In my diaries and in letters to my friends I said I almost became a Christian. Later I revolted against such emotional appeals, and to this day I have remained an unreconstructed heathen.


heathen 在词典中标记已经是过时的词,表示「异教徒」,在这里是幽默的自嘲自己是「无信仰的人」。还有一些地方比较正式,能够把这样的用法在口语表达中脱口而出,英文功底一定很深厚:


- ...he was greatly struck and impressed by a motto writ large on the wall, Shih shih ch'iu shih, mo tso t'iao jen. In English translation, this motto runs, "Seek the truth; do not compromise."


还有些用词很简单,但我们可能不习惯这样用,比如:


- On the strength of these two shops, a large family comprising four units of more than twenty "mouths" had to be fed, clothed and maintained.


- The Chinese government volunteered the suggestions that this remission of the Boxer Indemnity would be used exclusively for educating Chinese students in American colleges and universities.


- So that was David Starr Jordan's argument against Wilson—a reason not unsimilar to that of our charwoman.


书中也有几处用到了常用习惯表达,比如:


- In the family, my father was the only able-bodied young man assisting his scholarly uncle, who was twenty-eight years his senior and a recognized leader of the family and the community.(后面还出现了 XX years one's junior)


- In those days, the official assignments of qualified candidates were made by drawing lots.


- In those days, however, he did not understand what science and democracy were. So it was easy for people to read a new content into science and democracy.


这些地方我就不解释了,都是我们也应该掌握的用法,有兴趣自己动手查查。

再说说内容。


胡适最初在康奈尔读的是农学,后来改成哲学。他说:


So that was the reason which I often cited in my popular speeches to Chinese students, urging them not to choose their line of specialization or their profession by the standard of social need, of what China needed, what society needed; but rather the choice should be based upon personal interest, the interest of the individual and his natural aptitudes and capabilities.


我们很难一开始就知道自己想做什么、成为什么样的人,唯一能做的就是尽量去尝试,最终才有可能找到自己的 calling。这让我想到 Brené Brown 在一期播客中说的一段话:


读读胡适先生的英文


无论什么专业,我们都要 major in curiosity。


胡适在康奈尔大学时爱上了 public speaking,他说:


I found that public speaking very often forced me to think logically and systematically and to organize and present the knowledge on a given subject in a logical, systematic, intelligible form.


他总结说:Expression is the most effective means of appropriating one's own impression.


读读胡适先生的英文


简单说就是以教为学效果最佳。很喜欢这里用了 appropriate,胡适说 appropriating means making it your own,也就是「占为己有」——如何把看到的听到的内容变成自己的?如何 steal like an artist? 把它用自己的话讲给别人听,口头笔头都可以,形式不限。


讲到新文化运动时,胡适说想要推广白话文,最好的方式是用白话文创造好的作品:


I had to tell these old scholars very seriously that the only standard for a national language is first-class literature written in that language. There is no such thing as a dictionary standard; nobody goes to a kuo-yu dictionary, a national language dictionary, for standards before writing a short story or a love song or a lullaby or a novel. The standards were set by the great novels, and the standard will be set by the great writings of the present and of the future.


读读胡适先生的英文


没有人是看着字典写作的吧?这里给我的启发是:想要了解一门语言,最好的方式不是背单词书、翻词典,而是去读那个时代影响力最大的作品。阅读的时候也不能完全依赖词典中的解释理解某个用法,而是参考词典解释灵活在语境中理解一个词。


比如 conspire 在很多词典中的解释都是「to seem to work together to make sth bad happen 似乎共同导致(不良后果)」,但在实际应用中 conspire 也可以表示「导致(好的结果)」,这样的地方就需要我们自己在阅读中去观察和感受。


读书,顺便学英文,开卷有益就好。以上就是我读《胡适英文口述自传》的几点心得,希望对你也有帮助

猜你还想读:

· 和民国大师学用英文写人物

· 中国人该如何学英语?

本文由拔丝英语网 - buzzrecipe.com(精选英语文章+课程)收藏,供学习使用,分享转发是更大的支持!由 英语学习笔记原创,版权归原作者所有。

最后编辑于:2022/2/20 拔丝英语网

拔丝英语网

英语作文代写、国外视频下载

高质量学习资料分享

请点击此处联系我