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托福写作如何走出词汇量不足的幻觉

2016-3-5 编辑:admin 来源:中国教育信息网 阅读次数:
  导读:   问及中国学生写作的困境, 不仅仅是学生甚至是某些学者, 近乎异口同声: “ 词汇量不足” 云云。其实这种所谓的词汇量问题,虽然不敢断然否定其存在,但是在培养学生写作技能的初级阶段根本不是问题,如果说词汇是个问题,那么至少是写作技能提高阶段的问题。在参加诸如G...

  问及中国学生写作的困境, 不仅仅是学生甚至是某些学者, 近乎异口同声: “ 词汇量不足” 云云。其实这种所谓的词汇量问题,虽然不敢断然否定其存在,但是在培养学生写作技能的初级阶段根本不是问题,如果说词汇是个问题,那么至少是写作技能提高阶段的问题。在参加诸如GRE考试和GMAT考试的写作中,都不应该鼓励学生使用复杂的词汇量。

  在考生参加国内英语考试写作,比如四级,六级,考研,在职硕士等领域,根本不应该提及。否则对学生应试分数提高,造成误导。为什么这样说呢?

  第一个原因是:中国高中水平以上学生英语学习,主要是积累词汇,大部分考生已经具备2000个英语词汇。这对于基本生活中问题的表达和阐述,以及应付各种考试已经绰绰有余。问题是考生根本不会合理地使用自己已经掌握的词汇。如果自己已经有的,不去合理利用,反而追求自己没有的,岂不是非常荒谬?这是一个非常浅显的道理:用好自己已经有的资源!

  我举个例子来证明这种教学理念。表格两栏,分别表达不同的词汇,左面一栏,教学实践统计表明,97.3%的高中生已经掌握,右面一栏,在GRE班上只有7%的学生认知含义。(对2003年不同时期三个班GRE共计1572人进行的统计, 另外一个统计是2004年北京暑假考研6个班,2793人进行的统计):

  熟悉词汇 陌生词汇
1.           scientists entomologists
2.           experts aurelian
3.           parents invertebrates
4.           educators cetaceans
5.           generally falconry
6.           contribute denunciate
7.           Do reprehend
8.           good deleterious
9.           harmful nocuous
10.       hurtful insalubrious
11.       influence promulgate
12.       life allege
13.       work  
14.       study  
15.       play  
16.       role  
17.       Not only…but also  
18.       shape forge
19.       form Fabricate
20.       build illume
21.       cold Ruthless and relentless
22.       but albeit
23.       environment biota
24.       plants flora
25.       animals fauna
26.       values  
27.       hold  
28.       maintain  

  现在我们考虑一道雅思作文题目:

  Some people say that it wastes both time and money to protect animals while others say that it is useful to protect animals. What is your opinion?

  如果指导学生用自己已经掌握的单词,完成这样的作文考试,考生实际上可以考到8分。下面是一种写法:

  What are the values of animals? Fish and shrimp give people foods; birds give poets new ideas and ideals; even a simple fly offer scientists new information for research. Clearly, animals are important. Then who can say that it is a waster of money to protect such important things? I believe that human should protect animals. 

  56 words

  译文:

  动物的价值是什么呢?鱼和虾给我们食物,鸟儿给诗人理想和灵感,甚至是简单的苍蝇也为科学家提供新的研究信息。显然,动物是重要的。那么,谁又能说保护如此重要的动物是浪费呢?我认为,人类应该保护动物。

  使用复杂的词汇写作

  Cetaceans are not created to decorate the immense chaotic oceans or to offer poets or littérateurs aspirations or inspirations. Nor does falconry soar towards the empyrean and scud in the firmament to demonstrate His almightiness. Then humans, the wretched descendents of Adams as the scripture tells within the eon, have been meditating such questions as why creatures exist. Were they once created by the omnipotent God or what scientists termed as nature? Recently both philosophers and environmentalists ponder that whether or not human beings should carry out campaigns to salvage wildlife. The question is that such campaigns might constitute considerable deteriorate elements both to the flora and fauna。

  译文:

  上帝创造鲸鱼,并不是为了点缀那广漠无垠喧嚣混沌的海洋,也不是为了激发诗人或者文人骚客的灵感或者情感;鹰击长空,掠过天宇也不是为了证明自然的威力。人类,根据万古流传的经文传说,是那亚当的子孙,一直在思考着生物为什么存在于世的问题。 究竟生物为万能的造物主所一时创造,还是科学家冠以为“自然”的呢?现在,无论哲学家还是环境保护主义者都在思考人类究竟是否要发起拯救动物的行动。问题是诸如此类的救助行为可能成为恶化动植物区系的因素。

  讲解:

  前后两篇范文都是出手不凡。但是,第二篇使用复杂的词汇写作,一般考生会感到:此曲只应天上有,人间能得几回闻?但是第一篇范文完全使用考生熟悉的词汇。

  可以看出,能够写出如此流畅的作文,并不是使用了复杂的单词,而是一种文章的结构和作者的思路。实际上使用右面一栏的单词,表达的思想完全可以用左面这些考生熟悉的词汇完成。考试要求考生写出250个单词的作文,二考生实际应试需要的词汇,最多是200个。加上不同的作文题目的题材变化的考虑,考生用已经掌握的2000个单词可以取得非常高的分数。 遗憾的不是考生词汇量不够,而是考生的脑海中根本没有把这些单词变成句子。中国学生学习英文仿佛就是背诵单词。

  作者本人就是在大学期间受这种错误教学理念的误导,背诵了一本新英汉字典,背了四年,背了至少不下千遍,可是写出的文章还是狗屁不通。于是,又去背诵梁实秋编写的《远东英汉大词典》,还是制造不出文章。后来遇到了哈佛大学的朋友,她给了我一本BIBLE, 告诉我每天读,注意句子的构成和句子之间的关系。我开始非常反感,认为这是侮辱我的宗教信仰。当时我甚至觉得这个朋友动机不纯,有拉我下水的恶意。

  可是当我读到圣经中优美的句子时候,我甚至陶醉了,当时我在北大未名湖畔,这样的句子感动了我:

  you are the salt of the earth…

  You are the light of the world…

  will shine before humanity

  这里面的美在于一种单纯和简单。之后,我每日都读圣经,学习英语表达的技术,久而久之,感悟到其中的美,就逐渐开始欣赏英语简单词汇表达的美丽和艺术。后来从学生变成老师,我教授美国文学和语言学,着重分析过ERNEST HEMINGWAY作品词汇的朴素和执着的表现力。在THE SUN ALSO RISE中,读者完全可以品味如何用最简单的词汇表达最高尚的人类思维。

  其实,复杂的词汇是学生一时半时无法掌握的,反而是简单的单词如何用好,成为英语写作应试教学初级的主要课题。如果用好简单的词汇,就可以逐步追求表达的准确和精确,使用复杂的词汇。可是一开始就鼓励学生背诵大量的词汇,既不现实,也对于应试于事无补。

  比如我再举个例子,还是雅思考试的题目。

  Computers are now widely used in education so the teachers are not as important as they were before computers were popular. Do you agree or disagree with this point?

  范文

  Compared with other human inventions and innovations, computers, the cold machines that are definitely devoid of soul, admittedly, have been playing a significant role in shaping and reflecting human life, study, and work patterns. Thus at one time the average public was flooded by the overwhelming written materials and advertisements advocating, or even exaggeratedly promoting, various computers and their affiliated software, making it hard for the people to distinguish the facts from fictions. Worst of all, some scholars and engineers even imprudently “forecast” that computers will finally replace or supersede teachers in education. On the strength of philosophical and scientific analysis in a far more profound and insightful way, I solemnly and firmly gainsay such a misguiding argument and put forward that never in history have any human made machines had superseded, in its strict sense, human beings, nor will they。

  译文

  和其它人类得发明革新相比,计算机,这种毫无灵魂的冰冷机器,诚然在塑造并反映人类工作,生活,和学习模式上起到重要得作用。因而,一度人们为潮水般的,大肆宣扬甚至是夸张促销计算机及其相关软件的书面材料和广告所包围,使得一般公众难辨真伪。更有甚者,某些学者和工程人员不负责任地鼓吹计算机最终会因其优越行而取代教授。根据深刻致密的哲学和科学分析,我坚定地,严肃地否定这种误导性的论点。我指出,历史上从来没有任何机器,从严格的字面意义上讲,曾经取代过人类。将来也不会。

  讲解

  这种文章,考生看到几乎没有不认识的单词,但是要是让考生写出这样的句子,笔者斗胆断言,实在是:“蜀道难,难于上青天”。为什么会有这种现象出现呢?别人写,考生认识,可是自己怎么也些不出来。什么原因呢?

  道理非常简单:考生死记硬背单词的汉语意义,而不是在英语的文章中学习单词的用法和搭配。导致的后果就是写不出真正的文章。

  针对这个问题。笔者提出读写教程的学习方法。并且,在新东方已经试点。学生是一些高中考不上大学的所谓“留学垃圾”(其实我本人反对这种说法)。先看教学之前,考生的作文。我随机从2000份作文中抽取两篇,一字不差地原文转载学生的习作:

  学生作文之一   30分钟

  someone said that teachers not no longer useful, nevertheless I don’t agree it。

  Now, computers are widely in all kinds of fields. And it is more and more important. But some of special fields computers can’t do any thing. For example, whe the child was young. They come to school. They can’t use any machine before. They need a warm hand from mother techer more than cold computer key. So I don’t agree it。

  这是一名中国考生在30分钟内写的“文章”—— 其实,根本不是文章。错误百出,时态混乱,动词错误,逻辑关系不明等等错误。

  学生作文之二   30分钟

  Compared to the automobile or train, the bicycle nowadays tends to be more common as a transport. Some people are think that the bicycle is the best way to tour. I am of the opinion that riding bicycle has advantage and disadvantages。

  To begin with, bicycle is the cheapest transport. In china, people just need spend RMB 400 to buy a high quality bicycle. The car, however, at least is spent RMB 40000. To many Chinese people, they prefer to buy a bicycle because they have no enough money to buy a car. Next, sometimes riding bicycle is more convenient than driving a car. For example, I have to spend 1 hour to drive car cover 10 miles during the rush hour from my home to my office in Beijing. At same distance, I only need 20 minutes by riding bicycle. Finally, I think the bicycle do not make heavy pollution to our environment。

  这些文字是在中国考生中非常有代表性的。其他教师和考生可以阅读类似的作文,然后进行批改训练。提高自己的写作教学和写作能力。

  根据这些情况,我在NATIONAL GEOGRAPHY 杂志上选取了部分含有考生需要的句型,首先进行分析,然后让学生模仿。看看下面选取的一段文字:

  The wolves play an integral part in the ecosystem in the archipelago, and their diet can offer scientists important clues about the dynamics between predator and prey。

  Investigating the feces of the elusive wolves, Darimont found that their diets consist to a large extent of black-tailed deer. But he also found that their diets vary greatly depending on location. On the outer islands, for example, wolves are far less likely to have a deer for lunch than on the inner islands。

  These findings suggest that wolves can deplete resources in isolated areas, making the link between the predators and their prey more delicate there。

  The information is important for understanding not only island ecosystems, but also for conservation efforts. If scientists can understand how species behave on isolated islands, they may be able to figure out how the species will behave in other places that are becoming more fragmented。

  选自:Canada"s Rain Forest Wolves a Link to Past

  Stefan Lovgren   October 1, 2004

  从这段文字中,我首先教学生学习:

  ecosystem

  biota

  biodiversity

  play an integral part in

  play a key role in

  offer somebody something

  dynamics between …and…

  predators and prey

  然后根据第二个段落,讲解现在分词短语结构,

  consist of      consist to a large extent of

  depend on     depend to a large extent on

  比较结构的对称性和倒装性

  be likely to do something

  not only…but also…

  然后指导学生学习写作:分析下面一篇学生作文:

  Living in the big cities, people are more likely to forget the key roles that animals play in an ecosystem. But almost all animals can do good, directly or indirectly, to our life. For example, fish and shrimp offer not only foods but also scientific research materials. Birds in various colors and shapes offer scientists new clues to understand the dynamic between human and other animals. From this point of view, animals must be well protected。

  这是,授课结束后,一个学生的写作。对比前后两篇作文,明显看到进步。

  如果我只是单纯地讲解单词,学生不可那写出这样的文章。但是,我给学生讲解的完整的句子和句子之间的逻辑关系。就直接启发学生的思维,导致分数的提高。 从这个教学实例可以推出,教学生提高句子量,应该是写作突破的方法之一。

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