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  Passage3

  参考译文

  Obtaining Linguistic Data

  获得语言资料

  A Many procedures are available for obtaining data about a language. They range from a carefully planned, intensive field investigation in a foreign country to a casual introspection about one’s mother tongue carried out in an armchair at home.

  A我们有很多种可以用来获得语言资料的方式。这些方法既可以是精心准备,深入细致的国外实地调査,也可以是在自家摇椅上进行的,对母语的一次不经意的反思。

  B In all cases, someone has to act as a source of language data — an informant. Informants are (ideally) native speakers of a language, who provide utterances for analysis and other kinds of information about the language (e.g. translations, comments about correctness, or judgements on usage). Often, when studying their mother tongue, linguists act as their own informants, judging the ambiguity, acceptability, or other properties of utterances against their own intuitions. The convenience of this approach makes it widely used, and it is considered the norm in the generative approach to linguistics. But a linguist’s personal judgements are often uncertain, or disagree with the judgements of other linguists, at which point recourse is needed to more objective methods of enquiry, using non-linguists as informants. The latter procedure is unavoidable when working on foreign languages, or child speech.

  B无论用何种方式,总有人要充当语言资料的来源——这个人就叫做资料提供者。资料提供者(理想状态下)应该是以该语言为母语的人,他可以提供做分析之用的语句,还可以给出有关该语言的其他信息(如翻译,正误评判,用法判断等)。在研究本国语言时,语言学家本人往往充当资料提供者一角,比照他们的直觉,来对语句的歧义现象、可接受度及其他特性加以评判。这种方法因其便利性而被广泛使用,而且还被看作是生成式语言研究方式的规范。然而,一名语言学家的个人判断通常要么是不确定的,要么就与其他语言学家的意见相左,此时就需要求助于更为客观的提问方式,让语言学家本人以外的人来充当资料提供者。

  C Many factors must be considered when selecting informants — whether one is working with single speakers (a common situation when languages have not been described before), two people interacting, small groups or large-scale samples. Age, sex, social background and other aspects of identity are important, as these factors are known to influence the kind of language used. The topic of conversation and the characteristics of the social setting (e.g. the level of formality) are also highly relevant, as are the personal qualities of the informants (e.g. their fluency and consistency). For larger studies, scrupulous attention has been paid to the sampling theory employed, and in all cases, decisions have to be made about the best investigative techniques to use.

  C在研究外语及儿童语言的时候,第二种方式是不可避免的在选择资料提供人的时候要考虑多种因素——你面对的是单个说话人(当语言从未被描述过的时候出现的通常状况),还是两个人互动;是小组还是大规模的样本。年龄、性别、社会背景以及身份的其他方面都很重要,因为据信这些因素会影响使用语言的类别。对话的话题和社交场合的特征(比如正式程度)也极其相关;同样,资料提供者的个人资质(比如语言流畅度和连贯性)也十分重要。对于较大规模的研究来说,要对所采用的抽样方式一丝不苟,而且无论在什么情况下,都要决定采用最好的调查技术。

  D Today, researchers often tape-record informants. This enables the linguist’s claims about the language to be checked, and provides a way of making those claims more accurate (‘difficult’ pieces of speech can be listened to repeatedly). But obtaining naturalistic, good-quality data is never easy. People talk abnormally when they know they are being recorded, and sound quality can be poor. A variety of tape-recording procedures have thus been devised to minimise the ‘observer’s paradox’ (how to observe the way people behave when they are not being observed). Some recordings are made without the speakers being aware of the fact — a procedure that obtains very natural data, though ethical objections must be anticipated. Alternatively, attempts can be made to make the speaker forget about the recording, such as keeping the tape recorder out of sight, or using radio microphones. A useful technique is to introduce a topic that quickly involves the speaker, and stimulates a natural language style (e.g. asking older informants about how times have changed in their locality).

  D如今,语言研究者通常都会为资料提供人录音。这就使语言学家针对这些语言的某些论断变得可以接受检查,并且还能提供一种使这些观点更为精确的方式(反复听“难”懂的语言)。但是想要获得自然的,高质量的资料可没那么容易。当得知被录音的时候,人们说话的方式就不同了,而且音质可以很差。因此,一系列的录音方式就被设计出来以便尽可能地解除研究者的矛盾(如何能够观察人们的行为方式又不让他们知道正在被观察)。有时候,说话人是在毫不知情的情况下被录音的——这一方式可以获得极自然的材料,但是道德方面的反对意见也是预料之中的事。另外,也可以尝试让说话人忘记录音这回事,比如把录音机藏起来,或是使用无线麦克风。还有一种管用的方式,就是提出一个说话人能够迅速融入的话题,从而激发一种自然的语言风格(比如询问年长的资料提供者:在他们的家乡,时代是如何变迁的)。

  E An audio tape recording does not solve all the linguist’s problems, however. Speech is often unclear and ambiguous. Where possible, therefore, the recording has to be supplemented by the observer’s written comments on the non-verbal behaviour of the participants, and about the context in general. A facial expression, for example, can dramatically alter the meaning of what is said. Video recordings avoid these problems to a large extent, but even they have limitations (the camera cannot be everywhere), and transcriptions always benefit from any additional commentary provided by an observer.

  E然而,磁带录音的方式并不能够解决语言学家面临的所有问题。讲话通常又不清楚,又有歧义。因此,如果可能的话,要对参与者的非语言行为以及整体语境做出书面评述,作为对录音的补充。例如,一个面部表情就可以彻底改变一句话的意思。在很大情况下,可以用录像方式避免这样的问题,但是就算是这个方式也存在局限性(摄像机不可能安得到处都是),而且文字誊本总是要得益于观察者另外提供的注解。

  F Linguists also make great use of structured sessions, in which they systematically ask their informants for utterances that describe certain actions, objects or behaviours. With a bilingual informant, or through use of an interpreter, it is possible to use translation techniques (‘How do you say table in your language?’). A large number of points can be covered in a short time, using interview worksheets and questionnaires. Often, the researcher wishes to obtain information about just a single variable, in which case a restricted set of questions may be used: a particular feature of pronunciation, for example, can be elicited by asking the informant to say a restricted set of words. There are also several direct methods of elicitation, such as asking informants to fill in the blanks in a substitution frame (e.g. I___ see a car), or feeding them the wrong stimulus for correction (‘Is it possible to say I no can see?’).

  F语言学家还需要大量使用结构化会议,当中他们系统地要求资料提供者说出有关某种动作、物体及行为的语句。如果资料提供者是说双语的,或者通过翻译的帮助,我们就有可能用到翻译技巧(比如你们怎么说桌子这个词)。通过使用面试表格和调查问卷,我们能够在很短的时间里覆盖大量的知识点。通常,研究者只想获得有关某个语言变项的信息,在这种情况下,就必须使用一套严格设置好的问题:比如说,发音上的某个特殊规则,可以用要求资料提供者读出一组严格设定的单词的方法引出来。我们还有几种直接的诱导方式,比如让资料提供人填写替换表中的空格(比如:我__看到一辆汽车),或者给他们做改错练习(“能不能说我能不看到?”)。

  G A representative sample of language, compiled for the purpose of linguistic analysis, is known as a corpus. A corpus enables the linguist to make unbiased statements about frequency of usage, and it provides accessible data for the use of different researchers. Its range and size are variable. Some corpora attempt to cover the language as a whole, taking extracts from many kinds of text; others are extremely selective, providing a collection of material that deals only with a particular linguistic feature. The size of the corpus depends on practical factors, such as the time available to collect, process and store the data: it can take up to several hours to provide an accurate transcription of a few minutes of speech. Sometimes a small sample of data will be enough to decide a linguistic hypothesis; by contrast, corpora in major research projects can total millions of words. An important principle is that all corpora, whatever their size, are inevitably limited in their coverage, and always need to be supplemented by data derived from the intuitions of native speakers of the language, through either introspection or experimentation.

  G为了语言分析而被编纂起来的语言代表样本被叫做语料库。语料库使得语言学家能够对一种用法的频率加以客观陈述,而且还可以为其他的研究者所用。语料库的范围和规模是各不相同的。有些语料库试图将语言作为一个整体来研究,从不同类型的文章中节选材料;其他的则十分挑剔,只提供针对某个特殊语言现象的一组材料。语料库的大小是由实践因素决定的,比如说可以用来搜集、处理、存储资料的时间:要想为几分钟的演讲做一个精确的原文,可能要花上数小时的时间。有时候,个小资料样本就足以证明一种语言学假说。相反地,重大研究项目的语料库加起来足有上百万字。一个重要的原则是,无论大小,所有的语料库在覆盖面上都不可避免地存在局限性,因此,它们总是需要通过内省或实验的方式,被源自母语者直觉的资料补充。

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