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TED 你以为语言只是交流工具? [复制链接]

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在线jenny
 


So, I'll be speaking to you using language... because I can. This is one these magical abilities that we humans have. We can transmit really complicated thoughts to one another. So what I'm doing right now is, I'm making sounds with my mouth as I'm exhaling.
我们通过语言交流,因为我可以说话。这是我们人类拥有的一种神奇能力,我们可以互相传递非常复杂的思想。我现在正在做的是,一边呼气,一边用我的嘴巴发出声音。


I'm making tones and hisses and puffs, and those are creating air vibrations in the air. Those air vibrations are traveling to you, they're hitting your eardrums, and then your brain takes those vibrations from your eardrums and transforms them into thoughts. I hope.
我在发出各种语调、嘶嘶声、呼气,而这些引起周边的空气振动。这些空气振动传到你那里,它们到达你的耳鼓,然后你的大脑会将你耳鼓接收到的振动转化成思想。至少我希望是这样的。


I hope that's happening. So because of this ability, we humans are able to transmit our ideas across vast reaches of space and time. We're able to transmit knowledge across minds. I can put a bizarre new idea in your mind right now. I could say, "Imagine a jellyfish waltzing in a library while thinking about quantum mechanics."
我希望如此。正是因为这种能力,人类能够将我们的思想跨越时间和空间,传递下去我们能够将知识互相传递。比如,我现在就可以给你传递一个奇怪的想法。我可以说,“想象一只水母在一个图书馆里一边跳着华尔兹,一边思考着量子力学。”


Now, if everything has gone relatively well in your life so far, you probably haven't had that thought before.
当然如果大家的生活到目前为止都还比较顺利的话,你之前应该没有这样想过。


But now I've just made you think it, through language.
而我现在让你们有了这个想法,正是通过语言做到的。



Now of course, there isn't just one language in the world, there are about 7,000 languages spoken around the world. And all the languages differ from one another in all kinds of ways. Some languages have different sounds, they have different vocabularies, and they also have different structures -- very importantly, different structures.
当然,世界上不是只有一种语言,全球有大约7000种语言。这些语言有着各式各样的区别。有些语言有不同的发音,不同的词汇,还有不同的结构——不同的结构很重要。


That begs the question: Does the language we speak shape the way we think? Now, this is an ancient question. People have been speculating about this question forever. Charlemagne, Holy Roman emperor, said, "To have a second language is to have a second soul" -- strong statement that language crafts reality. But on the other hand, Shakespeare has Juliet say, "What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Well, that suggests that maybe language doesn't craft reality.
于是,我们会问:我们说的语言是否塑造了我们的思维方式?这其实是个很古老的问题。人们一直以来都在思考这个问题。神圣罗马帝国的查理曼大帝曾说,“学会了第二种语言就拥有了第二个灵魂”——这是相信语言会创造现实。但另一方面,莎士比亚笔下的朱丽叶又说,“名字本来没有意义,一朵玫瑰花换个名字也照样芬芳。”这就指也许语言不能创造现实。


These arguments have gone back and forth for thousands of years. But until recently, there hasn't been any data to help us decide either way. Recently, in my lab and other labs around the world, we've started doing research, and now we have actual scientific data to weigh in on this question.
这些争论已经持续了几千年。但一直以来,都没有任何数据能够帮助我们确定孰是孰非。最近,在我的实验室和全球其它一些实验室,我们开始做研究,现在我们有真实的科学数据,可以帮助回答这个问题。


So let me tell you about some of my favorite examples. I'll start with an example from an Aboriginal community in Australia that I had the chance to work with. These are the Kuuk Thaayorre people. They live in Pormpuraaw at the very west edge of Cape York. What's coolabout Kuuk Thaayorre is, in Kuuk Thaayorre, they don't use words like"left" and "right," and instead, everything is in cardinal directions: north, south, east and west.
让我给大家举一些我喜欢的例子。先从澳大利亚的一个土著社群开始,我有机会跟他们接触过。他们是KuukThaayorre人,他们住在约克角城最西边的Pormpuraaw。KuukThaayorre人有意思的一点是,在这个土著文化里面,他们没有“左”和“右”这样的词,所有的东西都是通过基本方向来表达的:东南西北。


And when I say everything, I really mean everything. You would say something like, "Oh, there's an ant on your southwest leg." Or, "Move your cup to the north-northeast a little bit." In fact, the way that you say "hello" in Kuuk Thaayorre is you say, "Which way are you going?" And the answer should be,"North-northeast in the far distance. How about you?"
是的,我说的是“所有的东西”。比如,你可以说:“哦,你西南方的那条腿上有一只蚂蚁”,或者“把你的杯子往东北偏北边移一下。”事实上,他们打招呼的方式也是:“你往哪里去?”而回答会是:“远处东北偏北处,你呢?”


So imagine as you're walking around your day, every person you greet, you have to report your heading direction.
想象一下,你走在路上,你遇见每一个人都要报告一下你朝什么方向前进。


But that would actually get you oriented pretty fast, right? Because you literally couldn't get past "hello," if you didn't know which way you were going. In fact, people who speak languages like this stay oriented really well. They stay oriented better than we used to think humans could.
但这会让你很快获得方向感,不是吗?因为如果你不知道你前行的方向的话,你连打招呼都没法进行。事实上,说这类语言的人他们的方向感非常好,远比我们以为人类可以做到的要好。


We used to think that humans were worse than other creatures because of some biological excuse: "Oh, we don't have magnets in our beaks or in our scales." No; if your language and your culture trains you to do it, actually, you can do it. There are humans around the world who stay oriented really well.
我们曾经以为人类的方向感要比其他生物差,而我们也找了生物原因方面的借口:“哦,我们没有可以感测磁场的鸟嘴或鱼鳞”。事实并非如此。如果你的语言和文化给了你这方面的训练,你是可以做到的。世界上有些人的方向感就非常好。


And just to get us in agreement about how different this is from the way we do it, I want you all to close your eyes fora second and point southeast.
为了确保我们大家都同意在这点上我们的思维方式有多大差异,请大家闭上眼睛,然后指向东南方。


Keep your eyes closed. Point. OK, so you can open your eyes. I see you guys pointing there, there, there, there, there... I don't know which way it is myself --You have not been a lot of help.
先不要睁开眼睛,请指向东南方。现在,你们可以睁开眼睛了。我看到你们有指向那儿、那儿、那儿、那儿的……我自己也不知道哪边是东南方,你们也没能帮到我。


So let's just say the accuracy in this room was not very high. This is a big difference in cognitive ability across languages, right? Where one group -- very distinguished group like you guys --doesn't know which way is which, but in another group, I could ask a five-year-old and they would know.
暂且就说,在座的大家在这个问题上的准确度不是很高。这就是不同语言之间的认知能力的巨大差异,一群像在座的各位一样非常优秀的人分不清哪里是哪里,而如果换做另一群人,一个5岁的孩子也知道答案。


There are also really big differences in how people think about time. So here I have pictures of my grandfather at different ages. And if I ask an English speaker to organize time, they might lay it out this way, from left to right. This has to do with writing direction. If you were a speaker of Hebrew or Arabic, you might do it going in the opposite direction, from right to left.
人们思考时间的方式也非常不同。这里是几张我的祖父在不同年龄段的照片。如果我让一个英语使用者将它们按时间进行排列,他们可以会这样排,从左到右。这跟写字的方向有关。如果你说的是希伯来语或阿拉伯语,你则可能会以相反的方向排列,从右到左。


But how would the Kuuk Thaayorre, this Aboriginal group I just told you about, do it? They don't use words like"left" and "right." Let me give you hint. When we sat people facing south, they organized time from left to right. When we sat them facing north, they organized time from right to left. When we sat them facing east, time came towards the body.
那KuukThaayorre人——我刚才提到的土著民会怎么排呢?他们没有“左”和“右”的概念。我来提示一下大家。当我们让他们面朝南方的时候,他们将时间顺序从左向右排;当面朝北方的时候,他们将时间顺序从右到左排;当他们面朝东方的时候,他们将时间从远到近排。


What's the pattern? East to west, right? So for them, time doesn't actually get locked on the body at all, it gets locked on the landscape. So for me, if I'm facing this way, then time goes this way, and if I'm facing this way, then time goes this way. I'm facing this way, time goes this way -- very egocentric of me to have the direction of time chase me around every time I turn my body. For the Kuuk Thaayorre, time is locked on the landscape. It's a dramatically different way of thinking about time.
发现规律了么?从东到西,对吗?因此对他们来说,时间跟身体的方向无关,而是跟地理有关。对我来说,如果我面向这边,时间就是这样走的;如果我面向这边,时间就是这样走的;如果我面向这边,时间就是这样走的——完全以我为中心,我每次一转身,时间也要跟着我改变方向。对KuukThaayorre人来说,时间是跟地理有关的。这是一种思考时间的截然不同的方式。


Here's another really smart human trick. Suppose I ask you how many penguins are there. Well, I bet I know how you'd solve that problem if you solved it. You went, "One, two, three, four,five, six, seven, eight." You counted them. You named each one with a number, and the last number you said was the number of penguins. This is a little trick that you're taught to use as kids. You learn the number list and you learn how to apply it. A little linguistic trick.
再给大家说一个人类的聪明之处。假设我问你,这里有多少只企鹅,我敢说我知道你会怎么解决这个问题。你会“一二三四五六七八”地数过去。你让每一只企鹅对应一个数字,你念出的最后一个数字就是企鹅的总数。这是你小时候就学会了的技巧,你学会了数数,你也学会了怎么用它。这是一种语言学的技巧。


Well, some languages don't do this, because some languages don't have exact number words. They're languages that don't have a word like "seven" or a word like"eight." In fact, people who speak these languages don't count, and they have trouble keeping track of exact quantities. So, for example, if I ask you to match this number of penguins to the same number of ducks, you would be able to do that by counting. But folks who don't have that linguistic trick can't do that.
但有些语言不是这样的,因为有些语言没有精确的数字词汇。有一些语言是没有比如“七”或者“八”之类的数字的。事实上,对那些使用没有数字的语言的人来说,他们不会数数,计算精确的数量对他们来说是很难的。比如,如果我让你把这么多的企鹅跟同一数量的鸭子匹配起来,你数一下就可以做到了。但对那些没有这一语言特征的人来说却无法做到。


Languages also differ in how they divide up the color spectrum -- the visual world. Some languages have lots of words for colors, some have only a couple words, "light" and "dark." And languages differ in where they put boundaries between colors. So, for example, in English, there's a word for blue that covers all of the colors that you can see on the screen, but in Russian, there isn't a single word.
语言的差异还体现在我们如何分辨颜色,那些视觉的东西。有些语言有很多的颜色词汇,有的则很少,就只有“浅色”和“深色”。这些语言差异体现在不同颜色之间的界限在哪里。比如,在英语里面,我们有蓝色这个词,它包含了你在屏幕上看到的所有颜色。但是在俄语里面,却没有这样的一个词。


In stead, Russian speakers have to differentiate between light blue, "goluboy,"and dark blue, "siniy." So Russians have this lifetime of experience of, in language, distinguishing these two colors. When we test people's ability to perceptually discriminate these colors, what we find is that Russian speakers are faster across this linguistic boundary. They're faster to be able to tell the difference between a light and dark blue.
相反,俄语使用者要把浅蓝色“goluboy”和深蓝色“siniy”区别开来。所以俄语使用者一生都会在语言上区别这两种颜色。当我们测试人们辨别这些颜色的能力的时候,我们发现俄语使用者能够更快地进行这种概念切换,他们能够更快地分辨浅蓝色和深蓝色。


And when you look at people's brains as they're looking at colors -- say you have colors shifting slowly from light to dark blue -- the brains of people who use different words for light and dark blue will give a surprised reaction as the colors shift from light to dark, as if, "Ooh, something has categorically changed," whereas the brains of English speakers, for example, that don't make this categorical distinction, don't give that surprise, because nothing is categorically changing.
当你观察人们在看这些颜色的大脑时,假设你给他们看从浅蓝色到深蓝色的渐变,那些用不同词形容“浅蓝”和“深蓝”的人的大脑会在颜色从浅到深的转换时表现出惊讶,仿佛“哦,某些事情发生了根本的变化”,而不做这种分辨的英语使用者的大脑则不会表现出惊讶,因为没发生什么根本的变化。

Languages have all kinds of structural quirks. This is one of my favorites. Lots of languages have grammatical gender; every noun gets assigned a gender, often masculine or feminine. And these genders differ across languages. So, for example, the sun is feminine in German but masculine in Spanish, and the moon, the reverse. Could this actually have any consequence for how people think?
语言还有各种各样的结构特征。这个是我最喜欢的。很多语言都有语法上的词性,每个名词都有一个指定的词性,通常是阳性或阴性。这些词性在不同语言中有所不同。比如,太阳在德语中是阴性的,在西班牙语中则是阳性的,月亮则相反。那这会不会影响人们的思考方式呢?


Do German speakers think of the sun as some how more female-like, and the moon somehow more male-like? Actually, it turns out that's the case. So if you ask German and Spanish speakers to, say, describe a bridge, like the one here -- "bridge" happens to be grammatically feminine in German, grammatically masculine in Spanish -- German speakers are more likely to say bridges are "beautiful," "elegant"and stereotypically feminine words. Whereas Spanish speakers will be more likely to say they're "strong" or "long," these masculine words.
德语使用者会觉得太阳更女性化,而月亮更男性化吗?事实的确如此。如果你让德语使用者和西班牙语使用者描述一座桥,就像这一座,“桥”在德语中是阴性的,在西班牙语中则是阳性的。德语使用者更倾向于说桥“美丽”或“优雅”以及其他很女性化的词,而西班牙语使用者则倾向于说桥“强壮”或“绵长”,那些更男性化的词


Languages also differ in how they describe events, right? You take an event like this, an accident. In English, it's fine to say, "He broke the vase." In a language like Spanish, you might be more likely to say, "The vase broke," or, "The vase broke itself." If it's an accident, you wouldn't say that someone did it.
语言的差异还体现在它们对事件的描述上。以这件事为例,一个意外。在英语里面,你可以说“他打碎了花瓶”。在西班牙语里面,你更可能会说“花瓶碎了”,或者“花瓶自己碎了”。如果这是一个意外,你不会说是谁打碎的。


In English, quite weirdly, we can even say things like, "I broke my arm." Now, in lots of languages, you couldn't use that construction unless you are a lunatic and you went out looking to break your arm -- (Laughter) and you succeeded. If it was an accident, you would use a different construction.
在英语里面,很奇怪的是,我们甚至会说,”我弄伤了我的手臂“。在很多语言里面,你完全不会这样说,除非你是一个疯子,你试图弄伤自己的手臂,而且还成功了。如果它是一场意外,你会使用不一样的语言结构。


Now, this has consequences. So, people who speak different languages will pay attention to different things, depending on what their language usually requires them to do. So we show the same accident to English speakers and Spanish speakers, English speakers will remember who did it, because English requires you to say, "He did it; he broke the vase." Whereas Spanish speakers might be less likely to remember who did it if it's an accident, but they're more likely to remember that it was an accident. They're more likely to remember the intention.
这会造成不同的结果。使用不同语言的人关注的点会不一样,这取决于他们的语言是怎么要求的。如果我们让英语使用者和西班牙语使用者看同样的意外事件,英语使用者会记得这件事是谁干的,因为英语需要你说“是他做的,他打碎了花瓶”;而西班牙语使用者则不太可能会记得是谁干的——如果这是一个意外事件的话,他们更可能会记得这是一个意外,他们更可能记得意图。


So, two people watch the same event, witness the same crime, but end up remembering different things about that event. This has implications, of course, for eyewitness testimony. It also has implications for blame and punishment. So if you take English speakers and I just show you someone breaking a vase, and I say, "He broke the vase," as opposed to "The vase broke," even though you can witness it yourself, you can watch the video, you can watch the crime against the vase, you will punish someone more, you will blame someone more if I just said, "He broke it," as opposed to, "It broke." The language guides our reasoning about events.
所以两个人看同样的事件,目睹同样的罪行,但记得的却不一定一样。在目击证词方面,这是值得深思的,这对责备和惩罚也有影响。如果我给英语使用者看一个人不小心打碎花瓶,然后我说“他打碎了花瓶”,而不是说“花瓶碎了”,即使你自己亲眼看到了事件的经过,你看了那段视频,你可以看到花瓶的“罪行”,但是你却会更倾向于惩罚、责备那个人——仅仅因为我说“他打碎了花瓶”,而不是“花瓶碎了”。语言会引导我们对事件的认知。


Now, I've given you a few examples of how language can profoundly shape the way we think, and it does so in a variety of ways. So language can have big effects, like we saw with space and time, where people can lay out space and time in completely different coordinate frames from each other.
那我给了大家几个语言如何影响我们思考的例子,它主要通过几个方式。语言可以造成大的影响,我们举了时间和空间的例子,人们对时间和空间的排列可以迥然不同。


Language can also have really deep effects -- that's what we saw with the case of number. Having count words in your language, having number words, opens up the whole world of mathematics. Of course, if you don't count, you can't do algebra, you can't do any of the things that would be required to build a room like this or make this broadcast, right? This little trick of number words gives you a stepping stone into a whole cognitive realm.
语言还可以有很深的影响,我们举了数字的例子。如果你的语言里有数量词,有数字,这会开启一个全新的数学世界。如果你不能数数,你自然也不会代数学,你将不能做任何需要数学的事情,像建一个这样的演讲厅,或进行转播,对吧?小小的数字给我们提供了踏进一整个认知领域的垫脚石。


Language can also have really early effects, what we saw in the case of color. These are really simple, basic, perceptual decisions. We make thousands of them all the time, and yet, language is getting in there and fussing even with these tiny little perceptual decisions that we make. Language can have really broad effects. So the case of grammatical gender may be a little silly, but at the same time, grammatical gender applies to all nouns. That means language can shape how you're thinking about anything that can be named by a noun. That's a lot of stuff.
语言的影响还可能很早就发生,我们举了颜色的例子。这是非常简单、基本、感知型的决定,我们无时无刻不在做这样的决定,而语言就在那里影响着我们做的这些小小的决定。语言可以有很广阔的影响,我们举了语法上的词性的例子看似微不足道,但它却适用于所有名词。这意味着语言可以影响你如何思考所有能用名词表达的东西。那可是很多东西。


And finally, I gave you an example of how language can shape things that have personal weight to us -- ideas like blame and punishment or eyewitness memory. These are important things in our daily lives.
最后,我举了一个语言可以如何影响跟我们切身相关的事件的例子,如责备、惩罚和目击证词。这些是我们的日常生活中非常重要的方面。

Now, the beauty of linguistic diversity is that it reveals to us just how ingenious and how flexible the human mind is. Human minds have invented not one cognitive universe, but 7,000 -- there are 7,000 languages spoken around the world. And we can create many more --languages, of course, are living things, things that we can hone and change to suit our needs. The tragic thing is that we're losing so much of this linguistic diversity all the time. We're losing about one language a week, and by some estimates, half of the world's languages will be gone in the next hundred years.
语言多样性的美丽在于它向我们揭示了人类的大脑是多么巧妙和灵活。人类大脑创造的不是一个认知体系,而是7000个,世界上有7000种语言。而我们还可以创造更多。语言是有生命的,是我们可以打磨和改变以满足我们需求的东西。不幸的是,这种语言多样性正在不断丧失。大概平均每个星期就有一种语言消失,据估计,在接下来的100年里世界上一半的语言将会消失。


And the even worse news is that right now, almost everything we know about the human mind and human brain is based on studies of usually American English-speaking undergraduates at universities. That excludes almost all humans. Right? So what we know about the human mind is actually incredibly narrow and biased, and our science has to do better.
更糟糕的是,现在几乎我们所知道的所有关于人类大脑和思维的东西都是基于大学中说美式英语的学生的研究。这就几乎排除了所有人类,不是吗?所以其实我们对人类思维的了解是非常狭隘和具有偏见的,而我们的科学应该做得更好。


I want to leave you with this final thought. I've told you about how speakers of different languages think differently, but of course, that's not about how people elsewhere think. It's about how you think. It's how the language that you speak shapes the way that you think. And that gives you the opportunity to ask, "Why do I think the way that I do?" "How could I think differently?" And also," What thoughts do I wish to create?"
最后,我想再让大家思考一个问题。我已经讲了不同语言的使用者思考的不同方式,当然,这不是是关于其他地方的人怎么思考,而是关于你怎么思考,关于你说的语言如何影响了你的思维方式。大家可以问问自己:“我为什么是这样思考问题的?”“我能换种方式思考吗?”还有,“我想创造什么样的想法?”


Thank you very much.(Applause)
非常感谢。(鼓掌)
https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/ogu0my11cd83SKH3-hmxXA
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