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经济学人:移民家庭的母语传承(1)

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Books and Arts

《图书与艺术》版块
Johnson
约翰逊专栏
Keeping it in the family
家族传承
For expat parents, passing on their native languages can be a struggle
外籍父母想要下一代传承母语并非易事
“You understand grandmother when she talks to you, don’t you, darling?” The girl nods. Johnson met her—and her Danish mother and English father—at the airport, en route to Denmark. The parents were eager to discuss their experience of bringing up their daughter bilingually in London. It isn’t easy: the husband does not speak Danish, so the child hears the language only from her mother, who has come to accept that she will reply in English.
“奶奶和你说话的时候你能听懂吗,亲爱的?”小女孩点了点头。约翰逊在去丹麦的机场见到了小女孩,以及小女孩丹麦籍的母亲和英国籍的父亲。这对父母很想分享在伦敦用双语抚养女儿的经历。这并非易事:丈夫不会讲丹麦语,小女孩只能从母亲那儿听到丹麦语,母亲已经接受了女儿只会用英文回复她的事实。
This can be painful. Not sharing your first language with loved ones is hard. Not passing it on to your own child can be especially tough. Many expat and immigrant parents feel a sense of failure; they wring their hands and share stories on parenting forums and social media, hoping to find the secret to nurturing bilingual children successfully.
这个过程很痛苦。不能与所爱之人分享母语是艰难的。不能将母语教给孩子尤为艰难。许多外籍和移民的父母都感到挫败感;他们焦头烂额地在育儿论坛和社交媒体上分享故事,希望找到成功培养双语儿童的秘诀。
Children are linguistic sponges, but this doesn’t mean that cursory exposure is enough. They must hear a language quite a bit to understand it—and use it often to be able to speak it comfortably. This is mental work, and a child who doesn’t have a motive to speak a language— either a need or a strong desire— will often avoid it. Children’s brains are already busy enough.
儿童的语言可塑性较强,但这并不意味着粗略地接触就足够。必须听的足够多直到能够理解,用得足够多直到能够顺畅地表达出来。这是一种脑力劳动,而一个没有需求或强烈愿望作为动力的孩子将会经常避免这种脑力劳动。孩子们的大脑已经够忙碌了。

For expat parents, passing on their native languages can be a struggle.jpg

So languages often wither and die when parents move abroad. Consider America. The foreign-born share of the population is 13.7%, and has never been lower than 4.7% (in 1970). And yet foreign- language speakers don’t accumulate: today just 25% of the population speaks another language. That’s because, typically, the first generation born in America is bilingual, and the second is monolingual—in English, the children often struggling to speak easily with their immigrant grandparents.

因此,父母移居国外时,母语会越说越少。以美国为例。父母至少有一方是外国人的人口比例为13.7%,从未低于4.7%(1970年)。然而讲外语的人并没有增多:如今只有25%的人口能讲外语。这是因为,一般情况下这样的第一代能讲双语,到了第二代就只能讲一种语言,因而孩子们和移民祖父母(或外祖父母)交流总是有障碍。
In the past, governments discouraged immigrant families from keeping their languages. Teddy Roosevelt worried that America would become a“polyglot boarding- house”. These days, officials tend to be less interventionist; some even see a valuable resource in immigrants’ language abilities. Yet many factors conspire to ensure that children still lose their parents’ languages, or never learn them.
过去,政府不鼓励移民家庭保留其母语。泰迪·罗斯福担心美国将成为一个“通晓多种语言的寄宿家庭”。 如今,政府倾向于减少干预;有些官员甚至在移民的语言能力中发现了宝贵的资源。但在各种因素同时作用下,孩子们仍然不能完全通晓父母的母语,抑或永远都学不会。

译文由可可原创,仅供学习交流使用,未经许可请勿转载。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
tend [tend]

想一想再看

v. 趋向,易于,照料,护理

 
wither ['wiðə]

想一想再看

vt. 使凋谢,使衰退,(用眼神气势等)使畏缩 vi.

联想记忆
X
单词wither 联想记忆:
weather不好,植物就会wither。
 
valuable ['væljuəbl]

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adj. 贵重的,有价值的
n. (pl.)贵

联想记忆
X
单词valuable 联想记忆:
val强壮+uable→因为强壮,所以有价值→有价值的
 
social ['səuʃəl]

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adj. 社会的,社交的
n. 社交聚会

 
exposure [iks'pəuʒə]

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n. 面临(困难),显露,暴露,揭露,曝光

 
decision [di'siʒən]

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n. 决定,决策

 
bilingual [bai'liŋgwəl]

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adj. 双语的,用两种语言表达或书写的

联想记忆
X
单词bilingual 联想记忆:
bi两个,lingu语言-两种语言的
 
mental ['mentl]

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adj. 精神的,脑力的,精神错乱的
n. 精

联想记忆
X
单词mental 联想记忆:
ment思考,神智+al→智力的;精神的
 
cursory ['kə:səri]

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adj. 匆匆忙忙的,草率的,粗略的

联想记忆
X
单词cursory 联想记忆:
curs跑-干事情跑来跑去的,匆匆忙忙的,草草率率的
 
avoid [ə'vɔid]

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vt. 避免,逃避

联想记忆
X
单词avoid 联想记忆:
a朝向,void空-空城计-避开
 


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