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CNN评扎克伯格秀中文:Foolish or brave?

(2014-11-06 13:39:54)
标签:

扎克伯格

中文

cnn

分类: 中西文化

CNN驻北京记者站主任Jaime Florcruz自1971年便在中国工作生活,并曾于1977年-1981年在北京大学研读中国历史的中国通,他在CNN网上发文,评论扎克伯格秀中文,摘要如下(译文来自澎湃网)——

 


CNN评扎克伯格秀中文:Foolish <wbr>or <wbr>brave?


当我第一次看到‘20多岁亿万富翁中文流利’这个头条报导时,我心存怀疑。的确,我知道他年轻聪明。的确,他娶了普莉希拉•陈,一位低调的华裔医生。但是陈也是出生于美国的华人,很多华裔都不能说地道的中文。此外,娶一位会说中文的妻子也不意味着他就能学会中文。然而在北京清华大学,当扎克伯格于三十分钟的问答环节全程用中文讲话时,这位堪称明星的脸谱总裁仍然惊呆了他的中国观众。


对外汉语教学的带头人、罗纳德•里根的前中文翻译John C. Thomson表示,“他千辛万苦学中文体现了他对中国的尊敬,观众也很欣赏他。”但也有些会说中文的外国人对他的中文流利程度十分鄙夷,认为其中文“很差”或者“平平”。有些人认为这只是公关噱头而不予理会,他只是想讨好中国。

 

也许他说得不是很标准,但是我一开始学习中文的时候也是如此。作为一位著名的亿万富翁,他可以拒绝学习中文,免得在大众面前看起来很傻。他让我印象深刻,因为我知道中文有多么难学。42年前,我刚开始学中文的前两个月,被中文的语法规则(或者说没有语法规则)、五个声调和象形文字吓到,我很想放弃。幸运的是,我坚持下来。几个月的练习后,我找到感觉并喜欢上说中文。
       

然而,我认为如果我不参加中文班,不在中国学习生活的话,我根本学不好中文。我学会中文是因为我在这个语言环境里,也因为我必须要学会。一位资深汉学家和老北京居民David Moser解释了为什么中文这么难学。Moser在密歇根大学中国研究中心的一篇论文中写道,“那些觉得有趣而学中文的人总是被付出与收获比的悬殊而吓到,而那些因为中文的复杂和挑战性而学习中文的人从来没有失望过。”
       

Moser指出为什么中文这么难学的几个原因:
        --因为书写系统近乎奇异
        --因为没有统一的字母可以参照
        --因为不能按语音来拼写文字
        --因为声调很奇怪
        --因为东方就是东方,西方就是西方,两者永不会相会

John C. Thomson表示,就像英语因为大英帝国一战前和美国二战后的影响而成为越来越多人的二外首选一样,如今“经济和文化影响方面重心正从美国向中国转变。”中国积极推动中文走向海外,世界也越来越认可中文,这将极大促进人们与中国及其人民交流。与1966-1968年只有几位美国学生在中国台湾学习相比,如今每年有25000名学生在中国学习,大部分在学中文,而在美国,越来越多美国学生在基础教育阶段学习中文。
       

我对外国人学习中文的建议是,首先语法和发音要打下坚实的基础,然后在中国学习工作一段时间,因为周边的人都在说中文。你必须常用中文,要不然就会忘掉。

 

扎克伯格对中国观众讲起为什么学中文时说:“中国是个伟大的国家,我认为学习中文有助于了解中国文化......我喜欢挑战。”有些人说,学习中文适合那些不怕出丑的人,就像脸谱公司的这位亿万富翁一样。

CNN报道英语原文:

Editor's note: CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz has lived and worked in China since 1971. He studied Chinese history at Peking University (1977-81) and was TIME Magazine's Beijing correspondent and bureau chief (1982-2000).
 
Beijing (CNN) -- Who would've thought? Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg speaks Mandarin.
 
When I first read a banner headline saying that the 20-something billionaire spoke fluently in Chinese, I was skeptical.
 
Yes, I know he's young and smart. Yes, he's married to Priscilla Chan, a publicity-shy medical doctor of Chinese parentage. But she's also American-born Chinese and, like many of them, does not necessarily speak Chinese like a native. Besides, one does not learn a foreign language simply by marrying a Chinese speaker.
 
But the Facebook CEO impressed his star-struck Chinese audience when he spoke in Chinese during a 30-minute Q&A recently at Beijing's Tsinghua University.
 
"He showed respect for China by taking the trouble to learn the language and I think the audience appreciated it," said John C. Thomson, one of the pioneers of teaching Chinese as a foreign language and a former Chinese translator for Ronald Reagan.
 
Zuckerberg spoke entirely in Mandarin, albeit with a heavy accent and the occasional error.
 

 

 

 

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Yet some Chinese-speaking expatriates disparaged his Chinese proficiency -- deeming it "poor" and "mediocre," while others dismissed the session at Tsinghua as a PR stunt, perhaps to curry favor in China where Facebook has remained blocked since 2009.
 
Learning for 42 years
 
But I was impressed.
 
His tones might have been off most of the time but then so were mine when I was just beginning to get a "feel" for the language.
 
As a famous billionaire he could have said no to the idea, instead of risking looking like a fool in public.
 
"He deserves credit for undertaking sustained study of Chinese while growing a major Internet company," agreed Thomson. "He and his firm do not need more PR, but full access for Facebook in China would be great."
 
I'm impressed not because I'm star-struck but because I know how hard a language Chinese is.
 
Two months into my first Chinese course some 42 years ago, I was ready to give up, totally intimidated and overwhelmed by its grammar rules (or lack of them), five tones and pictographs.
 
Fortunately, I persisted. After several months of drills and practice, I got into the Chinese language "zone" and started to enjoy it.
 
Still, I do not think I could have learned it well if I had only attended courses overseas -- without the immersion that I got by living and studying in China. I acquired it because I was surrounded by Mandarin and because I had to.
 
David Moser, a veteran sinologist and a long-time Beijing resident, explained why Chinese is so daunting.
 
"Those who undertake to study the language for any other reason than the sheer joy of it will always be frustrated by the abysmal ratio of effort to effect, he wrote in a paper when he was at the University of Michigan Center for Chinese Studies.
 
"Those who are attracted to the language precisely because of its daunting complexity and difficulty will never be disappointed."
 
Moser ticked off several reasons why Chinese is so damn hard:
 
-- Because the writing system is ridiculous.
 
-- Because the language doesn't have the common sense to use an alphabet.
 
-- Because the writing system just ain't very phonetic.
 
-- Because tonal languages are weird;
 
-- Because East is East and West is West, and the twain have only recently met.
 
Cultural shift
 
Remarkably, Chinese is now enjoying a new found popularity.
 
Just as English became the popular choice as a second language because of the influence of the British Empire before the World War I and the U.S. after World War II, we're now witnessing "a major shift in economic and cultural influence, from the U.S. to China," said Thomson, who spent 30 years in China, most recently as director of the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Study at Tsinghua University.
 
He cites China's major push to promote Chinese language overseas, combined with a growing recognition that Chinese language ability will give people a huge advantage in dealing with China and its people.
 
"Compared with the several American students studying Chinese in Taiwan in 1966-68 when I was there as a student, there are now about 25,000 American students in China each year, most of them studying Chinese language, and a large and a growing number of Americans are studying Chinese as part of their K-12 education in the U.S."
 
His tip to Chinese language students?
 
"First get a good foundation overseas for grammar and pronunciation, followed by an extended stay in China for study or work where most or all people speak Chinese all day."
 
You have to use it, lest you lose it.
 
"China is a great country," Zuckerberg told his Chinese audience on why learn Chinese." I think learning the language can help me know the country's culture... And I love a challenge."
 
Learning Mandarin, some say, is for those who don't mind making fools of themselves. Just like the Facebook billionaire.

 

 

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