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        语言学习难度

        • 2020-05-03 22:25
        • admin
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        Which languages are easiest -- and most difficult -- for native English speakers to learn?
        对于以英语为母语的人来说,哪种语言最容易学,哪种又是最难的?(最易与最难学习的语言是什么)

        With so much time on our hands during lockdown, many of us have entertained the idea of expanding our horizons.
        在疫情期间,很多人想利用大把的时间来开阔眼界。
        Learning a foreign language is an obvious option.
        学习外语是显而易见的一个选择。
        It's one that I would personally endorse: My individual circumstances were such that, by the age of 12, I could speak German, Greek and English, so languages became my passion and my hobby.
        我个人赞同这一点:拿我自己来说,在我12岁的时候,我会说德语、希腊语和英语,所以语言成为了我的热情和爱好。
        My advice is that you should learn a language because you're also interested in the culture and the country.
        我建议,您也对文化和国家感兴趣的话,您应该学习一种语言。
        If you like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, learn Russian. If you're going to live in Bangkok, learn Thai. If your partner is Mexican, learn Spanish.
        如果你喜欢托尔斯泰和陀思妥耶夫斯基,那就学俄语吧。如果你要住在曼谷,那就学泰语。如果你的伙伴是墨西哥人,那就学习西班牙语。
        And remember: Although you can get by as a tourist in, possibly, weeks, mastering a language is a long-term commitment taking years, not months.
        记住:虽然你要旅游时可以在几周内学习到一门语言,但若要掌握则是一个长期的过程,需要几年的时间,而不是仅仅数月就可以。

        Language and diplomacy语言与外交

        After World War II, the United States expanded its influence around the world by training its embassy staff in the local languages of the countries they were in.
        第二次世界大战后,美国通过训练其在各国大使馆中的工作人员习得当地语言来扩大其在世界各地的影响力。
        Thankfully for language learners today, the US Foreign Service Institute's language books and tapes can be found online.
        值得庆幸的是,对于今天的语言学习者来说,美国外交服务学院的语言书籍和磁带在网上就可以找到。
        These are the best free courses available, though you can still detect a touch of the Cold War in the syllabus ("Where is the state clothing shop?").
        尽管你仍然可以在课程大纲中发现一点冷战的痕迹(例如:“州服装店在哪里?”),但这些都是最好的免费课程。
        Best of all, the FSI has done us a great service by classifying languages in degrees of difficulty for English speakers.
        最重要的是,FSI为我们提供了很棒的一项服务是,它为说英语的人将语言难度进行了分类。
         Here are a few examples, ranked in order of the number of hours it takes the average learner to master them from lowest to highest:
        以下是一些例子,按照学习者掌握这些技能所需的时间从低到高排序:
         

        Easiest (about 600 hours of study)最易学的(学习大约600个小时

        After just 600 hours of study, you'll have no trouble fitting in on the streets of Paris.
        只要学习600个小时,你就会毫不费力地适应巴黎的街道。
        Along with Dutch and Norwegian, the popular Latin languages -- Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese -- require about 600 hours of study to achieve "general professional proficiency" in speaking and reading.
        与荷兰语和挪威语一样,流行的拉丁语系——意大利语、法语、西班牙语和葡萄牙语——需要大约600个小时的学习才能在口语和阅读方面达到“一般专业水平”。
        Of these, Spanish and Italian are the easiest for native English speakers to learn, followed by Portuguese and finally French.
        其中,英语为母语的人最容易学习西班牙语和意大利语,其次是葡萄牙语,最后是法语。
        They share many words with English, but it's that common vocabulary that creates "false friends" -- words in different languages that look or sound similar, but differ significantly as meanings have drifted with time. For instance, in Spanish an "embarazada" woman is pregnant, while a French "préservatif" is not something you add to your food, but a condom.
        它们和英语有很多共同的词汇,但这些共同的词汇创造了“假朋友”——在不同的语言中,这些词看起来或听起来很相似,但随着时间的推移,意思却有很大的不同。例如,在西班牙语中,“embarazada”是妇女怀孕了,而在法语中,“
        préservatif"不是你添加到食物中的东西,而是安全套。
        While French and Italian are pretty standardized, you must choose whether to learn Latin American Spanish or "castellano," which is spoken in Spain; they differ as much as US English and British English.
        虽然法语和意大利语都很标准,但你必须选择是学习拉丁美洲的西班牙语还是西班牙人说的“卡斯蒂亚语”;像美式英语和英式英语一样也是不尽相同。
        The choice is even more striking with Portuguese; long ago I opted for Brazilian and to this day I still can't properly understand speakers from Portugal.
        葡萄牙语的选择更惊人 。很久以前,我选择了巴西语,直到今天,我仍然不能正确地理解葡萄牙人说的话。


        German (750 hours)德语(750小时

        Interested in reading Karl May's "Wild West" series in its original language? You'll need to spend 750 hours mastering German first
        想读卡尔·梅(Karl May)的《狂野西部》(Wild West)系列原著吗?首先你需要花750个小时来掌握德语。.
        One of my German teachers used to joke that it takes you a year to say, "I'm traveling on the bus," but once you're on that bus, it's plain sailing.
        我的一位德语老师曾经开玩笑说,你要花一年的时间才能说:“我坐公交去旅行。”但是一旦你上了那辆公交车,一切就变得很容易了。
        With nouns that are masculine, feminine and neutral, verbs that conjugate heavily and an extremely strict syntax, German may appear insurmountable to start with.
        德语中有阳性、阴性和中性的名词,动词变化频繁,语法极其严格,一开始可能会让人觉得难以逾越。
        On the other hand, pronunciation and spelling is straightforward and once you learn the -- admittedly many -- rules, that's it.
        但另一方面,发音和拼写很简单,一旦你学会了--当然很多的规则,就可以了。
        You'll also realize why Germans never interrupt you during a conversation: they're waiting to hear the verb at the end to figure out what you were talking about.
        你也会明白为什么德国人在谈话时从不打断你:他们在等着听动词的结尾,以弄清你在说什么。


        Russian (1,100 hours)俄语(1100小时

        The big advantage of learning Russian is that, once you're proficient, you can understand other Slav languages like Czech, Polish or Bulgarian.
        学习俄语的一大好处是,一旦你熟练掌握,你就能听懂其他斯拉夫语,如捷克语、波兰语或保加利亚语。
        It's also spoken and understood in all former regions of the Soviet Union from Armenia to Kyrgyzstan.
        从亚美尼亚到吉尔吉斯斯坦,所有前苏联地区的人都说这种语言。
        Hidden behind a Cyrillic veil of mystery, it's one of the harder languages to master, so much so that even many Russians speak it incorrectly.
        一旦揭开神秘的西里尔语面纱,你就会发现,它是一种较难掌握的语言,以至于许多俄罗斯人都会说错。
        But any literature, music and ballet buff or aspiring astronaut -- Russian is a mandatory subject at NASA -- should study a language with over 500,000 words (some up to 38 characters long), where the letter "e" sounds as e or o and nouns are "alive" or "dead."
        但任何文学、音乐、芭蕾爱好者或有抱负的宇航员——俄罗斯是NASA的一门必修课——都应该学习这一门超过50万个单词(
        有些长达38个字符)的语言,其中字母“e”听起来像e或o,名词分“活的”或“死的”。


        Arabic (2,200 hours)阿拉伯语(2200小时

        It takes the average native English speaker a whopping 2,200 hours to become proficient in Arabic.
        英语为母语的人平均要花2200个小时才能精通阿拉伯语。
        There's an urban myth about a pharmaceutical company that advertised an analgesic pill with three non-verbal images for international consumption.
        有一个关于一家制药公司的都市神话,该公司用三种非语言图像为一种止痛药做广告推向世界。
        The left picture depicted a woman with a headache. The middle one showed her swallowing the pill and the right one had her smiling after the pain had subsided.
        左图描绘了一个头痛的女人。中间的那张是她吞下药丸的照片,右边的那张是她在疼痛消退后微笑的照片。
        It worked everywhere except in the Arab world, which read it from right to left.
        在阿拉伯世界里都适用从右到左进行阅读。
        The direction of reading and the cursive script, which may or may not include vowels, are the two major hurdles for Arab learners.
        阅读的方向和草书,其中可能包括也可能不包括元音,是阿拉伯语学习者的两个主要障碍。
        Classical Arabic -- the language of the Qur'an -- will make you understood everywhere, but colloquial Arabic may be more useful, because once the locals start conversing with each other, you'll lose the plot.
        古阿拉伯语——古兰经语言——会让你在任何地方都能被理解,但是阿拉伯口语可能更有用,因为一旦当地人开始互相交谈,你就会不知所云。
        But who can resist a language with eleven words for love, five gradations of swearing and close to 100 words describing a camel?
        但是,谁能抗拒这一种语言呢,它有11个表达爱的单词,5个不同程度的咒骂,以及接近100个描述骆驼的单词?

        Japanese (2,200 hours)日本(2200小时

        A country that's enriched the world with sushi, karaoke and manga, Japan has many devotees, especially among gamers and geeks.
        日本是一个以寿司、卡拉ok和漫画享誉世界的国家,它有很多爱好者,尤其是游戏玩家和极客们。
         
        But they are confronted with an extremely challenging language that uses imported Chinese characters (Kanji) cut off from their original meaning as well as two syllabaries -- Hiragana and Katakana (you must learn when to use which).
        但他们所面对的语言极具挑战性,这种语言使用的来自引进的汉字,但已与原意不同,还会用到两个假名表——平假名和片假名(
        你必须学会两种假名在何时使用)。
         
        What Japanese you speak also depends on your gender. There's a "rough" language for men and a more "ladylike" language for women, but you must understand both.
        你所说的日语也取决于你的性别。男人用一种“粗俗”的语言,女人更“淑女”,但你必须同时理解这两种语言。
        By all means start a course of Japanese at home, but if you want to progress at all, pencil in a month of intensive practice in the Land of the Rising Sun.
        你当然可以在家里开始一门日语课程,但是如果想进步的话,要在日本进行一个月的强化练习。

        Cantonese/Mandarin (2,200 hours each)粤语/普通话(每种2200小时)

        One of the challenges of learning Mandarin is learning all of the characters.
        学习普通话的挑战之一就是学习所有的汉字。
        Each Chinese dialect is effectively another language but Mandarin (Putonghua in Chinese, which means the common language) is considered the official tongue in modern China.They all share (roughly) one evolving writing system, referred to as 书面语 (or written language) invented for administering a large, diverse empire.
        中国的每一种方言实际上都是另一种语言,但普通话(
        普通话的意思是通用语言)被认为是现代中国的官方语言。他们(可能)都使用同一个演化的书写系统,称为书面语来管理这个庞大、多样化的帝国。
        To complicate the matter further, there are two main types of written Chinese characters under the same writing system: the traditional Chinese used in Hong Kong and Taiwan and the simplified Chinese in mainland China (standardized and simplified in the 1950s to increase literacy in the country).
        更复杂的是,在同一书写系统下,有两种主要的书写汉字:香港和台湾使用的是繁体汉字,中国大陆使用的是简体字(
        在20世纪50年代,为了提高国民的识字率,对汉字进行了标准化和简化)。
        For example, fly is written as 飛 in traditional Chinese and 飞 in simplified Chinese. They're basically the same character written in two different ways but pronounced differently when spoken in different dialect.
        例如,fly繁体字写成“飛”,简体字写成“飞”。它们基本上是同一个字,用两种不同的方式书写,但在不同的方言中发音不同。
        Confused yet?
        哈,晕不?
        Each written word when spoken is mutually incomprehensible between a Mandarin speaker in Beijing and a Cantonese speaker in Hong Kong. If you think that's odd, consider our number system: the symbol "9" is universally recognized but it's pronounced "nine" in English and "devet" in Slovenian.
        在北京说普通话的人和在香港说粤语的人,说出来的每一个字都是相互听不懂的。如果你觉得这很奇怪,想想我们的数字表中“9”这个符号是公认的,但它在英语中读作“nine”,在斯洛文尼亚语中读作“devet”。
        Every word must be memorized separately as you can't guess its pronunciation from the script -- but one could say the same of English if you consider plough, dough and tough.
        每个字都必须分开记忆,因为你无法从字母中猜出它的发音——但如果你看一下plough, dough 与 tough这三个单词的字母,就能说出同类的英语。
        Meanwhile, dictionaries list words according to stroke count.
        同时,字典会根据笔画数列出中文字。
        These go from one to over 60 strokes. The archaic character zhé -- has 64 strokes.
        从1划到60多划。古汉字“
         ”,有64划。
        And then there are the pronunciation challenges.
        还有发音方面的挑战。
        In the days of the British Empire, if you were going to be sent to Hong Kong as a civil servant, you had to pass a musical test first because all Chinese languages are tonal.
        在大英帝国时期,如果你要被派往香港当公务员,你必须先通过音乐测试,因为所有的汉字繁体字都是有声调的。
        There are four tones in Mandarin: high pitch (say G in a musical scale), rising pitch (like from C to G), falling (from G to C) and falling low then rising (C to B to G) -- and if you think that's difficult, there are nine tones in Cantonese.
        普通话有四个声调:平调(
        比如音阶中的G调)、升调(比如从C调到G调)、降调(从G调到C调)、先降后升调(从C调到B调到G调)——如果你认为这很难,那么粤语有九个声调。
        In other words, if you are tone-deaf you might as well give up now.
        换句话说,如果你五音不全,你最好现在就放弃吧。

        英文内容来自于CNN

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