Language and Humanity
Good morning, everyone.
In today's lecture, we're going to discuss the relationship between language and humanity. As we all know, language is very powerful.
It allows you to put a thought from your mind directly in someone else's mind.
Languages are like genes talking, getting things they want.
And you just imagine the sense of wonder in a baby when it first discovers that, merely by uttering a sound, it can get objects to move across a room as if by magic, and maybe even into its mouth.
Now we need to explain how and why this remarkable trait, you know, human's ability to do things with language, has evolved, and why did this trait evolve only in our species?
In order to get an answer to the question, we have to go to tool use in the chimpanzees.
Chimpanzees can use tools, and we take that phenomenon as a sign of their intelligence.
But if they really were intelligent, why would they crack open nuts with a rock?
Why wouldn't they just go to a shop and buy a bag of nuts that somebody else had already cracked open for them?
Why not? I mean, that's what we do.
The reason the chimpanzees don't do that is that they lack what psychologists and anthropologists call social learning.
That is, they seem to lack the ability to learn from others by copying or imitating or simply watching.
As a result, they can't improve on others' ideas, learn from others' mistakes, or even benefit from others' wisdom.
And so they just do the same thing over and over and over again.
In fact, we could go away for a million years and come back and these chimpanzees would be doing the same thing with the same rocks to crack open the nuts.
Okay, so what this tells us is that, contrary to the old saying, "monkey see, monkey do," the surprise really is that all of the other animals really cannot do that -- at least not very much.
But by comparison, we humans can learn.
We can learn by watching other people and copying or imitating what they can do.
We can then choose, from among a range of options available, the best one.
We can benefit from others' ideas. We can build on their wisdom.
And as a result, our ideas do accumulate, and our technology progresses.
And this cumulative cultural adaptation, as anthropologists call this accumulation of ideas, is responsible for everything around you in your bustling and teeming everyday life.
I mean the world has changed out of all proportion to what we would recognize even 1,000 or 2,000 years ago.
And all of this is because of cumulative cultural adaptation.
For instance, the chairs you're sitting in today, the lights in this lecture hall, my microphone, the iPads and the smart phones that you carry around with you -- all are a result of cumulative cultural adaptation.
But, our acquisition of social learning would create an evolutionary dilemma, and the solution to the dilemma, it's fair to say, would determine not only the future course of our psychology, but the future course of the entire world.
And most importantly for this, it'll tell us why we have language.
And the reason that dilemma arose is, it turns out, that social learning is visual theft.
What I mean is, if I can learn by watching you, I can steal your best ideas, and I can benefit from your efforts, without having to put in the same time and energy that you did into developing them.
Social learning really is visual theft.
And in any species that acquired it, it would encourage you to hide your best ideas, lest somebody steal them from you.
And so some time around 200,000 years ago, our species confronted this crisis.
And we chose to develop the systems of communication that would allow us to share ideas and to cooperate amongst others.
Choosing this option would mean that a vastly greater fund of knowledge and wisdom would become available to any one individual than would ever arise from within an individual family or an individual person on their own.
Well, language is the result.
Language evolved to solve the crisis of visual theft.
Language is a piece of social technology for enhancing the benefits of cooperation -- for reaching agreements, for striking deals and for coordinating our activities.
And you can see that, in a developing society that was beginning to acquire language, not having language would be like a bird without wings.
As I said at the beginning, language really is the voice of our genes.
But, as we spread out around the world, we developed thousands of different languages.
Currently, there are about seven or eight thousand different languages spoken on Earth. And then another problem occurred.
It seems that we use our language, not just to cooperate, but to draw rings around our cooperative groups and to establish identities, and perhaps to protect our knowledge and wisdom and skills from being stolen from outside.
And we know this because when we study different language groups and associate them with their cultures, we see that different languages slow the flow of ideas between groups.
Okay, this tendency we have, this seemingly natural tendency we have, goes towards isolation, towards keeping everything to ourselves, whereas our modern world is communicating with itself and with each other more than it has at any time in its past.
And that communication, that connectivity around the world, that globalization now raises a burden.
Because these different languages impose a barrier, as we've just seen, to the transfer of goods and ideas and technologies and wisdom.
And they impose a barrier to cooperation. What will be the solution?
In a world in which we want to promote cooperation and exchange, and in a world that might be dependent more than ever before on cooperation to maintain and enhance our levels of prosperity,
I think it might be inevitable that we have to confront the idea that our destiny is to be one world with one language.
What do you think of the solution? Okay.
In today's lecture, I have presented to you how language shapes our humanity, what kind of dilemma social learning has created, and the possible solutions to the dilemma.
In our next lecture, I am going to talk about lingua franca and its functions.
W: Good evening listeners, this is BBC. Today, we are very delighted to have invited James Dobbins, US special representative for Afghanistan, to tell us the electoral process in Afghanistan currently. Well, James, how are you reading what's happening in Afghanistan at the moment?
M: We're concerned about the trend in events. We have been concerned for some time that the electoral process hasn't been moving forward smoothly. We believe there needs to be a powerful and transparent audit of potentially dishonest ballots and we're sorry that hasn't moved forward quickly and substantially enough. We regret the preliminary announcement of results that was made yesterday. We think that was premature given that there are still a number of ballots that need to be examined and there's not yet a clear agreement on how best to do so. We do believe that...
W: Forgive me for interrupting, James. Can I ask you why you think that announcement was made yesterday?
M: I think it was made because the electoral institutions had previously set that date and they held to it despite advice to the contrary from the UN, from the United States, and from other voices within Afghanistan, and we think that was unfortunate.
W: Is there another reason that could be slightly more favorable, that is, they wanted to prepare the ground because if they just came out with one final result at the end of all this then it can be pretty likely that the loser, whoever it was going to be, was going to complain because they think it is unfair?
M: I think it's our view that they didn't have a basis for preparing the ground because there's such a large number of votes that still need to be examined and that therefore any preliminary result might be more misleading than preparing the ground.
W: In terms now of where this goes, we've already heard some very strong, very emotional language from the camp of the man who appears to be on the losing side of all this, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. What have you been saying to him in order to try and calm those feelings?
M: Well, we have heard talk about establishing a parallel presidency. We made clear that the United States and its partners are not in a position to support a divided Afghanistan. That any effort to establish a parallel presidency would make it impossible for the United States and its partners to continue their financial, economic and military support, and that the consequences for the country would be potentially quite terrible. Clearly, this is not something the Afghan population wants. It's not something they were voting for. And it's not something that they expect to happen, but it could be the consequences of an ill-considered action.
This is the end of Part One of the interview.
Questions 1 to 5 are based on what you have just heard.
1. Which aspect of the election event is the interviewee most concerned about?
2. Why was the announcement made yesterday, according to the interviewee?
3. According to the BBC interviewer, why did the electoral institutions want to prepare the ground?
4. What did the interviewee think of the BBC's reason of preparing the ground?
5. What is the interviewee's attitude towards establishing a parallel presidency?
W: Let me turn it on to the man who may end up the winner, Mr. Ashraf Ghani. What pressure, if any, are you trying to bring on him to ensure that whatever happens he tried to include Abdullah Abdullah, or Abdullah Abdullah's people in any future government?
女：现在聊聊最终可能获胜的那个人，阿什拉夫·加尼先生。如果要施压，你会给他施加什么样的压力，以确保无论发生什么，他都尽量让阿卜杜拉·阿卜杜拉(Abdullah Abdullah)或阿卜杜拉·阿卜杜拉(Abdullah Abdullah)的人加入未来的政府?
M: We're not making any assumptions about who might be the winner or who might be the loser, and we think it's premature for anybody to be doing so. We've made clear to both candidates that two things need to happen. First of all, there needs to be a robust and transparent process for determining the winner, and there's still a good deal of work to be done there. And secondly, we believe that both candidates need to begin discussing the formation of a government that would have the support of all important components and elements within the country, a government of national unity that would ensure that all of the significant sectors of Afghan society feel included.
W: You're saying it's all a bit hasty to say whether one side or the other has won or lost. It is difficult, is it not, to see this result being overturned? This is a flat margin of victory at the moment -- 56 percent to 44 percent. It would be extraordinary to see the result overturned in the space of a couple of weeks.
M: I think both candidates have agreed that there was extensive fraud in the electoral process. Both candidates have agreed that the suspect ballots need to be audited. They haven't agreed on exactly how to go about that. We believe it's the responsibility of the electoral institutions to go ahead and conduct that kind of broad audit, whether or not the candidates have agreed on every precise element of the process, they will have to do it. And we believe until they've done so it's premature to be coming to any judgments.
W: It is worrying though, isn't it? I suppose it was all too predictable that democracy is an imperfect thing in Afghanistan and that undoubtedly there has been fraud, we've heard all sorts of reports that project there have been a measure of fraud, and whoever was going to lose in this election was going to say it's been by unfair means.
M: I agree with you that Afghanistan is a relatively new democracy. The countries at this stage of democratic development often have difficulties of this sort. That there's not a tradition of good losers in societies at this level of political development. And in that sense, the problem we face is not unparalleled. There are other countries who have gone through similar difficulties. Nevertheless, the fact is that millions of Afghans went out and voted in the expectation that their vote would count. The numerous polls indicate that most Afghans are prepared to support either candidate as the victor. That most Afghans have said that they could accept the person they didn't vote for winning the election if that was the result. So while the problems we face are not unparalleled, the Afghan voters expect something better.
W: James, I'm so grateful to you. I hugely appreciate you answering it and answering all the other questions as well.
This is the end of Part Two of the interview.
Questions 6 to 10 are based on what you have just heard.
6. What did the interviewee think both candidates need to do?
7. What was the margin of victory at the time of the interview?
8. Who should be responsible for dealing with fraud in the election?
9. What does the interviewee think of the problem in the Afghan election?
10. What is the interview mainly about?
来源 : 网络 2019-05-15 16:00:05 关键字 : 2002年专八翻译
来源 : 新东方在线 2019-05-15 12:02:44 关键字 : 2018年专八真题及答案
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