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更新時間:2019/4/24 21:36:07 來源:紐約時報中文網 作者:佚名

The man bringing dead languages back to life
澳洲原住民母語要如何起死回生

Like many people in Australia, Professor Ghil’ad Zuckermann is a regular contributor to the fund to save the Tasmanian Devil. The Tasmanian Devil, which Zuckermann remarks is an “ugly animal”, is listed as endangered, along with much of the unique and beautiful wildlife that makes Australia such a distinctive and enigmatic place. Yet animal life is not the only thing that has struggled to keep up with the pressures of modern life down under.

和許多澳大利亞人一樣,扎克曼(Ghil'ad Zuckermann)教授也是“拯救袋獾基金會”的定期捐款人。他說,外貌丑陋的袋獾(Tasmanian Devil)和許多美麗而獨特的野生動物一樣被列為了瀕危動物。而正是這些野生動物使澳大利亞成為一個如此獨特且神秘的地方。然而,受到現代生活壓迫的絕不僅僅是動物。

While Australia may be famous the world over for its biodiversity, for a linguistics professor like Zuckermann, the country has another allure: its languages. Before European colonisers arrived, Australia used to be one of the most linguistically diverse areas in the world, boasting around 250 different languages. Due in part to Australia’s long geographic isolation, many of these had developed unique grammatical structures and concepts that were unknown to languages in other parts of the world.

澳大利亞因生物多樣性而聞名于世,但對扎克曼這樣的語言學教授來說,這個國家還有另一個吸引人的地方,那就是語言。在歐洲殖民者到來之前,澳大利亞曾是世界上語言最多樣的地區之一,擁有大約250種不同的語言。長期的地理隔離使得澳大利亞的許多地區發展出了世界其他地區所不知的獨特語法結構和概念。

One of these is a language called Guugu Yimithirr, spoken in the north of Queensland, which gave the world the word "kangaroo". It’s also made remarkable by the fact that unlike languages like English, it does not make use of ego-centric positioning systems such as "left" and "right". Instead, all speakers of Guugu Yimithirr have an in-built compass in their brain that allows them to always know where is north, south, east and west. Therefore, they have no need to talk about the "left tap" or the "right tap". Instead, they just refer to the "north tap" or the "south tap".

其中一種語言叫做Guugu Yimithirr,在昆士蘭州北部地區使用,袋鼠的英文“kangaroo”正來自于這種語言。與英語等語言不同的是,這種語言沒有使用“左”和“右”等以自我為中心的定位系統,這一點十分獨特。所有說這種語言的人腦中都似乎有一個內置的指南針,能隨時分清東南西北。因此,他們只會說“南北”,不會說“左右”。

But according to the 2016 Australian census, Guugu Yimithirr has just 775 native speakers alive today, with numbers on the decline. Of the 250 languages spoken before settlers arrived, today all but 13 of them are considered to be "highly endangered" a fact that is often overlooked.

2016年澳大利亞人口普查數據顯示,目前以Guugu Yimithirr為母語的人僅剩775名,且還在不斷減少。在殖民者涌入之前,人們使用的語言數量多達250種。如今,只剩13種還沒被列為“高度瀕危”語言。這一事實總是被人們忽略。

“I believe that most people care more about animals that are endangered than about languages that are endangered,” Zuckerman explains. “The reason is that animals are tangible. You can touch a koala, even though in the wild you’d be crazy to do so because she can kill you with her claws. But koalas are cute. Languages, however, are not tangible. They are abstract. People understand the importance of biodiversity far more than that of linguistic diversity.”

“比起瀕危語言,我相信大多數人更關心瀕危動物,”祖克曼解釋說。“因為動物看得見摸得著,比如你可以摸一摸考拉(考拉雖可愛,但摸野生的考拉可不是明智之舉,因為它們的爪子可以使人喪命),語言則是無形的、抽象的,所以人們認為生物多樣性遠比語言多樣性重要。”

Yet for Zuckermann, preserving linguistic diversity is hugely important. For indigenous communities in Australia and worldwide that are still grappling with the legacy of colonisation, being able to speak their ancestral language is about empowerment and reclaiming their identity. It may even carry significant consequences for their mental health.

對扎克曼來說,保護語言多樣性非常重要。對于澳大利亞和世界各地仍在努力與殖民遺留問題作斗爭的人而言,能夠講祖先的語言是他們賦權以及重拾身份的方式,甚至還會對心理美高梅官方网站產生重大影響。

Ghil’ad Zuckermann first visited Australia in 2004. He felt so overcome with love for what he describes as the most beautiful country he’d ever seen that he decided he wanted to do something to help it. As a linguistics professor from Israel, the son of a Holocaust survivor, and a specialist at the time in the analysis of the Hebrew language revival, he quickly identified an area where he could have an impact: the revival and empowerment of Aboriginal languages and cultures.

2004年,扎克曼初次來到澳大利亞。他對澳大利亞這個他所見過的最美麗的國度充滿了愛,于是決定要做些什麼來幫助這個國家。扎克曼是一位來自以色列的語言學教授、猶太人大屠殺幸存者的兒子,同時也是當時希伯來語復興方面的專家。他很快就確定了一個可以有所作為的領域——原住民語言和文化的復興與賦權。

Zuckermann first established the trans-disciplinary field of enquiry called “Revivalistics”, which focuses on supporting the survival, revival and reinvigoration of endangered and extinct languages all around the world. These range from languages such as Hebrew, Welsh, Cornish and Irish, to Hawaiian, North American languages like Wampanoag and Myaamia, and many others.

扎克曼首先建立了一個跨學科的研究領域,稱為“復興學”,其重點是改善世界各地瀕危語言的現狀,復活滅絕了的語言。這涵蓋了許多語言,包括希伯來語、威爾士語、康沃爾語、愛爾蘭語、夏威夷語、北美的萬帕諾亞格語和米亞米亞語等等。

As an Israeli, Zuckermann grew up a native speaker of Modern Hebrew, arguably the world’s most successful example of language revival to date. Hebrew was extinct for almost 2,000 years until Zionist language revivalists began to bring it back into use in the late 19th Century. They achieved this by adapting the ancient language of the Torah so that it could be suitable for modern life. It would eventually become the mother tongue of all Jews in the new state of Israel, founded in 1948.

作為一名以色列人,祖克曼的母語是現代希伯來語,可以說是迄今為止世界上最成功的語言復興範例。希伯來語已絕跡將近兩千年的時間,直到19世紀末猶太復國主義興起,語言復興主義者開始重新使用希伯來語。他們對《律法書》中的古老語言進行了調整,使之適應現代生活,並最終成為1948年以色列新邦內猶太人的母語。

Zuckermann’s expertise and personal experience with Modern Hebrew greatly informs his work in Australia today, precisely because he takes a critical view of it. He argues that the language spoken natively by millions of people in Israel today and that they call Hebrew is not, and could not be, the same language of the Bible.

扎克曼對現代希伯來語的專業知識和個人經驗深刻地影響了他在澳大利亞的工作——準確來說,是他對現代希伯來語所持的態度。他認為,今天數百萬以色列人所說的希伯來語不是、也不可能跟《聖經》所用的語言一模一樣。

“The Jews did not manage to revive the language of Isaiah. It is simply impossible to revive a language as it used to be.” Instead, Zuckermann explains that Modern Hebrew, which he controversially refers to as "Israeli", is a hybrid language, drawing on the influences that Jewish migrants brought with them to Israel from their native languages, such as Yiddish, Polish, Russian and Arabic. Over the course of generations, these blended together to shape the language in its modern form. According to Zuckermann, this should not be seen as a problem. These changes are a natural and necessary part of the process of reviving a language.

猶太人沒能復興以賽亞(編注︰希伯來聖經中的先知)的語言。要使一門語言完全復興到曾經的狀態是不可能的。扎克曼解釋說,現代希伯來語是一種混合語言,它受到了猶太移民母語(意第緒語、波蘭語、俄語和阿拉伯語)的影響。經過幾代人的努力,這些語言融合在一起,形成了現代的語言形式。扎克曼表示,人們不應該將其視作一個問題,這些變化是自然而然發生的,是語言復興過程中必要的一步。

“I take into consideration the speaker more than the language. A speaker of Yiddish could not get rid of their Yiddish Weltanschauung or mindset, even though they hated Yiddish and wanted to speak Hebrew. But the moment a person understands the importance of the native speaker at the expense of linguistic purism and authenticity of the language, that person can be a good revivalist.”

“相比起語言本身,我更在意使用語言的人。一個講意第緒語的人就算討厭自己的語言,想說希伯來語,但也無法擺脫意第緒語給他帶來的世界觀或心態。但當一個人願意以犧牲語言的純粹性和真實性為代價,理解了母語者的重要性,他就能成為一名優秀的復興主義者。”

Sleeping beauties

睡美人

Much of Zuckermann’s work in Australia has centred on Barngarla, a dead language Zuckermann prefers the term “sleeping beauty” that was spoken in the rural areas of southern Australia between the cities of Port Augusta, Port Lincoln and Whyalla. The last native speaker, Moonie Davis, passed away in 1960. Yet when Zuckerman reached out to the Barngarla community and proposed that he help revive their language and their culture, he was amazed by their response. “We have been waiting for you for 50 years,” they told him.

扎克曼在澳大利亞的研究工作主要集中在巴恩加拉語(Barngarla)上,這是一種已經死亡的語言(扎克曼更喜歡稱之為“睡美人”),主要使用地區是澳大利亞南部奧古斯塔港(Port Augusta)、林肯港(Port Lincoln)和惠亞拉港(Whyalla)之間的農村地區。最後一位巴恩加拉語的母語使用者戴維斯(Moonie Davis)于1960年去世。當扎克曼向巴恩加拉社區伸出援手,提出要幫助他們恢復語言和文化時,村民反應令他驚訝,“這一刻我們已經等了50年了。”

Zuckermann’s starting point was a dictionary written by a Lutheran missionary called Robert Sch rmann in 1844. In 2011, Zuckermann began making regular trips to Barngarla country to run language revival workshops. Together, and with Zuckermann’s help and guidance, the Barngarla community built upon the knowledge stored within Sch rmann’s 1844 dictionary. They pooled together what they could remember of words they’d heard their parents and grandparents saying.

一本由路德教會傳教士舒爾曼(Robert Schurmann)于1844年編寫的詞典成為了扎克曼研究的起點。2011年,扎克曼開始定期前往巴恩加拉鄉村,舉辦語言復興研討會。在扎克曼的幫助和指導下,巴恩加拉吸收了這本字典中所儲存的知識,並收集了能記住巴恩加拉語的老一輩說過的話。

They also held discussions about how to devise appropriate words that could apply to modern life. Should Barngarla follow English’s precedent and refer to the computer using the metaphor of ‘computing’ something? Or should they instead look to Mandarin Chinese, whose word 電腦 (di nn o) literally means “electric brain”?

除此之外,他們還討論了如何設計適合現代生活的詞匯。巴恩加拉語是否應該模仿英語,使用“計算”的變形來指代計算機?還是應該像漢語一樣,完全按照字面意思將其翻譯為“電腦”?

The result is modern-day Barngarla, a language that has been revived in a form that is as close as possible to the Barngarla that was spoken before its last native speaker died out. Yet inevitably, as with the case of Modern Hebrew, it will never fully be the same. Too much time has passed, and there has been too much influence from the colonial language, in this case English, for today’s Barngarla to be a carbon copy. It too is a hybrid language, yet one that the Barngarla community can feel proud to speak once more. For Zuckermann, there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, quite the opposite: “Hybridity results in new linguistic diversity.”

在人們的努力下,現代巴恩加拉語(Barngarla)誕生了。它最大限度地接近原始的巴恩加拉語,讓這種消亡的語言重現生機。然而,就像現代希伯來語一樣,現代語言不可避免地會和過去的形式有差異,因為時間跨度太大、殖民地語言的影響太深刻。在這種情況下,現代巴恩加拉語應該以英語為範例。雖然現代巴恩加拉語也是一種混合語言,但是該社區的居民可以重新充滿自豪地說自己的母語了。對扎克曼來說,這不成問題。事實上,恰恰相反,“融合催生了新的語言形式。”

Linguicide

語言的滅絕

“Linguicide” the killing of language sits amongst the 10 forms of genocide that are recognised by the United Nations. The Barngarla language did not die out in 1960 solely due to natural causes. Like many Aboriginal languages, in the early to mid-20th Century it was actively destroyed and subjected to the cruel and imperialistic policies of the Australian government at the time, who removed children from their mothers and sent them to boarding schools thousands of miles away. There, they learned English and quickly forgot their mother tongue. If they ever returned to their ancestral homelands, they found themselves unable to communicate with their own families, as they no longer shared a common language.

“語言滅絕”,指對語言趕盡殺絕,是聯合國認可的10種種族滅絕形式之一。1960年,巴恩加拉語並沒有因為自然原因滅絕。和許多原住民語言一樣,在20世紀初到中期,這種語言遭到了人為的破壞,並受到當時殖民地政府殘酷的帝國主義政策的影響。殖民地政府把孩子從母親身邊奪走,送到數千英里外的寄宿學校。在那里,他們學習英語,所以很快就忘記了自己的母語。他們回到祖先生活的故土,會發現自己無法與家人交流,因為他們不再使用同一種語言。

Lavinia Richards is one of the "stolen generation". She remembers the trauma of being forcibly separated from her mother by the Australian authorities and forced to speak a foreign language English. When the Barngarla community released a CD of stories and songs of Barngarla people affected by the "stolen generation" in June 2018, she included on it a poem that she wrote about a flower she saw that reminded her of her mother, a reminder of a life that was denied to her because she was born speaking the wrong language.

理查茲(Lavinia Richards)就屬于“被偷走的一代”。她還記得,當時殖民地政府強行將她與母親分離,逼迫她說另一門語言——英語。當2018年6月,巴恩加拉社區發布了一版光盤,里面的故事和歌曲講述了“被偷走的一代”的故事。她寫了一首關于花的詩。這朵花讓她想起了母親,想起了被剝奪的生活,只因她生來就說著“錯誤”的語言。

For Zuckermann, there are three reasons why people should support language revival. The first is the simple ethical matter of righting the wrongs of colonial linguistic supremacy. Zuckermann states that the very fact that the Australian government at the time actively tried to destroy Australia’s unique linguistic diversity, driven perhaps by the racist notions of politicians such as Anthony Forster, who in 1843 declared “the natives would be sooner civilised if their language was extinct”, is convincing enough for him.

對于扎克曼來說,人們應該支持語言復興有以下三個原因。首先是糾正殖民語言霸權犯下的錯誤,這是一個簡單的倫理問題。扎克曼指出,事實上,當時的殖民地政府試圖破壞當地獨特的語言多樣性,幕後黑手可能是福斯特(Anthony Forster)等政治家信奉的種族歧視觀念。福斯特在1843年曾說過“如果原住民的語言滅絕了,馴化他們就更容易了”。

However, Zuckermann’s second reason is utilitarian. Language revival is about far more than just communication. He argues that it is about “culture, cultural autonomy, intellectual sovereignty, spirituality, well-being, and the soul”.

扎克曼給出的第二個理由是功利主義。復興語言不僅僅是為了交流。他認為這與“文化、文化自主、智力主權、精神、幸︰土榛輟庇泄。

“When you lose your language, you lose your soul. When you revive your language, you don’t only revive its sounds, its words, its morphemes and its phonemes. You revive the whole shebang.”

“一個人失去語言就仿佛失去了靈魂。復興一門語言意味著復興它的發音、詞匯、語素和音素。整個宇宙都甦醒過來了。”

Over his many years of working in language revival, Zuckermann has become increasingly convinced of a clear trend. He believes that amongst Aboriginal communities that have reclaimed their ancestral language, he has observed greatly improved physical and mental health. He sees a sharp drop in incidences of suicide, alcoholism, addiction and diabetes problems that unfortunately are rife amongst Aboriginal people across Australia.

在從事語言復興工作多年後,扎克曼越來越確信這是一個明顯的趨勢。他觀察到,重拾母語的原住民社區居民的身體和精神美高梅官方网站有了很大的改善。自殺、酗酒、成癮和糖尿病的發生率大幅下降,不幸的是,這些問題在澳大利亞原住民人中很普遍。

These are only anecdotal observations but in 2017, he began a five-year study to see whether he could find hard evidence to support the theory. Should he be proven right, he believes that this should give the Australian government enough cause to support language revival programmes across the country through healthcare funding from tax payers’ money.

但這些只是他的坊間觀察。2017年,他開始了一項為期五年的研究,看看能否找到支持這一理論的確鑿證據。如果他的猜想是正確的,他認為澳大利亞政府就有足夠的理由用納稅人資助醫療保健的錢在全國範圍內支持語言復興計劃。

A preliminary investigation in 2007 from the University of Oxford, University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria in Canada seems to support Zuckermann’s claims. By analysing Canadian census data, the researchers discovered that youth suicide rates “effectively dropped to zero in the few communities where at least half of the members reported a conversational level of their ‘Native’ language”.

2007年,來自牛津大學、英屬哥倫比亞大學和加拿大維多利亞大學的哈里特(Darcy Hallett)、錢德勒(Michael J Chandler)和拉隆德(Christopher E Lalonde)進行了初步調查,所得結果似乎印證了扎克曼的猜想。通過分析加拿大的人口普查數據,他們發現青少年自殺率“在少數幾個社區有效地降至零。這些社區中至少一半人的‘母語’達到了會話水平”。

“I really believe that billions of dollars in Australia have been wasted on stupid, medically approved programmes. I can prove qualitatively and quantitatively that language revival results in better health," Zuckermann says.

“我堅信,澳大利亞浪費了數十億美元愚蠢的醫學項目上。我能從定性和定量的層面上證明語言復興會使人民更加美高梅官方网站。”

“You kill the language of an Aboriginal community, you cause depression. You cause depression, you cause people to lose their will to take care of their body.”

“你滅絕了原住民社區的語言,就導致了抑郁。你導致了抑郁,就讓人們喪失了照顧好自己的意願。”

The third and final reason Zuckermann cites for supporting language revival is aesthetic. In other words, the co-existence of so many distinct and unique languages is beautiful. Australia’s multilingualism is like the human reflection of the biodiversity for which the country is so well known. Yet Zuckermann is aware that of all of his arguments, this is the one that may meet its toughest reception amongst the wider public.

扎克曼支持語言復興的第三個原因與美學有關。換句話說,這麼多獨特的語言共存是如此美麗。澳大利亞的生物多樣性世界聞名,多語共存的現象與之相互映照。然而,扎克曼意識到,在他所有的觀點中,這一觀點最受公眾歡迎。

For Candace Kaleimamoowahinekapu Galla, a native Hawaiian and associate professor at the University of British Columbia, speaking her ancestral language and promoting its use amongst her fellow Hawaiians is about something simple, yet fundamental. It’s about pride. “But not in an egotistical way,” she is quick to clarify. “It’s a humbling pride. It’s about accessing documents, newspapers or stories from the 1800s and understanding them on a different level to just reading them through an English translation.”

加拿大不列顛哥倫比亞大學(University of British Columbia)副教授、土生土長的夏威夷人加拉(Candace Kaleimamoowahinekapu Galla)認為,和夏威夷同胞中講祖先曾講過語言,並推廣使用這種語言,是一件簡單且基本的事情。我們為此感到自豪。“但並不是以自我為中心,”她澄清道,“這是一種令人謙卑的驕傲。我們需要獲取19世紀的文件、報紙或故事,並從不同的層面理解它們,而不是只通過英語翻譯。”

Galla describes the Hawaiian language as the foundation of everything distinguishing about Hawaiian culture. She believes that even the famous Hula dance, which has risen to the status of something of a global phenomenon, is impossible to truly perform without understanding Hawaiian, the lyric and the motion behind the lyric. Without an appreciation for those things, you are “just learning choreography”, according to Galla. “You can’t dance Hula without Hawaiian. You can dance, but it’s not Hula.”

加拉認為夏威夷語是夏威夷文化中一切與眾不同之處的基礎。她認為,即使是已在著名的草裙舞中,如果不了解夏威夷語歌詞和背後的含義,是無法表演好的。加拉表示,如果你無法真正地欣賞它,你就“只是在學習編舞而已”。“草裙舞和夏威夷語密不可分。你確實在跳舞,但不是草裙舞。”

Looking to the future, Zuckermann has grand plans. After his decisions to found Revivalistics and to work with the Barngarla community, he says that his next step is to spread the message far and wide.

關于未來,扎克曼有一個宏偉的計劃。在決定建立“復興學”並與巴恩加拉社區合作後,他的下一步是將信息廣泛傳播。

Since running his first online open-access course on language revival in 2014, he has so far had more than 11,000 participants in 188 countries, including in Afghanistan, Syria, and countries where genocide and linguicide are common.

2014年,扎克曼開設了他的第一個向公眾開放的在線語言復興課程。到目前為止,他已經在188個國家(包括阿富汗、敘利亞以及種族滅絕和語言滅絕盛行的國家)擁有1.1萬多名學員。

“I want to reach people who are not academic. People who are language activists, but who do not go to university and do not have money to do things. People who would like to revive their language.”

“我想接觸的人不是學術界人士,而是那些對語言感興趣、想要復興母語,但沒機會上大學,沒有錢的人。”

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