彭蒙惠英语:20110212 MP3在线课程 Distinct Language Discovered

时间 : 2013-12-11 07:45来源 : VOA官网 收听下载次数 :
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Researching the language

Anderson and Harrison, together with their Indian colleague Ganesh Murmu, came across Koro by chance in 2008. After obtaining a permit to visit the area, they rode for two days into the Himalayan foothills and then crossed a river on a bamboo raft to get to the remotest of the villages. 

The researchers had been told of the so-called dialect of Aka. But when they sat down to record the words of a villager they assumed to be speaking it, they were surprised by the unfamiliarity of the words and could tell this was no mere dialect.

"We noticed it instantly," Anderson said. "We started with a body-part word list, and there wasn't a single word in common." After further study, they realized that Koro was not only a language in its own right, but also one as different from Aka as English is from Russian.

The linguists say there are still many mysteries they hope to unravel─such as why the speakers don't seem to notice how vastly different their languages are, and how the Koro speakers, who seem to blend in with Aka speakers in every other way, have managed to preserve their language as a distinct entity for so long.

The answers, said the linguists, are probably related to the community's relative isolation from the rest of the world.

Threatened by change

Now globalization is ending that isolation─and it may end Koro's existence, too. In many families, the parents will speak Koro while the children speak Hindi, the politically dominant language in India. Few Koro speakers are under age 20.

The endangerment of languages like Koro threatens more than a loss to history, anthropology and human cognitive studies, Harrison said: Speakers in remote regions of the Earth that contain rich ecological diversity hold knowledge as yet untapped by science.

"They've learned to live sustainably in harsh environments. The knowledge they have about the medicinal use of plants is uniquely encoded in a way that cannot be translated."

一探究竟
安德森、哈理逊和他们的印度同僚加纳.莫姆,是在二00八年间偶然发现克洛语。他们获准参访该地区后,骑马骑了两天进入喜马拉雅山麓,再搭竹筏渡河,才抵达最偏远的村落。

研究人员事先已知道所谓的亚加方言, 但是当他们坐下来记录一位村民的说话时,他们原本以为村民说的会是亚加语,结果陌生的词语让他们很惊讶,而且他们听得出来这绝不是种同源语。

「我们立刻就注意到了,」安德森说道, 「我们先从人体部位用语开始,结果没有任何字相同。」进一步研究之后,他们才体认到克洛语不仅本身就是个完整的语言,而且和亚加语迥然不同,就像英语和俄语之间的差异那么大。

语言学家表示,还有许多未解之谜尚待揭开,例如:为什么克洛语族群似乎并未注意到自己的语言如此不同? 为什么克洛语族群在各方面似乎均与亚加语族群融合为一,长久以来却能一直保有自己语言的独特性?

语言学家指出,答案可能与该族群相当程度的与世隔绝有关。

因环境改变而备受威胁

如今全球化正在终结这种与世隔绝,可能也会终结克洛语。在许多家庭中,父母说克洛语,孩子说的却是印度语,印度语是印度的政治主流语言。二十岁以下的年轻人鲜少会说克洛语。

哈理逊表示,像克洛语这类语言的濒危,不仅是史学、人类学及人类认知研究上的损失而已,这些人住在地球上生态多样性丰富的偏远区域,他们所拥有的知识尚未为科学界查知。

「他们已经学会如何在严酷环境中永续生存, 他们以无法翻译的独特编码方式,将药用植物的知识记录下来。」

 

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