英語文層次的實例

 近年來,英語系國家將英語文分為六個層次,請讀者看以下同一例子的對照,並注意筆者畫底線之處的詞彙與慣用語。此資料來源為專門提供英語文層次用法的必備知識並輔以實例解釋的
ESHP網站(the English Studies Home Page),這是專為全世界英語教師所設,其提供的資訊包括:英國檔案、美國檔案、英語文的歷史演化、文法、風格、俚語等。

1)Very formal極正式書寫
  ◎ 使用者:高級知識份子(研究所)
  ◎ 特色:動詞的名詞化(表示動作的名詞片語)、被動語態
  ◎ 類別:學術論文、研究報告等
例:Consequent to the appreciation in the exchange value of Sterling against other currencies, necessary fiscal measures were introduced by the government in order to reduce the likelihood of an import-led consumer spending surge.
2)Written, formal正式書寫
  ◎ 使用者:一般知識份子(大學)
  ◎ 類別:公文、新聞稿等
例:After the international value of Sterling rose, the government was obliged to take fiscal measures to reduce the likelihood of a surge in consumer spending led by cheaper imports.
3)Written一般書寫
  ◎ 使用者:一般民眾(大學以下)
  ◎ 類別:社論、電視/收音機新聞報告等
例:As the value of Sterling increased compared to other currencies, the government was forced to take tax measures to head off a rapid increase in consumer spending spurred on by cheaper imports.
4)Formal spoken正式場合的談話
  ◎ 類別:研討會、演講、致詞等
例:As Sterling's international value went up, the government had to take tax measures to head off a consumer spending boom spurred on by cheaper imports.
5)Informal spoken非正式場合的談話
  ◎ 特色:動詞片語
  ◎ 類別:一般討論
例:As Sterling went up in value, the government had to put up taxes to stop consumers splashing out on too many cheap imports.
6)very informal spoken極不正式場合的談話
  ◎ 特色:口/俚語、重覆、口頭禪;結構鬆散
  ◎ 類別:閒聊
例:And you see, Sterling got more and more valuable, so as a result, the government had to go round putting up taxes, you see, to stop everyone going out and splashing out, spending all their money on cheap imports.

  就英語學習者的需求而言,其中的界線可稍模糊,筆者在此將其簡化為三個層次分別是:1)學術報告;2)一般文章/演講致詞;3)熟人信件/一般談話:

例1:
1)The inclement climatic conditions obliged the President to return earlier than scheduled.
2)The president was obliged to return earlier than planned due to poor weather conditions.
3)The president had to go back sooner than he'd planned because the weather was so bad.
例2:
1)Please await instructions before dispatching items.
2)Please wait for instructions before sending items off.
3)Don't send anything off until you're told to do so.

而對於國內的學習者而言,筆者認為至少需注意英語及英文之間最明顯的區別,如以下的例子,第一句是口語,第二句為書寫

例1:
1)He is a big shot around here.
2)He is a man of high regards in this organization.
例2:
1)It is a question if the statistics is good enough.
2)The accuracy/validity of the statistics is doubtful.

綜合以上的例子來看,應可瞭解口語與書寫之間最基本的不同為[1]

 

口語

書寫

結構特色

鬆弛

緊湊

常用結構

動詞、字句

(動詞的)名詞片語

語「態」

主動

被動

詞彙/片語

基礎

進階

  此外,為了使句子緊湊,最常見的方法是:將動詞化為名詞片語,但這個規則並非絕對,有時直接用動詞反而更緊湊、更有力,如以下例子:

  1)動詞化為名詞片語;
  2)直接用動詞。

例1:
1) The hope of the teacher is motivation of his students.
2) The teacher hopes to motivate his students.
例2:
1) These factors can have a significant effect on the result.
2) These factors can significantly affect the result.
例3:
1) This paper is a summary of important developments in research.
2) This paper summarizes important developments in research.

學習「上得了檯面」的英文

 那麼,國內英語文教育除了需要在英語流利層面多下功夫以外,究竟需要什麼樣「上得了檯面」的英文?可想而知的,包括:官方網站的英文、國際會議的書面資料等,這類英文與Frozen English不同的是,它並非「固定性的」,無須「擲地有聲」,但也需要具備典雅、精確等要素,差不多是在美國大學學測SAT到研究所學測GRE的層次。譬如,一般英語文中的a lot of,在「檯面英文」中需要用得更精確,如「很多」sizable、substantial、a considerable/significant number/amount of;「非常多」a plethora of、a multitude of;「不可勝數」a myriad of。

  以下僅引用兩段英文作為例子:

1. 聯合國的「開宗明義章」:
 WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED

  • to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
  • to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
  • to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
  • to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.

以上段落中succeeding(不用following)、scourge(不用pain)、reaffirm(不用say again)、fundamental(不用basic)、arising from(不只用from)都是比較正式的用法。

2. 新加坡報紙The Strait Times某社論中的一小段:

  It remains to be seen whether the successfully globalising countries can cooperate to meet the threats from the non-globalised world and help failing and weak nations become successful globalising ones. This pooling of power to meet the challenges emanating from non-globalised states needs to include not only the US, Europe and Japan, but also China, which has many of these states on its periphery and is vulnerable to their dangers.

  文中it remains to be seen(不用we will wait and see)、failing(不用poor)、this pooling of power(不用we get together)、emanating from(不用coming from)、on its periphery(不用around it),is vulnerable to(不用can be easily influenced by)則更高階。還有一點值得注意的是:此處的state,並非「州」,而是「國家」,類似的字還有prince,在正式英文中常指「君王/君主」之意,而非一般我們所知的「王子」。在文法結構上,第二段第一句的「層層相套」也值得注意:以“emanating from non-globalised states”修飾“the challenges”,又以“to meet the challenges emanating from non-globalised states”修飾“this pooling of power”,所以this pooling of power後接的動詞是needs,這種繁複的結構為書寫所推崇,但不應出現在口語中。

結語

讀者看到這裡,可能要問:那英語文到底有幾個層次?筆者的回答是:由於英語文是自然語、非人工語,雖然其間的層次差異很容易觀察得到,但是切割的結果會因某些標準或某次所處理的語料不同而不盡相同,所以對於層次數要求一個標準答案是不智的想法,McCarthy, M. & R. Carter(1994: 37)就談到這一點:

  1. 口語及書寫是有著明顯特色區別的兩大類別,如果老師們能多懂得一些這方面的差異與區分,就能夠比較有效地支持語言的學習。(Speech and writing are major categories with recognizably different characteristics. Language Learning can be more effectively supported if teacher know more about these differences and distinctions.)
  2. 另一方面,老師們也不能以為不同的語言變化可以用單一的方法分類。有些分類比較可以清楚、有些則不然。(It is unhelpful for teachers to assume that different varieties of language can be categorized in monolithic terms. Some categories are determinate and clear cut than others.)

筆者打個比方,自然世界裡有男有女,也有男人女相、女人男相、甚或又男又女的例子,但我們不能因此就男女不分。

  「陽春白雪」(典雅文辭)與「下里巴人」(俚俗口語)本無價值之分,何時、何地、何人該「陽春白雪」,何時、何地何人該「下里巴人」,屬於語用學的課題。在市井間陽春白雪、在殿堂中下里巴人,就是不倫不類。學習一種外語要真正做到在市井間下里巴人、在殿堂中陽春白雪,雖然難於登天,但若能夠認知及領會英語文的各個層次,就是往前踏出的第一步了。

參考書目

  • 陳懷萱、林金錫(2004),《運用網路互動進行華語文寫作學習之探討
  • Gregory, M. and S. Carroll. (1978). Language and Situation: Language Varieties and Their Social Contexts. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  • Halliday, M.A.K. (1964). Comparison and translation. In M.A.K. Halliday, M.McIntosh and P. Strevens, The linguistic sciences and language teaching. London: Longman.
  • Halliday, M.A.K. (1978). Language as Social Semiotic: the social interpretation of language and meaning. Edward Arnold: London.
  • Halliday, M.A.K. (1985). Spoken and Written Language. Sydney: Deakin University.
  • Chafe, W. & D. Tannen 1987: "The relation between written and spoken language." in Annual Review of Anthropology, 16: 383-407.
  • Joos, M. (1961). The Five Clocks. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World.
  • Lam, W.I. (1998). Argumentative Writing: A functional approach.(論說文文體特點及其在教育上之應用), Unpublished M. Ed. dissertation, The University of Hong Kong.(In Chinese.)
  • McCarthy, M. & R. Carter. (1994). Language As Discourse: Perspectives for Language Teaching. New York: Longman Group.
  • Trudgill, P. (1992). Introducing language and society. London: Penguin

    作者簡介

    美國德州大學(奧斯汀分校)應用語言學博士

    現任台北科技大學應用英文系副教授

    [1]口語與書寫結構的鬆弛與緊湊,可以使用 (Halliday1985)所提出的「辭彙密度」(lexical density)來做測量。Halliday認為句子是由實詞(content words,如名詞、動詞、形容詞)與功能詞(function words,如介系詞、助動詞)所組成。辭彙密度指的是實詞在整個句子中所佔的比例,一般而言,口語的辭彙密度為40至50%(閒聊可能更低),而書寫的辭彙密度為60至70%(學術論文可能更高)。

    文章出處:《敦煌英語教學電子雜誌》刊期:2006.02.06

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