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双语能使人更聪明吗?

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小编摘要:研究人员上月在美国科学促进会的一次会议上介绍了他们的最新研究成果。最新证据表明,通晓双语并不能使人更聪明。但研究人员艾伦·比雅利斯托克(Ellen Bialystock)表示,它会使你在某些技能上表现更好。

 

这里是美国之音慢速英语健康报道。
This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
上世纪五十年代早期,研究人员发现掌握超过一门语言的人在智力测试上得分更低。而六十年代研究的发现则恰恰相反,“双语者”比只懂一种语言的“单语者”得分更高。那么,哪个发现是正确的呢?
In the early nineteen fifties, researchers found that people scored lower on intelligence tests if they spoke more than one language. Research in the sixties found the opposite. Bilingual people scored higher than monolinguals--people who speak only one language. So which is it?
研究人员上月在美国科学促进会的一次会议上介绍了他们的最新研究成果。最新证据表明,通晓双语并不能使人更聪明。但研究人员艾伦·比雅利斯托克(Ellen Bialystock)表示,它会使你在某些技能上表现更好。
Researchers presented their newest studies last month at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The latest evidence shows that being bilingual does not necessarily make people smarter. But researcher Ellen Bialystock says it probably does make you better at certain skills.
比雅利斯托克:“想象一下在高速公路上开车,可能会有很多吸引你注意力的东西,你必须能够同时关注所有这一些。为什么双语环境可能会让你在这方面表现更好呢?”
ELLEN BIALYSTOCK: "Imagine driving down the highway. There's many things that could capture your attention and you really need to be able to monitor all of them. Why would bilingualism make you any better at that?"
她表示,答案就是“双语者”更善于控制自己的注意力,这种能力也被称为行为控制系统。
And the answer, she says, is that bilingual people are often better at controlling their attention -- a function called the executive control system.
比雅利斯托克:“这可能是人类具备的最重要的认知系统。因为你做出专注、忽略、执行的决定时都离不开它。”
ELLEN BIALYSTOCK: "It's quite possibly the most important cognitive system we have because it's where all of your decisions about what to attend to, what to ignore, what to process are made."
比雅利斯托克是加拿大约克大学的心理学教授。她表示,衡量行为控制系统能力最好的办法是斯特鲁测验(Stroop Test)。该测试向被测试者展示各种不同颜色的单词。被测试者需要忽略单词本身,说出字体的颜色。难点在于,这些单词都是一些颜色的名称。
Ms. Bialystock is a psychology professor at York University in Toronto, Canada. She says the best method to measure the executive control system is called the Stroop Test. A person is shown words in different colors. The person has to ignore the word but say the color. The problem is that the words are all names of colors.
比雅利斯托克:“因此,“蓝色”这个单词可能是用红色书写的,而你必须说“红色”。但“蓝色”这两个字非常突出,它一直闪现在你的大脑中,你很想说“蓝色”。这时你就需要一种抑制该想法的系统,你才能说出红色。这就是行为控制系统。”
ELLEN BIALYSTOCK: "So you would have the word blue written in red, but you have to say red. But blue is so salient, it's just lighting up all these circuits in your brain, and you really want to say blue. So you need a mechanism to override that so that you can say red. That's the executive control system."
她的研究表明,“双语者”在不断锻炼这种能力,因为两种语言同时都在他们大脑中活跃,他们必须抑制一种语言,才能用另一种语言表达。
Her work shows that bilingual people continually practice this function. They have to, because both languages are active in their brain at the same time. They need to suppress one to be able to speak in the other.
这一脑力锻炼在其它方面也有所帮助。研究人员称,双语儿童能更好地区别单词含义,也更有可能结交不同文化背景的朋友。双语成年人患老年痴呆症(又名阿尔茨海默氏病)的时间要比其他人晚4-5年。
This mental exercise might help in other ways, too. Researchers say bilingual children are better able to separate a word from its meaning, and more likely to have friends from different cultures. Bilingual adults are often four to five years later than others in developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
外语学习在美国有所提升。但乔治城大学的语言学家艾莉森·麦基(Alison Mackey)指出,英语系国家(在外语学习方面)仍远远落后于世界上其他国家。
Foreign language study has increased in the United States. But linguist Alison Mackey at Georgetown University points out that English-speaking countries are still far behind the rest of the world.
麦基:“英国和美国一样,双语被看作特殊的,惹人评论的东西,也可能是努力的方向。而在世界上许多其他地方,双语只是生活中很自然的一部分。”
ALISON MACKEY: "In England, like in the United States, bilingualism is seen as something special and unique and something to be commented on and perhaps work towards, whereas in many other parts of the world being bilingual is just seen as a natural part of life."
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2011-08-03 16:37 编辑:crystal156
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