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文书点评:学习英语(Learning English)

来源:美国留学网 2008-02-27   美国留学   免费评估   答疑
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A blond-haired boy approached me at the playground and said, “Tahw si ruoy eman?” I stared blankly at him and, after some consideration, decided to answer with a simple “No.” The boy looked at me and started to laugh, then said something else and walked away. Confused and a little hurt, I turned to my translator, who had by then started to laugh, too. She pulled me beside the swings and explained in Mandarin that the boy had merely asked me for my name, and I had told him it was No.

This incident took place on my first day of second grade at St. Mungo’s Primary School in Glasgow, Scotland. I had just moved to Great Britain with my degree-seeking parents. Leaving behind my safety net of language and culture in China and armed with little more the two English words of “yes” and “no, ” I embarked on a mission in which I was forced to adapt to the Western world. Although children are often quick assimilators of new environments, I feel like I spent my entire elementary years simply trying to learn the convoluted English language, as well as getting used to eating fish and chips.

Like all foreign languages, English is difficult to learn. But because of the history of so many people contributing to its modern form, English contains a prodigious number of complex rules and exceptions, a profusion of word forms, and vexingly different pronunciations of the same and similar spellings. “Through, ” “thorough, ” and “enough, ” for example, are all common words containing “ough, ” but in each case the letters are pronounced differently. I found perseverance to be my answer to the challenge, and I worked assiduously to perfect my English. I remember borrowing numerous illustrated books from my teachers and reading for two hours every night with my parents. I found my greatest difficulty lay in pronunciation. While Chinese is spoken with little movement of the mouth, English requires the opening of the soft palate and explicit articulation. Pronouncing “th” sounding words proved the most arduous of all tasks; I used to stand in front of my dresser mirror and watch my tongue push against my top teeth as I, to my dismay, continue to spit out “ss” sounds. This frustration affected my performance in school; I was afraid to ask questions because it took me ten minutes to think of each word in my question and how to pronounce them.

My irritation did not last long, however, and my daily diligence in front of the mirror soon paid off. I gradually began to comprehend my teachers in school and learned to understand my textbooks. My ESL teacher, Mrs. Murray, was compassionate and progressive, helping her students to learn English through “mini-field trips.” Each week, Mrs. Murray would take us to one specific room of the school and have us name all the objects in that room. As silly as it may seem, the method both increased my vocabulary by implanting mental pictures of the objects in my head and gave me ample opportunity to practice my pronunciation.

When I moved to Detroit at the age of nine, many of my new friends and teachers told me my English was fluent, even articulate. At my new school, however, I was faced with a new problem: my peculiar sounding Chinese-Scottish accent. This dilemma caused me plenty of heartache; as a newcomer, I had trouble making friends, and other children consistently made fun of my accent and treated me like an alien. But again, with an unwillingness to surrender to my circumstances, I redoubled my efforts and before long made several good friends.

I have now lived in the United States for eight years. Although my difficulties with English gradually diminish with each passing year, I constantly face new challenges and obstacles. But through my experience with learning English and making friends in a new land, I found that hindrances are best met with persistence. I will always remember my encounter with the blond-haired boy in second grade, and, more importantly, its significance in beginning my ten-year struggle to improve my comprehension of the English language and English-speaking people.

点评:

通过学英语的历程向学校展示了自己的人生经历和个人性格。通过一个较有趣味的小故事开头,让人有一种读下去的欲望,作者在这方面做的比较成功。此外,由于作者长期在国外生活,英语表达能力很强,文章写的很流畅生动。虽然故事并没有出奇之处,但对于AdCom来说,这样的文章,比那些呆板的重复简历里的活动无疑强的太多。

译文:

学习英语

在运动场上,一个金发男孩走近我说,‘Tahw si ruoy eman?’我茫然的看着他,考虑了一下,决定回答一个简单的‘No.’男孩看着我并开始发笑,然后又说了些什么并走开了。我感到很困惑并有点被伤害,于是转去问我的翻译,他听完后也开始笑了。她把我拉到秋千旁边,并用普通话向我解释,那个男孩仅仅是问我的名字,而我告诉他我的名字是NO。

这件事发生在苏格兰的格拉斯哥,我就读St. Mungo’s小学二年级的第一天。那时我刚和父母一起搬到英国,而他们则是为了获得更高的学位。离开了中国熟悉的语言和文化,并带着两个英语单词‘Yes’和‘No’,我开始被强迫去接受西方的世界。虽然儿童对于新环境的接受能力比较强,但我感觉我花了整个小学只是为了学习那绕口的英语,并用来熟悉吃鱼和薯条这样的英国式食物。

和所有的外语一样,学英语很难。由于长久以来太多的人参与到现代英语的形成中去,英语包括了无数复杂的规则和特例,单词的形式,以及多义词和同音词。比如说,through, thorough, 和enough都是一些包括了‘ough’并经常用到的词,但在不同的场合下,他们的发音都是不同的。我只有努力坚持,并更勤力的去提高我的英语能力。我向我的老师借了一些带有插图的书本并每个晚上在父母的陪同下花费两个小时来阅读。我发现我最大的困难就在于发音。不同于说中文的时候嘴巴不太动,英语需要张开软腭并清楚的发音。发“th”这个音对我来说是很困难的任务;我曾经对着梳妆台的镜子练习,但我看到我的舌头打在我的上排牙齿上,使我沮丧的发出“ss”的声音。这个困扰也影响了我在学校的表现;我很害怕主动提问,因为那要花我十分钟去思考每个用词以及怎么发音。

然而,我的窘境并没有持续很久,每天在镜子前面的苦练终于取得了回报。我渐渐开始领会老师所说的,并开始理解教科书的内容。我的英文老师Murray夫人是一个很有同情心和进取心的人,她总是通过小课的方式帮助学习学生英语。每个星期,Murray夫人都会把我们带到一个特殊的房间,要求我们用英文说出房间里所有物品。虽然看起来很傻,但这个方法不仅通过这些易于理解的物品增加了我的词汇并且为我提供了许多机会来锻炼发音。

当我9岁时搬到底特律时,许多新的朋友和老师都说我的英语十分流利,甚至单词些连接的发音。但是在新学校里,我又遇到了一个新的问题:我的发音是中国式的苏格兰口音。这个活动引起了我新的麻烦。做为一个新人,我没法交到新朋友,其他的孩子甚至认为我的发音十分可笑,并把我当作一个外地人。再一次,为了不向困难妥协,我加倍努力的练习并在不久后交到了几个好朋友。

现在,我在美国已经生活了8年。虽然我在英语方面的困难一年比一年少,但我始终会遇到一些新的挑战和障碍。通过学习英语和在新地方交朋友的经验,我发现只要坚持,任何困难都可以克服。我永远都记得我在二年级的时候遇到的那个金发男孩,那是我这十年来尽力提高对英语语言和说英语的人理解能力的开始。

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