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大华雅思
大华雅思
SAT阅读方法论之一Key Words in Reading

在近四年的教学过程中,笔者发现很多学生在备考TOEFL、GRE和SAT的Reading Section时,总是抱怨自己的词汇量不够。于是笔者和这些学员进行了单独交流,惊奇地发现这些学员的有效词汇量都在一万左右,那为什么他们会不断地抱怨阅读词汇量不够呢?经过观察,笔者发现,这些学员所谓的阅读根本就不是阅读,应该称之为英译汉才更为准确。而学员的这种Translating Reading Pattern必然会让他们对文章中的每一个单词都要花费心力去找中文对应,不仅大大影响了阅读的速度,也会极大地影响到文章的有效理解。因为他们将很大部分的精力都花在了Terminology (专有名词)的翻译之上,而对该注意的词却因为自己认识不予关注,实在是本末倒置之行为。本文正是基于对上述现象的观察和分析,从两个方面去提出笔者自己的阅读方法心得。
 
       一、关于阅读词汇看法的误区
       Myth 1:只有认识每一个单词才能读懂全文?
       在阅读教学研究当中,语言学家发现,一篇文章中不认识的单词占全文词汇总量的比例只要控制在8%以内,是绝对不会影响到全文任何观点的理解的。
 
       Myth 2:专有名词,尤其是涉及全文主题的专有名词必须认识?
       这一问题牵涉到了一系列问题,那就是什么叫做认识专有名词?从英到汉的翻译叫做认识?还是知道专有名词的特征叫做认识?读者请想想看,我们在阅读理解中有没有遇到过这样的问题提法:What is sedge root? 我想没有,因为这种问法是在问专有名词的翻译。我们遇到的更多是这样的一些问法:According to the passage, which of the following statements about sedge root is true? What can be inferred from the passage about sedge root? 这些问题的提法却是在问专有名词的文中阐述特征。我们再从文章本身对这个问题做出进一步的分析。假设原文有这样一句话:Sedge root, a woody fiber that can be easily separated into strands, is essential to basketry production. 请问sedge root的中文翻译“莎草的根” 能够帮助我们解决阅读理解题目吗?我想很难!真正能够帮助我们解决阅读理解题目的应该是这样的文字a woody fiber (木制纤维)和定语从句中的文字部分can be easily separated into strands (能够轻易地被分割成线)。通过上述的分析,想必大家已经非常清楚地认识到过去我们拼命去死记硬背专有名词的中文释义是多么愚蠢的行为。因为真正的认识应该是对特征的认识,所以Sodium Caseinate和它的释义酪蛋白酸钠对我们而言是一样的毫无意义,毕竟我们对它们都没有任何的概念。
 
       Myth 3:我们可以从上下文中猜出单词的释义?
       笔者认为从上下文中猜出单词的释义是不现实的。例如有这样一句话”Supernova is a massive star which undergoes gravitational collapse.” 我们是不可能从上下文中猜出supernova的释义“超新星”的。而我们真正能够做到的是从上下文中猜出单词的特征:supernova是巨大的恒星(massive star),它在进行引力收缩(undergoes gravitational collapse)。这样思路的转化,让我们顿感释然,因为从此以后遇到不认识的单词,我们再也不用停下来思考单词的释义,也不用费尽思量地去猜所谓的单词的释义,我们需要做的是静下心来在后面找到单词在文章当中传达的特征就可以。
 
       二、阅读中的核心词汇
       Key Word 1: Verb or Predicate
       谓语动词是文章每句话主要意思的体现者。换句话说,只要能把每句话中的谓语动词读懂那么整篇文章的主干意思也就非常清晰明了了。我们来看下面一段文字:
       The floor of a river valley develops in one of two ways: as a rock-floored valley bottom or as an accumulation valley floor. A rock-floored valley is formed by a stream that no longer incises by cutting downward but rather erodes laterally in a course that winds from side to side across the valley floor. In a rock-floored valley, the valley slopes are undercut and steeped by the sideways erosion. The floor of the river channel lies in the bedrock, and on either side of the channel it is covered by only a thin layer of gravel and sand. As the stream swings across the valley floor, it deposits material on the insides of the bends in the channel.
通过对上面文字各个句子中的谓语动词的重点标示,读者应该会发现,文章的理解难度大大降低了,我们也不再用去无聊地思考为什么风能从一边到另一边地吹过峡谷底部了(winds from side to side across the valley floor),因为我们知道重要的是思考rock-floored valley是怎么形成的(formed),它怎么变陡峭的(undercut and steeped),它所在的位置在哪里,被什么东西覆盖(lies and covered),以及它沉淀物质在什么地方(deposits)。
 
       Key Word 2: Direction Words or Cohesive Devices
       Direction Words的作用体现在三个方面:帮助我们预判focus或topic,帮助我们预判细节关系或者说是细节结构,帮助我们确定阅读速度的快慢。我们来看下面的例子:
Reports on an organization’s projects may fill several major functions at the same time. A report can be used to educate and gain support from key people and groups, to facilitate and inform decision-making about current and future projects, and to provide documentation for the organization’s records.
上面文字中的several是一个不定数词,它属于Classification & Listing这一类Direction Words,当它出现在观点句中或者结论句中的时候,它表明紧跟在它后面的名词或者名词短语就是下面文字的topic or focus,在这里我们知道下面文字的中心是报告的主要功能(major functions)。其次通过several这一结构指示词,我们还可以判定下面的细节部分不是分类讨论结构就是列举结构。最后我们既然已经能够预判下文的中心和结构,也就自然能够加快阅读速度了,毕竟已知大意和目的的内容可以加快阅读。下面是六类常见结构指示词。
Classification & Listing
category, classification, group, parts, types, characteristics, elements, kinds, sorts,   ways, classes, features, numbers, 1,2,3,4, moreover, next, also, then, furthermore, etc. 
Sequence of Process
first, now, later, second, after, stages, third, before, steps, next, finally, then, most, important, furthermore, when, last, etc. 
Example
for example, for instance, to illustrate, such as, notably, to describe, specifically,      perhaps the most, etc. 
Definition
define, known as, we mean, is, that is, we can state, is defined as, the term means, etc. 
Cause & Effect
because, for this reason, since, cause, on account of, why, contribute to, due to, as a result, in effect, therefore, consequently, result in, thus, hence, the outcome is, accordingly 
Comparison & Contrast
compare, like/alike, resembles, likewise, similar, parallels, in comparison, in the same way/manner, although, however, on the other hand, as opposed to, but, instead, etc. 


       Key Word 3: Absolute/Probability/Possibility Signal Words
       语气限定词的作用主要表现在能够帮助我们对作者的语气进行预判及对行文方向的预判。例如absolute signal words出现在观点句中,表明这个观点作者一定是赞同的,所以下文的行文方向将向着立论的方向进行下去。而possibility signal words出现在观点句中,则表明作者对这个观点一定持怀疑态度,所以下文的行文方向将向着驳论或质疑的角度进行下去。我们来看下面的一段文字:
       Does the threat of the death penalty deter people from murderous behavior more than the threat of imprisonment for life? We do not yet know with anything even approaching certainty whether the death penalty does or does not deter. The question is clearly empirical, and it is likely that sophisticated statistical techniques will eventually permit us an answer.
       这里出现了likely,它属于possibility signal words,所以我们可以预判作者对精密的统计技术的态度其实是怀疑的,所以下文应该是往质疑或驳斥的角度写下去。而后面的文字” All statistical arguments on the death penalty are, however, excruciatingly complex and misleading.” 证明了我们的猜测。
       笔者在本文对语气限定词做了以下归纳总结:
Absolute Signal Words
These words should make the reader reject a statement unless there is strong support.
always, definitely, irrefutably, assuredly, indisputably, undeniably, certainly, invariably,    without question, etc. 
Probability Signal Words
These words suggest that the information may be accurate but that other possibilities may exist.
almost, probably, presumably, there is little question, etc. 
Possibility Signal Words
These words suggest that the ideas are subject to debate and that there is doubt as to their complete validity.
apparently, may/maybe, possible, somewhat, could be, might, seems, likely, perhaps,        seemingly, etc. 


        三、小结
       学会思考,因为勤奋单独并不能确保我们的成功,毕竟在现代社会Success is a choice. 阅读不是翻译,所以我们要选择正确的视角去练习,这样才能事半而功倍。There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. 不是吗?

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