ABOUT THE SPEAKER
John McWhorter - Linguist
Linguist John McWhorter thinks about language in relation to race, politics and our shared cultural history.

Why you should listen

John McWhorter is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, teaching linguistics, Western Civilization and music history. He is a regular columnist on language matters and race issues for Time and CNN, writes for the Wall Street Journal "Taste" page, and writes a regular column on language for The Atlantic. His work also appears in the Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Aeon magazine, The American Interest and other outlets. He was Contributing Editor at The New Republic from 2001 until 2014.

McWhorter earned his PhD in linguistics from Stanford University in 1993 and is the author of The Power of BabelDoing Our Own ThingOur Magnificent Bastard TongueThe Language Hoax and most recently Words on the Move and Talking Back, Talking Black. The Teaching Company has released four of his audiovisual lecture courses on linguistics. He guest hosted the Lexicon Valley podcast at Slate during the summer of 2016.

Beyond his work in linguistics, McWhorter is the author of Losing the Race and other books on race. He has appeared regularly on Bloggingheads.TV since 2006, and he produces and plays piano for a group cabaret show, New Faces, at the Cornelia Street Cafe in New York City.

More profile about the speaker
John McWhorter | Speaker | TED.com
TED2013

John McWhorter: Txtng is killing language. JK!!!

约翰-麦克沃特: 短信是语言杀手。开玩笑吧!

Filmed:
2,710,702 views

短信的出现意味着良好书写技能的丧失吗?约翰-麦克沃特提出短信在语言学上和文化上的影响都比表面看上去的更大,而且可喜的是这些都是好消息。
- Linguist
Linguist John McWhorter thinks about language in relation to race, politics and our shared cultural history. Full bio

Double-click the English transcript below to play the video.

00:12
We always hear that texting发短信 is a scourge灾害.
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人们总说短信的出现是一种灾难。
00:15
The idea理念 is that texting发短信 spells法术 the decline下降 and fall秋季
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这么说的原因是短信降低了人们的读写能力,
00:20
of any kind of serious严重 literacy读写能力, or at least最小 writing写作 ability能力,
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或者至少是书面表达能力,
00:23
among其中 young年轻 people in the United联合的 States状态
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这个问题影响着美国青年人
00:26
and now the whole整个 world世界 today今天.
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今天也变成了全球问题。
00:28
The fact事实 of the matter is that it just isn't true真正,
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事实上,这个说法是错误的,
00:32
and it's easy简单 to think that it is true真正,
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而且人们很容易信以为真,
00:34
but in order订购 to see it in another另一个 way,
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但是为了换一个角度来看待它,
00:36
in order订购 to see that actually其实 texting发短信 is a miraculous神奇 thing,
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为了将短信看作是实际上不可思议的,
00:40
not just energetic有活力, but a miraculous神奇 thing,
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而且不只是充满活力的事,也是不可思议的事,
00:43
a kind of emergent应急 complexity复杂
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是一个我们正在经历的
00:44
that we're seeing眼看 happening事件 right now,
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一个紧迫而复杂事情,
00:47
we have to pull the camera相机 back for a bit
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我们就得回过头
00:49
and look at what language语言 really is,
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好好想想语言究竟是怎么一回事,
00:52
in which哪一个 case案件, one thing that we see
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这么看的话,我们可以说
00:55
is that texting发短信 is not writing写作 at all.
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短信其实根本就不是书面文字表达。
00:59
What do I mean by that?
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为什么这么说呢?
01:01
Basically基本上, if we think about language语言,
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从根本上说,如果我们想到语言,
01:04
language语言 has existed存在 for perhaps也许 150,000 years年份,
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语言已经存在了大概15万年,
01:07
at least最小 80,000 years年份,
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至少也有8万年了,
01:09
and what it arose出现 as is speech言语. People talked.
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首先出现的是语音。人们彼此交谈。
01:14
That's what we're probably大概 genetically基因 specified规定 for.
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这个大概就是出于我们人类的本能。
01:17
That's how we use language语言 most.
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大多数情况下,这就是我们如何使用语言的。
01:19
Writing写作 is something that came来了 along沿 much later后来,
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文字是在这之后很晚才产生的,
01:22
and as we saw in the last talk,
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正如我们在上一个演讲所看到的,
01:24
there's a little bit of controversy争议 as to exactly究竟 when that happened发生,
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对于文字是何时出现的还是有些小小的争议,
01:27
but according根据 to traditional传统 estimates估计,
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但是根据传统估算,
01:29
if humanity人性 had existed存在 for 24 hours小时,
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如果人类文明存在了24个小时,
01:33
then writing写作 only came来了 along沿 at about 11:07 p.m.
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那么文字是在晚上11点07分时产生的。
01:38
That's how much of a latterly近来 thing writing写作 is.
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大家可见文字是最近才出现的。
01:42
So first there's speech言语, and then writing写作 comes along沿
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所以首先是语音,然后文字作为一种技巧
01:45
as a kind of artifice技巧.
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出现了。
01:47
Now don't get me wrong错误, writing写作 has certain某些 advantages优点.
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大家不要误会,文字写作确实有它自己的优势。
01:51
When you write, because it's a conscious意识 process处理,
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当你写字的时候,因为这是一个有意识的过程,
01:53
because you can look backwards向后,
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因为你可以回顾过去,
01:56
you can do things with language语言 that are much less likely容易
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你可以用书面语言来完成一些说话时
01:58
if you're just talking.
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不会表达的事情。
02:01
For example, imagine想像 a passage通道 from Edward爱德华 Gibbon's长臂猿的
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比如,让我们看看爱德华·吉本(英国历史学家)在
02:05
"The Decline下降 and Fall秋季 of the Roman罗马 Empire帝国:"
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“罗马帝国衰亡史”一书中的一段(取自第二十四章),
02:09
"The whole整个 engagement订婚 lasted历时 above以上 twelve十二 hours小时,
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“整个战争持续了至少12小时,
02:12
till直到 the graduate毕业 retreat撤退 of the Persians波斯人 was changed
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直到波斯人纷纷仓皇溃退,
02:14
into a disorderly flight飞行, of which哪一个 the shameful可耻 example
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其中表现最可耻的是
02:17
was given特定 by the principal主要 leaders领导者 and the SurenasSurenas himself他自己."
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他们的指挥官们以及苏雷纳斯(最高统帅)本人。“
02:20
That's beautiful美丽, but let's face面对 it, nobody没有人 talks会谈 that way.
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写的真的很美,但是,说实话,没人这么说话。
02:24
Or at least最小, they shouldn't不能 if they're interested有兴趣
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或者至少,如果真感兴趣的话也不该这样重复。
02:28
in reproducing再现. That --
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这-
02:31
(Laughter笑声)
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(笑声)
02:33
is not the way any human人的 being存在 speaks说话 casually胡乱.
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不是人们平常说话时候的样子。
02:36
Casual随便 speech言语 is something quite相当 different不同.
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日常对话是非常不同的。
02:39
Linguists语言学家 have actually其实 shown显示
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语言学家实际上已经指出
02:41
that when we're speaking请讲 casually胡乱 in an unmonitored不受监督 way,
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当我们在轻松的对话时,
02:43
we tend趋向 to speak说话 in word packets of maybe
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我们每句话会用大概
02:46
seven to 10 words.
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7到10个字。
02:48
You'll你会 notice注意 this if you ever have occasion场合 to record记录
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你会注意到这点,如果你有机会录下来
02:51
yourself你自己 or a group of people talking.
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自己或者一组人说话。
02:54
That's what speech言语 is like.
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这就是语言对话的形式。
02:55
Speech言语 is much looser宽松. It's much more telegraphic电报.
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语言对话更松散。也更简洁得多。
02:59
It's much less reflective反光 -- very different不同 from writing写作.
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和书面文字表达非常不同,它少了思考性。
03:03
So we naturally自然 tend趋向 to think, because we see language语言
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所以因为我们经常看到写出来的语言,
03:06
written书面 so often经常, that that's what language语言 is,
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我们就很自然地认为,那就是语言,
03:08
but actually其实 what language语言 is, is speech言语. They are two things.
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但实际上语言是言语对话。这是两个不同的事物。
03:12
Now of course课程, as history历史 has gone走了 by,
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当然,随着历史的演进,
03:16
it's been natural自然 for there to be a certain某些 amount of bleed流血
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在言语对话和书面文字表达之间有些交集
03:18
between之间 speech言语 and writing写作.
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也是很自然的事情。
03:21
So, for example, in a distant遥远 era时代 now,
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比如说,在以前一个遥远的时代,
03:26
it was common共同 when one gave a speech言语
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当一个人作演讲,说起话来像在写作一样,
03:29
to basically基本上 talk like writing写作.
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是很平常的事情。
03:32
So I mean the kind of speech言语 that you see someone有人 giving
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我的意思是那种你在一部老电影里看到的演讲,
03:34
in an old movie电影 where they clear明确 their throat, and they go,
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人们会清一下喉咙,然后说:
03:37
"Ahem咳咳, ladies女士们 and gentlemen绅士," and then they speak说话
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“啊喝,女士们,先生们,”
03:39
in a certain某些 way which哪一个 has nothing to do with casual随便 speech言语.
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然后,他们会用一种和现在说话完全不同的方式讲下去。
03:43
It's formal正式. It uses使用 long sentences句子 like this Gibbon长臂猿 one.
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这种讲话很正式。它使用像刚才吉本式的长句子。
03:46
It's basically基本上 talking like you write, and so, for example,
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基本上,它就是书面表达式的讲话,再比如,
03:50
we're thinking思维 so much these days about Lincoln林肯
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我们这些天因为一部电影(《林肯》2012年)
03:52
because of the movie电影.
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都在谈论林肯。
03:55
The Gettysburg葛底斯堡 Address地址 was not the main主要 meal膳食 of that event事件.
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葛底斯堡演说并不是影片的重点。
03:58
For two hours小时 before that, Edward爱德华 Everett埃弗雷特 spoke
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在这之前的两个小时,爱德华·埃弗里特的演讲,
04:02
on a topic话题 that, frankly坦率地说, cannot不能 engage从事 us today今天
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说实话,没有办法打动现在的我们
04:05
and barely仅仅 did then.
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而且当时也效果甚微。
04:06
The point of it was to listen to him
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问题的关键是听他
04:09
speaking请讲 like writing写作.
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书面表达式的演讲。
04:10
Ordinary普通 people stood站在 and listened听了 to that for two hours小时.
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普通人得站着听两个小时。
04:13
It was perfectly完美 natural自然.
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这在当时是非常平常的事情。
04:14
That's what people did then, speaking请讲 like writing写作.
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这就是过去人们的演讲风格,正式得就像写作一样。
04:17
Well, if you can speak说话 like writing写作,
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那么,如果你可以说话像在写作,
04:19
then logically逻辑 it follows如下 that you might威力 want to also
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很自然的你也许会想要
04:23
sometimes有时 write like you speak说话.
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有时进行说话式的书面表达。
04:26
The problem问题 was just that in the material材料,
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问题就在传输媒介上,
04:28
mechanical机械 sense, that was harder更难 back in the day
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过去很难支持这种动手的表达活动,
04:31
for the simple简单 reason原因 that materials物料 don't lend themselves他们自己 to it.
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原因就在传输媒介无法满足这个需求。
04:34
It's almost几乎 impossible不可能 to do that with your hand
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用手写基本上是不可能的,
04:37
except in shorthand速记, and then communication通讯 is limited有限.
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除了速记外,但这又局限了交流。
04:40
On a manual手册 typewriter打字机 it was very difficult,
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用手写打印机也非常困难,
04:42
and even when we had electric电动 typewriters打字机,
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即使我们有了电子打印机,
04:45
or then computer电脑 keyboards键盘, the fact事实 is
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或者电脑键盘,事实是
04:47
that even if you can type类型 easily容易 enough足够 to keep up
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即便你可以轻松飞快的打字来跟得上说话的速度,
04:49
with the pace步伐 of speech言语, more or less, you have to have
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或多或少,你也需要你的谈话对象能
04:52
somebody who can receive接收 your message信息 quickly很快.
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快速的看到你的信息。
04:54
Once一旦 you have things in your pocket口袋 that can receive接收 that message信息,
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一但你在口袋里有了能接受这个信息的装置,
04:58
then you have the conditions条件 that allow允许
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你就有条件来
05:00
that we can write like we speak说话.
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像说话一样打字了。
05:04
And that's where texting发短信 comes in.
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这时短信就出现了。
05:07
And so, texting发短信 is very loose疏松 in its structure结构体.
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所以,短信在结构上非常松散。
05:11
No one thinks about capital首都 letters or punctuation标点 when one texts文本,
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没有人在写短信的时候在乎大写字母或者标点,
05:15
but then again, do you think about those things when you talk?
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话说回来,你在说话的时候也会想到这些东西吗?
05:17
No, and so therefore因此 why would you when you were texting发短信?
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不, 那么为什么要在写短信的时候这样做呢?
05:21
What texting发短信 is, despite尽管 the fact事实 that it involves涉及
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除了与用手操作的书面文字表达有关外,
05:24
the brute畜生 mechanics机械学 of something that we call writing写作,
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短信其实就是一种“指语”。
05:27
is fingered多指 speech言语. That's what texting发短信 is.
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这就是短信。
05:30
Now we can write the way we talk.
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现在我们可以像说话一样打字。
05:34
And it's a very interesting有趣 thing, but nevertheless虽然
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这是非常有趣的事情,
05:36
easy简单 to think that still it represents代表 some sort分类 of decline下降.
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尽管人们很容易认为短信的出现象征着一种倒退。
05:41
We see this general一般 bagginessbagginess of the structure结构体,
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我们看到短信在结构上的松散,
05:45
the lack缺乏 of concern关心 with rules规则 and the way that we're used to
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缺乏一定的规则,
05:48
learning学习 on the blackboard黑板, and so we think
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和我们习惯在黑板上学习的方式不同,
05:50
that something has gone走了 wrong错误.
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我们就想当然的认为出问题了。
05:53
It's a very natural自然 sense.
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这么想也很自然。
05:56
But the fact事实 of the matter is that what is going on
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但事实上,它其实是
06:00
is a kind of emergent应急 complexity复杂.
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自然而然产生的,并具有一定的复杂性。
06:04
That's what we're seeing眼看 in this fingered多指 speech言语.
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这就是我们在这种“指语”上看到的。
06:07
And in order订购 to understand理解 it, what we want to see
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为了更好的理解它,我们想要看到的是,
06:10
is the way, in this new kind of language语言,
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在这种新的“语言”中,
06:15
there is new structure结构体 coming未来 up.
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它其实是具有一种新的结构。
06:18
And so, for example, there is in texting发短信 a convention惯例,
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比如说,在短信里有这样一个习惯用语,
06:24
which哪一个 is LOL大声笑.
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就是LOL。
06:27
Now LOL大声笑, we generally通常 think of
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我们通常认为LOL的意思是
06:29
as meaning含义 "laughing out loud."
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“捧腹大笑”。
06:32
And of course课程, theoretically理论上, it does,
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当然,从理论上看,它确实是这个意思,
06:34
and if you look at older旧的 texts文本, then people used it
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如果我们看看过去的一些短信,
06:37
to actually其实 indicate表明 laughing out loud.
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人们确实用它来表示笑的很开心。
06:39
But if you text文本 now, or if you are someone有人 who
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但是对于现在的短信,或者
06:43
is aware知道的 of the substrate基质 of texting发短信 the way it's become成为,
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你很注意短信从根本上是怎么出现的,
06:47
you'll你会 notice注意 that LOL大声笑
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你就会注意到LOL
06:48
does not mean laughing out loud anymore.
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不再意味着“捧腹大笑”了。
06:51
It's evolved进化 into something that is much subtler微妙.
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它已演变成某种更微妙的东西。
06:54
This is an actual实际 text文本 that was doneDONE
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这是一段真实的短信对话
06:58
by a non-male非男 person of about 20 years年份 old
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它是由一个20出头的姑娘
07:02
not too long ago.
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在前不久写的。
07:03
"I love the font字形 you're using运用, btw顺便说一句."
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第一句:“顺便说一句,我喜欢你用的字体。”
07:06
Julie朱丽叶: "lol大声笑 thanks谢谢 gmailGmail的 is being存在 slow right now"
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朱莉: "lol 谢谢 谷歌邮箱现在变得好慢"
07:10
Now if you think about it, that's not funny滑稽.
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如果大家想想看,这可不好笑。
07:12
No one's那些 laughing. (Laughter笑声)
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也没有人在笑。(笑声)
07:15
And yet然而, there it is, so you assume承担
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但是,这个字(lol)却在那里,
07:16
there's been some kind of hiccup.
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你会认为这可能就是打错了。
07:18
Then Susan苏珊 says "lol大声笑, I know,"
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然后苏珊说“lol,我知道,”
07:20
again more guffawing哈哈大笑着回到 than we're used to
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再一次,真让人“捧腹大笑”。
07:22
when you're talking about these inconveniences不便之处.
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这可不是我们一般遇上这样麻烦事的态度。
07:25
So Julie朱丽叶 says, "I just sent发送 you an email电子邮件."
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朱莉接着说,“我刚给你发了封邮件。”
07:28
Susan苏珊: "lol大声笑, I see it."
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苏珊:“lol,我收到了。”
07:30
Very funny滑稽 people, if that's what LOL大声笑 means手段.
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非常有趣的两个人,如果这是LOL的真实意思的话。
07:33
This Julie朱丽叶 says, "So what's up?"
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朱莉说,“最近怎么样?”
07:35
Susan苏珊: "lol大声笑, I have to write a 10 page paper."
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苏珊:“lol,我得写一篇10页的作文。”
07:38
She's not amused. Let's think about it.
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这么看的话,她可不开心。
07:40
LOL大声笑 is being存在 used in a very particular特定 way.
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LOL是以一种特别的方式被使用的。
07:43
It's a marker标记 of empathy同情. It's a marker标记 of accommodation住所.
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它代表着感同身受,代表着某种无奈妥协。
07:47
We linguists语言学家 call things like that pragmatic务实 particles粒子.
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我们语言学家称之为“口头禅”。
07:50
Any spoken language语言 that's used by real真实 people has them.
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任何口语都有这些词语。
07:54
If you happen发生 to speak说话 Japanese日本, think about
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如果你会说日语的话,
07:55
that little word "neNE" that you use at the end结束 of a lot of sentences句子.
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想想你在很多句子后面加上的那个“ne”字。
07:59
If you listen to the way black黑色 youth青年 today今天 speak说话,
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如果你听现在的年轻黑人说话,
08:01
think about the use of the word "yo."
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想想这个词“yo”的使用。
08:03
Whole整个 dissertations论文 could be written书面 about it,
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这都够写学术论文的了,
08:05
and probably大概 are being存在 written书面 about it.
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说不定人们已经开始写了。
08:07
A pragmatic务实 particle粒子, that's what LOL大声笑 has gradually逐渐 become成为.
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LOL已经逐渐演变成了一个口头禅。
08:11
It's a way of using运用 the language语言 between之间 actual实际 people.
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这就是人们使用语言的一种方式。
08:15
Another另一个 example is "slash削减."
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另外一个例子是“slash.”(斜线符号)
08:18
Now, we can use slash削减 in the way that we're used to,
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看看这个句子,"我们要去一个派对
08:21
along沿 the lines线 of, "We're going to have
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同时(slash)来扩展一下人脉"
08:23
a party-slash-networking党斜线联网 session会议."
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slash这里连接派对和扩展人脉两个活动。
08:26
That's kind of like what we're at.
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我们通常这么使用这个字。
08:28
Slash削减 is used in a very different不同 way
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今天Slash这个字用在年轻人的短信里
08:32
in texting发短信 among其中 young年轻 people today今天.
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却有非常不同的意思。
08:35
It's used to change更改 the scene现场.
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它被用来转换话题。
08:37
So for example, this Sally出击 person says,
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比如说,这个萨莉说,
08:40
"So I need to find people to chill寒意 with"
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“我想找个伴儿来陪我”
08:41
and Jake可靠的人 says, "Haha哈哈" --
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然后,杰克说,“哈哈” -
08:43
you could write a dissertation论文 about "Haha哈哈" too, but we don't have time for that —
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你也可以写一篇关于“哈哈”的论文,但是我们没有时间聊它了 -
08:46
"Haha哈哈 so you're going by yourself你自己? Why?"
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“哈哈,所以你自己去?为什么?”
08:48
Sally出击: "For this summer夏季 program程序 at NYUNYU."
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萨莉说:”是今天夏天在纽约的项目。“
08:51
Jake可靠的人: "Haha哈哈. Slash削减 I'm watching观看 this video视频 with suns太阳 players玩家
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杰克:”哈哈。Slash(对了),我正在看这个视频,
08:54
trying to shoot射击 with one eye."
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太阳队的球员正试着用一只眼投篮。“
08:56
The slash削减 is interesting有趣.
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这个Slash在这里很有趣。
08:57
I don't really even know what Jake可靠的人 is talking about after that,
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我都不知道杰克这之后到底在说些什么,
09:00
but you notice注意 that he's changing改变 the topic话题.
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但是大家注意到他在转换话题。
09:05
Now that seems似乎 kind of mundane平凡,
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这看上去很平常,
09:07
but think about how in real真实 life,
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但是想想我们的现实生活,
09:08
if we're having a conversation会话 and we want to change更改 the topic话题,
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如果我们在谈话中想转换话题,
09:11
there are ways方法 of doing it gracefully优雅.
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有很多很好的方式。
09:12
You don't just zip压缩 right into it.
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你不会随便地单刀直入。
09:14
You'll你会 pat your thighs大腿 and look wistfully望眼欲穿 off into the distance距离,
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你会拍拍大腿然后若有所思的看着远方,
09:18
or you'll你会 say something like, "Hmm, makes品牌 you think --"
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或者你会说,“嗯......”来假装你在思考着,
09:22
when it really didn't, but what you're really --
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但实际上-
09:25
(Laughter笑声) —
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(笑声) -
09:27
what you're really trying to do is change更改 the topic话题.
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实际上你正在试图切换话题。
09:30
You can't do that while you're texting发短信,
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你没有办法在短信里这么做,
09:31
and so ways方法 are developing发展 of doing it within this medium.
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所以在这个交流媒介里产生了各种转换话题的方法。
09:35
All spoken languages语言 have what a linguist语言学家 calls电话
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任何口语都有语言学家称作的
09:37
a new information信息 marker标记 -- or two, or three.
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一个或者两到三个的新信息标记词(话题转换词)。
09:41
Texting发短信 has developed发达 one from this slash削减.
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短信用这个slash(斜线)作为一个新信息产生的标记。
09:45
So we have a whole整个 battery电池 of new constructions建设
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于是我们有了这些充满活力的新语言结构,
09:48
that are developing发展, and yet然而 it's easy简单 to think,
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然而人们还是很容易的认为,
09:51
well, something is still wrong错误.
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还是有问题。
09:53
There's a lack缺乏 of structure结构体 of some sort分类.
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它(短信)缺乏某种结构。
09:57
It's not as sophisticated复杂的
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它不像华尔街日报上使用的语言
09:59
as the language语言 of The Wall Street Journal日志.
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那么有深度。
10:01
Well, the fact事实 of the matter is,
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实际上,
10:03
look at this person in 1956,
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看看这个人在1956年写的,
10:05
and this is when texting发短信 doesn't exist存在,
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那时短信还没有出现,
10:08
"I Love Lucy露西" is still on the air空气.
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“我爱露西”(美国50年代当红肥皂剧)还在热播。
10:09
"Many许多 do not know the alphabet字母 or multiplication乘法 table,
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“很多人都不会拼写字母或者背乘法口诀表,”
10:13
cannot不能 write grammatically语法 -- "
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也不会按照语法写作-“
10:14
We've我们已经 heard听说 that sort分类 of thing before,
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我们以前就听到这种抱怨,
10:17
not just in 1956. 1917, Connecticut康涅狄格 schoolteacher教师.
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并不仅仅在1956年。1917年,康涅狄格州的教师也这样。
10:21
1917. This is the time when we all assume承担
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1917年,这是我们都认为的
10:23
that everything somehow不知何故 in terms条款 of writing写作 was perfect完善
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写文章没的说的时代,
10:27
because the people on "Downton Abbey僧院" are articulate说出,
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因为“唐顿庄园”(当时英国的热播剧)
10:29
or something like that.
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里的人物各个都伶牙俐齿的。
10:30
So, "From every一切 college学院 in the country国家 goes up the cry,
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然而,“整个国家里的每一所学院都应感到羞愧,
10:33
'Our freshmen新生 can't spell拼写, can't punctuate圈点.'"
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我们的新生不会拼写,也不会点标点。“
10:36
And so on. You can go even further进一步 back than this.
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诸如此类的言论。我们还可以再往前看。
10:38
It's the President主席 of Harvard哈佛. It's 1871.
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这是1871年的哈佛大学校长。
10:41
There's no electricity电力. People have three names.
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那个时代还没有电力。人们还都有三个名字。
10:44
"Bad spelling拼字,
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”糟糕的拼写,
10:46
incorrectness不正确 as well as ineleganceinelegance of expression表达 in writing写作."
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不正确以及毫不优美的书面表达。“
10:50
And he's talking about people who are otherwise除此以外
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他可是在说那些为了上大学
10:52
well prepared准备 for college学院 studies学习.
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作了充分准备的人。
10:54
You can go even further进一步 back.
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我们再往前看。
10:56
1841, some long-lost久未 superintendent所长 of schools学校 is upset烦乱
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1841年,一个久违的督学官非常失望,
10:59
because of what he has for a long time "noted注意 with regret后悔
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因为他早已经注意到人们
11:03
the almost几乎 entire整个 neglect忽略 of the original原版的" blah胡说 blah胡说 blah胡说 blah胡说 blah胡说.
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“对文字本源的完全忽视”等等等等。
11:06
Or you can go all the way back to 63 A.D. -- (Laughter笑声) --
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或者大家可以直接跳转回公元63年。 - (笑声)
11:11
and there's this poor较差的 man who doesn't like the way
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有个可怜人不喜欢人们
11:14
people are speaking请讲 Latin拉丁.
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说拉丁语的方式。
11:15
As it happens发生, he was writing写作 about what had become成为 French法国.
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实际上,他正在控诉的是日后形成的法语。
11:18
And so, there are always — (Laughter笑声) (Applause掌声) —
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所以,总有-(笑声)(掌声) -
11:25
there are always people worrying令人担忧 about these things
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总会有人为这些事情担心
11:27
and the planet行星 somehow不知何故 seems似乎 to keep spinning纺织.
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但是地球似乎并没有因此停止旋转。
11:30
And so, the way I'm thinking思维 of texting发短信 these days is
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所以,我对当今的短信的看法是
11:35
that what we're seeing眼看 is a whole整个 new way of writing写作
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我们正在经历一种由年轻人发展出的
11:38
that young年轻 people are developing发展,
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新的书写方式,
11:40
which哪一个 they're using运用 alongside并肩 their ordinary普通 writing写作 skills技能,
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同时他们也在使用他们正常的书面表达写作技巧,
11:44
and that means手段 that they're able能够 to do two things.
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这意味着他们可以两者兼修。
11:47
Increasing增加 evidence证据 is that being存在 bilingual双语
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补充证据就是拥有双语能力
11:50
is cognitively认知 beneficial有利.
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对认知的发展是有利的。
11:52
That's also true真正 of being存在 bidialectalbidialectal.
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这在精通两种方言上同样适用。
11:54
That's certainly当然 true真正 of being存在 bidialectalbidialectal in terms条款 of your writing写作.
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如果你会用两种方言写作的话,这也是千真万确的。
11:57
And so texting发短信 actually其实 is evidence证据 of a balancing平衡 act法案
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所以短信实际上是一个平衡之举的佐证
12:02
that young年轻 people are using运用 today今天, not consciously自觉, of course课程,
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当然,年轻人们是在无意识的这样使用短信的,
12:05
but it's an expansion扩张 of their linguistic语言 repertoire剧目.
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但这是他们语言能力的一种扩展。
12:09
It's very simple简单.
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非常简单。
12:10
If somebody from 1973 looked看着 at
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如果一个1973年的人
12:14
what was on a dormitory宿舍 message信息 board in 1993,
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看着1993年一个学生宿舍信息栏,
12:18
the slang俚语 would have changed a little bit
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俚语等习惯用语
12:20
since以来 the era时代 of "Love Story故事,"
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会跟“爱情故事”(70年代美国热播剧)时代有些不同,
12:22
but they would understand理解 what was on that message信息 board.
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但是他们会看明白那个信息栏上的内容。
12:25
Take that person from 1993 -- not that long ago,
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我们让1993年的那个人-这可不算太久远,
12:28
this is "Bill法案 and Ted's特德 Excellent优秀 Adventure冒险" -- those people.
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那还是“比尔和泰德历险记”(1989年美国电影)时代,
12:31
Take those people and they read
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我们让这些人读
12:33
a very typical典型 text文本 written书面 by a 20-year-old-岁 today今天.
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现在20岁年轻人写的一段短信。
12:36
Often经常 they would have no idea理念 what half of it meant意味着
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他们应该通常连一半的内容都猜不出来
12:39
because a whole整个 new language语言 has developed发达
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因为我们的年轻人已经发展出了一种
12:43
among其中 our young年轻 people doing something as mundane平凡
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新的语言,它是通过在孩子们的
12:45
as what it looks容貌 like to us when they're batting棉絮 around
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小设备上的看似平常的敲敲打打
12:48
on their little devices设备.
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中演变出来的。
12:49
So in closing关闭, if I could go into the future未来,
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总结一下,如果我可以穿越到未来,
12:53
if I could go into 2033,
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如果我去到2033年,
12:57
the first thing I would ask is whether是否 David大卫 Simon西蒙
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我会问的第一个问题就是大卫·西蒙拍没拍
13:00
had doneDONE a sequel续集 to "The Wire线." I would want to know.
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“火线”(美国HBO剧集)的续集。
13:04
And — I really would ask that —
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我真的会问这个的
13:07
and then I'd want to know actually其实 what was going on on "Downton Abbey僧院."
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我还会想知道“唐顿庄园”到底发生了什么。
13:10
That'd那会 be the second第二 thing.
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这是第二个问题。
13:12
And then the third第三 thing would be,
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第三个问题就是,
13:14
please show显示 me a sheaf of texts文本
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请给我一叠16岁姑娘们
13:18
written书面 by 16-year-old-岁 girls女孩,
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写的短信,
13:19
because I would want to know where this language语言
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因为我想知道这个语言
13:22
had developed发达 since以来 our times,
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已经发展成什么样子了,
13:24
and ideally理想 I would then send发送 them back to you and me now
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更好的就是我可以把这些短信发给现在的大家和我
13:28
so we could examine检查 this linguistic语言 miracle奇迹
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我们就可以研究研究这个当下正在发生着的
13:30
happening事件 right under our noses鼻子.
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语言奇迹。
13:32
Thank you very much.
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非常感谢。
13:34
(Applause掌声)
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(掌声)
13:39
Thank you. (Applause掌声)
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谢谢大家。 (掌声)
Translated by xuan wang
Reviewed by Claire Yeh

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ABOUT THE SPEAKER
John McWhorter - Linguist
Linguist John McWhorter thinks about language in relation to race, politics and our shared cultural history.

Why you should listen

John McWhorter is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, teaching linguistics, Western Civilization and music history. He is a regular columnist on language matters and race issues for Time and CNN, writes for the Wall Street Journal "Taste" page, and writes a regular column on language for The Atlantic. His work also appears in the Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Aeon magazine, The American Interest and other outlets. He was Contributing Editor at The New Republic from 2001 until 2014.

McWhorter earned his PhD in linguistics from Stanford University in 1993 and is the author of The Power of BabelDoing Our Own ThingOur Magnificent Bastard TongueThe Language Hoax and most recently Words on the Move and Talking Back, Talking Black. The Teaching Company has released four of his audiovisual lecture courses on linguistics. He guest hosted the Lexicon Valley podcast at Slate during the summer of 2016.

Beyond his work in linguistics, McWhorter is the author of Losing the Race and other books on race. He has appeared regularly on Bloggingheads.TV since 2006, and he produces and plays piano for a group cabaret show, New Faces, at the Cornelia Street Cafe in New York City.

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John McWhorter | Speaker | TED.com