2017-03-23 16:52来源:互联网作者:上海管理员

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  A Of all mankinds manifold creations, language must take pride of place. Other inventions — the wheel, agriculture, sliced bread — may have transformed our material existence, but the advent of language is what made us human. Compared to language, all other inventions pale in significance, since everything we have ever achieved depends on language and originates from it. Without language, we could never have embarked on our ascent to unparalleled power over all other animals, and even over nature itself.

  B But language is foremost not just because it came first. In its own right it is a tool of extraordinary sophistication, yet based on an idea of ingenious simplicity: ‘this marvellous invention of composing out of twenty-five or thirty sounds that infinite variety of expressions which, whilst having in themselves no likeness to what is in our mind, allow us to disclose to others its whole secret, and to make known to those who cannot penetrate it all that we imagine, and all the various stirrings of our soul’. This was how, in 1660, the renowned French grammarians of the Port-Royal abbey near Versailles distilled the essence of language, and no one since has celebrated more eloquently the magnitude of its achievement. Even so, there is just one flaw in all these hymns of praise, for the homage to languages unique accomplishment conceals a simple yet critical incongruity. Language is mankind’s greatest invention — except, of course, that it was never invented. This apparent paradox is at the core of our fascination with language, and it holds many of its secrets.

  C Language often seems so skillfully drafted that one can hardly imagine it as anything other than the perfected handiwork of a master craftsman. How else could this instrument make so much out of barely three dozen measly morsels of sound? In themselves, these configurations of mouth — p,f,b,v,t,d,k,g,sh,a,e and so on — amount to nothing more than a few haphazard spits and splutters, random noises with no meaning, no ability to express, no power to explain. But run them through the cogs and wheels of the language machine, let it arrange them in some very special orders, and there is nothing that these meaningless streams of air cannot do: from sighing the interminable boredom of existence to unravelling the fundamental order of the universe.

  D The most extraordinary thing about language, however, is that one doesn’t have to be a genius to set its wheels in motion. The language machine allows just about everybody — from pre-modern foragers in the subtropical savannah, to post-modern philosophers in the suburban sprawl — to tie these meaningless sounds together into an infinite variety of subtle senses, and all apparently without the slightest exertion. Yet it is precisely this deceptive ease which makes language a victim of its own success, since in everyday life its triumphs are usually taken for granted. The wheels of language run so smoothly that one rarely bothers to stop and think about all the resourcefulness and expertise that must have gone into making it tick. Language conceals art.

  E Often, it is only the estrangement of foreign tongues, with their many exotic and outlandish features, that brings home the wonder of languages design. One of the showiest stunts that some languages can pull off is an ability to build up words of breath-breaking length, and thus express in one word what English takes a whole sentence to say. The Turkish word ?ehirlili?tiremediklerimizdensiniz, to take one example, means nothing less than ‘you are one of those whom we cant turn into a town-dweller’. (In case you were wondering, this monstrosity really is one word, not merely many different words squashed together — most of its components cannot even stand up on their own.)

  F And if that sounds like some one-off freak, then consider Sumerian, the language spoken on the banks of the Euphrates some 5,000 years ago by the people who invented writing and thus enabled the documentation of history. A Sumerian word like munintuma’a (‘when he had made it suitable for her’) might seem rather trim compared to the Turkish colossus above. What is so impressive about it, however, is not its lengthiness but rather the reverse — the thrifty compactness of its construction. The word is made up of different slots, each corresponding to a particular portion of meaning. This sleek design allows single sounds to convey useful information, and in fact even the absence of a sound has been enlisted to express something specific. If you were to ask which bit in the Sumerian word corresponds to the pronoun ‘it’ in the English translation when he had made it suitable for her, then the answer would have to be nothing. Mind you, a very particular kind of nothing: the nothing that stands in the empty slot in the middle. The technology is so fine-tuned then that even a non-sound, when carefully placed in a particular position, has been invested with a specific function. Who could possibly have come up with such a nifty contraption?


  You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40, which are based on Reading Passage 3 on the following pages.

  Questions 27-32

  Reading Passage 3 has six paragraphs, A-F.

  Choose the correct heading for paragraphs A-F from the list of headings below. Write the correct number, i-vii, in boxes 27-32 on your answer sheet.

  List of Headings

  i Differences between languages highlight their impressiveness

  ii The way in which a few sounds are organised to convey a huge range of meaning

  iii Why the sounds used in different languages are not identical

  iv Apparently incompatible characteristics of language

  v Even silence can be meaningful

  vi Why language is the most important invention of all

  vii The universal ability to use language

  27 Paragraph A

  28 Paragraph B

  29 Paragraph C

  30 Paragraph D

  31 Paragraph E

  32 Paragraph F

  Questions 33-36

  Complete the summary using the list of words, A-G, below.

  Write the correct letter, A-G, in boxes 33-36 on your answer sheet.

  The importance of language

  The wheel is one invention that has had a major impact on 33 __________ aspects of life, but no impact has been as 34 __________ as that of language. Language is very 35 __________, yet composed of just a small number of sounds. Language appears to be 36 __________ to use. However, its sophistication is often overlooked.

  A difficult B complex C original

  D admired E material F easy

  G fundamental

  Questions 37-40

  Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage 3?

  In boxes 37-40 on your answer sheet, write

  YES if the statement agrees with the views of the writer

  NO if the statement contradicts the views of the writer

  NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

  37 Human beings might have achieved their present position without language.

  38 The Port-Royal grammarians did justice to the nature of language.

  39 A complex idea can be explained more clearly in a sentence than in a single word.

  40 The Sumerians were responsible for starting the recording of events.



  Question 27

  答案: vi

  关键词: most important invention


  解题思路:实际上,本段句话就点明此段主要谈及“语言在人类的所有发明中占据最重要的地位”,take pride of place意为“有最重要的地位”;接下来的每一句话都是在以不同的方式反复阐述原因所在和表现形式。第二句话说“其他发明改变的是人类的物质生活,而语言则是使人真正称其为人的原因”;第三句话说“一切发明跟语言比起来都会相形失色”;第四句话还说“要是没有语言,人类不可能发展到今天这样的状态”。无论正确理解其中哪句话的大意都不难看出正确选项为vi。

  Question 28:


  关键词:incompatible characteristics


  解题思路:本段的解题难度比较高,原因是本段整段都是典型的承上启下,答案的定位主要集中在后三句话所表达的意思里。前三句话先是继续对语言的重要地位进行了进一步描述和赞美。从倒数第三句开始话锋一转,指出虽然语言如此伟大,但还是存在着不一致、相矛盾之处,conceal,隐藏;incongruity,不一致;倒数第二句提出:“语言是最伟大的发明,然而它却并不是被发明出来的”,进一步点出这其中存在逻辑上的矛盾;最后一句再次以paradox 一词来确证。后三句共同表达了类似的意思,即语言虽然伟大但却存在矛盾、悖论之处,正确答案为iv。

  Question 29:


  关键词:a few sounds, huge range of meaning


  解题思路:本段的句话其实就是在委婉地夸奖赞美语言的设计精巧。第二句话则是以“设问”形式提出,语言用“three dozen”这么一点儿的发音元素是怎么组合成了“so much”意义表达呢?本句即是在表达“用一点点发音元素弄出许多许多表达”这个意思。之后的两句也是在进一歩展开说明这个论点,本段采用的是“总一分”结构,主旨句在第二句中,正确答案为ii。

  Question 30:


  关键词:universal ability




  Question 31:


  关键词:differences, highlight, impressiveness



  Question 32:


  关键词:silence, meaningful


  解题思路:本段的结构与B段有类似之处:前半段进一步列举例证来说明不同语言之间存在着令人惊叹的差异之处,后半段才开始说到“即使the absence of a sound也可以具有某些意义”。不过文章读到了此处,备选答案只剩下iii和v两项,也可利用排除法来找出相对更加合宜的选项,正确答案为v。

  Question 33:

  答案:E: material

  关键词:wheel, major impact

  定位原文:A段第2句“Other inventions…”

  解题思路:题干说 “车轮这个发明对生活的______方面有着重大的影响”,要定位wheel一词不难,通过对比原文也可以比较轻松地看出 existence与题干中的life互为同义替换关系,可得答案为选项E: material。

  Question 34:


  关键词:no impact

  定位原文:A段第3句“Compared to language…”

  解题思路:题干说“但是没有任何影响能像语言产生的影响那样_____”,原文中并未直接出现impact这样的单词,也没有as...as的句型结构,而是用 Compared to表达了语言与其他发明的比较关系,需要认真阅读理解原文。好在此空与上一题同处在一个句子之中,依序阅读文章句子可得答案为选项G:fundamental。

  Question 35:

  答案: B: complex

  关键词: yet, small number of sounds

  定位原文:B段第2句“In its own right…”

  解题思路:题干说“语言非常_____,然而却由仅仅非常少量的声音组成”。根据本句中的yet转折关系可知空格中的答案应当与a small number of sounds所表达的“少量、简单”形成对比、转折的关系。找到“少量声音”所对应的twenty-five or thirty sounds,对比可知此处用来形容语言另一属性的词汇为sophistication,对应答案为选项B: complex。

  Question 36:

  答案: F: easy

  关键词:to use, overlooked


  解题思路:题干说“语言看似用起来是_____ ”,考生如果感觉此句给出的信息不够,可以再看下一句题干,得知“语言的复杂精密性常被忽略”这个补充定位信息。此题位置出在D段,如前文List of Headings中关于D段的讲解所言,本段的句子其实并不很难理解,但却用了大量比喻性用法拐弯抹角地表达语义,可以得出答案为选项F: easy。

  Question 37:

  答案: NO

  关键词:achieved, present position, without language


  定位原文:A段第3、4句“Compared to language…”

  解题思路:题干说“人类即使没有语言也有可能发展到今天这样的状态”,achieved和without language的题干关键词都是原词重现地出现在文中,容易定位,阅读对应的两句原文可知,作者明确指出如果没有语言人类不可能达到今天这样凌驾其他动物甚至驾驭自然的成就,题干与此相矛盾,答案为NO。

  Question 38:

  答案: YES

  关键词:Port-Royal grammarians

  定位原文:B段第3句“This was how…”

  解题思路:题干说“Port-Royal的语法学家们正确地评价了语言的本质”,根据Port- Royal 定位,do justice to是“公平对待、公正评价”的意思,以及原文中celebrated eloquently the magnitude是“以极具表现力的方式赞美了其重要地位”的意思,可得答案为YES。

  Question 39:


  关键词:complex idea, sentence, single word


  解题思路: 题干说“一个复杂的概念用一个句子来解释比用一个单词来解释会更清楚”,E段内容中句先指出“往往只有遭遇我们不熟悉的外语时我们才会注意到语言设计结构的精巧”;之后举出一个特长的土耳其词汇来对比与英语表达方式的不同,这是跟题干内容可能仅有联系的定位区域,但是这个例子只是为了说明语言的奇妙性,是个特例,而且说的是一个单词表达了一个句子的意思,并不是题目所表达的通用概念,这个观点没有出现过。所以答案是NG。

  Question 40:

  答案: YES

  关键词:Sumerians, recording of events

  定位原文:F段第1句“And if that sounds like…”

  解题思路: 题干说“是苏美尔人开始了记录事件的做法”,Sumerians找到文中相应位置,看懂题干中recorcunff of events 与原文 documentation of history 的对应也应该没有太大问题,答案为YES。












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