官方APP下载:英语全能特训(微信小程序版,支持苹果手机、安卓手机)
创办于2003年
UNSV记不住?那就记中文谐音“忧安思危”吧!
  Slow and Steady Wins the Race!
UNSV英语学习频道 - Slow and steady wins the race!
英语全能特训(微信小程序)
UNSV英语学习频道淘宝网店
客服短信:18913948480
客服邮箱:web@unsv.com
初级VIP会员
全站英语学习资料下载。
¥98元/12个月

With Pronouns, Our Brains Don't Always Know What They're Talking About

阅读次数:


VIP会员专享下载:(非VIP会员无权下载!如果想下载,但还不是VIP会员,请点此订购
下载方式:使用鼠标右键(注意是鼠标右键!)点击下面的MP3音频/MP4视频链接,然后选择“另存为…”。
MP3节目录音 MP3节目录音 
文章正文
同步字幕

AA: I'm Avi Arditti with Rosanne Skirble, and this week on WORDMASTER: Pronouns and why they're harder for your brain to understand than you might think. Pronouns are words like he, she, it, we, you, they ... and lots more.

RS: They act as shortcuts so we don't have to repeat what we're talking about over and over again. Our guest published an essay about her self-declared obsession with pronouns.

Jessica Love
Jessica Love

JESSICA LOVE: "My name is Jessica Love. I'm a fourth-year graduate student in cognitive psychology at Ohio State and I study psycholinguistics, which is basically the study of how the mind is able to learn and use language."

AA: "I learned two new terms -- at least two new terms -- from your article, which [were] unheralded pronouns and dummy pronouns."

RS: "What are those?"

AA: "Yeah, what are those?"

JENNIFER LOVE: "'Unheralded pronouns' is basically a fancy way of saying you're using a pronoun where the referent isn't immediately in the discourse environment. So the example I give in my essay is someone coming up to me and saying 'They should be illegal' and I haven't talked to this person all day. But it just so happens that I know exactly what they're talking about because a few evenings earlier I'd set my cat on fire with a catnip candle."

RS: "Is this a true story?"

AA: "You talk about that in your essay."

JENNIFER LOVE: "It is a true story. My cat's fine now, thank you, but it was a slightly traumatic evening. I thought that catnip candles would be a good idea. I thought that I would set them up in a corner of the room and the catnip would waft through the air and my cat would roll around delightfully and a good time would be had by all. But instead he actually tried to consume the candle, and he's a big Maine coon and his belly fur is about four inches long. So he landed with all fours around the candle and his belly caught on fire.

"It's the sort of story you tell your co-workers and then they shake their heads, and two days later when they say 'They should be illegal' you know exactly what they're talking about."

AA: "So that's an unheralded pronoun, a pronoun that comes at you from nowhere but you figure it out. So what's a dummy pronoun?"

JENNIFER LOVE: "So a dummy pronoun is basically just a pronoun that we shove into English sentences because we have to have a subject. So we have to say 'It is raining.' We can't just say 'Raining.' So even though 'it' arguably doesn't mean anything -- you could argue that it means the weather or something like, but really we're just sticking it in there because we have to make the sentence grammatical."

AA: "That's so true."

RS: "Never thought about that, but yeah."

AA: "And then lastly why don't you tell us a little bit about what happens when -- you did, I guess, some experiments with getting people to use pronouns while thinking of something else?"

JENNIFER LOVE: "So if you ask someone -- and this experiment was actually done by Jennifer Arnold at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and I think she actually gave participants numbers that they had to keep track of while telling a story, I think it was. And she found that they used fewer pronouns. They just kept repeating the proper name over and over again.

"So I give an example of someone engaged in this task and they would really be using pronouns very inappropriately. They would just say 'Corey's doing great today. Corey's had a lovely breakfast, and Corey's going to be exercising pretty soon.' Just basically repeating Corey over and over again because they couldn't keep track of how salient Corey was to the listener."

AA: "Because they are thinking at the same time of this multi-digit number -- "

JENNIFER LOVE: "Exactly."

AA: " -- in their head."

JENNIFER LOVE: "Exactly."

AA: "That was really interesting."

RS: "Well, why would we care?"

JENNIFER LOVE: "Well, we end up talking while we do a lot of other things, so it's always interesting to see what happens to our language when we're very distracted. Or when we're very stressed out. If you're expending a lot of your resources freaking out because you're giving a speech, probably your pronoun use is going to suffer.

"And what's really interesting, I think, is there's evidence that kind of the opposite thing happens if you suffer from memory impairment. You see this sometimes in older adults, where they will just stop using proper nouns altogether because they can't access them. So they'll just stick solely to pronouns. It's kind of interesting that memory burdens in different ways can do drastically different things to our pronoun use."

AA: Jessica Love is working on a doctorate in cognitive psychology at Ohio State University. Her essay in the American Scholar magazine can be found online.

RS: And that's WORDMASTER for this week. Visit us at www.unsv.com/voanews/wordmaster or on Facebook at VOA Learning English. With Avi Arditti, I'm Rosanne Skirble.

网友的学习评论(0条):
版权所有©2003-2019 南京通享科技有限公司,保留所有权利。未经书面许可,严禁转载本站内容,违者追究法律责任。 互联网经营ICP证:苏B2-20120186
网站备案:苏ICP备05000269号-1中国工业和信息化部网站备案查询
广播台