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澳洲原住民母语要如何起死回生

更新时间:2019/4/24 21:36:07 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The man bringing dead languages back to life
澳洲原住民母语要如何起死回生

Like many people in Australia, Professor Ghil’ad Zuckermann is a regular contributor to the fund to save the Tasmanian Devil. The Tasmanian Devil, which Zuckermann remarks is an “ugly animal”, is listed as endangered, along with much of the unique and beautiful wildlife that makes Australia such a distinctive and enigmatic place. Yet animal life is not the only thing that has struggled to keep up with the pressures of modern life down under.

和许多澳大利亚人一样,扎克曼(Ghil'ad Zuckermann)教授也是“拯救袋獾基金会”的定期捐款人。他说,外貌丑陋的袋獾(Tasmanian Devil)和许多美丽而独特的野生动物一样被列为了濒危动物。而正是这些野生动物使澳大利亚成为一个如此独特且神秘的地方。然而,受到现代生活压迫的绝不仅仅是动物。

While Australia may be famous the world over for its biodiversity, for a linguistics professor like Zuckermann, the country has another allure: its languages. Before European colonisers arrived, Australia used to be one of the most linguistically diverse areas in the world, boasting around 250 different languages. Due in part to Australia’s long geographic isolation, many of these had developed unique grammatical structures and concepts that were unknown to languages in other parts of the world.

澳大利亚因生物多样性而闻名于世,但对扎克曼这样的语言学教授来说,这个国家还有另一个吸引人的地方,那就是语言。在欧洲殖民者到来之前,澳大利亚曾是世界上语言最多样的地区之一,拥有大约250种不同的语言。长期的地理隔离使得澳大利亚的许多地区发展出了世界其他地区所不知的独特语法结构和概念。

One of these is a language called Guugu Yimithirr, spoken in the north of Queensland, which gave the world the word "kangaroo". It’s also made remarkable by the fact that unlike languages like English, it does not make use of ego-centric positioning systems such as "left" and "right". Instead, all speakers of Guugu Yimithirr have an in-built compass in their brain that allows them to always know where is north, south, east and west. Therefore, they have no need to talk about the "left tap" or the "right tap". Instead, they just refer to the "north tap" or the "south tap".

其中一种语言叫做Guugu Yimithirr,在昆士兰州北部地区使用,袋鼠的英文“kangaroo”正来自于这种语言。与英语等语言不同的是,这种语言没有使用“左”和“右”等以自我为中心的定位系统,这一点十分独特。所有说这种语言的人脑中都似乎有一个内置的指南针,能随时分清东南西北。因此,他们只会说“南北”,不会说“左右”。

But according to the 2016 Australian census, Guugu Yimithirr has just 775 native speakers alive today, with numbers on the decline. Of the 250 languages spoken before settlers arrived, today all but 13 of them are considered to be "highly endangered" – a fact that is often overlooked.

2016年澳大利亚人口普查数据显示,目前以Guugu Yimithirr为母语的人仅剩775名,且还在不断减少。在殖民者涌入之前,人们使用的语言数量多达250种。如今,只剩13种还没被列为“高度濒危”语言。这一事实总是被人们忽略。

“I believe that most people care more about animals that are endangered than about languages that are endangered,” Zuckerman explains. “The reason is that animals are tangible. You can touch a koala, even though in the wild you’d be crazy to do so because she can kill you with her claws. But koalas are cute. Languages, however, are not tangible. They are abstract. People understand the importance of biodiversity far more than that of linguistic diversity.”

“比起濒危语言,我相信大多数人更关心濒危动物,”祖克曼解释说。“因为动物看得见摸得着,比如你可以摸一摸考拉(考拉虽可爱,但摸野生的考拉可不是明智之举,因为它们的爪子可以使人丧命),语言则是无形的、抽象的,所以人们认为生物多样性远比语言多样性重要。”

Yet for Zuckermann, preserving linguistic diversity is hugely important. For indigenous communities in Australia and worldwide that are still grappling with the legacy of colonisation, being able to speak their ancestral language is about empowerment and reclaiming their identity. It may even carry significant consequences for their mental health.

对扎克曼来说,保护语言多样性非常重要。对于澳大利亚和世界各地仍在努力与殖民遗留问题作斗争的人而言,能够讲祖先的语言是他们赋权以及重拾身份的方式,甚至还会对心理健康产生重大影响。

Ghil’ad Zuckermann first visited Australia in 2004. He felt so overcome with love for what he describes as the most beautiful country he’d ever seen that he decided he wanted to do something to help it. As a linguistics professor from Israel, the son of a Holocaust survivor, and a specialist at the time in the analysis of the Hebrew language revival, he quickly identified an area where he could have an impact: the revival and empowerment of Aboriginal languages and cultures.

2004年,扎克曼初次来到澳大利亚。他对澳大利亚这个他所见过的最美丽的国度充满了爱,于是决定要做些什么来帮助这个国家。扎克曼是一位来自以色列的语言学教授、犹太人大屠杀幸存者的儿子,同时也是当时希伯来语复兴方面的专家。他很快就确定了一个可以有所作为的领域——原住民语言和文化的复兴与赋权。

Zuckermann first established the trans-disciplinary field of enquiry called “Revivalistics”, which focuses on supporting the survival, revival and reinvigoration of endangered and extinct languages all around the world. These range from languages such as Hebrew, Welsh, Cornish and Irish, to Hawaiian, North American languages like Wampanoag and Myaamia, and many others.

扎克曼首先建立了一个跨学科的研究领域,称为“复兴学”,其重点是改善世界各地濒危语言的现状,复活灭绝了的语言。这涵盖了许多语言,包括希伯来语、威尔士语、康沃尔语、爱尔兰语、夏威夷语、北美的万帕诺亚格语和米亚米亚语等等。

As an Israeli, Zuckermann grew up a native speaker of Modern Hebrew, arguably the world’s most successful example of language revival to date. Hebrew was extinct for almost 2,000 years until Zionist language revivalists began to bring it back into use in the late 19th Century. They achieved this by adapting the ancient language of the Torah so that it could be suitable for modern life. It would eventually become the mother tongue of all Jews in the new state of Israel, founded in 1948.

作为一名以色列人,祖克曼的母语是现代希伯来语,可以说是迄今为止世界上最成功的语言复兴范例。希伯来语已绝迹将近两千年的时间,直到19世纪末犹太复国主义兴起,语言复兴主义者开始重新使用希伯来语。他们对《律法书》中的古老语言进行了调整,使之适应现代生活,并最终成为1948年以色列新邦内犹太人的母语。

Zuckermann’s expertise and personal experience with Modern Hebrew greatly informs his work in Australia today, precisely because he takes a critical view of it. He argues that the language spoken natively by millions of people in Israel today and that they call Hebrew is not, and could not be, the same language of the Bible.

扎克曼对现代希伯来语的专业知识和个人经验深刻地影响了他在澳大利亚的工作——准确来说,是他对现代希伯来语所持的态度。他认为,今天数百万以色列人所说的希伯来语不是、也不可能跟《圣经》所用的语言一模一样。

“The Jews did not manage to revive the language of Isaiah. It is simply impossible to revive a language as it used to be.” Instead, Zuckermann explains that Modern Hebrew, which he controversially refers to as "Israeli", is a hybrid language, drawing on the influences that Jewish migrants brought with them to Israel from their native languages, such as Yiddish, Polish, Russian and Arabic. Over the course of generations, these blended together to shape the language in its modern form. According to Zuckermann, this should not be seen as a problem. These changes are a natural and necessary part of the process of reviving a language.

犹太人没能复兴以赛亚(编注:希伯来圣经中的先知)的语言。要使一门语言完全复兴到曾经的状态是不可能的。扎克曼解释说,现代希伯来语是一种混合语言,它受到了犹太移民母语(意第绪语、波兰语、俄语和阿拉伯语)的影响。经过几代人的努力,这些语言融合在一起,形成了现代的语言形式。扎克曼表示,人们不应该将其视作一个问题,这些变化是自然而然发生的,是语言复兴过程中必要的一步。

“I take into consideration the speaker more than the language. A speaker of Yiddish could not get rid of their Yiddish Weltanschauung or mindset, even though they hated Yiddish and wanted to speak Hebrew. But the moment a person understands the importance of the native speaker at the expense of linguistic purism and authenticity of the language, that person can be a good revivalist.”

“相比起语言本身,我更在意使用语言的人。一个讲意第绪语的人就算讨厌自己的语言,想说希伯来语,但也无法摆脱意第绪语给他带来的世界观或心态。但当一个人愿意以牺牲语言的纯粹性和真实性为代价,理解了母语者的重要性,他就能成为一名优秀的复兴主义者。”

Sleeping beauties

睡美人

Much of Zuckermann’s work in Australia has centred on Barngarla, a dead language – Zuckermann prefers the term “sleeping beauty” – that was spoken in the rural areas of southern Australia between the cities of Port Augusta, Port Lincoln and Whyalla. The last native speaker, Moonie Davis, passed away in 1960. Yet when Zuckerman reached out to the Barngarla community and proposed that he help revive their language and their culture, he was amazed by their response. “We have been waiting for you for 50 years,” they told him.

扎克曼在澳大利亚的研究工作主要集中在巴恩加拉语(Barngarla)上,这是一种已经死亡的语言(扎克曼更喜欢称之为“睡美人”),主要使用地区是澳大利亚南部奥古斯塔港(Port Augusta)、林肯港(Port Lincoln)和惠亚拉港(Whyalla)之间的农村地区。最后一位巴恩加拉语的母语使用者戴维斯(Moonie Davis)于1960年去世。当扎克曼向巴恩加拉社区伸出援手,提出要帮助他们恢复语言和文化时,村民反应令他惊讶,“这一刻我们已经等了50年了。”

Zuckermann’s starting point was a dictionary written by a Lutheran missionary called Robert Schürmann in 1844. In 2011, Zuckermann began making regular trips to Barngarla country to run language revival workshops. Together, and with Zuckermann’s help and guidance, the Barngarla community built upon the knowledge stored within Schürmann’s 1844 dictionary. They pooled together what they could remember of words they’d heard their parents and grandparents saying.

一本由路德教会传教士舒尔曼(Robert Schurmann)于1844年编写的词典成为了扎克曼研究的起点。2011年,扎克曼开始定期前往巴恩加拉乡村,举办语言复兴研讨会。在扎克曼的帮助和指导下,巴恩加拉吸收了这本字典中所储存的知识,并收集了能记住巴恩加拉语的老一辈说过的话。

They also held discussions about how to devise appropriate words that could apply to modern life. Should Barngarla follow English’s precedent and refer to the computer using the metaphor of ‘computing’ something? Or should they instead look to Mandarin Chinese, whose word 电脑 (diànnǎo) literally means “electric brain”?

除此之外,他们还讨论了如何设计适合现代生活的词汇。巴恩加拉语是否应该模仿英语,使用“计算”的变形来指代计算机?还是应该像汉语一样,完全按照字面意思将其翻译为“电脑”?

The result is modern-day Barngarla, a language that has been revived in a form that is as close as possible to the Barngarla that was spoken before its last native speaker died out. Yet inevitably, as with the case of Modern Hebrew, it will never fully be the same. Too much time has passed, and there has been too much influence from the colonial language, in this case English, for today’s Barngarla to be a carbon copy. It too is a hybrid language, yet one that the Barngarla community can feel proud to speak once more. For Zuckermann, there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, quite the opposite: “Hybridity results in new linguistic diversity.”

在人们的努力下,现代巴恩加拉语(Barngarla)诞生了。它最大限度地接近原始的巴恩加拉语,让这种消亡的语言重现生机。然而,就像现代希伯来语一样,现代语言不可避免地会和过去的形式有差异,因为时间跨度太大、殖民地语言的影响太深刻。在这种情况下,现代巴恩加拉语应该以英语为范例。虽然现代巴恩加拉语也是一种混合语言,但是该社区的居民可以重新充满自豪地说自己的母语了。对扎克曼来说,这不成问题。事实上,恰恰相反,“融合催生了新的语言形式。”

Linguicide

语言的灭绝

“Linguicide” – the killing of language – sits amongst the 10 forms of genocide that are recognised by the United Nations. The Barngarla language did not die out in 1960 solely due to natural causes. Like many Aboriginal languages, in the early to mid-20th Century it was actively destroyed and subjected to the cruel and imperialistic policies of the Australian government at the time, who removed children from their mothers and sent them to boarding schools thousands of miles away. There, they learned English and quickly forgot their mother tongue. If they ever returned to their ancestral homelands, they found themselves unable to communicate with their own families, as they no longer shared a common language.

“语言灭绝”,指对语言赶尽杀绝,是联合国认可的10种种族灭绝形式之一。1960年,巴恩加拉语并没有因为自然原因灭绝。和许多原住民语言一样,在20世纪初到中期,这种语言遭到了人为的破坏,并受到当时殖民地政府残酷的帝国主义政策的影响。殖民地政府把孩子从母亲身边夺走,送到数千英里外的寄宿学校。在那里,他们学习英语,所以很快就忘记了自己的母语。他们回到祖先生活的故土,会发现自己无法与家人交流,因为他们不再使用同一种语言。

Lavinia Richards is one of the "stolen generation". She remembers the trauma of being forcibly separated from her mother by the Australian authorities and forced to speak a foreign language – English. When the Barngarla community released a CD of stories and songs of Barngarla people affected by the "stolen generation" in June 2018, she included on it a poem that she wrote about a flower she saw that reminded her of her mother, a reminder of a life that was denied to her because she was born speaking the wrong language.

理查兹(Lavinia Richards)就属于“被偷走的一代”。她还记得,当时殖民地政府强行将她与母亲分离,逼迫她说另一门语言——英语。当2018年6月,巴恩加拉社区发布了一版光盘,里面的故事和歌曲讲述了“被偷走的一代”的故事。她写了一首关于花的诗。这朵花让她想起了母亲,想起了被剥夺的生活,只因她生来就说着“错误”的语言。

For Zuckermann, there are three reasons why people should support language revival. The first is the simple ethical matter of righting the wrongs of colonial linguistic supremacy. Zuckermann states that the very fact that the Australian government at the time actively tried to destroy Australia’s unique linguistic diversity, driven perhaps by the racist notions of politicians such as Anthony Forster, who in 1843 declared “the natives would be sooner civilised if their language was extinct”, is convincing enough for him.

对于扎克曼来说,人们应该支持语言复兴有以下三个原因。首先是纠正殖民语言霸权犯下的错误,这是一个简单的伦理问题。扎克曼指出,事实上,当时的殖民地政府试图破坏当地独特的语言多样性,幕后黑手可能是福斯特(Anthony Forster)等政治家信奉的种族歧视观念。福斯特在1843年曾说过“如果原住民的语言灭绝了,驯化他们就更容易了”。

However, Zuckermann’s second reason is utilitarian. Language revival is about far more than just communication. He argues that it is about “culture, cultural autonomy, intellectual sovereignty, spirituality, well-being, and the soul”.

扎克曼给出的第二个理由是功利主义。复兴语言不仅仅是为了交流。他认为这与“文化、文化自主、智力主权、精神、幸福和灵魂”有关。

“When you lose your language, you lose your soul. When you revive your language, you don’t only revive its sounds, its words, its morphemes and its phonemes. You revive the whole shebang.”

“一个人失去语言就仿佛失去了灵魂。复兴一门语言意味着复兴它的发音、词汇、语素和音素。整个宇宙都苏醒过来了。”

Over his many years of working in language revival, Zuckermann has become increasingly convinced of a clear trend. He believes that amongst Aboriginal communities that have reclaimed their ancestral language, he has observed greatly improved physical and mental health. He sees a sharp drop in incidences of suicide, alcoholism, addiction and diabetes – problems that unfortunately are rife amongst Aboriginal people across Australia.

在从事语言复兴工作多年后,扎克曼越来越确信这是一个明显的趋势。他观察到,重拾母语的原住民社区居民的身体和精神健康有了很大的改善。自杀、酗酒、成瘾和糖尿病的发生率大幅下降,不幸的是,这些问题在澳大利亚原住民人中很普遍。

These are only anecdotal observations but in 2017, he began a five-year study to see whether he could find hard evidence to support the theory. Should he be proven right, he believes that this should give the Australian government enough cause to support language revival programmes across the country through healthcare funding from tax payers’ money.

但这些只是他的坊间观察。2017年,他开始了一项为期五年的研究,看看能否找到支持这一理论的确凿证据。如果他的猜想是正确的,他认为澳大利亚政府就有足够的理由用纳税人资助医疗保健的钱在全国范围内支持语言复兴计划。

A preliminary investigation in 2007 from the University of Oxford, University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria in Canada seems to support Zuckermann’s claims. By analysing Canadian census data, the researchers discovered that youth suicide rates “effectively dropped to zero in the few communities where at least half of the members reported a conversational level of their ‘Native’ language”.

2007年,来自牛津大学、英属哥伦比亚大学和加拿大维多利亚大学的哈里特(Darcy Hallett)、钱德勒(Michael J Chandler)和拉隆德(Christopher E Lalonde)进行了初步调查,所得结果似乎印证了扎克曼的猜想。通过分析加拿大的人口普查数据,他们发现青少年自杀率“在少数几个社区有效地降至零。这些社区中至少一半人的‘母语’达到了会话水平”。

“I really believe that billions of dollars in Australia have been wasted on stupid, medically approved programmes. I can prove qualitatively and quantitatively that language revival results in better health," Zuckermann says.

“我坚信,澳大利亚浪费了数十亿美元愚蠢的医学项目上。我能从定性和定量的层面上证明语言复兴会使人民更加健康。”

“You kill the language of an Aboriginal community, you cause depression. You cause depression, you cause people to lose their will to take care of their body.”

“你灭绝了原住民社区的语言,就导致了抑郁。你导致了抑郁,就让人们丧失了照顾好自己的意愿。”

The third and final reason Zuckermann cites for supporting language revival is aesthetic. In other words, the co-existence of so many distinct and unique languages is beautiful. Australia’s multilingualism is like the human reflection of the biodiversity for which the country is so well known. Yet Zuckermann is aware that of all of his arguments, this is the one that may meet its toughest reception amongst the wider public.

扎克曼支持语言复兴的第三个原因与美学有关。换句话说,这么多独特的语言共存是如此美丽。澳大利亚的生物多样性世界闻名,多语共存的现象与之相互映照。然而,扎克曼意识到,在他所有的观点中,这一观点最受公众欢迎。

For Candace Kaleimamoowahinekapu Galla, a native Hawaiian and associate professor at the University of British Columbia, speaking her ancestral language and promoting its use amongst her fellow Hawaiians is about something simple, yet fundamental. It’s about pride. “But not in an egotistical way,” she is quick to clarify. “It’s a humbling pride. It’s about accessing documents, newspapers or stories from the 1800s and understanding them on a different level to just reading them through an English translation.”

加拿大不列颠哥伦比亚大学(University of British Columbia)副教授、土生土长的夏威夷人加拉(Candace Kaleimamoowahinekapu Galla)认为,和夏威夷同胞中讲祖先曾讲过语言,并推广使用这种语言,是一件简单且基本的事情。我们为此感到自豪。“但并不是以自我为中心,”她澄清道,“这是一种令人谦卑的骄傲。我们需要获取19世纪的文件、报纸或故事,并从不同的层面理解它们,而不是只通过英语翻译。”

Galla describes the Hawaiian language as the foundation of everything distinguishing about Hawaiian culture. She believes that even the famous Hula dance, which has risen to the status of something of a global phenomenon, is impossible to truly perform without understanding Hawaiian, the lyric and the motion behind the lyric. Without an appreciation for those things, you are “just learning choreography”, according to Galla. “You can’t dance Hula without Hawaiian. You can dance, but it’s not Hula.”

加拉认为夏威夷语是夏威夷文化中一切与众不同之处的基础。她认为,即使是已在著名的草裙舞中,如果不了解夏威夷语歌词和背后的含义,是无法表演好的。加拉表示,如果你无法真正地欣赏它,你就“只是在学习编舞而已”。“草裙舞和夏威夷语密不可分。你确实在跳舞,但不是草裙舞。”

Looking to the future, Zuckermann has grand plans. After his decisions to found Revivalistics and to work with the Barngarla community, he says that his next step is to spread the message far and wide.

关于未来,扎克曼有一个宏伟的计划。在决定建立“复兴学”并与巴恩加拉社区合作后,他的下一步是将信息广泛传播。

Since running his first online open-access course on language revival in 2014, he has so far had more than 11,000 participants in 188 countries, including in Afghanistan, Syria, and countries where genocide and linguicide are common.

2014年,扎克曼开设了他的第一个向公众开放的在线语言复兴课程。到目前为止,他已经在188个国家(包括阿富汗、叙利亚以及种族灭绝和语言灭绝盛行的国家)拥有1.1万多名学员。

“I want to reach people who are not academic. People who are language activists, but who do not go to university and do not have money to do things. People who would like to revive their language.”

“我想接触的人不是学术界人士,而是那些对语言感兴趣、想要复兴母语,但没机会上大学,没有钱的人。”

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