约翰逊语言专栏--语言与音乐(1)

作者:Jerry 来源:未知 2020-06-15

Books & arts

文艺板块

Johnson

约翰逊栏目

They can feel it all over

他们能感知到一切

The echaes between music and language are revealing about both

从音乐和语言的差异中揭示彼此

One of the liveliest debates in lingistics is over whether all languages share fundamental properties. If so, perhaps language is a universal feature of evolution. To find out, scholars have looked to other universal features, and one in particular: no society on Earth lacks music. The comparison illuminates what is special about both.

是否所有的语言都具有相同的基本属性是语言学中最激烈的辩论之一。如果是这样的话,那么也许语言是进化的普遍特征。为了找到答案,学者们研究了其他的普遍特征,其中特别关注音乐:因为在地球上,没有哪个社会是缺少音乐的。通过对比,研究者们也发现了两者的特殊性。

Music and language seem intimately linked, but how? Did language start with song, as Darwin believed? or is music "auditory cheesecake" that developed from language and other useful faculties, as Steven Pinker, a Harvard psychologist, has said? Is music itself a language, as Stevie wonder intoned? Might the two be fundamentally the same?

音乐和语言似乎有着紧密的联系,但究竟是何种联系呢?就像达尔文所想的那样,语言起源于音乐吗?还是如哈佛大学心理学家史蒂文·平克所说的那样,音乐是“听觉盛宴”,是由语言和其他有用的能力共同发展而来的?或者如史蒂夫旺达歌里唱的那样,音乐本身就是一种语言?或许语言和音乐在本质上是相同的?

Some similarities are obvious. Both can utilise the unique human vocal tract.Both have a kind of beat. Both can express emotion. Both can be either carefully composed or spontaneously improvised. And both are highly social. Although the origin of music is unclear, it seems likely to have involved celebration, communal worship or martial inspiration and co-ordination.

一些相似之处显而易见。两者都可以利用人类独特的声道,有节奏感、能表达情感,既可以精心创作也可以即兴创作,且都具有高度的社交性。尽管音乐的起源尚不清楚,但很可能与庆祝活动与集体崇拜或鼓舞士气和团结协作有关。

At a structural level the parallels are striking, too. With a finite set of notes or words, and a finite set of rules, an inexhaustible variety of novel melodies or sentences can be created. This "discrete infinity" is often said to be the hallmark of human language. Animal communication, by contrast, is only able to convey a limited number of thoughts (the location of a source of food, for example, or the presence of a predator).

在结构层面,相似之处也很明显。用一套有限的音符或文字,以及一套有限的规则,就可以创造出无穷无尽的新旋律或句子。这种“离散无穷大”常被认为是人类语言的标志。相比之下,动物之间的交流只能传达有限的想法(比如食物来源的位置,或者捕食者的存在)。

Aniruddh Patel of Thufts University has argued that music and language, rather than being essentially the same, rely on the same bit of the brain. In an experiment he presented his subjects with a sentence that contained a grammatical trick (" The scientist confirmed the hypothesis was being studied in his lab" ), revealing one word at a time. The subjects were to press a button for each word at their own pace. Many paused at the unexpected "was". "The scientist confirmed the hypothesis" seemed a complete sentence.

塔夫茨大学的阿尼鲁德·帕特尔认为,音乐和语言的本质并不相同,相同的是依赖于大脑的同一片区域。在一个实验中,他向实验对象展示了一个包含语法技巧的句子," The scientist confirmed the hypothesis was being studied in his lab" ,(“科学家证实了他的实验室正在研究这个假设”),一次只显示一个单词。实验对象要按照自己的速度在每一个词出现时按下按钮。很多人在意外的“was”出现时停下了。"The scientist confirmed the hypothesis" (科学家证实了这一假设)看起来已经是一个完整的句子了。

They also heard music as they performed this exercise. Some were treated to a new chord in a pleasing progression with every word that was revealed. Others heard a jarring chord at the moment they reached the trick word "was". Both groups slowed down-but those given the discordant notes did so much more. Mr Patel hypothesises that this is because sentence structure, and the structure of the harmony, draw on shared, limited resources in the brain.

实验对象在实验过程中也会听音乐。一部分参与者听到的是到一段令人愉快的新和弦,同时向他们展现每个单词。剩下的则在“was”这个引起错觉的单词出现时听到一段刺耳的音乐。两组都停下了,但那些听到不和谐音符的人停得更久。帕特尔假设这是因为理解句子结构以及和弦结构,利用了大脑中共享的、有限的资源。

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