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《考研英语阅读理解100篇 基础版》第4章 科学研究类 Unit 48

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2019年01月13日

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In 1966 Allen and Beatrice Gardner,two psychologists at the University of Nevada in Reno,had a bright idea.They were interested in the evolution of language and the linguistic capabilities of great apes.Previous attempts to teach chimpanzees to talk had ended in failure and the matter was considered by most people to be closed.But the Gardners realised that speech and language are not the same thing.Many deaf people,for example,are unable to speak but are perfectly able to communicate by gestures that have all the attributes and sophistication of spoken language.Given the very different anatomies of the human and chimpanzee larynx,the Gardners suspected that previous experiments had failed because chimps are physically incapable of speech. 
They therefore decided to try teaching a chimpanzee to sign in the way that deaf people do.And their chosen subject,a female chimp named Washoe after the county in which the university campus is located,proved an adept pupil.Though there is still debate about whether what Washoe learned was really equivalent to human language,there is no doubt that she learned a lot of words.She now has a vocabulary of about 200.All of this,however,raises a second question.If Washoe and her successors can learn a complex and arbitrary vocabulary of gestures from people,do they have such vocabularies naturally? To examine that possibility Amy Pollick and Frans de Waal,of Emory University in Atlanta,Georgia,have looked at gestures and expressions in chimpanzees and their cousins,bonobos. 
Signalling by facial and vocal expression is ubiquitous among primates.Signalling by gesture is confined to the great apes.The researchers’ hypothesis was that the meaning of expressions has been hard-wired by evolution whereas the meaning of gestures is learnt and,at least to some extent,is arbitrary. If that were true,particular sorts of facial and vocal expression would occur only in particular contexts,and that this would be consistent across groups and even species.The same gestures,by contrast,would be used in different contexts. 
The researchers found exactly what they expected.Expressions(“silent bared teeth”,“relaxed open mouth”,“pant hoot” and so on)almost always occurred in the same contexts in different groups and different species.Gestures (“hard touch”,“reach outside”,“slap ground” etc)did not.Half of the gestures Dr Pollick and Dr de Waal regularly observed seemed to have completely different meanings in the two species.Moreover,even within a single group,the meaning of a gesture could vary with context,almost as tone of voice can vary the meaning of a human's spoken word. 
It is also worth remembering that gesture is still a crucial part of human language,even for those with normal hearing.The old joke that the way to render an Italian speechless is to tie his hands together has a kernel of truth in it.Evolution does not come up with complicated structures in a single leap.They are built up step by step.This study suggests that the step of speech may have been built on mental attributes that were acquired millions of years ago when the ancestors of apes and men began to wave meaningfully at each other. 
注(1):本文选自Economist; 
注(2):本文习题命题模仿对象为2002年真题Text 4。 
1.From the first paragraph,we learn that _______. 
A) chimpanzees do not have the capability of mastering a language 
B) the Gardners found a new idea to develop the chimpanzee experiment 
C) previous experiments failed because they merely focused on chimpanzees’ vocal ability 
D) chimpanzees can use gestures as well as blind people 
2.Which of the following statements is TRUE according to the text? 
A) Washoe was able to develop an entire system of signs and gestures of her own. 
B) The vocabulary Washoe learnt is not similar to human language. 
C) The Washoe experiment has enlightened further research. 
D) The Gardners found that Washoe naturally has her vocabulary of gestures. 
3.According to the author,gestures are different from facial and vocal expressions in that _______. 
A) gestures are more complicated 
B) gestures are limited to a certain type of species 
C) facial and vocal expressions are more complicated 
D) there is no difference between them 
4.Which of the following best defines the word“hard-wired” (Line 3,Paragraph 3)? 
A) Fixed. 
B) Changed. 
C) Taught. 
D) Made. 
5.The Pollick and de Waal research probably indicates that _______. 
A) the apes are the closest species to human being 
B) people with normal hearing do not really need to resort to gestures 
C) the great apes naturally have the ability to use gestures 
D) human language may have developed from signs and gestures 

1966年,内华达大学雷诺分校的两名心理学家阿伦与比特里斯·加德纳夫妇产生了一个聪明的想法。他们对于大猩猩语言的进化和语言能力非常感兴趣。前人曾试图教黑猩猩说话,但那些努力最终都以失败告终,很多人认为这个领域已经没有什么可以研究的了。但是加德纳夫妇意识到说话和语言并不是一件事情。比如说,许多聋哑人不能说话,但是他们却能够用手势进行充分的交流,这些手势都包含了人类语言的那些特点和复杂性。由于人类和黑猩猩喉咙的结构不同,加德纳夫妇认为前人研究的失败是因为黑猩猩生理上就无法说话。 
因此,他们决定试着教一只黑猩猩如何使用聋哑人的手势。他们选择的研究对象是一个名为Washoe的雌性黑猩猩,Washoe是该大学校园所在县的名称,而这只猩猩是一个很在行的学生。尽管人们仍在争论Washoe学会的到底能不能算人类语言,但是毫无疑问她学会了很多词汇。她现在的词汇量约为200个单词。所有这些都使人们提出了第二个问题。如果Washoe和她的继任者们能够从人类那里学会复杂和任意词汇的手势,那么他们是不是天生就拥有这些词汇呢?为了验证这种可能性,亚特兰大埃默里大学的埃米·波利克和弗朗斯·德瓦尔对一些黑猩猩和他们的近亲倭黑猩猩的手势和表情进行了研究。 
通过表情和声音来发送信号的现象在灵长类动物中是普遍存在的。但只有大猩猩才能用手势发送信号。研究者的假设是,表情的意义在长期的进化过程中已经成为一种天生的能力,而手势的意义是后天学成的,至少在一定程度上是任意的。如果这个假设成立的话,那么各种特别的面部表情和声音就只会在特殊的情境下出现,并且在物种群甚至是物种之间都是一致的。相反,同样的手势却能够在不同的情境下使用。 
研究结果与预期的一致。不同的物种群以及物种之间都会在相同的情境下使用一些表情(“不出声地张嘴露齿”、“放松地张嘴”、“高声气促”等),却不会用相同的手势(“硬碰”、“向外伸手”、“拍地”等)。波利克和德瓦尔博士规律性地观察到的手势中,有近一半在两个物种之间具有几乎完全不同的意义。此外,即使是在同一物种中,某一手势的意义也可能在不同的情境下有所变化,就像人类说话时用不同的声调可以表示不同的意义那样。 
我们应记住,手势仍然是人类语言中一个至关重要的组成部分,特别是那些听觉正常的人。有一个老笑话说,如果要让一个意大利人闭嘴,那就把他的手绑起来,这个笑话有其道理所在。进化的过程不会一步就达到复杂的结构,而是一步一步演化过来的。该研究间接地说明,当几百万年前猿和人类祖先开始有意义地向彼此挥手的时候,这种脑力思考的特点就在一步步地向语言能力发展。 
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