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  • Translator: Joseph Geni Reviewer: Morton Bast

    我們總是聽說手機簡訊是個禍源

  • We always hear that texting is a scourge.

    傳簡訊代表一種能力的退化

  • The idea is that texting spells the decline and fall

    不管是任何正常的識字能力,還是寫作能力

  • of any kind of serious literacy, or at least writing ability,

    美國以至於全世界的年輕人

  • among young people in the United States

    都有退化的現象

  • and now the whole world today.

    事實上並非如此

  • The fact of the matter is that it just isn't true,

    但很容易讓人信以為真

  • and it's easy to think that it is true,

    為了要以另外一種角度來看這件事

  • but in order to see it in another way,

    為了要證明傳簡訊是件神奇的事

  • in order to see that actually texting is a miraculous thing,

    不僅充滿活力,而且非常神奇

  • not just energetic, but a miraculous thing,

    這一種新興的複雜性

  • a kind of emergent complexity

    就在我們眼前發生

  • that we're seeing happening right now,

    我們必須回顧一下

  • we have to pull the camera back for a bit

    看看語言到底是怎麼一回事

  • and look at what language really is,

    在這種情況下,我們會知道

  • in which case, one thing that we see

    傳簡訊跟寫作完全不同

  • is that texting is not writing at all.

    這是什麼意思呢

  • What do I mean by that?

    基本上,我們想一想

  • Basically, if we think about language,

    語言已經出現了約15萬年

  • language has existed for perhaps 150,000 years,

    至少也有八萬年

  • at least 80,000 years,

    而它的起源是說話—人類開始交談

  • and what it arose as is speech. People talked.

    那可能是我們與生俱來的能力

  • That's what we're probably genetically specified for.

    說話是我們最常使用語言的方式

  • That's how we use language most.

    寫作很晚才出現

  • Writing is something that came along much later,

    而就像上次提到的

  • and as we saw in the last talk,

    寫作到底何時出現仍有爭議

  • there's a little bit of controversy as to exactly when that happened,

    但傳統估計

  • but according to traditional estimates,

    如果人類存在了 24 小時

  • if humanity had existed for 24 hours,

    那大概晚上11:07寫作才出現

  • then writing only came along at about 11:07 p.m.

    由此可知寫作是很晚才有的

  • That's how much of a latterly thing writing is.

    因此,先有談話才有寫作

  • So first there's speech, and then writing comes along

    這樣的小把戲

  • as a kind of artifice.

    別誤會,寫作有它的優點

  • Now don't get me wrong, writing has certain advantages.

    寫作是一種處理意識的過程

  • When you write, because it's a conscious process,

    而且之後可以再回顧

  • because you can look backwards,

    比起談話,寫作對語言

  • you can do things with language that are much less likely

    有更大的自由度

  • if you're just talking.

    例如,愛德華 · 吉本

  • For example, imagine a passage from Edward Gibbon's

    《羅馬帝國的衰亡》當中有一段:

  • "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:"

    ”兩軍相峙超過十二小時

  • "The whole engagement lasted above twelve hours,

    直到波斯人的隊伍慢慢撤退,

  • till the graduate retreat of the Persians was changed

    以可恥的眾首領和Surenas為首

  • into a disorderly flight, of which the shameful example

    最終兵荒馬亂的逃跑。“

  • was given by the principal leaders and the Surenas himself."

    寫得真美!但說真的,沒人這樣講話

  • That's beautiful, but let's face it, nobody talks that way.

    或者至少,我們不該這麼講話

  • Or at least, they shouldn't if they're interested

    如果我們對繁衍後代還有興趣的話

  • in reproducing. That --

    (笑聲)

  • (Laughter)

    沒有人平常會那樣講話

  • is not the way any human being speaks casually.

    口語和書面語完全不同

  • Casual speech is something quite different.

    語言學家實際上告訴我們

  • Linguists have actually shown

    我們平常講話沒有注意的時候

  • that when we're speaking casually in an unmonitored way,

    我們傾向於使用大概

  • we tend to speak in word packets of maybe

    七到十個字的意群

  • seven to 10 words.

    如果你們有機會錄下

  • You'll notice this if you ever have occasion to record

    自己或一群人的談話

  • yourself or a group of people talking.

    你們會注意到,這才是口語

  • That's what speech is like.

    口語要寬鬆得多,也更簡潔

  • Speech is much looser. It's much more telegraphic.

    它沒那麼多深思熟慮的痕跡—跟寫作截然不同

  • It's much less reflective -- very different from writing.

    所以我們自然地會認為,因為常常看到書面語

  • So we naturally tend to think, because we see language

    那麼這就是語言本身

  • written so often, that that's what language is,

    但實際上語言是口語。它們是兩種東西

  • but actually what language is, is speech. They are two things.

    現在當然,隨著時間流逝

  • Now of course, as history has gone by,

    口語和寫作之間

  • it's been natural for there to be a certain amount of bleed

    自然產生了一些「混血」

  • between speech and writing.

    所以比方說,古時候

  • So, for example, in a distant era now,

    人們講話像書面語

  • it was common when one gave a speech

    是很常見的事

  • to basically talk like writing.

    所以我的意思是,你們在舊電影裡面看過的演講

  • So I mean the kind of speech that you see someone giving

    他們清清嗓子,然後說:

  • in an old movie where they clear their throat, and they go,

    「嗯,女士們先生們」之後的演講

  • "Ahem, ladies and gentlemen," and then they speak

    與口語已經八竿子打不著

  • in a certain way which has nothing to do with casual speech.

    它很正式,它用很多像吉本那樣的長句

  • It's formal. It uses long sentences like this Gibbon one.

    它基本上是講話像寫作一樣,所以,例如

  • It's basically talking like you write, and so, for example,

    因為最近那部同名電影

  • we're thinking so much these days about Lincoln

    我們時常想起林肯

  • because of the movie.

    葛底斯堡的演講其實沒什麼大不了

  • The Gettysburg Address was not the main meal of that event.

    在那之前兩個小時,愛德華‧艾維雷特

  • For two hours before that, Edward Everett spoke

    發表了一篇演講,老實說,主題我們現在不會有興趣

  • on a topic that, frankly, cannot engage us today

    當時的人也不感興趣

  • and barely did then.

    重點是,聽他發表

  • The point of it was to listen to him

    書面語般的演講

  • speaking like writing.

    普通百姓站在那聽演講,長達兩個小時

  • Ordinary people stood and listened to that for two hours.

    在當時卻是再自然不過的事了

  • It was perfectly natural.

    古代人就是這樣,說話跟書面語一樣

  • That's what people did then, speaking like writing.

    好吧,如果你們可以說話像寫作一樣

  • Well, if you can speak like writing,

    那邏輯上,你們有時候

  • then logically it follows that you might want to also

    可能也想像口語一般來寫作

  • sometimes write like you speak.

    問題就在於,從材料、技術的角度來說

  • The problem was just that in the material,

    當時這很難辦到

  • mechanical sense, that was harder back in the day

    原因很簡單,當時的材料並不適合

  • for the simple reason that materials don't lend themselves to it.

    手工記錄幾乎是不可能的

  • It's almost impossible to do that with your hand

    除非速記,但溝通就變得有限

  • except in shorthand, and then communication is limited.

    以手動打字機來記錄口語非常困難

  • On a manual typewriter it was very difficult,

    即使我們有了電動打字機

  • and even when we had electric typewriters,

    甚至電腦鍵盤,事實上

  • or then computer keyboards, the fact is

    即使打字已經容易到能夠

  • that even if you can type easily enough to keep up

    跟上口語的步伐,多多少少還是要

  • with the pace of speech, more or less, you have to have

    有一個人可以迅速收到訊息

  • somebody who can receive your message quickly.

    一旦口袋裡有可以接收訊息的東西

  • Once you have things in your pocket that can receive that message,

    才有條件

  • then you have the conditions that allow

    像口語一樣寫作

  • that we can write like we speak.

    而那就是簡訊的由來

  • And that's where texting comes in.

    所以,簡訊的結構非常鬆散

  • And so, texting is very loose in its structure.

    傳簡訊的時候沒人關心大小寫跟標點符號

  • No one thinks about capital letters or punctuation when one texts,

    但話又說回來,誰說話的時候會注意這些

  • but then again, do you think about those things when you talk?

    沒有人會,所以為什麼傳簡訊的時候要注意呢

  • No, and so therefore why would you when you were texting?

    雖然簡訊涉及到

  • What texting is, despite the fact that it involves

    某項我們稱為寫作的野蠻技巧

  • the brute mechanics of something that we call writing,

    簡訊事實上是手指的對話

  • is fingered speech. That's what texting is.

    現在我們可以用說話的方式來寫作

  • Now we can write the way we talk.

    而這非常有趣,但是

  • And it's a very interesting thing, but nevertheless

    我們仍然會認為,它還是代表著某種墮落

  • easy to think that still it represents some sort of decline.

    我們看到簡訊結構鬆散

  • We see this general bagginess of the structure,

    忽視語法規則,那些我們曾經

  • the lack of concern with rules and the way that we're used to

    在黑板上學到的語法規則,所以我們就覺得

  • learning on the blackboard, and so we think

    一定哪裡出了差錯

  • that something has gone wrong.

    這是很自然的反應

  • It's a very natural sense.

    但事實上,這一切都是

  • But the fact of the matter is that what is going on

    一種新興的複雜體

  • is a kind of emergent complexity.

    這才是我們在手指對話中所觀察到的

  • That's what we're seeing in this fingered speech.

    為了瞭解它,我們需要了解的是

  • And in order to understand it, what we want to see

    以簡訊,以這種新的語言

  • is the way, in this new kind of language,

    新的結構如何誕生

  • there is new structure coming up.

    所以,例如,在簡訊界大家公認的—

  • And so, for example, there is in texting a convention,

    LOL

  • which is LOL.

    現在我們通常認為lol

  • Now LOL, we generally think of

    意思是「放聲大笑」(laughing out loud)

  • as meaning "laughing out loud."

    當然,理論上,確實是這麼回事

  • And of course, theoretically, it does,

    如果你們看看舊的簡訊,那人們確實曾經用它

  • and if you look at older texts, then people used it

    來表示「放聲大笑」

  • to actually indicate laughing out loud.

    但如果你們現在有傳簡訊,或如果你是一個

  • But if you text now, or if you are someone who

    意識到簡訊的基礎如何演進的人

  • is aware of the substrate of texting the way it's become,

    你們會注意到 LOL

  • you'll notice that LOL

    不再意味著「放聲大笑」

  • does not mean laughing out loud anymore.

    它演變成一種更微妙的意思

  • It's evolved into something that is much subtler.

    不久之前有一則簡訊

  • This is an actual text that was done

    是兩位20 歲左右的女性互傳的

  • by a non-male person of about 20 years old

    內容如下:

  • not too long ago.

    蘇珊:「順便說一句,我喜歡你用的字體。」

  • "I love the font you're using, btw."

    朱莉:「lol 謝謝, gmail 現在好卡。」

  • Julie: "lol thanks gmail is being slow right now"

    現在你們想想,其實那並不是很有趣

  • Now if you think about it, that's not funny.

    沒有人笑(笑聲)

  • No one's laughing. (Laughter)

    但是大家就這麼用LOL,所以假如

  • And yet, there it is, so you assume

    這裡有人打嗝

  • there's been some kind of hiccup.

    然後蘇珊說:「LOL,我知道」

  • Then Susan says "lol, I know,"

    這也比我們談到網路不順這種不方便的事時

  • again more guffawing than we're used to

    顯得更好笑

  • when you're talking about these inconveniences.

    所以朱莉說:「我剛寄給你一封電子郵件。」

  • So Julie says, "I just sent you an email."

    蘇珊:「lol,我看到了。」

  • Susan: "lol, I see it."

    如果這就是 LOL 的意思,那這些人真搞笑

  • Very funny people, if that's what LOL means.

    這個朱莉又說:「那妳最近如何啊?」

  • This Julie says, "So what's up?"

    蘇珊:「lol,我要寫 10 頁作文。」

  • Susan: "lol, I have to write a 10 page paper."

    她並不覺得好笑。讓我們想想看

  • She's not amused. Let's think about it.

    LOL的用法很奇特

  • LOL is being used in a very particular way.

    它是移情作用的標記。也是調節的標記

  • It's a marker of empathy. It's a marker of accommodation.

    我們語言學家稱這種東西叫做「實用顆粒」

  • We linguists call things like that pragmatic particles.

    任何真人使用的口語當中都有

  • Any spoken language that's used by real people has them.

    比方說如果你們會講日語,想一下

  • If you happen to speak Japanese, think about

    那個「ね」字,很多句子的結尾都會使用

  • that little word "ne" that you use at the end of a lot of sentences.

    如果你們聽現在的黑人青年如何說話

  • If you listen to the way black youth today speak,

    想想「yo」這個字

  • think about the use of the word "yo."

    關於它的用法可以寫一整篇論文

  • Whole dissertations could be written about it,

    或可能已經有人寫過了。

  • and probably are being written about it.

    LOL 已經逐漸成為這樣的「實用顆粒」

  • A pragmatic particle, that's what LOL has gradually become.

    它是人與人之間使用語言的方式

  • It's a way of using the language between actual people.

    另一個例子是「/」