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Unit 12 If Black English isn't a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?

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1 Unit 12 If Black English isn't a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?

2 About the Author James Baldwin ( )American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist. Most of Baldwin's work deals with racial and sexual issues in the mid- 20th century in the United States. His novels are notable for the personal way in which they explore questions of identity as well as the way in which they mine complex social and psychological pressures related to being black and homosexual well before the social, cultural or political equality of these groups was improved

3 Text Structure Section 1: Paragraph 1 Section 2: Paragraphs 2-4 Section 3: Paragraphs 5-8 Section 4: Paragraphs 9-10 Section 5: Paragraph 11 Section 6: Paragraph 12

4 Text Analysis The central theme of this essay is the political significance of black English which is part of the continuous struggle between the blacks and whites. The author discusses this political-linguistic issue from the origin of black English, its history and present roles in an attempt to justify its legitimacy and to assert the identity of its users. This justification poses a serious challenge to the biased white American's linguisitc criteria.

5 Paragraph 1 The argument concerning the use, or the status, or the reality, of black English is rooted in American history and has absolutely nothing to do with the question (that) the argument supposes itself to be posing. The argument has nothing to do with language itself but with the role of language. Language, incontestably, reveals the speaker. Language, also, far more dubiously, is meant to define the other --- and, in this case, the other is refusing to be defined by a language that has never been able to recognize him.

6 status n. 1. the relative position or standing of things or especially persons in a society; 2. a state at a particular time All he and the team want is to maintain the status quo. 他和球队现在所希望的就是维持目前的良 好状态。 France has the unique status in the space technology development. 法国在航天技术发展中具有独 特的地位。

7 pose v. 1. introduce; 2. pretend to be someone you are not; sometimes with fraudulent intentions; 3. behave affectedly or unnaturally in order to impress others; The workers' movement poses a direct threat to their interests 工人运动对他们的利益造成了直接威胁。 After the wedding we all posed for a photograph. 婚礼之后 ,我们全体排好拍了一张照片。 The great photographer posed them in front of a row of tenement. 摄影大师让他们在一排公寓房面前摆好姿 势。

8 incontestably unquestionably, undoutedly He is incontestably fond of his country, yet preferring his family; 他不容置辩地爱他的祖国, 但更爱他的家庭。 incontestable (adj.) not open to question; obviously true But those justifications have an incontestable value in their own day. 但是这些辩解在当时却具有 必要的意义。

9 dubiously in a questionable or doubtful manner The demon caught the gift and studied it dubiously. 魔鬼拿住了礼物,又半信半疑地看了看它。 The courier shook his head dubiously. 这位信差疑 惑地摇摇头。 dubious (adj.) open to doubt or suspicion; not convinced The police raided the club and arrested several dubious characters 警察袭击了俱乐部并且逮捕 了几个可疑的人。

10 Paragraph 2 People evolve a language in order to describe and thus control their circumstances, or in order not to be submerged by a reality that they cannot articulate. A Frenchman..., to say nothing of the man from Senegal --- although the "common language of all these areas is French. But each has paid, and is paying, a different price for this common language, in which, as it turns out, they are not saying, and cannot be saying, the same things...

11 evolve 1. work out; 2. undergo development The Chinese political system has evolved over a long period of time. 中国的政治制度是长期发展形成 的。 To evolve is to surrender choices. 进化,就是对选 择的屈从。 evolution (n.) a process in which something passes by degrees to a different stage (especially a more advanced or mature stage)

12 circumstance n. 1. a condition that accompanies or influences some event or activity; 2. the set of facts that surround a situation or event; 3. information that should be kept in mind when making a decision; 4. formal ceremony about important occasions I don't think electrons can transfer energy in any circumstance. 我认为电子并非在任何情况下都 能传送能量。 Variations in place and circumstance also can make a difference. 地域和环境的改变也会造成影响

13 submerge v. 1. sink below the surface; go under or as if under water; 2. cover completely or make imperceptible; 3. put under water; 4. fill or cover completely, usually with water The whole village and the fields have been submerged by floods. 洪水已淹没了整个村庄和 农田。 Try not to submerge the child's hands in the soapy water.It will harm the skin. 尽量别把孩子的手浸在 肥皂水里,那样会伤皮肤的。

14 articulate v.1. provide with a joint; 2. put into words or an expression; 3. speak, pronounce, or utter in a certain way; 4. express or state clearly Be careful to articulate your words so that everyone in the room can understand you. 小心使你的话发 音清晰,使室内每人都能听懂。 The pupil articulated each word carefully. 这名学生 把每个词的音都发得很清楚。 He is an articulate speaker. 他是发音清晰的演讲 者。

15 subtly adv.in a subtle manner These events were all subtly linked together. 这些事件都被 微妙地联系在一起。 subtle (adj.) 1.be difficult to detect or grasp by the mind; 2. faint and difficult to analyze; 3. able to make fine distinctions; 4. working or spreading in a hidden and usually injurious way True magic is a very subtle thing. 真正的魔法是一种非常 微妙的事。 This is an extremely subtle diplomatic problem and needs careful handling 这是一个非常微妙的外交问题,需要小 心处理。

16 crucially adv.to a crucial degree It also tries to answer other crucially important questions. 也试图解决其他非常重要的问题。 crucial (adj.) of extreme importance; vital to the resolution of a crisis As history has proven, speed is one of the most crucial advantages in combat. 历史早已证明,速度是战 斗中最具决定性的优势之一。 The crucial distinction is between thought and action. 至关重要的差别是思想与行动的差别。

17 apprehend v.1. get the meaning of something; 2. take into custody; 3. anticipate with dread or anxiety That's not the case, as I apprehend it. 在我看来, 那不是事实。 He can't apprehend the real nature of change. 他不 能理解变革的真实性质。 He disagreed with our decision to try to apprehend Aidid for the UN. 他不赞成我们想要为帮助联 合国逮捕艾迪德的决定。

18 pay a price for Whatever you get, you have to pay a price for it. 你 得为你得到的一切付出代价。 Russia will pay a price for what it’s done. 俄罗斯会 为它的所作所为付出一定代价。 You might have to pay a price you didn't bargain for. 你可能不得不付出你根本没有预料到的代 价。 You and your organization pay a price in wasted time, wasted efforts, and lost goodwill. 你和你的组 织就会在三个方面付出代价:浪费时间, 浪费精力,失去信誉。

19 to say nothing of He knows no English. to say nothing of French or German. 他连英语都不懂. 更不用说法语和德 语了. I don't know algebra or geometry to say nothing of calculus. 我连代数、几何都不懂,更不用说 微积分了。 Even grown-ups can't lift it, to say nothing of children. 大人尚且举不起来,何况小孩子。

20 as it turns out But as it turns out, creeds really do matter. 但是结 果是,教义真的很重要。 As it turns out, the technical problems are a symptom rather than a cause. 结果很明显,技术 问题只是症状,而不是原因。 As it turns out, the bottle was a much-appreciated gift from a grateful patient. 原来这个瓶子是康复 病人送来的礼物,以表达感激之情。

21 They each have... They each have very different realities to articulate. Each of them has very different realities to ariticulate We each have our private views about it. 每个人对 这件事都有自己的看法。 Each of us has his private views about it.

22 Paragraph 3 What joins all languages, and all men, is the necessity to confront life, in order, not inconceivably, to outwit death: The price for this is the acceptance, and achievement, of one's temporal identity. This determination also feeds the flames in Ireland for among the many indignities the Irish have been forced to undergo at English hands is the English contempt for their language.

23 confront v.1. oppose, as in hostility or a competition; 2. deal with (something unpleasant) head on; 3. present somebody with something, usually to accuse or criticize; 4. be face to face with The next big issue confronting the workers is the question of wages. 摆在工人面前的第二大问题 是工资问题。 We must confront the future with optimism. 我们必 须乐观地面对未来。

24 inconceivably unthinkably; unimaginably She was inconceivably wealthy. 她的财富无法想 像。 The task proves inconceivably more difficult than we have imagined. 任务的困难程度超过我们的 想像,确实难以置信。 inconceivable : (adj.)totally unlikely A circle without a center is inconceivable. 一个没 有圆心的圆是不可思议的。

25 outwit v.beat through cleverness and wit We have outwitted a dangerous enemy. 我们以智 慧战胜了一个危险的敌人。 You should not be proud because you outwit him. 你不该因为自己比他聪明就骄傲 Somehow he always manages to outwit his opponents. 他反正总能设法智胜对手。 outnumber, outweigh

26 temporal not eternal; of or relating to or limited by time "When" is a temporal conjunction. 是一个时间连 接词。 It can be applied to the temporal relationship between different plants. 它也可以应用在不同植 物之间的时间关系。 Place your sword upon the ground, and rest in the temporal peace. 放下你的剑吧,静享这暂时的 和平。

27 indignity an affront to one's dignity or self-esteem Anxious not to suffer the indignity of another bidding failure, China’s leaders waited for a more opportune moment. 为防止再次申奥失败,中国领导人 决心等待更合适的时机。 dignity : the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect To man,the most important thing is dignity. 对人来 说,最重要的东西是尊严。

28 undergo go through (mental or physical states or experiences) The city has undergone many changes during the last ten years. 这个城市在过去十年中经历了 很多变化。 The explorers underwent much suffering. 探险家们 遭受到许多痛若。 You cannot create experience, you must undergo it. 你不能创造经验,你必须经历它。

29 contempt n. lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike; open disrespect for a person or thing Such conduct is beneath contempt. 这种举动为人 所不齿. He interpreted the silence as contempt. 他把沉默 看作轻蔑的表示。 contemptuous (adj.) contemptuously (adv.)

30 Paragraph 4 (part 1) It goes without saying, then, that language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power. It is the most vivid and crucial key to identify: It reveals the private identity, and connects one with, or divorces one from, the larger, public, or communal identity. There have been, and are, times, and places, when to speak a certain language could be dangerous, even fatal. Or, one may speak the same language, but in such a way that one's antecedents are revealed, or (one hopes) hidden.

31 proof any factual evidence that helps to establish the truth of something Tears are no proof of cowardice. 眼泪不是怯懦的 证明! The best proof of love is trust. 爱的最好证明(证 据)就是信任。 Have you got any proof that you own this car? 你有 任何证据证明你是这辆车的主人吗?

32 divorce (n.)the legal dissolution of a marriage (v.)1. part; cease or break association with; 2. formally terminate a marriage Mrs. Jones divorced her husband. 琼斯太太与她 丈夫离婚了。 Has somebody tell you about their divorce? 有人告 诉你他们离婚的事了吗? Can you divorce life from art? 你能使生活与艺术 脱离吗 ?

33 communal (adj.)1. for or by a group rather than individuals; 2. relating to a small administrative district or community She recently moved out of the communal living quarters, in part to fight this tendency. 她最近从社区 的居所搬了出去,部分原因是为了抵制这种倾 向。 In college we had a communal kitchen. 念大学时, 我们有共用的厨房。 They live in communal groups, in harmony with the nature of their planet. 他们以部落群居,与自然环 境和谐相处。

34 fatal (adj.)1. bringing death; 2. having momentous consequences; of decisive importance; 3.controlled or decreed by fate; predetermined Her wounds were not fatal. 她的伤不是致命的。 Success is Never Final and Failure Never Fatal. 成 功不代表永远﹐失败不过是一时。 An fatal accident took place at this cross three years ago. 这个十字路口三年前发生了一起死 亡事故。

35 antecedent (n.)1. someone from whom you are descended (but usually more remote than a grandparent); 2. a preceding occurrence or cause or event; (adj.)preceding in time or order Events antecedent to the war failed to serve as a warning of the threat. 先于战争的一些事件未能警 告人们有关战争的威胁。 the coreferential relation between a reflexive pronoun and its antecedent. 反身代词和它的先行词间的同 一性关系。

36 Paragraph 4 (Part 2) This is true in France, and is absolutely true in England: The range (and reign) of accents on that damp little island make England coherent for the English and totally incomprehensible for everyone else. To open your mouth in England is (if I may use black English) to "put your business in the street": You have confessed your parents, your youth, your school, your salary, your self-esteem, and, alas, your future.

37 reign a period during which something or somebody is dominant or powerful The Queen of Britain reigns, but she does not rule or govern. 英国女王是国家元首,但不治国事。 The first major wall was built during the reign of the First Emperor of the short-lived Qin dynasty 第一次 修建长城是在短命的秦王朝始皇帝统治时 期

38 coherent marked by an orderly, logical, and aesthetically consistent relation of parts; capable of thinking and expressing yourself in a clear and consistent manner I devised a coherent system for living. 我设计了一 个连贯的生活体系。 In coherent writing, every sentence is connected in thought to the previous sentence. 在连贯的写作 中,每一个句子思想上都要和前面的句子 相连

39 incomprehensible (adj.)1. incapable of being explained or accounted for; 2. difficult to understand The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible. 关于世界,最不 能理解的事是,所有的事情都可以理解 To the lay mind, these technical terms are incomprehensible. 对外行人来讲, 这些技术术语 是无法理解的。

40 confess v. admit to a punishable or reprehensible deed, usually under pressure Now, I must confess that I'm at my wit's end. 现在 我必须承认我已毫无办法。 I confess to having heard about it. 我承认曾听说 过这件事。 He confessed to the priest before he died. 他死前 向神甫作了忏悔。 confession (n.) confessor (n.)

41 alas (adv.) by bad luck; (interj.) oh, (indicating sadness, worriedness, etc.) Alas, I do regret, they forever cry tears of sadness. 是啊, 我很遗憾, 他们总是流着悲伤的眼泪. If the stone fell upon the egg, alas for the egg! 假如 巨石砸到鸡蛋上, 为可怜的鸡蛋祈祷吧 ! The conclusion, alas, is depressing. 唉,结论是 令人沮丧的。

42 Paragraph 5 (Part 1) Now, I do not know what white Americans would sound like if there had never been any black people in the United States, but they would not sound the way they sound. Jazz, for example, is a very specific sexual term, as in jazz me, baby, but white people purified it into the Jazz Age. Sock it to me, which means, roughly, the same thing, has been adopted by Nathaniel Hawthorne's descendants with no qualms or hesitations at all, along with let it all hang out and right on!

43 descendant n.a person considered as descended from some ancestor or race adj.going or coming down As a descendant of several men who fought in the War for Independence, I hesitate to criticize my forebears. 作为一个参与独立战争的一些人之 后代,我对批评祖先感到犹豫。 Boer is a Dutch colonist or descendant of a Dutch colonist in South Africa. 布尔人是指南非荷兰殖 民者或荷兰殖民者的后裔。

44 qualm n. 1. uneasiness about the fitness of an action; 2. an uncomfortable feeling of doubt about whether you are doing the right thing. The doctor seemed seized with a qualm of faintness. 博士显得好象一阵眩晕发作。 He felt a qualm in his stomach, and it was more in memory of his loneliness. 想到了很多以前的孤 独生活,他感到很不安。

45 Paragraph 5 (Part2) Beat to his socks which was once the black's most total and despairing image of poverty, was transformed into a thing called the Beat Generation, which phenomenon was, largely, composed of uptight, middle- class white people, imitating poverty,

46 despairing adj.arising from or marked by despair or loss of hope He received the news with a despairing sigh. 他得 到消息, 绝望地叹了口气。 With a despairing cry the woman banged her head against the wall. 随着一声绝望的呼叫, 那女人 把头往墙上猛撞。 The despairing man jumped off the crag. 那个绝望 的人跳下了悬崖。

47 transform change in outward structure or looks; convert (one form of energy) to another A little paint will transform this old car. 喷点漆就能 让这辆旧车变个模样。 Most of all, we can transform technology into productivity as quickly as possible. 最重要的是我 们能尽可能快地把技术转化成生产力. The magician transformed the girl into a tiger. 魔术 师把那个女孩变成了一头老虎。

48 uptight adj.being in a tense state She was uptight about the interview. 她对面谈感 到紧张。 My ex-boss was a very uptight person. 我的前任 老板是一个很爱烦躁的人。 But luckily my new boss isn't uptight at all. 但幸运 的是我的新老板不是那样的人。

49 End of Unit 12 Part I To be continued


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