新编英语教程第一册Unit05

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Unit 5

DIALOGUE I

Learning Chinese as a Foreign Language

A: Hi, Xiaohua!
B: Hi, David, how's everything?
A: Good. So far so good, I mean.
B: You've been in China for two months. How do you like your CFL programme in the Chinese Department?
A: My interest in Chinese grows with each passing day. So does my difficulty in learning Chinese. It's such a difficult language! It's go different from European languages, such as English and French.
B: As a learner of English as a foreign language, I'm going through a similar ordeal. I have difficulty with spelling, pronunciation and, believe it or not, with numbers and figures.
A: But you speak English so much better than I do Chinese. I wish I were able to talk to native speakers in Chinese the way you are talking to me.
B: You will. Only it takes time.
A: I know. "Rome was not built in a day."
B: And “只要工夫深,铁杵磨成针”, as the Chinese saying goes.
A: Which means...?
B: Which means "Dripping water wears away stone", or "Where there's a will, there's a way." By the way, what do you find most difficult with your Chinese learning?
A: The grammatical structure of Chinese doesn't seem to be as complex as I used to think. In many ways it is simpler than most European languages. No verb agreement, no irregular verbs and nouns, very few and simple tense markers, to name just a few.
B: On the other hand, these are exactly the causes of some of the major problems I have with my English learning.
A: But the Chinese writing system is altogether new to me. Instead of neat rows of 26 simple alphabetic letters, there are tens of thousands of unique characters formed with a varied number of strokes. Many of these characters seem complex. Although the calligraphy of Chinese characters is artistically beautiful, I won't be able to appreciate it until I can recognize and write at least 8,888 Chinese characters. I'm just kidding.
B: How does Chinese sound to you?
A: I find putonghua rather melodious, a little like singing.
B: Basically, Chinese is a tonal language. I'm not sure if you have trouble with making distinctions of the four tones.
A: Yes, I do. The tonal system of Chinese really bothers me. It's a major source of difficulty with my comprehension and pronunciation. It's so upsetting that most of the time I don't understand what I hear and am not understood by others.
B: I suggest you take advantage of living in China and go to lectures, movies, and plays "8,888 times", and dip yourself in the language environment as much as possible. Before I forget, I have two tickets for a newly-released feature film. Would you like to go with me and improve your listening for the tones?
A: Certainly! Thank you so much.
B: My pleasure.


DIALOGUE II

Dialogue:
Two English teachers from a foreign language university in China are talking about a book called Beijing opera and Mei Lanfang. One of the teachers saw a Beijing opera a week ago and bought the book afterwards; the other teacher didn't see the opera, but is interested in buying the book.
A: Where did you buy it?
B: In the bookshop. It wasn't very expensive.
A: What does the book say about Beijing opera? I don't know anything about it.
B: Well, neither did I before I read the book. It says that the Beijing opera is a very old art form, over hundreds of years old.
A: Do you think I should buy it?
B: Yes, if you are interested. It tells you all about the history, the famous actors, the costumes and what all the different movements mean.
A: What's the difference between Beijing opera and Western theatre?
B: Well, it's totally different. One of the authors points out that Beijing opera is actually "larger than life."
A: Yes, I can see that from these pictures.
B: One of the two authors says that some people think the Beijing opera is not real drama (theatre).
A: Well, I don't agree with that.
B: No, neither do I. He wonders whether Beijing opera will ever die. He has to admit that there are many keen Beijing opera enthusiasts, and they will never let it die.
A: Mei Lanfang writes something in the book, too, doesn't he?
B: Yes, he declares that he loves the theatre more than anything else, although he admits that it has not always been an easy life.
A: Do the two authors agree that Mei Lanfang was the best Beijing opera actor?
B: Yes, of course. They agree that Mei Lanfang was the "Father" of Beijing opera. They both want to know whether Beijing opera will remain the same in the future, and they wonder if there are enough young Chinese people interested in it today.
A: Mmm, it sounds like an interesting book. If they have any left in the bookshop, I think I'll buy one.


READING I
The Weather

This is the most important topic in the land. Do not be misled by memories of your youth when, on the Continent, wanting to describe someone as exceptionally dull, you remarked: "He is the type who would discuss the weather with you." In English this is an ever-interesting, ever-thrilling topic, and you must be good at discussing the weather.
Example of conversation:

For good weather
"Lovely day, isn't it?"
"Isn't it beautiful?"
"The sun..."
"Isn't it gorgeous?"
"Wonderful, isn't it?"
"It's so nice and hot..."
"Personally, I think it's so nice when it's hot — isn't it?"
"I adore it — don't you?"

For bad weather
"Nasty day, isn't it?"
"Isn't dreadful?"
"The rain... I hate rain..."
"I don't like it at all. Do you?"
"Fancy such a day in July. Rain in the morning, then a bit of sunshine, and then rain, rain, rain, all day long."
"I remember exactly the same July day in 1936."
"Yes, I remember, too."
"Or was it 1928?"
"Yes, it was."
"Or in 1939"
"Yes, that's right."
Now observe the last few sentences of this conversation. A very important rule emerges from it. You must never contradict anybody when discussing the weather. Should it hail and snow, should hurricanes uproot the trees from the sides of the road, and should someone remark to you: "Nice day, isn't it?" — answer without hesitation: "Isn't it lovely?"
Learn the above conversations by heart. If you are a bit slow in picking things up, learn at least one conversation, it would do wonderfully for any occasion.
If you do not say anything else for the rest of your life, just repeat this conversation, and you still have a fair chance of passing as a remarkably witty man of sharp intellect, keen observation and extremely pleasant manners.
Unit 5 DIALOGUE I Learning Chinese as a Foreign Language A: Hi, Xiaohua! B: Hi, David, how's everything? A: Good. So far so good, I mean. B: You've been in China for two months. How do you like your CFL programme in the Chinese Department? A: My interest in Chinese grows with each passing day. So does my difficulty in learning Chinese. It's such a difficult language! It's go different from European languages, such as English and French. B: As a learner of English as a foreign language, I'm going through a similar ordeal. I have difficulty with spelling, pronunciation and, believe it or not, with numbers and figures. A: But you speak English so much better than I do Chinese. I wish I were able to talk to native speakers in Chinese the way you are talking to me. B: You will. Only it takes time. A: I know. "Rome was not built in a day." B: And “只要工夫深,铁杵磨成针”, as the Chinese saying goes. A: Which means...? B: Which means "Dripping water wears away stone", or "Where there's a will, there's a way." By the way, what do you find most difficult with your Chinese learning? A: The grammatical structure of Chinese doesn't seem to be as complex as I used to think. In many ways it is simpler than most European languages. No verb agreement, no irregular verbs and nouns, very few and simple tense markers, to name just a few. B: On the other hand, these are exactly the causes of some of the major problems I have with my English learning. A: But the Chinese writing system is altogether new to me. Instead of neat rows of 26 simple alphabetic letters, there are tens of thousands of unique characters formed with a varied number of strokes. Many of these characters seem complex. Although the calligraphy of Chinese characters is artistically beautiful, I won't be able to appreciate it until I can recognize and write at least 8,888 Chinese characters. I'm just kidding. B: How does Chinese sound to you? A: I find putonghua rather melodious, a little like singing. B: Basically, Chinese is a tonal language. I'm not sure if you have trouble with making distinctions of the four tones. A: Yes, I do. The tonal system of Chinese really bothers me. It's a major source of difficulty with my comprehension and pronunciation. It's so upsetting that most of the time I don't understand what I hear and am not understood by others. B: I suggest you take advantage of living in China and go to lectures, movies, and plays "8,888 times", and dip yourself in the language environment as much as possible. Before I forget, I have two tickets for a newly-released feature film. Would you like to go with me and improve your listening for the tones? A: Certainly! Thank you so much. B: My pleasure. DIALOGUE II Dialogue: Two English teachers from a foreign language university in China are talking about a book called Beijing opera and Mei Lanfang. One of the teachers saw a Beijing opera a week ago and bought the book afterwards; the other teacher didn't see the opera, but is interested in buying the book. A: Where did you buy it? B: In the bookshop. It wasn't very expensive. A: What does the book say about Beijing opera? I don't know anything about it. B: Well, neither did I before I read the book. It says that the Beijing opera is a very old art form, over hundreds of years old. A: Do you think I should buy it? B: Yes, if you are interested. It tells you all about the history, the famous actors, the costumes and what all the different movements mean. A: What's the difference between Beijing opera and Western theatre? B: Well, it's totally different. One of the authors points out that Beijing opera is actually "larger than life." A: Yes, I can see that from these pictures. B: One of the two authors says that some people think the Beijing opera is not real drama (theatre). A: Well, I don't agree with that. B: No, neither do I. He wonders whether Beijing opera will ever die. He has to admit that there are many keen Beijing opera enthusiasts, and they will never let it die. A: Mei Lanfang writes something in the book, too, doesn't he? B: Yes, he declares that he loves the theatre more than anything else, although he admits that it has not always been an easy life. A: Do the two authors agree that Mei Lanfang was the best Beijing opera actor? B: Yes, of course. They agree that Mei Lanfang was the "Father" of Beijing opera. They both want to know whether Beijing opera will remain the same in the future, and they wonder if there are enough young Chinese people interested in it today. A: Mmm, it sounds like an interesting book. If they have any left in the bookshop, I think I'll buy one. READING I The Weather This is the most important topic in the land. Do not be misled by memories of your youth when, on the Continent, wanting to describe someone as exceptionally dull, you remarked: "He is the type who would discuss the weather with you." In English this is an ever-interesting, ever-thrilling topic, and you must be good at discussing the weather. Example of conversation: For good weather "Lovely day, isn't it?" "Isn't it beautiful?" "The sun..." "Isn't it gorgeous?" "Wonderful, isn't it?" "It's so nice and hot..." "Personally, I think it's so nice when it's hot — isn't it?" "I adore it — don't you?" For bad weather "Nasty day, isn't it?" "Isn't dreadful?" "The rain... I hate rain..." "I don't like it at all. Do you?" "Fancy such a day in July. Rain in the morning, then a bit of sunshine, and then rain, rain, rain, all day long." "I remember exactly the same July day in 1936." "Yes, I remember, too." "Or was it 1928?" "Yes, it was." "Or in 1939" "Yes, that's right." Now observe the last few sentences of this conversation. A very important rule emerges from it. You must never contradict anybody when discussing the weather. Should it hail and snow, should hurricanes uproot the trees from the sides of the road, and should someone remark to you: "Nice day, isn't it?" — answer without hesitation: "Isn't it lovely?" Learn the above conversations by heart. If you are a bit slow in picking things up, learn at least one conversation, it would do wonderfully for any occasion. If you do not say anything else for the rest of your life, just repeat this conversation, and you still have a fair chance of passing as a remarkably witty man of sharp intellect, keen observation and extremely pleasant manners.
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