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字字珠璣:英文表達方式與邏輯
2018/3/27
英語力

不同文化會發展出不同的表達方式與邏輯。以中文而言,當我們在闡述一件事情時,往往是「先因後果」,如同中文寫作的「起、承、轉、合」架構,重點往往放在後面的「轉、合」。而英文的表達與寫作,則是「先果後因」,強調「直截了當」及「簡潔有力」。第一句話先把重點說出來,許多不相關的瑣碎細節及背景就不必提了。

 

舉例來說,許多人在課堂中闡述一件事情時,是這樣的方式:

 

I went to college in 2010. I majored in Education, and after four years of studies, I wanted to learn more, so I decided to continue my studies. I applied for graduate school. I studied for a master’s degree in English Language Teaching. During my time in graduate school, I also went on an exchange. I went to America in 2017. I prepared for a year so my 2016 was super busy. I wanted to save more money before I set out. Finally, I went there. My school was in Madison, Wisconsin. It was freezing there! I took a lot of classes, and I found that my listening skills were not good enough. I was very frustrated at first, because I couldn’t even understand my supervisor at work. I worked part-time in school because I didn’t have enough money. After staying there for six months, I came back to Taiwan. One day, I was watching films on Netflix again, and magically, miraculously, I no longer needed the subtitles!

 

(我2010年上大學,我主修教育學,讀了四年之後,我還想繼續精進,於是我決定繼續升學。我申請研究所並且攻讀英語教學碩士。研究所期間,我也去國外交換。我在2017年的時候去美國。我準備了一整年,所以2016年我十分忙碌。我想在出發前多存一點錢。終於,我到了那裡。我的學校在威斯康辛州麥迪遜市,那裡超冷的!我修了很多課,並且發現我的聽力不夠好。剛開始我非常沮喪,因為我連打工的主管講話都聽不懂。我在學校打工是因為我沒有錢。待了六個月之後,我就回到台灣。有一天當我又在看影集追劇的時候,很神奇地,我可以完全不用看字幕了!)

 

以上是不是很典型的「流水帳」呢?一大段話,其實重點在後面的「剛開始去美國,都聽不懂當地人講的話,感到非常沮喪,後來才發現自己不知不覺進步了,最明顯的證明是現在看電影都不用字幕。」前面一長串的年份、學歷及背景,都不是重點,只要簡單地一兩句話 “I went on an exchange to American when I was in graduate school. I went through a lot of frustration during my time there.” 帶過即可。

 

如果是平常與朋友聊天,或是寫日記記錄心情的時候,當然是沒有關係,想說什麼就說什麼。不過,如果是正式的工作面試、採訪、會議、報告、撰文的時候,過多的細節不僅會讓你的聽者/讀者分心,沒辦法抓到你真正想傳達的意思,也會花費過多篇幅和時間去闡述不重要的資訊。

 

不論是英文口說或寫作,都要記得 Be assertive. Be concise. Get to the point. 由於文化的差異,我們需要許多時間調適,這十分正常!說話或書寫之前,先想清楚自己到底想表達什麼,直接先把關鍵字詞說出來,後面再慢慢補充細節,會幫助你一步一步達到「字字珠璣」的境界。

 

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撰文者:Vvn

 

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