时间:2022-1-1 作者:爱思英语网



The word 'toad' would be a snap in an English-language spelling bee, but not in a nationallytelevised contest in China.


In Chinese, toad has three characters that are made up of 46 individual strokes.


Yu Shuang, a 14-year-old contestant, came close in an early round. As her teammatessquealed and drew out the word in the air, Miss Yu quickly wrote the characters on a screenthat projected her effort on a big display above her head.


When she finished, one of three judges hit the buzzer signaling a correct answer, bringingcheers. But the other two didn't agree, pointing out that the young girl had missed a single dotin the third character. 'You were obviously very nervous just now,' said the judge, as Miss Yu'steammates groaned in disappointment backstage.


Miss Yu wasn't alone. The show tested a group of adults in the audience, and just 30% of themcould write toad correctly, state media lamented after the broadcast. 'It's a word that everyoneknows,' said the Xinhua News Agency.


Since its debut in August on a minor TV channel dedicated to educational programming, the'Chinese Characters Dictation Competition' has exploded in popularity.


The show shifted to a Friday evening time slot on CCTV1, even challenging the popularity ofthe country's most-watched shows, including China's version of 'The Voice.'


Friday night's final was a must-watch contest all over China that came down to two secondary-school girls from the same school in the affluent city of Hangzhou.


The show has touched a nerve in China, where purists complain that smartphones are erodinglanguage skills, thanks to the frequent use of emoticons and software that lets people writefaster using the pinyin system, where Chinese words are written phonetically in Latin script.


Its creator, Guan Zhengwen, said his inspiration came from the Scripps National Spelling Beein the U.S. In particular, he said he was touched by watching a grandfather who had takenpart in the spelling bee 50 years ago and then prepared his grandson to compete.

《汉字听写大会》节目组总导演关正文说,他的灵感来自美国的全国拼写大赛(Scripps National SpellingBee)。尤其值得一提的是,他说,他尤为感动的是看到一个50年前曾参加拼写大赛的祖父,现在帮助孙子备赛。

'In a diverse country like America, the spelling bee allows people from different backgrounds tofind common ground in an American dream that they share in,' said Mr. Guan.


Mandarin has been an important part of the government's strategy to unify a vast countrythat spans the Uighur-speaking Muslims of the far West, and the dialects of Cantonese andFujianese in the south. Contestants from various ethnic minority groups in China also took partin the competition in their ethnic dress, underscoring the idea that Chinese language bringsthe country together.


Some have been extremely outspoken on the issue. Wang Xuming, a former spokesman ofthe Ministry of Education, launched a campaign on his Weibo microblogging page, calling forthe abolishment of English classes in primary schools and for putting more emphasis onstudying Chinese.


'Save the children, save the Chinese language, save our culture!' he tweets frequently on hisaccount, which has about 1.8 million followers.


The hope is that the show could reinvigorate enthusiasm for the language, which is 'one of themost spectacular treasures of Chinese civilization' and 'the fifth big invention the Chinesepeople have given to humanity,' according to the show's mission statement. The so-called'four great inventions' from China typically are listed as paper, gunpowder, the compass andprinting.


One paradox not lost on some viewers is that the characters being tested are themselvessimplified Chinese, which was made the official script in China by the Communist Party in the 1950s to improve literacy. Hong Kong and Taiwan retained traditional Chinese, which usuallyhas more strokes per character.


After eight qualifying rounds and two semifinals, 160 entrants were winnowed down to 15 forFriday night's final. Words such as Yili He, referring to a river that runs through Kazakhstan andChina, and the word for chaff, brought the final down to two 14-year-old female classmates, who spend much of their days studying English at the Hangzhou Foreign Languages School.


The girls' coach said that while English is important, the school does teach Chinese, especiallyreading. 'Most people think that our school is only good at foreign-language teaching,' said SuYunsheng, a teacher of Chinese at the school, in Hangzhou, about 110 miles from Shanghai. But she adds that students focus on English, and many go abroad for college. 'Our students arevery good at English, especially English speaking,' Ms. Su said.


After about an hour and 15 minutes, there were four contestants remaining, including threegirls from the Hangzhou school, wearing matching outfits of loose white T-shirts and three-quarter-length gray pants.


And then there were two. Lu Jialei and her teammate Yu Jiamin battled it out, but the twomouthed words of encouragement to each other in the background, their eyes lighting upwhen a word came up that they knew. In the fifth round, Miss Yu finally faltered on an obscureterm, yang chen, which means to pretend to be angry.


The victor attributes her success to time spent in her family's bookstore in Hangzhou. 'I likereading in the store even though it is very noisy, because it forces me to calm down and readreally carefully,' she said.


Her literary tastes are eclectic, ranging from controversial Chinese writer Yu Hua toAmerican author O. Henry. Mr. Yu is best known for violent depictions of the CulturalRevolution and because the movie of his book 'To Live' was banned in China.

从中国富有争议的作家余华到美国作家欧•亨利(O. Henry),她的文学品味是兼容并包的。余华的出名源自他在书中对“”暴行的描写,以及根据他的书《活着》拍的电影在中国被禁。

'I think English and Chinese are not conflicting,' Miss Lu said. 'They are each beautiful in theirown way.'





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