浅论英语普通话(下)by 淳于金章

The problem and confusion of English learning in China mainly come from the invasion of American English, whose pronunciation is based on a totally different phonetic system, and almost appears to be for a different language. Although few learners of English in China have ever learnt this set of phonetic symbols systematically, many people claim to be the speakers of American English, simply because they in all cases pronounce the "R" sounds.


American English is indeed getting popular in China and some other countries but it differs very much from Queen's English in pronunciation and intonation. The relationship of Queen's English to American English is somewhat akin to bel canto songs and popular ones. The former is governed by many rules not existent in the latter. In terms of pronunciation, the former gives much emphasis to the positions of the different vowels (front, middle, back), the changes of mouth shape and their different sound lengths, while in the latter there is no strict regulation in these respects. In terms of intonation, the former gives much emphasis to the word stress, the sentence rhythm, and the rise and fall of language melody, while the latter usually keeps a very flat tone and an unclear rhythm.


Good teachers of English should be able to explain to their students these basic differences between the two types of English and let them decide which type they prefer to learn. Otherwise, students will easily feel confused about the two and be at a loss as to which one to follow. As a result, they would choose to keep their mouths shut and just learn to cope with written examinations. This is the actual situation of English teaching and learning in China, where 99 percent of the English learners have no good command of the phonetic alphabet, and speak English with a mixture of many unauthentic accents, which sound neither fish nor fowl and neither English nor American.


Most teachers of English are used to encouraging their students to open their mouths and speak English by telling them that it makes no difference whether or not their pronunciation is standard, so long as they can make themselves understood. As its consequence, schools of "Crazy English" and classes of different types of oral English meet a booming demand in China, where students are not systematically taught on English pronunciation and intonation. The worse is that what they are teaching is American pronunciation, which misleads students and leaves them at a loss between the English and American pronunciations. As a matter of fact, most teachers of English in China have neglected the simple truth that without a definite standard of pronunciation well-rooted in students' minds, they would be shy and refuse to open their mouths.


So far as pronunciation is concerned, no language can develop well unless it is strictly governed by a rule, and no person can master a language unless he has a rule firm in mind.


Your choice between the Queen's English and the American English is analogous to your preference between the classic music and the popular one. It is a matter of aesthetic orientation. Nevertheless, statistics show that most well-educated or high profile people in the world prefer the classic, while most of young students and migrant workers in China like the popular version. Moreover, it is commonly believed that people who speak Queen's English in America will be better respected while those who speak American English in England will be considered to have received little education. It's true that the highbrow tone finds few singers, but still one should consider which kind of tones he should choose to sing in his limited life, which type of accents is worth the much time and money he would invest on learning English, and which type of accent can eventually help him different and outstanding from most of the others. While 99 percent of the learners follow the trend learning American, what should he learn?

In conclusion, if you decide to learn English, be sure to learn and speak the pure, standard, elegant and internationally received Queen's English.

综上,要学就学纯正的、规范的、高雅的,要学就学与国际接轨的 “英语普通话”。




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