BBC英语六分钟 第87期:文化英雄


Rob:Hello I’m Rob. Welcome to 6 Minute English. I’m joined today by Finn. Hello Finn.


Finn:Hi Rob.


Rob:Today we’re talking about literacy – that means the ability to read and write. And one way to improve your literacy is to read books and literature in general.


Finn:Yes, reading is good for you – and it can be educational. So you can learn things, but of course it’s enjoyable too, isn’t it Rob?


Rob:Well, it depends on what you’re reading. But you sound like a fan of books Finn, could we say you’re a bookworm –that’s a person who reads a lot?


Finn:Yes, well, I do. I’m reading a book at the moment on the way to work every day and it’s very exciting.


Rob:Well, I also like to read books but the problem is there are so many books available, it’s difficult knowing which one to choose. Anyway, soon we’ll be talking about some people who’ve been awarded for promoting – or encouraging – the love of reading.


Finn:Yes, and we’ll be using some book-related vocabulary.


Rob:But let’s start with a question for you Finn. It’s about one of the world’s longest books which is in French, and it’s by Marcel Proust, and translated into English it’s called Remembrance of Things Past. So, do you know approximately how many words that book contains? Is it: a) 267,000 b) 1,267,000 c) 10,267,000

现在先让我来问你一个问题吧,菲恩。是关于一本世界上最长的书,写作语言是法语,作者Marcel Proust,作品英文译名是《追忆逝水年华》。那么,你知道它大约有多少字吗?是a) 267,000?b) 1,267,000?还是c) 10,267,000?

Finn:I know this is a very long book. I think it's in several volumes. I'm going to say b) 1,267,000.


Rob:OK. Have you read it?




Rob:We’ll find out if you are right or wrong later on. So let’s talk more about literacy. I think we all know that learning to read has many benefits – many good things that help us. But what inspires us, or encourages us to read?


Finn:Well, I suppose there were our parents and our school teachers – and then we have the authors – the people who write the books. A good author can really capture your imagination and make you read their stories. Which authors do you like, Rob?


Rob:Well, as a child, I loved Roald Dahl, who wrote stories like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Now, that was fiction – imaginary stories – not based on real people. Now I like travel stories, such as ones by American travel writer, Paul Theroux.

我小的时候喜欢 罗尔德·达尔,他写过《查理和巧克力工厂》这样的作品。那是小说——虚构的故事——不是根据真人真事创作的。现在我喜欢的是旅行故事,比方说美国游记作家保罗·泰鲁写的那些书。

Finn:Yes and he also writes novels, so we could also call him a novelist.


Rob:Now, you may have heard of J.K. Rowling. She wrote the Harry Potter books. She is one author who’s recently been recognised for improving people’s love of reading. The UK’s National Literacy Trust named her a ’literacy hero’ for "turning a generation of children into readers".


Finn:Another 'literacy hero' was the actor Henry Winkler, who has dyslexia – that’s a condition where your brain makes it hard to read certain words.He has written books about a boy with learning difficulties.


Rob:Now, not all the ’heroes’ are authors. The Trust also honoured schoolchildren, a librarian and teachers for their efforts in trying to get people to read.


Finn:Yes, reading can also help in other ways. Recently, the former world champion boxer, Mike Tyson said he read books by Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky when he was in prison.


Rob:Well, author, Pat Winslow, who worked as a writer in prisons explains why reading and understanding books is a good thing. What words does she use to desCRIbe how they looked at characters – that’s the people – in a book?


When I was working in prison, very often we would have discussions about the moral compass of a character –what was the motivation of somebody, why did they behave that way? And when people were writing as well, they were actually reflecting on themselves and reflecting on their own patterns of behaviour.


Rob:So she says she discussed stories with prisoners –and one of the things they looked at was the moral compass of the characters. That’s a natural feeling someone has that makes them know what is wrong and what it is right.


Finn:They also discussed characters' motivation — what made them do things a certain way. And this helped prisoners look at what they themselves had done and what they should do in the future.


Rob:So there’s an example of how reading can help. Now Finn, have you had any help in answering today’s question?


Finn:No. It’s a complete guess, Rob!


Rob:Well, earlier I said the world’s longest book is called, in English, Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust. Did you know approximately how many words it contained? Was it: a) 267,000 b) 1,267,000 c) 10,267,000

刚才先我说过,世界上最长的一本书的英文名字叫做《追忆逝水年华》,是马塞尔·普鲁斯特写的。它大约有多少个字?是a) 267,000?b) 1,267,000?还是c) 10,267,000?

Finn:Rob, I really have no idea so I’m going to go for b) the middle option.


Rob:Which means you were wrong. It was a mere 267,000 words.


Finn:That’s nothing. A novella. A short novel!


Rob:The first volume of this 13-volume book was published in 1913 and contained 9,600,000 characters –I don't mean people, but letters.

这部13卷的书的第一卷在1913年出版,总共有 9,600,000个字——这里我说的character指的是人,不是字母。

Finn:I just googled it and found the name in French – la recherche du temps perdu.

我刚在谷歌上查到了它的法文名——la recherche du temps perdu

Rob:Well done! Well, we hope you’ve enjoyed today’s programme. Please join us again soon for another 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English.




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