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2009 第一次基測英語反映的問題 by Jerome C. Su 蘇正隆

本年度第一次基本學力測驗剛考過,有位英老師覺得英語試題中 “their farms grow very little rice”這樣的句子怪怪,問我對不對。因此我把本次基測英語題目仔細看一遍,發現有不少問題。

 

基測攸關了廣大考生的權益,如果命題品質不佳,特別是有些受到中文思考影響的中式英文表達,英文很道地的考生反而會不知如何作答。十幾年前筆者有位美國朋友的小孩回台灣讀國中,第一次英文考試就不及格。他媽媽(美國人)相當生氣,把考卷拿來一看,發現題目錯謬百出,說連她自己也會考不及格!

 

我自己女兒讀國一時,也常碰到這類的問題,譬如有一次題目是「你會說英語嗎?」她選 “Do you speak English?”竟然算錯,因為標準答案是 “Can you speak English?”

 

英語並非我們的母語,由國內老師出題要題目出得好,沒有任何問題,是戛戛乎其難矣。理想的方式應該是採用國際語言測驗專家研發的題庫,如由國內老師自己命題,至少也應有幾位英文造詣好的母語人士參與把關。

 

筆者打算以Google做為語料庫,用最簡單方便的方式來檢驗基測中一些有問題的英文詞句。也許有讀者質疑網路上出現的英文有好有壞,不一定可信。不過一般而言,出現頻率高者大致上是母語人士的習慣講法。但是若網路上完全找不到,絕對是可疑的用法。至於以Google統計做為英語用法依據的優缺點及其訣竅,可詳見筆者2008517在趙麗蓮文教基金會的演講〈從童書、工具書與語料庫學英文〉講稿。

 

茲以本次的基測考題為例,來檢視其中有問題的部分。

 

4

Jim grew up with many animals at home and knows well how to (take care of) pets.

“knows how to”中間插入well是很不自然的說法,請看Google search

 

找不到 "knows well how to take care of pets" 的結果

找不到 "know well how to take care of pets" 的結果

若去掉well,再排除網址設於台灣、中國、日本、韓國等非英語系地區的英文訊息,結果為:

 

關於"knows how to take care of pets"-site:tw -site:cn -site:jp -site:kr3項搜尋結果

約有474項符合"know how to take care of pets"-site:tw -site:cn -site:jp -site:kr的查詢結果

 

13

Candy has decided to move to Taipei next year.  When she studies in an art school there, she (will live) with her aunt for five months.

 

這裡的第二個句子以when she studies…來表達未來的情況,也是不太自然。用Google查詢時,可以把內容太過特定的字眼改成較普遍的字詞,減少因特殊情境而查不到或例子太少,所以我們把原句簡化以提高出現的機率:

 

關於"When she studies there"-site:tw -site:cn -site:jp -site:kr2項搜尋結果

 

但是仍然只有兩項,如果改成較道地的說法while she is studying there,頻率就增加了許多:

 

約有245項符合"While she is studying there"-site:tw -site:cn -site:jp -site:kr的查詢結果

 

以下辦理美國留學簽證的保證書常見範本,就是一個很好的佐證:

 

SPONSOR'S AFFIDAVIT OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT

To whom it may concern:

 

I certify that I          will be sponsor for my daughter             while she is studying in           . Also my daughter will cover all expenses for herself including education, personal, medical, tuition and travel expenses when she returns home from the U. S. after she completes the school’s program.

 

底下也是一例:

She has been taking Italian at Kent State and will also take it while she is studying in Italy. She will also be traveling on weekend trips during her…

(取材自gurto.org/information.htm)

 

20

I heard there are many monkeys in this mountain.  But I didn’t see any of them last time when I was here.

 

中文說「山裡有許多猴子」、「山上有許多猴子」都可以,但英語習慣上說monkeys on this mountain,不是in this mountain。只要一查Google便可證實這點:

 

關於"many monkeys in this mountain" -site:tw2項搜尋結果

(這兩個例子仍是源自台灣)

約有236項符合"many monkeys on this mountain" -site:tw的查詢結果

約有231項符合"many monkeys on this mountain" -site:tw -site:cn -site:jp -site:kr的查詢結果

 

句子中有特殊情境的部份,如名稱、數字等變項,用 * 取代,可以提高語料出現的頻率,更方便檢視。此外,第二句的中文意思是「『當我』上次來這裡的時候,我沒看到任何猴子」而講英語時這個when是不必要的,加上反而不自然:

 

關於"didn't see * last time when I was here"2項搜尋結果

(這兩個例子源自台灣)

 

拿掉when再對比之下

約有4,870,000項符合"didn't see * last time I was here"的查詢結果

 

21~23題閱讀

Karen: So that’s why you (have) all those colors on your hair?

Sheryl: Oh, no!

 

介詞on通常用在表面光滑的物體,如果頭髮上沾了什麼,要用in

 

關於"those colors on your hair" -site:tw1項搜尋結果

(此例仍是源自台灣)

約有107項符合"those colors in your hair" -site:tw的查詢結果

 

27~28題閱讀

Four students of Class 705 want to take an art class next year.  They took several tests last week.  Here are their grades.

 

很多人會把「的」一律用of來表達,但英文「五百元的支票」是a check for $500不是 *a check of $500;「某班學生」介詞用in,不是用of

 

約有41項符合"students of class A" -site:tw的查詢結果

約有5,440項符合"students in class A" -site:tw的查詢結果

 

以下也同樣誤用of

34~35題閱讀

Susan visits Jenny for the weekend.  She arrives at the train station of Jenny’s town in the afternoon.

 

關於"the train station of his hometown" -site:tw5項搜尋結果

約有101項符合"the train station in his hometown" -site:tw的查詢結果

 

39

What does the writer think of the movie?

(B): Its music is great for the story.

 

雖然(B)並非答案,似乎無關宏旨,但這個句子英文不太自然,仍然是瑕疵。把「它的配樂很棒」直接用its music is great for…表達,是受到中文的影響,英文習慣上會說the music is great for…

 

關於"its music is great for" -site:tw1項搜尋結果

(此例源自台灣本次基測解析)

約有654項符合"the music is great for" -site:tw的查詢結果

 

同樣的問題也出現在

40~42題閱讀

Today Siena is famous for keeping its “old face”.  For example, its city walls, which helped keep the city safe in the past, are hundreds of years old now…

 

關於"its city walls are * years old" -site:tw -site:cn -site:jp -site:kr1項搜尋結果

 

J & P in China  cities in china to still have its old city walls, which are almost two thousand years old and massive. There is a muslim quarter in the old part of Xian  (取自chinaroaming.blogspot.com/)

 

但檢視上述唯一的一項搜尋結果,卻是不相干的句型,因此結果其實是零。

 

若用the city walls取代its city walls,例子便增加許多:

 

關於"the city walls are * years old" -site:tw -site:cn -site:jp -site:kr10項搜尋結果

 

40~42題閱讀

…the first bank of the world was built in this city and has been doing business ever since.

 

關於"the first bank of the world" -site:tw -site:cn -site:jp -site:kr9項搜尋結果

約有9,690項符合"the first bank in the world" -site:tw -site:cn -site:jp -site:kr的查詢結果

 

在試題中一再出現該用in時誤用of當介詞,可見英文介詞對國人而言是很困難的,對命題委員也不例外。因此國人出英語考題,絕對有必要請母語專家審題。

 

29~30題閱讀

Mark: …can I borrow that CD for the weekend?

Anna: Uh… I’m afraid not.  I bought it only two days ago.  Can you wait until next month?

 

第二句英文通常會把

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