chrisChris Parker started to study Mandarin in 2006. He has worked as a translator and simultaneous interpreter between Chinese and English, and has taught interpretation in the UK and in Beijing. Through his Youtube channel, ( his website   ( and his Facebook page ( he is making it his mission to demystify Chinese and make it easier to learn.

It is possible to “think in a foreign language” without “translating?”

Learning and speaking Chinese for more than 8 years has given me plenty of time to think about the process of how I and other people learn foreign languages. One of the things I have become aware of is to what extent “learning naturally by immersing yourself in a language” works. Is it possible to speak a foreign language “naturally” rather than having to consciously “translate” from your native language? This article is my answer to this question.

My own language study background

I have had a mixed background with languages. When I was at school I took every opportunity I could to study French, Spanish and Russian, but it wasn’t until I decided to study Chinese at university that I really studied a language intensively for a long period of time. I have also spent a couple of years in China, and my work has also included translation and training as a simultaneous interpreter from Chinese to English. I have gone through long language learning processes myself.

Understanding how you learn to speak a language

When you start learning a foreign language, everything appears completely new to you, except the words that you might recognise from your own language or other languages you have learned. Your brain has to get used to a completely new set of sounds, a new vocabulary, and new ways of putting sentences together. You have to try hard to pick out words from the stream of information that you don’t understand.

The process of learning to speak a foreign language is similar. At the beginning, you might learn some simple phrases which you will have to pull out of your brain when you want to talk, or you might have practised certain types of sentences or grammar patterns, which you have to think about and form slowly. In comparison with your native tongue, the foreign language seems very unnatural, and it is not the thing you “think of first.” Students will often ask, “How do you say …. in X language?” which shows how much they are falling back on their native language, “to make things make sense” or “as a place to start from.”

In fact, there is nothing wrong with this. I believe is that it is fine to include English, or your native language in language courses, or to use it as a reference. That’s what I did when I designed my own beginner’s Chinese course – Survive in Chinese. Of course, the courses which claim to teach you “the way a child learns” using just pictures and no translations also work, but I have always found it quicker at the beginning to learn through contrast with my native language, and sometimes from translations. After all, as adults, we have already learned a language once before, and I believe it is completely possible to use this to our advantage.


Sometimes, “translating” can cut short the path to “speaking”

When I was learning Chinese, I didn’t just take English as a reference, I bought a handful of books designed for Chinese people to study English, which had English texts translated in full into Chinese. This way, I had the two languages side by side, and I built on my basic ability to express the ideas I could express in English in Chinese. Much later, when I trained as an interpreter, “translating” became a skill that I had to master, as accurately as possible, and part of my job. But there was a potential problem: was I “really learning to speak Chinese?” or was I just getting better at “translating English in my head?”

The process from “translating in your head” to “speaking more naturally” is one that most language learners have to go through. Even if you are not consciously thinking from your native language, you are still affected by the “interference” it causes when you are speaking a foreign language. 

Let me give you a few examples of this at the beginner level. An English speaker learning Chinese who wants to ask “Can I have a class of water?” might come up with “我可以有一杯水吗,” which is an attempt to translate the English sentence extremely literally, and is wrong in Chinese. A correct way to put it might be “能给我一杯水吗?” Likewise, if an English speaker wanted to say “Do you have my watch?” in Chinese, he might think it was “你有我的手表吗?” which is an attempt to force English into Chinese. A natural way to ask the question could be “我的手表在你那边吗?” Another funny example is that for almost two years I thought the phrase for blow your nose in Chinese was “吹鼻子” which is a literal translation that makes no sense in Chinese. Later I found out it should be “擤鼻子.” Either people had been too reluctant to correct me all that time or I had just completely confused them!

It is not just words that English speakers sometimes try to “force” into Chinese, but also grammatical concepts. Because English has rigid tenses, learners can sometimes try to make Chinese grammar “work more like English grammar,” for example by adding “了” every time they think something has happened in the past or “将会” or something similar when they think something is happening in the future, which can create very unnatural or “grammar textbook” sounding Chinese. Part of the learning process is breaking away from very rigid “textbook” structures when you are speaking and trying to get a “feel” for the language as it is really used.

So, given these kind of differences, how did I breach the gap to speaking “natural Chinese?”

Getting more “input” and learning to spot your own mistakes 

Even though trying to speak a lot of Chinese and doing a lot of translation gave me a great way to get started and I think it also cut down the time it took me to get fluent, there was still something that was missing: a lot of input and exposure to the language. Worse still, even if I was speaking “unnatural Chinese,” I didn’t necessarily know it at first. That’s why I started to expose myself to a lot of Chinese – watching TV series, listening to the radio, watching the news, reading novels, and just paying attention to other people when they spoke in conversations. Also, when I was learning interpreting, I also listened to hours of speeches in Chinese on loads of different topics, which taught me a formal style of how to speak and a lot of vocabulary. 

Slowly, when I was speaking myself, I started to realise that there were things that I had been hearing that had been saying wrong. I started to realise “what sounded weird” and how I might be able to express things more authentically. I also heard some things that I had been pronouncing wrong, and some tones which I had not been getting right. In short: I got a much better “feel for the language” and learnt to correct myself.

The journey from “translating” to “speaking naturally”

Without actually starting to “translate the language first” when I was speaking, I would never have produced these errors, and without listening to the language for hours over a very long period of time, I would never have realised “what it was supposed to be like” and been able to correct the errors. This process will carry on for me, as I continue to learn new things. I still remind myself that I have been speaking English for more than 20 years, and I have only spoken Chinese for eight or so. Of course my English is going to be stronger and more dominant.

So, to go back to my original question, I think it is completely possible to learn a language “naturally, without translation,” but that might not be the quickest way in. To me, it is a process that you will benefit from much more later, but don’t let that worry you; the process of naturalising yourself is an amazing journey. It might even open up your mind or change your life. It will take time, but why would you want to cut that journey short?

chrisyòng wàiyǔ sīkǎo dàn bù tōngguò mǔyǔ fānyì yǒukěnéng ma

“ 用 外语 思考 ” 但 不 通过 母语 “ 翻译 ” , 有可能 吗 ?

wǒ xué Zhōngwén yǐjīng nián duō le qījiān wǒ huā le hěn duō shíjiān sīkǎo wǒmen jiūjìng 我学 中文 已经8年多了,期间,我花了很多时间思考我们究竟 shì rúhé xuéxí wàiyǔ de qízhōng wǒ zhùyì dào yī gè wèntí jí tōngguò chǔyú mǒu gè 是 如何 学习 外语 的 。 其中 , 我 注意 到 一 个 问题 , 即 “ 通过 处于 某 个 yǔyán huánjìng zhōng ér zìrán xí dé de xiàoguǒ zìrán dì shuō wàiyǔ ér fēi kèyì dì

语言 环境 中 而自然习得”的 效果 。“自然”地 说 外语而非刻意地 tōngguò mǔyǔ fānyì yǒukěnéng ma zhè piān wénzhāng jiùshì wǒ duì zhège wèntí de huídá 通过母语“翻译”,有可能吗?这篇 文章 就是我对这个问题的回答

wǒ xué wàiyǔ de jīnglì

我 学 外语 的 经历

wǒ céngjīng xué guò hěn duōzhǒngyǔyán zhōngxué shí jiù xuéxí le Fǎyǔ Xībānyáyǔ Éyǔ

我 曾经 学 过 很 多种语言 , 中学 时 就 学习 了 法语 、 西班牙语 、 俄语

dàn háishi zài dàxué juédìng zhuān xiū Zhōngwén zhuānyè yǐhòu wǒ cái kāishǐ cháng shíjiān

,但还是在大学决定专修中文 专业以后,我才开始长时间

shēnrù dì xuéxí yī mén wàiyǔ wǒ zài Zhōngguó shēnghuó guò liǎng nián shíjiān érqiě wǒ

深入地学习一门外语。我在中国 生活过两年时间,而且我

de gōngzuò yě shèjí guò bǐyì kǒuyì hé Zhōng Yīng tóngshēngchuányì xùnliàn suǒyǐ wǒ zìjǐ

的 工作 也涉及过笔译、口译和 中英 同声传译 训练。所以我自己

jīnglì guò bǐjiào chángqī de yǔyán xuéxí guòchéng

经历 过 比较 长期 的 语言 学习 过程 。

liǎojiě wǒmen xuéshuō wàiyǔ de guòchéng

了解 我们 学说 外语 的 过程

dāng nǐ kāishǐ xué yī mén wàiyǔ de shíhou yīqiè dōu shì quánxīn de nǐ de dànǎo yào

当 你 开始 学 一 门 外语 的 时候 , 一切 都 是 全新 的 。 你 的 大脑 要

shìyìng yītào quánxīn de fāyīn cíhuì hé zàojù de fāngshì cóngbù lǐjiě de xìnxī liú zhōng

适应 一套 全新 的 发音 、 词汇 和 造句 的 方式 , 从不 理解 的 信息 流 中

tiāo chū shúxī de cíyǔ yě hěn fèilì

挑 出 熟悉 的 词语 也 很 费力 。

xuéshuō yī ménwài yǔ yě shì yī gè lèisì de guòchéng gāng kāishǐ xué dào yīxiē jiǎndān de

学说 一 门外 语 也 是 一 个 类似 的 过程 。 刚 开始 学 到 一些 简单 的

duǎnyǔ shuōhuà shí nǐ xūyào zài nǎohǎi lǐ sōuxún zhèxiē duǎnyǔ xué dào yīxiē jùxíng huò

短语 , 说话 时 你 需要 在 脑海 里 搜寻 这些 短语 。 学 到 一些 句型 或

yǔfǎ xíngshì shí nǐ kěnéng xūyào mànmàn dì sīkǎo cáinéng shǐyòng xiāng duìyú mǔyǔ

语法 形式 时 , 你 可能 需要 慢慢 地 思考 才能 使用 。 相 对于 母语

éryán nǐ de wàiyǔ xiǎnde hěn bùzìrán bìng bùshì nǐ néng dìyīshíjiān xiǎngdào de 而言 , 你 的 外语 显得 很 不自然 , 并 不是 你 能 “ 第一时间 想到 的 ”。 xuésheng jīngcháng huì wèn zhège dōngxi yòng yǔ zěnme shuō zhè biǎomíng xuésheng

学生 经常会问,“这个东西用X语怎么说?”这表明 学生 1/9

4/15/2014 Chinese Text Annotation – MandarinSpot fēicháng yīlài mǔyǔ de jiěshì yǐ mǔyǔ zuòwéi chūfādiǎn

非常 依赖母语的解释,以母语 作为 “ 出发点。”

shìshíshàng zhè bìng méishénme cuò wǒ gèrén rènwéi chūjí wàiyǔ kèchéng kěyǐ yòng Yīngyǔ

事实上 , 这 并 没什么 错 。 我 个人 认为 初级 外语 课程 可以 用 英语

huòzhě xuésheng de mǔyǔ zuòwéi yīzhǒng cānkǎo wǒ kāifā de chūjí Hànyǔ kèchéng
或者 学生 的母语作为 一种 参考。我开发的初级汉语 课程 “Survivein

yě shì zhèyàng shèjì de dāngrán mǒuxiē kèchéng shǐyòng értóng xuéxí mǔyǔ de Chinese” 也 是 这样 设计 的 。 当然 , 某些 课程 使用 “ 儿童 学习 母语 的

fāngfǎ jǐn yǒu túpiàn ér bù tígōng fānyì zhèyàng de kèchéng yě yǒuxiào dànshì wǒ zǒng 方法 ”, 仅 有 图片 而 不 提供 翻译 。 这样 的 课程 也 有效 , 但是 我 总 juéde gāng kāishǐ xué de shíhou bǎ wàiyǔ gēn zìjǐ de mǔyǔ duìbǐ huòzhě xuéxí biéren de 觉得 刚 开始 学 的 时候 , 把 外语 跟 自己 的 母语 对比 或者 学习 别人 的

fānyì shì yī gè gèng kuài de xuéxí fāngfǎ bìjìng wǒmen xiǎoshíhou dōu xué guò mǔyǔ

翻译 是 一 个 更 快 的 学习 方法 。 毕竟 , 我们 小时候 都 学 过 母语 ,

wǒmen wánquán kěyǐ chōngfèn lìyòng cǐqián de xuéxí jīnglì wéi yǐhòu de wàiyǔ xuéxí tígōng fāngfǎ

我们 完全 可以 充分 利用此前的学习经历为以后的外语学习提供方法 。

yǒushíhou fānyì kěyǐ shì zìrán shuōhuà de jiéjìng 有时候,“翻译”可以是“自然 说话 ”的捷径

xué Zhōngwén de shíhou wǒ bù zhǐshì yòng Yīngwén zuò cānkǎo hái mǎi le yīxiē

学 中文 的 时候 , 我 不 只是 用 英文 作 参考 , 还 买 了 一些

Zhōngguórén xué Yīngwén de shū yīnwèi zhèxiē shū de suǒyǒu de Yīngwén wénzhāng dōu yǒu

中国人 学 英文 的书,因为这些书的所有的 英文 文章 都有

xiāngyìng de Zhōngwén fānyì tōngguò zhèyàng de Hàn Yīng duìzhào wǒ jìnyībù zēngqiáng le

相应 的 中文 翻译 。 通过 这样 的 汉英 对照 , 我 进一步 增强 了

yòng Zhōngwén biǎodá suǒwèi de Yīngwén xiǎngfǎ de nénglì hòulái zài wǒ xùnliàn tóng 用 中文 表达 所谓 的 “ 英文 想法 ” 的 能力 。 后来 , 在 我 训练 同 chuán de shíhou fānyì chéng wèile yīzhǒng bìxū zhǎngwò de jìnéng érqiě zhǔnquè de

传 的 时候 ,“ 翻译 ” 成 为了 一种 必须 掌握 的 技能 , 而且 准确 的 fānyì nénglì shì wǒ dāngshí gōngzuò de yī gè zhòngyào bùfen bùguò yǒu yī gè qiánzài de 翻译 能力 是 我 当时 工作 的 一 个 重要 部分 。 不过 , 有 一 个 潜在 的

wèntí wǒ dāngshí shì zhēn de zài xuéshuō Zhōngwén háishi zài xuéxí zěnme fānyì 问题:我当时是真的在“学说 中文 ”,还是在“学习怎么翻译 Yīngwén

英文 ”?

jīhū měi gè xuéxí wàiyǔ de rén dōu yào jīnglì zhèzhǒng cóng zài nǎozi lǐ fānyì dào zìrán 几乎每个学习外语的人都 要经历 这种 从 “在脑子里翻译”到“自然 shuōhuà de guòchéng nǎpà bùshì kèyì dì xiān yòng mǔyǔ sīkǎo zài fānyì chéng wàiyǔ

说话 ”的 过程 。哪怕不是刻意地先 用母语思考再翻译 成 外语, nǐ yě huì shòudào yīxiē mǔyǔ de gānrǎo

你 也 会 受到 一些 母语 的 “ 干扰 ”。

xiàmian wǒ jǔ jǐge jiǎndān de lìzi mǔyǔ wéi Yīngyǔ de rén xué Zhōngwén de shíhou rúguǒ

下面我举几个简单的例子。母语为英语的人学 中文 的时候如果

xiǎng shuō yǒukěnéng huì shuō chéng wǒ kěyǐ yǒu yī bēi shuǐ 想 说 “Can I have a class of water?” 有可能 会 说 成 “ 我 可以 有 一 杯 水

ma zhège xuéxí zhě shìtú zhú zì fānyì měi gè Yīngwén de dāncí jiéguǒ quèshì 吗?”这个学习者试图逐字翻译每个 英文 的单词,结果却是 2/9

4/15/2014 Chinese Text Annotation – MandarinSpot

bùzhèngquè de Zhōngwén zhèngquè de shuōfa yīnggāi shì néng gěi wǒ yī bēi shuǐ ma 不正确 的 中文 。 正确 的 说法 应该 是 “ 能 给 我 一 杯 水 吗 ”。 tóngyàng rúguǒ xiǎng yòng Zhōngwén biǎodá xuéxí zhě kěnéng huì

同样,如果想 用 中文 表达“Doyouhavemywatch?”学习者可能会 shuō chéng nǐ yǒu wǒ de shǒubiǎo ma zhè yě shì qiángzhì àn Yīngwén de yǔyán xíguàn 说 成 “ 你 有 我 的 手表 吗 ?” 这 也 是 强制 按 英文 的 语言 习惯

láishuō Zhōngwén de jiéguǒ zhèngquè de shuōfa shì wǒ de shǒubiǎo zài nǐ nàr ma 来说 中文 的结果。 正确 的说法是“我的 手表 在你那儿吗?”

háiyǒu yī gè hǎowán de lìzi yǐqián wǒ yīzhí yǐwéi Yīngwén zhòngdì yòng 还有一个 好玩 的例子,以前,我一直以为 英文 中的 blowyournose 用 Zhōngwén shuō jiùshì chuī bízi hòulái zhídào liǎng nián yǐhòu wǒ cáixué dàoliǎo xǐngbítì

中文 说就是“吹鼻子”。后来,直到两年以后我才学到了“擤鼻涕 yàome shì zhè liǎng niánlái biéren dōu bùhǎoyìsi jiūzhèng wǒ yàome jiùshì wǒ wánquán bǎ 。” 要么 是 这 两 年来 别人 都 不好意思 纠正 我 , 要么 就是 我 完全 把

biéren nòng hútu le

别人 弄 糊涂 了 !

chúle cíyǔ zhīwài Hànyǔ xuéxí zhě yě jīngcháng bǎ Yīngwén de yǔfǎ fānyì chéng Zhōngwén

除了词语之外,汉语学习者也 经常 把 英文 的语法翻译 成 中文

yóuyú Yīngwén yǒu yángé de shítài xuésheng yǒushíhou néng huì xiǎng bǎ Zhōngwén yǔfǎ

。 由于 英文 有 严格 的 时态 , 学生 有时候 能 会 想 把 中文 语法

biànde xiàng Yīngwén yīyàng bǐrú měidāng yùdào zài guòqu fāshēng de dòngcí shí dōu jiā

变得 像 英文 一样 , 比如 每当 遇到 在 过去 发生 的 动词 时 , 都 加

gè le huòzhě tàoyòng jiānghuì biǎoshì wèilái de shítài zhèyàng shuōhuà yǒushí hǎoxiàng 个“了”或者 套用“将会”表示未来的时态。这样 说话 有时 好像 yǔfǎ kèběn yīyàng xuéxí guòchéng zhòngdì yī gè zhòngyào jiēduàn jiùshì tuōlí yánjǐn de 语法 课本 一样 。 学习 过程 中的 一 个 重要 阶段 就是 脱离 “ 严谨 的

yǔfǎ kèběn shuōhuà de shíhou yào lìyòng yǔgǎn dì dàodì shuōhuà 语法 课本 ”, 说话 的 时候 要 利用 “ 语感 ” 地 道地 说话 。

nàme jiànyú zhōng Yīngwén zhījiān de zhèxiē qūbié wǒ shì rúhé kuàyuè zhàng’ài kāishǐ 那么,鉴于中 英文之间的这些区别,我是如何跨越障碍开始“

zìrán dì shuō Zhōngwén le ne 自然地说 中文 ”了呢?

gèng duō de shūrù ràng nǐ nénggòu rènshi dào zìjǐ de cuòwù 更 多 的 “ 输入 ” 让 你 能够 认识 到 自己 的 错误

suīrán dàliàng shuō Zhōngwén hé zuò fānyì de jīhuì bāng wǒ hěn kuài rù le mén yě

虽然大量说 中文和做翻译的机会帮我很快入了门,也

jiǎnshǎo le dádào liúlì chéngdù suǒxū de shíjiān dàn háishi yǒu quēshī de bùfen dàliàng de

减少 了 达到 流利 程度 所需 的 时间 , 但 还是 有 缺失 的 部分 : 大量 的

shūrù hé chǔyú yǔyán huánjìng zhōng gèng lìngrén dānyōu de shì zuìchū nǎpà wǒ shuō “输入”和处于语言环境 中。更令人担忧的是,最初哪怕我说

le hěn duō bù dìdao de Zhōngwén zìjǐ yě bù zhīdào yīncǐ wǒ jiù kāishǐ ràng zìjǐ gēn

了很多不地道的 中文 ,自己也不知道。因此我就开始让自己跟

Zhōngwén yǒu gèng duō de jiēchù kàn diànshìjù tīng guǎngbō kàn xīnwén dú xiǎoshuō 中文 有 更 多 的 接触 —— 看 电视剧 , 听 广播 , 看 新闻 , 读 小说

huòzhě zhùyì biéren zěnme shuōhuà lìngwài xuéxí kǒuyì de shíhou wǒ tīng le hǎojǐ bǎi

或者注意别人怎么 说话。另外,学习口译的时候,我听了好几百

xiǎoshí bùtóng zhǔtí de Zhōngwén jiǎnghuà zhè yě ràng wǒ xuéxí dàoliǎo zhèngshì de yǔyán

小时不同主题的中文 讲话,这也让我学习到了正式的语言 3/9

4/15/2014 Chinese Text Annotation – MandarinSpot fēnggé hé hěn duō cíhuì

风格 和 很 多 词汇 。

mànmàn dì zài shuō Hànyǔ de shíhou wǒ kāishǐ yìshí dào hěn duō dōngxi wǒ yīzhí shuō

慢慢 地 , 在 说 汉语 的 时候 , 我 开始 意识 到 很 多 东西 我 一直 说

de dōu shì cuò de kāishǐ gǎnjuédào yǒuxiē dōngxi tīngqilai hěn qíguài yě kāishǐ xué yòng 的 都 是 错 的 , 开始 感觉到 有些 东西 “ 听起来 很 奇怪 ”, 也 开始 学 用

yīxiē gèng dì dàodì Hànyǔ biǎodá wǒ zhújiàn néng tīng chū yīxiē cí zìjǐ de fāyīn yīzhí

一些 更 地 道地 汉语 表达 。 我 逐渐 能 听 出 一些 词 自己 的 发音 一直

dōu bùduì yǒuxiē yīndiào bùduì jiǎndān láishuō wǒ tígāo le zìjǐ de yǔgǎn bìngqiě 都不对,有些 音调不对。简单 来说,我提高了自己的“语感”并且

xuéhuì le jiūzhèng zìjǐ

学会 了 纠正 自己 。

cóng fānyì dào zìrán shuōhuà de dàolù 从 “ 翻译 ” 到 “ 自然 说话 ” 的 道路

rúguǒ méiyǒu zài shuōhuà shí xiān fānyì Yīngwén wǒ jiù bùhuì chǎnshēng zhèxiē cuòwù 如果没有在说话时先“翻译英文”,我就不会 产生 这些错误。 rúguǒ méiyǒu cháng shíjiān de tīng Hànyǔ wǒ jiù bùhuì zhīdào zhèxiē dōngxi yīnggāi shì zěnme 如果没有 长 时间的听汉语,我就不会知道这些东西“应该是怎么 shuō de yě jiù wúfǎ gǎizhèng zhèxiē cuòwù wǒ de xuéxí guòchéng réngrán zài chíxù

说 的”,也就无法 改正 这些 错误。我的学习 过程 仍然 在持续, bùduàn xuéxí gèng duō xīn dōngxi wǒ yǒudeshíhòu réngrán huì tíxǐng zìjǐ nǐ zhǐshì

不断学习更 多新东西。我有的时候 仍然会提醒自己:“你只是8 niánqián kāishǐ xué Zhōngwén ér nǐ de Yīngwén yǐjīng shuō le duō nián le dāngrán shì 年前开始学 中文,而你的英文已经说了20多年了,当然是

nǐ de Yīngwén bǐjiào qiáng
你 的 英文 比较 强 。”

suǒyǐ huídào zuìchū de wèntí wǒ juéde bù tōngguò fānyì ér zìrán dì shuō wàiyǔ shì 所以,回到 最初 的问题,我觉得“不 通过 翻译而自然地 说 外语”是 wánquán kěnéng de dàn què bìngbù yīdìng shì zuì kuài de rùmén fāngfǎ duìwǒláishuō cóng

完全 可能的,但却并不一定是最快的入门方法。对我来说,从

fānyì dào zìrán shuōhuà shì yī gè guòchéng érqiě shì yī gè yǐhòu huì gěi xuéxí zhě “翻译”到“自然 说话 ”是一个 过程 ,而且是一个以后会给学习者

dàilái gèng duō bāngzhù de guòchéng bùguò nǐ bùyòng dānxīn zhège zìrán huà de 带来 更 多 帮助 的 过程 。 不过 , 你 不用 担心 , 这个 “ 自然 化 ” 的 guòchéng hěn jīngcǎi tā shènzhì kěnéng huì kāikuò nǐ de yǎnjiè gǎibiàn nǐ de shēnghuó

过程 很 精彩 , 它 甚至 可能 会 开阔 你 的 眼界 , 改变 你 的 生活 。

suīrán shì yī duàn màncháng de lù tú dànshì jìrán rúcǐ jīngcǎi wèishénme yào suōduǎn

虽然 是 一 段 漫长 的 路 途 , 但是 既然 如此 精彩 , 为什么 要 缩短

lǚchéng ne

旅程 呢?

思考 sīkǎo

母语 mǔyǔ

有可能 yǒukěnéng

to reflect on / to ponder over

native language / mother tongue / (linguistics) parent language

it’s possible


处于 chǔyú

  • 习  xí
  • 习  Xí
  • 非  Fēi
  • 非  fēi

刻意 kèyì
多种语言 duōzhǒngyǔyán

  • 时  Shí
  • 时  shí

就 jiù

西班牙语 Xībānyáyǔ 俄语 Éyǔ

专 zhuān 才 cái

中国 Zhōngguó
涉及 shèjí
笔译 bǐyì
口译 kǒuyì
中英 Zhōng Yīng 同声传译 tóngshēngchuányì 学说 xuéshuō

全新 quánxīn 大脑 dànǎo

  • 要  yào
  • 要  yāo

一套 yītào 发音 fāyīn 词汇 cíhuì 信息 xìnxī

Chinese Text Annotation – MandarinSpot

to be in (some state, position, or condition)

to practice / to study / habit

surname Xi

abbr. for 非洲[Fēi zhōu], Africa

to not be / not / wrong / incorrect / non- / un- / in- / to reproach or blame / (colloquial) to insist on / simply must

meticulous / painstaking / deliberate


surname Shi

o’clock / time / when / hour / season / period / old variant of 時|时[shí]

at once / right away / only / just (emphasis) / as early as / already / as soon as / then / in that case / as many as / even if / to approach / to move towards / to undertake / to engage in / to suffer / subjected to / to accomplish / to take advantage of / to go with (of foods) / with regard to / concerning

Spanish language Russian (language)

for a particular person, occasion, purpose / focused on one thing / special / expert / particular (to sth) / concentrated / specialized / variant of 專|专[zhuān]

ability / talent / sb of a certain type / a capable individual / only / only then / just now / a moment ago / just now / (preceded by a clause of condition or reason) not until / (followed by a numerical clause) only

to involve / to touch upon (a topic) written translation
Sino-British / Chinese-English simultaneous interpretation theory / doctrine
all new / completely new
brain / cerebrum

important / vital / to want / to ask for / will / going to (as future auxiliary) / may / must / (used in a comparison) must be / probably / if

to demand / to request / to coerce

suit / a set / a collection / of the same kind / the same old stuff / set pattern of behavior

to pronounce / pronunciation / to emit sound vocabulary / list of words (e.g. for language teaching

purposes) / word / variant of 詞彙|词汇[cí huì]
information / news / message
word (general term including monosyllables through to short


词语 cíyǔ

费力 fèilì 门外 ménwài

  • 语  yǔ
  • 语  yù

类似 lèisì 短语 duǎnyǔ

说话 shuōhuà

脑海 nǎohǎi 搜寻 sōuxún 句型 jùxíng
或 huò 慢慢 mànmàn 才能 cáinéng 而言 éryán 不自然 bùzìrán

  • 不是  búshi
  • 不是  bùshì
  • 能  néng
  • 能  Néng

第一时间 dìyīshíjiān

想到 xiǎngdào 依赖 yīlài 出发点 chūfādiǎn

事实上 shìshíshàng 一种 yīzhǒng

参考 cānkǎo 开发 kāifā

某些 mǒuxiē 图片 túpiàn

总 zǒng

  • 把  bà
  • 把  bǎ

Chinese Text Annotation – MandarinSpot
phrases) / term (e.g. technical term) / expression

to expend a great deal of effort outside the door
dialect / language / speech
to tell to

similar / analogous phrase / clause (grammar)

to speak / to say / to talk / to gossip / to tell stories / talk / word

the mind / the brain
to search / to look for
sentence pattern (in grammar)
maybe / perhaps / might / possibly / or slowly
talent / ability / capacity
with regard to (preceding phrase) unnatural / artificial
fault / blame

to be able to / to be capable of / ability / capability / able / capable / can possibly / (usually used in the negative) to have the possibility of

surname Neng

in the first moments (of sth happening) / immediately (after an event) / first thing

to think of / to call to mind / to anticipate

to depend on / to be dependent on

starting point / the outset

in fact / in reality / actually / as a matter of fact / de facto / ipso facto

one kind of / one type of

consultation / reference / to consult / to refer

to exploit (a resource) / to open up (for development) / to develop

some / certain (things)
image / picture / photograph / CL:張|张[zhāng]

always / to assemble / gather / total / overall / head / chief / general / in every case


to hold / to contain / to grasp / to take hold of / handle / particle marking the following noun as a direct object / classifier for objects with handle / classifier for small objects: handful


毕竟 bìjìng

小时候 xiǎoshíhou 此前 cǐqián
捷径 jiéjìng
中国人 Zhōngguórén

相应 xiāngyìng 汉英 Hàn Yīng

对照 duìzhào 增强 zēngqiáng

  • 成  Chéng
  • 成  chéng

技能 jìnéng 潜在 qiánzài 这种 zhèzhǒng 受到 shòudào 干扰 gānrǎo 几个 jǐge

者 zhě

试图 shìtú
逐 zhú
却是 quèshì 不正确 bùzhèngquè

  • 说法  shuōfǎ
  • 说法  shuōfa

强制 qiángzhì 来说 láishuō

还有 háiyǒu

  • 好玩  hàowán
  • 好玩  hǎowán

中的 zhòngdì 才学 cáixué 到了 dàoliǎo 擤鼻涕 xǐngbítì

Chinese Text Annotation – MandarinSpot

after all / all in all / when all is said and done / in the final analysis

in one’s childhood
before this / before then / previously shortcut
Chinese person

to correspond / answering (one another) / to agree (among the part) / corresponding / relevant / appropriate / (modify) accordingly


to contrast / to compare / to place side by side for comparison (as parallel texts) / to check

to increase / to strengthen surname Cheng

to succeed / to finish / to complete / to accomplish / to become / to turn into / to be all right / OK! / one tenth

technical ability / skill
hidden / potential / latent
this / this kind of / this sort of / this type of
to receive / to suffer / obtained / given
to disturb / to interfere / perturbation / interference (physics) a few / several / how many

(after a verb or adjective) one who (is) … / (after a noun) person involved in … / -er / -ist / (used after a number or 後|后 [hòu] or 前[qián] to refer to sth mentioned previously) / (used after a term, to mark a pause before defining the term) / (old) (used at the end of a command) / (old) this

to attempt / to try

to pursue / to chase / individually / one by one

nevertheless / actually / the fact is …

incorrect / erroneous

to expound Buddhist teachings

way of speaking / wording / formulation / one’s version (of events) / statement / theory / hypothesis / interpretation

to enforce / enforcement / forcibly / compulsory

to have one’s say / to interpret a topic (from a certain point of view) / now we come to talk about it, …

furthermore / in addition / still / also
to be playful / to be fond of one’s fun amusing / fun / interesting
to hit the target / to hit the nail on the head talent and learning / scholarship

at last / finally / in the end to blow one’s nose


要么 yàome 年来 niánlái 除了 chúle 之外 zhīwài 时态 shítài 变得 biànde 每当 měidāng 动词 dòngcí 套用 tàoyòng

将会 jiānghuì

好像 hǎoxiàng 严谨 yánjǐn 语感 yǔgǎn 道地 dàodì 鉴于 jiànyú 跨越 kuàyuè 障碍 zhàng’ài 输入 shūrù

帮 bāng 所需 suǒxū

缺失 quēshī 令人 lìngrén

担忧 dānyōu

  • 地道  dìdao
  • 地道  dìdào

电视剧 diànshìjù 好几 hǎojǐ
主题 zhǔtí
风格 fēnggé 意识 yìshí 感觉到 gǎnjuédào 有些 yǒuxiē 听起来 tīngqilai 不对 bùduì 音调 yīndiào

学会 xuéhuì

Chinese Text Annotation – MandarinSpot

or / either one or the other

this past year / over the last years

besides / apart from (… also…) / in addition to / except (for)

outside / excluding

(verb) tense

to become

whenever / every time / on every


to copy a set pattern mechanically / to crib

auxiliary verb introducing future action: may (be able to) / will (cause) / should (enable) / going to

as if / to seem like
rigorous / strict / careful / cautious / compact / well-knit a feel for language / instinctive understanding
authentic / original
in view of / seeing that / considering / whereas
to step across / step over
barrier / obstruction / hindrance / impediment / obstacle to import / to input

to help / to assist / to support / for sb (i.e. as a help) / hired (as worker) / side (of pail, boat etc) / outer layer / group / gang / clique / party / secret society / old variant of 幫|帮 [bāng] / old variant of 幫|帮[bāng]

necessary (for) / required deficiency / shortcoming / hiatus

to cause sb (to do) / to make one (feel sth) / (used in constructing words for feelings such as anger, surprise, sympathy etc)

to worry / to be concerned

authentic / genuine / typical / from a place known for the product / thorough / conscientious

tunnel / causeway
TV play / soap opera / CL:部[bù]
several / quite a few
theme / subject
consciousness / awareness / to be aware / to realize
to feel / to sense / to detect / to perceive / to become aware some / somewhat
to sound like
incorrect / wrong / amiss / abnormal / queer
pitch of voice (high or low) / pitch (of a musical note) / tone

to learn / to master / institute / learned society / (scholarly) association


不会 bùhuì

无法 wúfǎ
持续 chíxù 有的时候 yǒudeshíhòu 提醒 tíxǐng
年前 niánqián 回到 huídào
并不 bìngbù
入门 rùmén 对我来说 duìwǒláishuō 带来 dàilái
甚至 shènzhì
开阔 kāikuò
眼界 yǎnjiè
漫长 màncháng 途 tú
如此 rúcǐ
缩短 suōduǎn 旅程 lǚchéng

Annotated by

Chinese Text Annotation – MandarinSpot

improbable / unlikely / will not (act, happen etc) / not able / not having learned to do sth

unable / incapable
to continue / to persist / sustainable / preservation sometimes / at times
to remind / to call attention to / to warn of
…years ago
to return to
not at all / emphatically not
entrance door / to enter a door / introduction (to a subject) as far as I’m concerned
to bring / to bring about / to produce
even / so much so that
wide / open (spaces) / to open up
ken / scope
very long / endless
way / route / road
in this way / so
to curtail / to cut down
journey / trip


chris“用外语思考”但不通过母语“翻译” ,有可能吗?







事实上,这并没什么错。我个人认为初级外语课程可以用英语或者学生的母语作为一种参考。我开发的初级汉语课程“Survive in Chinese”也是这样设计的。当然,某些课程使用“儿童学习母语的方法”,仅有图片而不提供翻译。这样的课程也有效,但是我总觉得刚开始学的时候,把外语跟自己的母语对比或者学习别人的翻译是一个更快的学习方法。毕竟,我们小时候都学过母语,我们完全可以充分利用此前的学习经历为以后的外语学习提供方法。


学中文的时候,我不只是用英文作参考,还买了一些中国人学英文的书,因为这些书的所有的英文文章都有相应的中文翻译。通过这样的汉英对照,我进一步增强了用中文表达所谓的“英文想法” 的能力。后来,在我训练同传的时候,“翻译”成为了一种必须掌握的技能,而且准确的翻译能力是我当时工作的一个重要部分。不过,有一个潜在的问题:我当时是真的在“学说中文”,还是在“学习怎么翻译英文”?


下面我举几个简单的例子。母语为英语的人学中文的时候如果想说“Can I have a class of water?”有可能会说成“我可以有一杯水吗?”这个学习者试图逐字翻译每个英文的单词,结果却是不正确的中文。正确的说法应该是“能给我一杯水吗”。同样,如果想用中文表达“Do you have my watch?”学习者可能会说成“你有我的手表吗?”这也是强制按英文的语言习惯来说中文的结果。正确的说法是“我的手表在你那儿吗?”还有一个好玩的例子,以前,我一直以为英文中的blow your nose用中文说就是“吹鼻子”。后来,直到两年以后我才学到了“擤鼻涕。”要么是这两年来别人都不好意思纠正我,要么就是我完全把别人弄糊涂了!

除了词语之外,汉语学习者也经常把英文的语法翻译成中文。由于英文有严格的时态,学生有时候能会想把中文语法变得像英文一样,比如每当遇到在过去发生的动词时,都加个 “了” 或者套用“将会”表示未来的时态。这样说话有时好像语法课本一样。学习过程中的一个重要阶段就是脱离“严谨的语法课本”,说话的时候要利用“语感”地道地说话。


更多的 “输入”让你能够认识到自己的错误


慢慢地,在说汉语的时候,我开始意识到很多东西我一直说的都是错的,开始感觉到有些东西“听起来很奇怪”,也开始学用一些更地道地汉语表达。我逐渐能听出一些词自己的发音一直都不对,有些音调不对。简单来说,我提高了自己的 “语感”并且学会了纠正自己。






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