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Lesson Seven A Lesson in Living (2)

Lesson Seven
A Lesson in Living (Part Two)
by Maya Angelou

School of Foreign Languages and Cultures


I. Before reading the text
Questions for you:
1. 2. 3. What can we expect in this part? Have you ever thought of the relation between voice and meaning? How do you view tolerance and illiteracy?

II. Reading the text
Paragraph 1: Questions:
① ② What is this paragraph about? Can you describe how Mrs. Flowers and the writer walked in your own language?

2) Key expressions
In front Swing Pick one’s way

3) Sentences
There was a little path beside the rocky road, and Mrs. Flowers walked in front swinging her arms and picking her way over the stones. 在石头路旁(崎岖地路旁)有一条小路,弗劳尔斯夫人 甩着胳膊走在前面,小心地避开石头,选路走。

Paragraph 2: Questions:
① How did Mrs. Flowers' initiate the communication with Marguerite? ② Was Marguerite a good student in the school? ③ What was Marguerite’s problem? ④ What was Marguerite’s reaction to Mrs. Flowers’ remarks?

2) Key expressions
Have trouble (in) doing sth Get sb to do sth Hang in questions jnn jn

3) Sentences
I hung back in the separate unasked and unanswerable questions? I lagged behind Mrs. Flowers, thinking about the remarks made by her. Her remarks were more like questions, which could not be answered. 我走在后面想着那些未问出口也无法回答的一个个的问 题。

Paragraph 3: Questions:
① Did Mrs. Flowers go on talking about Marguerite’s performance in the school? What did she do? And why did she do this? Why couldn’t Marguerite refuse Mrs. Flowers even if she wanted to? How did Marguerite describe Mrs. Flowers’ nice pronunciation?

2) Key expressions
Walk along with sb Clarity

3) Sentences
I couldn’t have refused even if I wanted to.


Paragraph 4, 5 and 6: Questions:
① ② What did Mrs. Flowers do in these two paragraphs? How did Mrs. Flowers try to persuade Marguerite to talk more? What was Marguerite’s reaction to Mrs. Flowers’ idea about language? Do you know the story of the Towel of Babel?

How should we understand the sentence “Words mean more than what is set down on paper?
Why can voice infuse words with the shades of deeper meaning?

※The story of Babel
? Up until this point in the Bible, the whole world had one language - one common speech for all people. The people of the earth became skilled in construction and decided to build a city with a tower (the Towel of Babel) that would reach to heaven. By building the tower they wanted to make a name for themselves and also prevent their city from being scattered. God came to see their city and the tower they were building. He perceived their intentions, and in His infinite wisdom, He knew this "stairway to heaven" would only lead the people away from God. He noted the powerful force within their unity of purpose. As a result, God confused their language, causing them to speak different languages so they would not understand each other. By doing this, God sabotaged their plans. He also scattered the people of the city all over the face of the earth.

※The importance of language
“Language is the house of being.”
—— Martin Heidegger “ 语言是人类最后的家园。”


※The importance of language

CONTEXT(语境) Referential function(指称功能) MESSAGE(信息) Poetic function(诗性功能)

ADDRESSER(发话者)????????????????????????????ADDRESSEE(受话者) Emotive function(情感功能) Conative function(意 动功能)
CONTACT(接触) Phatic function(寒暄功能) CODE(语码) Metalingual function(元语言功能)

? The REFERENTIAL, or “denotative” function, oriented towards the CONTEXT, is the use of language to convey information, and thus forms the basis for verbal communication. ? The EMOTIVE or “expressive” function, focused on the ADDRESSER, is the direct expression of the addresser’s attitude towards what he or she is speaking about. ? The CONATIVE function, oriented towards the ADDRESSEE, is the use of language in order to achieve a result in the addressee, in accord with the addresser’s wishes. ? Corresponding to CONTACT is the PHATIC function of language to establish an atmosphere or maintain social contact rather than to exchange information or ideas (e.g. greetings, comments on the weather, or enquiries about health). ? Whenever the addresser or addressee needs to check up whether they use the same code, speech is focused on the CODE: it performs a METALINGUAL function (e.g. I don’t follow you –– what do you mean? or Do you know what I mean?). ? The POETIC function, which focuses on the MESSAGE, is any aesthetic or creative linguistic use of the spoken or written medium.

M. A. K. Halliday (1978),《作为社会符号 的语言》(Language as a Social Semiotic)
儿童语言的功能/语言的发展功能 (Halliday 1978: 19-20) ? 工具功能 ? 控制功能
of others people self Instrumental (“I want”): satisfying material needs Regulatory (“do as I tell you”): controlling the behaviour Interactional (“me and you”): getting along with other Personal (“here I come”): identifying and expressing the

? 互动功能
? 个体功能 ? 启发功能 ? 想象功能

Heuristic (“tell me why”): exploring the world around and inside one Imaginative (“let’s pretend”): creating a world of one’s

? 信息功能

Informative (“I’ve got something to tell you”): communicating new information.

? 概念功能(experiential function):表达说话者的亲身经历和内 心活动的功能 ? 人际功能(interpersonal function):建立和维持说话者和受话 者的社会关系的功能 ? 语篇功能( textual function ):根据语境运用语言组织信息的功 能
? The experiential function: we use language to talk about our experience of the world, including the worlds in our own minds, to describe events and states and the entities involved in them. ? The interpersonal function: we use language to interact with other people, to establish and maintain relations with them, to influence their behavior, to express our own viewpoint on things in the world, and to elicit or change theirs. ? The textual function: in using language, we organize our messages in ways which indicate how they fit in with the other messages around them and with the wider context in which we are talking or writing.

※ Superasegmental features of speech sound
? Suprasegmental features are those aspects of speech that involve more than single sound segments. ? The principal suprasegmentals are:

1) The syllable structure
Onset Rime Nucleus k r ? k Coda t

? Open syllable: bar, tie ? Closed syllable: bark, tied
? English Syllable: (((C)C)C)V((((C)C)C)C) ? Chinese syllable: (C)V(C)

2) Stress
? Stress refers to the degree of force used in producing a syllable. In transcription, a raised vertical line [│] is often used just before the syllable it relates to.
– A basic distinction is made between stressed and unstressed syllables, the former being more prominent than the latter, which means that stress is a relative notion.

? At the word level, it only applies to words with at least two syllables. ? At the sentence level, a monosyllabic word may be said to be stressed relative to other words in the sentence.

Sentence Stress
? Sentence stress is much more interesting. In general situations, notional words are normally stressed while structural words are unstressed. ? Nevertheless, sentence stress is often used to express emphasis, surprise etc. so that in principle stress may fall on any word or any syllable.

? a. John bought a pink bicycle. ? b. ?John bought a pink bicycle. ? c. John ?bought a pink bicycle. ? d. John bought a ?pink bicycle. ? e. John bought a pink ?bicycle.

3) Intonation (语调)
? Intonation involves “the occurrence of recurring pitch patterns, each of which is used with a set of relatively consistent meanings, either on single words or on groups of words of varying length” (Cruttenden, 1997: 7). – For example, the fall-rise tone in English typically involves the meaning of a contrast within a limited set of items stated explicitly or implicitly.

? (Isn’t her name Mary?) No / ? Jenny ? The old man didn’t come / whereas the ? young man / did come and actually enjoyed himself ? ? I didn’t do it

5) Tone
Chinese Putonghua [pa]
Chinese Tone Tone Tone Piny charact symbo numb descriptio in er l er n
八 bā bá 55 35


High level ‘eight’ High rising Low falling rising High falling ‘pull out’ ‘target’ ‘dam’




※The phenomenon of pitch contours gives
us three types of language:

i) Chinese is a tone language, in which the meaning of a word is affected by the pitch and tones serve to differentiate lexical entries.


English is of a different kind, in that the “tones” in English do not affect the meaning of individual words, but they may affect the meaning of the phrase or sentence and provide the functional or emotional meaning of the utterance.

2) Key expressions
Bear (sth) in mind Set…down Infuse sth with sth shade Valid

3) Sentences
It takes the human voice to infuse them with the shades of deeper meaning.

它需要人的声音赋予它们(语词)各种各样更加深刻的含 义。

Paragraph 7 and 8: Questions:
① What are these two paragraphs about? ② How should Marguerite appreciate books according to Mrs. Flowers? ③ What did Mrs. Flowers mean by “handle a book”?

2) Key expressions
Boggle Abuse

3) Sentences
My imagination boggled at the punishment I would deserve if in fact I did abuse a book of Mrs. Flowers’. 我无法想象假如我真的没有好好对待弗劳尔斯太太的书 应当受到怎样的惩罚。

Paragraph 9 and 10: Questions:
① What surprised me when I entered Mrs. Flowers’ house? Why? Why did Marguerite say “ but my mind never recorded it”? What was Mrs. Flowers like in the writer’s mind according to paragraph 9?

2) Key expressions
Odor Connect …with… Outhouse Scent vanilla

3) Sentences
The sweet scent of vanilla had met us as she opened the door. As Mrs. Flowers opened the door of the house, we smelled the sweet scent of vanilla. 当她打开门时,香草的芳香扑鼻而来。

Paragraph 11: Questions:
① Why was there the scent of vanilla in Mrs. Flowers’ house? Can we say the heavy sacks were just an excuse for Mrs. Flowers to ask Marguerite to help her home? Why?

2) Key expressions
You see,… Invite sb for sth lemonade

Paragraph 12: Questions:
① ② What is this paragraph about? What is this paragraph intended for?

③ What kind of writing strategy is adopted in this paragraph?

2) Key expressions

3) Sentences
It followed that Mrs. Flowers would have ice on an ordinary day, when most families in our town bought ice late on Saturdays only a few times during the summer to be used in the wooden icecream freezers. 这就是说,弗劳尔斯太太平常日子也有冰,而我们这个县 城里的许多家庭也只有在夏天有那么几次在星期六下午买 冰,用在木制的冰淇淋冷冻机里。

Paragraph 13: Questions:
① What is this paragraph about?

Did I ever imagine that I could enter Mrs. Flowers’ house? How did the writer express this slim chance?
What details did Marguerite focus on? What was Marguerite’s impulse when looking around the room?

③ ④

2) Key expressions
Disappear through the door Browned Leer Gobble

3) Sentences
Browned photographs leered or threatened from the walls and the white, freshly done curtains pushed against themselves and against the wind. 墙上发黄的相片里的人或斜眼微笑或一脸凶相,新整理 好的 窗帘在风中相互摩挲。

Paragraph 14 and 15: Questions:
① Why did Mrs. Flowers mean by saying that “she hadn’t tried her hand at baking sweets for some time”? What were the wafers like? How did Marguerite eat the wafers? What is the meaning of the word “expressly”? What is the meaning of “if I hadn’t to swallow, it would have been a dream come true”?

② ③ ④ ⑤

2) Key expressions
Have a seat Platter Tea towel Try one’s hand at sth/doing sth Wafer Jam Crumb Scratch

3) Sentences
So I jammed one whole cake in my mouth and the rough crumbs scratched the insides of my jaws, and if I hadn’t had to swallow, it would have been a dream come true. So I swallowed a whole wafer and the rough crumbs scratched the insides of my jaws, and if I hadn't had to swallow the wafer, I would have been able to keep it in my mouth and enjoy it for a long time. 因此,我把一整块饼都塞进了我的嘴里,那粗糙的饼渣擦 破了我嘴巴里面的皮,要是我不用吞下去的话,那可真是 梦想要成真了。

Paragraph 16: Questions:
① ② ③ ④ ⑤ What is the first of “my lesson in living” What is “mother wit”? What is a “homely saying”? Can you give some examples? What is Mrs. Flowers’ evaluation of the homely sayings? Have you noticed anything special about grammar in this paragraph?

※ Homely sayings
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 十年树木,百年树人。 当局者迷,旁观者清。 有则改之,无则加勉。 只见树木,不见森林。 种瓜得瓜,种豆得豆。 兼听则明,偏听则暗。 得道多助,失道寡助。 生于忧患,死于安乐。 智者千虑,必有一失。 鞠躬尽瘁,死而后已。

? A bad beginning makes a bad ending. 不善始者不善终。 A bad thing never dies. 遗臭万年。 A bad workman always blames his tools. 不会撑船怪河弯。 A bird in the hand is worth than two in the bush. 一鸟在手胜过双鸟在林。 A burden of one's choice is not felt. 爱挑的担子不嫌重。 A candle lights others and consumes itself. 蜡烛照亮别人,却毁灭了自己。 A cat may look at a king. 猫也可以打量国王,意为人人平等。 A close mouth catches no flies. 病从口入。 A constant guest is never welcome. 常客令人厌。 Actions speak louder than words. 事实胜于雄辩。 Adversity leads to prosperity. 穷则思变。

2) Key expressions
Understanding Homely Couch

3) Sentences
She said that I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. She said that I should always not tolerate ignorance but I should not show any contempt for those people who are unable to read and write. 她说我必须永远都不要容忍无知但是应当理解不识字的 人(没有受过教育的人)。

Paragraph 17 Questions:
① ② ③ ④

to 22:

What are these paragraphs about? What was A Tale of Two Cities according to the writer after she finished reading it? How did Mrs. Flowers renewed Marguerite’s thought about the novel? What was Marguerite’s reaction after hearing Mrs. Flower’s reading? what was Marguerite’s answer to Mrs. Flowers’ question and why did she answer in this way? What did Mrs. Flowers ask Marguerite to do?

※ A Tale of Two Cities
A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. The novel depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralized by the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, the corresponding brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the early years of the revolution, and many unflattering social parallels with life in London during the same time period. It follows the lives of several protagonists through these events. The most notable are Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton. Darnay is a French once-aristocrat who falls victim to the indiscriminate wrath of the revolution despite his virtuous nature, and Carton is a dissipated British barrister who endeavors to redeem his ill-spent life out of his unrequited love for Darnay's wife.

Quotes from the novel
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way…

“这是最美好的时代,这是最糟糕的时代; 这是智慧的时代,这是愚蠢的时代;这是 信仰的时期,这是怀疑的时期;这是光明 的季节,这是黑暗的季节;这是希望的春 天,这是失望的冬天;人们面前精彩纷呈, 人们面前一无所有;人们全都在直奔天堂, 人们全都在直奔相反的方向…”

2) Key expressions
Brush sth off sth Up to one’s standards Slide Curve down Hymn Cascade Flavor Pay sb a visit recite

3) Sentences
It was the least I could do, but it was the most also. I was so overwhelmed by the emotion that I could only say that much. 这是我至少该做的,但这也是最多能做到的。

Paragraph 23: Questions:
① ② ③ What has Marguerite tried often to find? What is the essence and what is the aura? What is meaning of “to be allowed, no, invited, into the private lives of strangers”? Who are the strangers? Who is Beowulf? And who is Oliver Twist? What is the sentence “it is a far”? Is it the remark by the writer or by someone else?

※ “It is a far…”
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known." The novel concludes with the guillotining of Sydney Carton and this is one of Carton's unspoken last thoughts which are prophetic.

我做的是比我做过的任何事情都要好得多的事情;我要去 的是比我知道的任何安息之所都要好得多的安息之所。
(这是我一生中最乐意做的事 这里是我最好的安息之所)

2) Key expressions
Sophistication Enchantment Aura Wormwood Mead Selflessness

3) Sentences
I have tried often to search behind the sophistication of years for the enchantment I so easily found in those gifts.

After I grew up, I have become more mature and have a better and more complex understanding of the world, but still tried to seek the reason why I enjoyed reading the books Mrs. Flowers offered me.
在岁月流逝我也老于世故之后,我常常试图弄明白为何 当年她送我的那些书那样容易使我陶醉。

The essence escapes but its aura remains.

The essential points of the poems’ content escape me, but the beautiful reading (or the deep impression) remains in my memory (or its impact on my life can still be felt). 书中的要点已从记忆中消失但其余韵犹存。

To be allowed, no, invited, into the private lives of strangers, and to share their joys and fears, was a chance to exchange the Southern bitter wormwood for a cup of mead with Beowulf or a hot cup of tea and milk with Oliver twist. 得到允许,不,是得到邀请进入陌生人的个人生活中去, 分享他们的快乐与恐惧,这意味着得到机会用南方的苦艾 去换得和贝奥伍尔夫共饮蜂蜜酒或是和奥利弗.特威斯特 一 起喝上一杯加奶的热茶。

When I said aloud, “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done…” tears of love filled my eyes at my selflessness.

当我大声说 “我做的是远比我曾经做过的任何事情都 要好的事情…”时,爱的泪水因为我的忘我而盈满我的双 眼(我的双眼因为我的忘我而涌出了爱的泪水)。

Paragraph 24: Questions:
① ② ③ ④ How did I leave Mrs. Flowers’ house? Why? What is the meaning of “ had the good sense to stop”? Why did Marguerite stop running before reaching the store? What does the phrase “on that first day” suggest?

2) Key expressions
Have the good sense to do sth

3) Sentences
On that first day, I ran down the hill and into the road (few cars ever came along it) and had the good sense to stop running before I reached the Store.

在第一次去她家的那一天,我跑下山去跑到路上(很少 有车在这条路上往来),并且在到达店铺之前还清醒地知 道停下不跑了。

Paragraph 25 and 26: Questions:
① ② ③ Why was Marguerite so happy? What is children’s logic? According to this paragraph, what is the most possible reason for Mrs. Flowers to single Marguerite out? By what did Marguerite know Mrs. Flowers like her?

2) Key expressions
Make a difference Single…out Read to me

3) Sentences
I didn’t question why Mrs. Flowers had singled me out for attention, nor did it occur to me that Momma might have asked her to give me a little talking to. I didn’t think/doubt why Mrs. Flowers had chose me to care for, nor did I realize that Momma might have asked her to talk to me and help me get over my problems. 我没有质疑为什么弗劳尔斯太太为什么选中我来表示关心,我也没有 想到奶奶可能请她小小地开导我一番。

Paragraph 27 and 28: Questions:
① ② ③ ④ Why did I shield the cookies with the poems? What do we know about Momma from the last paragraph? What might be the omitted words after “but these days…” Is Momma a person good at or fond of expressing her feelings or love? How do you know?

2) Key expressions
Shield Take to Trail off

3) Sentences
That do my heart good to see settled people take to you all. I feel happy to see those well-off people who lead a settle life like you two. 看到安居乐业的人们喜欢你们,我很高兴。

III. Summary
1. Summarize the main idea
This part tells how Mrs. Flowers gave Marguerite the first lesson in living, telling her that she must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. Mrs. Flowers enlightened her by giving her books to read. The poetic reading of A tale of Two Cities, the advice she gave to her, the warmth and care she felt for her, and the charm of everything in her house, opened a new perspective in Marguerite’s life.

2. The structure of the text
Part I (p.1-8): on the road to Mrs. Flowers’ house Part II (p. 9-23): at Mrs. Flowers Part III (p.24-28): back to the Store

IV. Exercises
Please turn to the textbook.

V. Reflection
1. Does Mrs. Flowers teach you a lesson too? What is it? 2. What do you harvest from the text?

Thank you!

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