2015年考研暑假必读文章:Who's a Nerd, Anyway?

来源:新东方 2019-03-28

Who's a Nerd, Anyway?
 

What is a nerd? Mary Bucholtz, a linguist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been working on the question for the last 12 years. She has gone to high schools and colleges, mainly in California, and asked students from different crowds to think about the idea of nerdiness and who among their peers should be considered a nerd; students have also "reported" themselves. Nerdiness, she has conducted, is largely a matter of racially tinged behavior. People who are considered nerds tend to act in ways that are, as she puts it, "hyperwhite".

While the word "nerd" has been used since the 1950s, its origin remains elusive. Nerds, however, are easy to find everywhere. Being a nerd has become a widely accepted and even proud identity, and nerds have carved out a comfortable niche in popular culture; "nerdcore" rappers, who wear pocket protectors and write paeans to computer routing devicesare in vogue, and TV networks continue to run shows with titles likeBeauty and the Geek". As a linguist, Bucholtz understands nerdiness first and foremost as a way of using language. In a 2001 paper, “The Whiteness of Nerds: Superstandard English and Racial Markedness'', and other works, including a book in progress, Bucholtz notes that the "hegemonic" "cool white" kids use a limited amount of African-American vernacular English; they may sayblood" in lieu of "friend," or drop theginplaying”.

But the nerds she has interviewed, mostly white kids, punctiliously adhere to Standard English. They often favor Greco-Latinate words over Germanic ones ("it's my observation" instead of "I think”),a preference that lends an air of scientific detachment. They're aware they speak distinctively and they use language as a badge of membership in their cliques. One nerd girl Bucholtz observed performed a typically nerdy feat when asked to discuss "blood" as a slang term; she replied: “B-I-O-O-D. The word is blood," evoking the format of a spelling bee. She went on, "That's the stuff which is inside of your veins," humorously using a literal definition Nerds are not simply victims of the prevailing social codes about what's appropriate and what's cool; they actively shape their own identities and put those codes in question.

Though Bucholtz uses the termhyperwhite" to describe nerd language in particular, she claims that the "symbolic resources of an extreme whiteness" can be used elsewhere. After all, trends in music, dance, fashion, sports and language in a variety of youth subcultures are often traceable to an African-American source, but unlike the styles of cool European American students, in nerdiness, African-American culture and language do not play even a covert role. Certainly, "hyperwhite" seems a good word for the sartorial choices of paradigmatic nerds. While a stereotypical black youth, from the zoot-suit era through the bling years, wears flashy clothes, chosen for their aesthetic value, nerdy clothing is purely practical: pocket protectors, belt sheaths for gadgets, short shorts for excessive heat, etc. Indeed, "hyperwhite" works as a description for nearly everything we intuitively associate with nerds, which is why Hollywood has long traded in jokes that try to capitalize on the emotional dissonance of nerds acting black (Eugene Levy saying, "You got me straight trippin, boo”) and black people being nerds(the characters Urkel and Carlton in the sitcoms "Family Matters" and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”).

By cultivating an identity perceived as white to the point of excess, nerds deny themselves the aura of normality that is usually one of the perks of being white. Bucholtz sees something to admire here. In declining to appropriate African-American youth culture, thereby "refusing to exercise the racial privilege upon which white youth cultures are founded," she writes, nerds may even be viewed as "traitors to whiteness." You might say they know that a culture based on theft is a culture not worth having. On the other hand, the code of conspicuous intellectualism in the nerd cliques Bucholtz observed may shut out "black students who chose not to openly display their abilities.” This is especially disturbing at a time when African-American students can be stigmatized by other African-American students if they're too obviously diligent about school .Even more problematic, "Nerds' dismissal of black cultural practices often led them to discount the possibility of friendship with black students," even if the nerds were involved in political activities like protesting against the dismantling of affirmative action in California schools. If nerdiness, as Bucholtz suggests, can be a rebellion against the cool white kids and their use of black culture, its a rebellion with a limited membership.


#p#副标题#e#
重点单词
origin 
【文中释义】n.起源
【大纲全义】n.起源,由来;出身,来历;血统

elusive /iiju:siv/
【文中释义】adj.难捉摸的
【大纲全义】adj.难懂的,易忘的,难捉摸的

foremost 
【文中释义】adj.最初的
【大纲全义】adj.最先的;最初的;主要的 adv.首要的

punctiliously
【文中释义】adv.一丝不苟的
【大纲全义】adv.一丝不苟的

adhere
【文中释义】v.附
【大纲全义】v. (to)黏着;坚持,遵宁;依附,追随

detachment 
【文中释义】n.分离
【大纲全义】n.脱离,分离,拆开

badge 
【文中释义】n.象征
【大纲全义】n.徽章,像章;标记;象征;记号

feat /fi:t/
【文中释义】n.壮举
【大纲全义】n.功绩,伟业,技艺

evoke 
【文中释义】v.唤起
【大纲全义】v.换起,引起

format 
【文中释义】n.设计
【大纲全义】n.(出版物的)开本,版式,格式v.设计;安排

vein/vein/
【文中释义】n.静脉
【大纲全义】n.血管;静脉;叶脉;纹理;情绪 v.使成脉络

traceable 
【文中释义】adj.可追踪的
【大纲全义】adj.可追踪(追溯)的;起源于……的

aesthetic / i:s'θetik /
【文中释义】adj.美学的
【大纲全义】adj.美学的,艺术的;审美的

超纲单词
tinged adj.有些许的 rapper n.交谈者 paean n.凯歌
vogue n.时髦 vernacular n.本国语 clique n.集团
bling n.绚丽的珠宝 sheath n.外皮 dissonance n.不一致
#p#副标题#e#
重点段落译文
什么是书呆子?加利福尼亚的圣塔芭芭拉大学的语言学家玛丽·布霍尔特兹在过去的12年里一直致力于研究该问题。她去过一些高中和大学,其中大部分是在加利福尼亚州,并要求学生从不同人群的角度去思考一下对书呆子有什么想法以及他们同龄人中谁会被认为是书呆子,当然这些学生也得“报告”自己的看法。她总结认为书呆子在很大程度上被认为是一种略带种族色彩的行为。根据她的说法,那些被认为是书呆子的人喜欢以所谓的“超白人化”的方式来做事。

然而自从20世纪50年代开始使用“书呆子”一词开始,该词的来源一直是个谜。然而书呆子们却随处可见。社会已经普遍接受了书呆子这个身份,甚至还引以为傲,并且书呆子们已经设法在流行文化中站稳了脚跟。穿着衬衣口袋护套,为电脑路由设备写赞歌的“书呆子核”说唱歌手大行其道。电视网络继续播放以“美女与野兽”为主题的电视节目。作为一名语言学家布霍尔特兹首先把书呆子这个词看作是一种使用语言的途径,从而达到理解这个词的目的。2001年一份名为“书呆子的白人性:超标准英语和种族标记性”的论文和其他一些著作……

但是她所采访的书呆子大多数都是来自美国白人家庭的孩子,而且一丝不苟地坚持使用标准英语。相对于日耳曼语系的单词他们往往更青睐古典拉丁文字(用it's my observation取代I think),这种偏爱导致了学术分离。他们意识到他们的发音与众不同,而且他们还将语言作为进人群体身份的象征。一个接受布霍尔特兹研究的书呆子女生曾表演了一个典型的书呆子壮举,当她被要求去讨论俚语中的“blood”时,她答道:“B-L-O-O-D。这个单词就是“blood”。从而引发了一场拼字比赛。她幽默地使用单词的字面含义继续说:“这就是你身体血管中流淌着的液体。”盛行的社会准则规定什么是受欢迎的,什么是不受欢迎的,书呆子不仅仅只是这些准则的受害者,而且他们还积极塑造自我形象并质疑这些社会准则。

尽管布霍尔特兹喜欢用“超白人化”一词来特指书呆子,但她还声称“这种极端白人文化的符号资源”随处可见。毕竟,“音乐、舞蹈、时尚、运动和文化的流行趋势以及多种青年亚文化群的语言经常可追溯到非洲裔美国人”,但是与欧洲裔美国学生的酷风格不同的是,在书呆子文化中非洲美国文化与语言没有发挥作用甚至起到变相的作用。当然,对于一个典型的书呆子来说,在融合的选择中“超白人化”是一个绝好的措词。不管是高腰窄裤的华丽男装年代还是到了流行闪光配饰的时代,典型的黑人青年都会根据他们的审美标准,选择浮华张扬的服饰;而书呆子服饰却绝对是讲究实用:衬衣口袋护罩,腰带上装东西的皮套,凉快的短裤等等。事实上,“超白人化”可以和所有我们直觉上觉得和书呆子有关的所有事物联系起来。这就是为什么好莱坞长期以来都喜欢用这神感觉上的不协调来开玩笑:行为黑人化的书呆子,抑或是书呆子化的黑人。




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