新概念雙語:為何亞洲人比其他地區的人更擅長算數
        來源: 環球網校 2020-07-16 08:24:00 頻道: 新概念

        亞洲人比其他地區的人更“精于算數”,這種印象在西方世界深入人心,但這是事實嗎?沒錯,事實確實如此?梢赃@么說,日常生活中中國人比美國人做更多算數。在中國的日常就像參加一場的數學測試。

        Asians are known the world over as being “good at math.” This is a stereotype perpetuated by popular culture in the West. But is there some truth to it? Yes, as it turns out. I can say that in daily life, Chinese people do more math than their American counterparts. In fact, one can even say daily life in China is an ongoing math test. Right off the top of my head, I can think of three examples, starting with shopping in China’s capital.

        亞洲人比其他地區的人更“精于算數”,這種印象在西方世界深入人心,但這是事實嗎?沒錯,事實確實如此?梢赃@么說,日常生活中中國人比美國人做更多算數。在中國的生活就像參加一場數學測試,我當下就可以想到三個例子,先拿在北京購物來說吧。

        When you walk into any department store in Beijing, chances are there is a sale going on. You will see signs with a single digit number and the Chinese character zhe prominently displayed next to products that are on sale. Experienced shoppers can jump to the conclusion that 7 zhe must mean 70% discount. Alas, the Chinese system encourages shoppers to go one extra step in calculating their discount: i.e., 7 zhe means you pay 70 percent, resulting in a 30 percent discount. Some adults in the West couldn’t do this simple math in their heads. Because, why would you need to? We left all that behind in elementary school.

        進到北京任何一家百貨公司,你可能都會看到店家在搞促銷活動,商品旁邊貼著醒目的促銷牌子,上邊會有數字和一個中國漢字“折”。經常購物的顧客可能草率地認為7折也就是有70%的折扣。唉,中國這種促銷方式使得顧客在計算折扣的時候多了一步,比如說7折就是支付70%,也就是30%的折扣。有些西方人就不會做這類簡單的加減,有必要嗎?他們早就把這點知識還給小學數學老師了。

        Another example is the loyalty card, or membership card, offered by retailers, dentists, hair salons and massage parlors, just to name a few. But signing up requires you to do math quickly in your head. The more you spend up front, the bigger the discounts, a not uncommon sales strategy. But commit at your own risk. If that business suddenly decides to close its doors, you will not be refunded, nor will you even be notified.

        另一個例子就是在商店、牙醫診所、理發店或者按摩院等地方辦理的積分卡。當你注冊會員也需要飛快地計算,花的錢越多得到的折扣就越多,這是一種常見的銷售策略。但是同時也要承擔風險,比如商店突然關門歇業,你連退款都拿不到,甚至對此毫不知情。

        Shopping for groceries was among the challenges we first encountered in Beijing. Trying to buy milk and yogurt at the local supermarket almost turned into an international incident when, upon seeing all the past expired dates marked on packages throughout the entire dairy section, I demanded to see a manager and tried to bring it to his attention. In vain, of course, as the language barrier prevented us from communicating effectively. Later, a friend explained that those were production dates, not expiration dates, as I had assumed. She also showed me where they helpfully printed the shelf life of each product. So, to put it in American terms, production date+shelf life= expiration date. Again, they are encouraging shoppers to do math.

        在北京的雜貨店購物也是我們初到北京市遇到的挑戰之一,逛超市時還差一點釀出一起“國際事故”。當時我們想買點牛奶和酸奶,卻發現整個奶制品區食品包裝上的日期已經過期了,我要求見經理向對方反映問題。當然,因為語言障礙我們沒有達成有效溝通,白費了力氣。后來有朋友解釋說,那些是生產日期而不是我認為的到期日,她還告訴我廠家貼心地把每件商品的保質期印在哪。所以按照美國的理解,就是生產日期+保質期=到期日。他們又在鼓勵消費者做算數了。

        Newcomers to China will no doubt be confused about this system, which nobody here seems to think twice about. But as an American, it was all very taxing until I got clued in. I often felt put out that I had to be doing math when I simply wanted to buy stuff. But now that I’ve been here a while, I see the wisdom of such a system. Could it be how Chinese people stay sharp into old age? After all, using your brain with word games and riddles are believed to be countermeasures against the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related ailments. It appears that in China, they’ve incorporated into ordinary daily life a brilliant system where nobody forgets their early math lessons.

        剛來中國的人毫無疑問會被這種邏輯弄暈,而中國人卻早已是司空見慣了。作為一個美國人,我費了很大勁兒才能弄明白。我經常覺得,自己只是想買點東西,卻要做算數,真是不爽。但在這兒呆了一段時間,現在我才發現這種體系的智慧所在。這會不會就是中國人就算步入老年仍能保持思維敏捷的秘訣呢?畢竟動動腦子做文字和猜謎游戲能有效對抗老年癡呆以及其他與年齡相關的疾病。而在中國,他們將這種聰明的體系滲透到日常生活中,學到的數學知識總是不會荒廢。

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