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新概念英语四册课堂笔记 Lesson55:Patterns of Culture

2016-10-09 13:14:00 来源:无忧考网

L55 Patterns of Culture

Custom has not been commonly regarded as a subject of any great moment. The inner workings of our own brains we feel to be uniquely worthy of investigation, but custom have a way of thinking, is behaviour at its most commonplace. As a matter of fact, it is the other way around. Traditional custom, taken the world over, is a mass of detailed behaviour more astonishing than what any one person can ever evolve in individual actions, no matter how aberrant. Yet that is a rather trivial aspect of the matter. The fact of first-rate importance is the predominant role that custom plays in experience and in belief, and the very great varieties it may manifest.

No man ever looks at the world with pristine eyes. He sees it edited by a definite set of customs and institutions and ways of thinking. Even in his philosophical probings he cannot go behind these stereotypes; his very concepts of the true and the false will still have reference to his particular traditional customs. John Dewey has said in all seriousness that the part played by custom in shaping the behaviour of the individual as over against any way in which he can affect traditional custom, is as the proportion of the total vocabulary of his mother tongue over against those words of his own baby talk that are taken up into the vernacular of his family. When one seriously studies the social orders that have had the opportunity to develop autonomously, the figure becomes no more than an exact and matter-off-fact observation. The life history of the individual is first and foremost an accommodation to the patterns and standards traditionally handed down in his community. From the moment of his birth the customs into which he is born shape his experience and behaviour. By the time he can talk, he is the little creature of his culture, and by the time he is grown and able to take part in its activities, its habits are his habits, its beliefs his beliefs, its impossibilities his impossibilities. Every child that is born into his group will share them with him, and no child born into one on the opposite side of the globe can ever achieve the thousandth part. There is no social problem it is more incumbent upon us to understand than this of the role of custom. Until we are intelligent as to its laws and varieties, the main complicating facts of human life must remain unintelligible.

The study of custom can be profitable only after certain preliminary propositions have been accepted, and some of these propositions have been violently opposed. In the first place any scientific study requires that there be no preferential weighting of one or another of the items in the series it selects for its consideration. In all the less controversial fields like the study of cacti or termites or the nature of nebulae, the necessary method of study is to group the relevant material and to take note of all possible variant forms and conditions. In this way we have learned all that we know of the laws of astronomy, or of the habits of the social insects, let us say. It is only in the study of man himself that the major social sciences have substituted the study of one local variation, that of Western civilization. Anthropology was by definition impossible as long as these distinctions between ourselves and the primitive, ourselves and the barbarian, ourselves and the pagan, held sway over people's minds. It was necessary first to arrive at that degree, of sophistication where we no longer set our own belief over against our neighbour's superstition. It was necessary to recognize that these institutions which are based on the same premises, let us say the supernatural, must be considered together, our own among the rest. New words and expressions

a way of thinking 一种想法

commonplace a.平凡的 口头语common

the other way around相反

aberrant a.脱离常轨的,异常的;(医)变异,失常

ab-表示"偏离,脱离或离开" = irregular


(近)eccentric怪异的;straying偏离的:a stray dog野狗;go astray步入歧途

trivial a.微不足道的,琐碎的triviality细节,琐事(见lesson12)

frist rate第一流 A-one第一等的,第一流的;topflight最棒的; second to none;second to 次于

predominant a.占优势的,起支配作用的 predominace n. dominate统治地位

pre-前面的 = superior,preponderate

paramount绝对重要; principal主要的;校长

manifest vt.清楚地表现 illustrate vi.举例说明;图解;加插图于;阐明vi.举例


pristine a.原始的(太古年代)(lesson27) (近)primitive原始的(一般);ancient古代的;


stereotype n.陈规(lesson5)break through打破

over against和……相比 = be compared with

vernacular n.方言 (和外语相比较)母语,mother tongue的变体 (近)dialect方言(在一国内)

accent口音 vary from person to person因人而异

accommodation n.适应 v. accommodate容纳 He accommodates himself to sth.

accommodation to对……适应 = adapt to, adjustment to 区别adoption采取,收养

incumbent a.义不容辞的,有责任的 结构:It is incumbent on sb.to do…

responsible有责任的 responsible for为……负责

proposition n.主张 来源:propose向……提议

Man proposes,God disposes.谋事在人,成事在天。


unintelligible a.难理解的 intelligible可理解的

区别:intellectual 知识分子;intelligent聪明的




preferential a.优先的 来源:prefer favorable有利的

prefer green tea to black tea./I prefer to green tea rather than black tea. black coffee =

sugar free coffee现在国外最流行的:decaf coffee

controversial a.引起争论的 controversy n.论争(lesson39)

cactus n.仙人掌 复数形式:cacti拉丁变形

abacus算盘—abaci(pl.); alumnus校友—alumni(pl.)

termite n.白蚁

group vt.把……分类

variant a.不同的 variation n.变化;变奏曲


barbarian n.野蛮人 = savage,vandal

pagan n.异教徒 相信不只有一个神的人或非基督教徒者

区别heretic异教徒 信邪教的人

hold sway over支配,掌握 Superstition holds sway over my brain/mind.



premise n.前提 大/小前提:major/minor premise

Only on the premise of equality,can we further negotiate.

institution n.惯例,风俗 长期的习惯,不一定要遵守(社会风俗)

custom不同部落,种族 When in Rome,do as the Romans do.


supernatural a.超自然的

Notes on the text

The basic background about this author:

Ruth Benedict (female)

She is a famous anthropologist.

"Cultural relativism"文化相关论

subject ( = topic,theme)

great moment = significance重要性

The inner workings of our own brains…倒装句式

正常:we feel the…workings to be… 宾语前置,强调宾语


uniquely独特的 = only

worthy of值得

commonplace a.后省略名词level

We have a way of thinking. = as we view/see it

As a matter of fact作为一个事实而言( = in fact)

Traditional custom,taken the world over, is a mass of detailed behaviour more astonishing than what any one person can ever evolve in individual actions, no matter how aberrant.非常难句型 主语:Traditional custom 谓语:is a mass

mass大量 = collection

is a mass = is a whole/total


take the world over = throughout the world

detailed细致的 astonishing = surprising evolve进化(develop)

the predominant role一个主导作用


in belief信仰,思维活动

it may manifest体现



pristine eye原始的眼光 = pure纯洁的






ways of thinking思维方式

probing = research, studies研究




have reference to和……有关 = be connected with

John Dewey(1859-…)"哲学思想":learning by doing

in all seriousness = seriously

the part = the role


as…as比较 第一个as后面,风俗对人的影响——人对风俗的影响


over against对比,与……比较

orders = different levels不同层面,不同阶层

have had虚拟

autonomously auto自动 autonomous自治的

figure省略用法=figure of speech

no more than正好,恰好 = just


life history 生平

first and foremost = above all最重要,首先




hand down = pass on流传下来


group种族 = race

born into出生于

globe = earth


cultural transmission文化传递

it is more incumbent upon us to understand…插入语


as to +名词 = about 关于

complicating = difficult复杂


not until直到……才


profitable有利可图的 = beneficial

preliminary基本,基础 = basic

have been的用法:后面的动作,一定是要和前面构成一个完成,后面的完成才能引发前面 的动作

violently opposed强烈的反对




one of the items or another=on or another of the items

in all the less controversial fields…在不太令人争论的一些领域


all that we know of…

that we know做all的后置定语

of 做all的后置定语

social insects群居生活的昆虫

let us say = so to speak

major social sciences主要的社会学


that of 作同位语


as long as = if 只要,如果

degree of sophistication = understanding理解

set over against与……对比

these institutions这些习俗


Our among the rest 独立主格句

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