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經濟學人:移民入籍語言測試令人頭禿(1)

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Johnson Stress tests

約翰遜語言專欄——壓力測試

How to design language tests for citizenship—and how not to

如何設計入籍語言測試?要規避哪些方面?

“Perfect Swedish is overrated. But comprehensible Swedish is deeply underrated,” says Ulf Kristersson, the leader of Sweden’s centre-right Moderate party, which supports a language requirement to become a Swedish citizen. The left has come round, too: the Social Democrat-led government plans to introduce a language test. Sweden would thereby leave the small club of European countries that do not make passing such a test a condition of naturalisation.

瑞典中右翼温和聯合黨領導人尤爾法·克里斯特松表示,“在對瑞典語水平進行評定時,評為完美則評價過高了,但評為可獲理解又評價過低了。”温和聯合黨支持對申請成為瑞典公民的人提出語言要求。左派也改變了看法:社會民主黨領導的政府計劃推出一項語言測試。為此,瑞典將脱離那些不把通過語言測試作為入籍的條件的小羣體歐洲國家。

To learn the language of the country you live in is the key to a full life there. But many experts in language policy oppose testing for citizenship—because they suspect a less compassionate motive in some who propose them. “Becoming a Danish citizen is something one has to become worthy of,” said Inger Stojberg in 2015, when she was the immigration and integration minister in Denmark’s centre-right government—implying that the unworthy had been slipping through. Her thinly camouflaged goal was not to improve immigrants’ Danish, but to naturalise fewer of them.

學習你所居住的國家的語言是在當地過上充實生活的關鍵。但許多語言政策專家反對公民資格語言測試,因為他們懷疑,某些人提出這種考試的動機缺乏同理心。2015年,英格·斯托伊貝格表示,“申請者想要成為丹麥公民,必須變得有價值,”當時她是丹麥中右翼政府移民與融合部部長,這句話的言外之意是,無價值的人無法申請成為丹麥公民。她隱藏的目的很淺顯,此舉不是要提高移民的丹麥語水平,而是要減少移民入籍。

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And so the Danish government, which already had language requirements, tightened them significantly. To prove they had reached the specified level in a recent test, applicants had to skim 16 pages of readings on the “People’s Enlightenment”, a movement originating in the 19th century to give ordinary Danes self-improving institutions such as evening classes, libraries and scouting. Applicants must answer questions like: “In principle the People’s Enlightenment is for adults, but children can take part in classes intended for families. But what are the requirements for children to take these classes?” Though not exactly Kierkegaard, the material is well above the level needed to get by.

因此,已經提出入籍語言要求的丹麥政府又大幅提高了要求。在最近的一次語言測試中,申請者為了證明自己達到了規定的水平,他們必須略讀16頁有關“人民啓蒙運動”的閲讀材料,這項運動起源於19世紀,旨在讓普通丹麥人通過夜校、圖書館和兒童培訓等機構自我提高。申請者必須回答一些問題,比如:“原則上,人民啓蒙運動的受眾是成人,但兒童也可以參加為家庭開設的課程。那兒童參與這些課程的要求是什麼呢?”雖然沒有像哲學家克爾凱郭爾的想法那樣深奧,但這些問題遠遠高於入籍所需的水平。

The trend in the West is clearly towards such tests. America and Britain typically require English for citizenship—in 2019 Donald Trump proposed adding requirements for certain visas as well. But the problem seems especially acute from a small-country perspective. Many European countries are linguistic communities. Europe is a crowded continent where neighbours often distinguish themselves primarily by how they speak. Centuries of nation-building from the top down strengthened the association of one language with one people in one state, at least in the ideal case. English already threatens the role of small languages. If Denmark, say, does not require even Danish citizens to speak Danish, what is the language for?

顯然,西方國家正走向採取入籍語言測試的趨勢。想要申請獲得美國和英國的公民身份的申請者通常需要掌握英語,2019年,唐納德·特朗普也提議增加了對某些國家的簽證要求。但從小國的角度來看,這個問題似乎格外尖鋭。許多歐洲國家是語言共同體。歐洲是一個國家稠密的大陸,鄰國往往主要通過説話方式來區分國籍。幾個世紀以來,自上而下的國家建設加強了一國中一種語言與一個民族的聯繫,至少在理想情況下是這樣的。英語已經威脅到了小語種的地位。比如説,如果丹麥甚至不要求丹麥公民説丹麥語,那這門語言還有何用?

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principle ['prinsəpl]

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n. 原則,原理,主義,信念

 
comprehensible [.kɔmpri'hensəbl]

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adj. 可理解的,易懂的

 
integration [.inti'greiʃən]

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n. 綜合,集成,同化

 
oppose [ə'pəuz]

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vt. 反對,反抗,使對立,使對抗

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linguistic [liŋ'gwistik]

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adj. 語言的,語言學的

 
movement ['mu:vmənt]

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n. 活動,運動,移動,[音]樂章

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thereby ['ðɛə'bai]

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adv. 因此,從而

 
perspective [pə'spektiv]

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n. 遠景,看法,透視
adj. 透視的

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moderate ['mɔdəreit,'mɔdərit]

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adj. 適度的,穩健的,温和的,中等的
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