2012.12英语四级仔细阅读点拨

近几年英语四级阅读一个很有意思的趋势就是文章段落数在不断增加。2008年12月份的两篇文章首度突破十段话的大关,到了2009年12月份更是涨到了14段。今年6月份的考题整体难度偏低,但两篇文章也都有6、7段。由此看来,现在的命题者似乎特别偏好这样一类文章——“散文”。当然,此处笔者所谓的散文不是指文体,而是就其结构特点而言:文章段落多,每段话却又只有寥寥数语。

碰到这种文章,考生朋友们似乎都感觉很棘手。文章不仅篇幅冗长而且结构模糊,林林总总十几段话着实不知道该从何下手。试图全文通读,怎奈阅读速度所限无法实现;想逐个击破,却又不知从何处读起只好望洋兴叹。

其实应对这种考题模式万变不离其宗的规律就是从题干入手,挑选关键词,藉由关键词的提示迅速判断有效段落的位置,各个击破,从而提高效率。在此不妨以2009年12月份的阅读文章为例。(有删节)

Throughout this long, tense election, everyone has focused on the presidential candidates and how they'll change America. Rightly so. But selfishly, I'm more fascinated by Michelle Obama and what she might be able to do, not just for this country, but for me as an African-American woman. As the potential First Lady, she would have the world's attention. And that means that for the first time people will have a chance to get up close and personal with the type of African-American woman they so rarely see.

…Even in the world of make-believe, black women still can't escape the stereotype of being eye-rolling, oversexed females raised by our never-married, alcoholic (酗酒的) mothers.

These images have helped define ….

It won't be easy. Because few ….

Just as she will have her critics, she will also have millions of fans who usually have little interest in the First Lady. Many African-American blogs have written about what they'd like to see Michelle bring to the White House ----mainly showing the world that a black woman can support her man and raise a strong black family. Michelle will have to work to please everyone — an impossible task, But for many African-American women like me, just a little of her poise (沉着), confidence and intelligence will go a long way in changing an image that's been around for far too long.


也许有考生会认为这篇文章篇幅有限,大可全文通读以后再来处理。其实大可不必。首先我们查阅一下文后的五个题目。

57. Why does Michelle Obama hold a strong fascination for the author?

58. What is the common stereotype of African-American women according to the author?

59. What do many African-Americans write about in their blogs?

60. What does the author say about Michelle Obama as a First Lady?

61. What do many African-American women hope Michelle Obama will do?

很明显,每一道题目设问对象都是相当明确,我们要从中挑选出具有标识性意义的词汇来指导自己寻找和定位原文。能够起到这种作用的词汇就称之为关键词。必须注意到的是关键词都必须是每个题目中所独有的特殊词汇,尤其像是专有名词和时间、数字这类词。以57题为例,其中就有专有名词Michelle Obama。不过这个词在最后三题当中都有出现,特殊性陡然下降。但细细看来,题干中还有一个词——fascination(着迷),该词本身就属于四级考纲中的难度词汇。说到这里大家也明白了,能够充当关键词的不仅有特殊词,还有另外很重要的一类——陌生词汇和难度词汇。把握这个原则我们再来看58题,不难发现,stereotype也同属特殊词汇。相同的情况还有59题的blogs和60题的First Lady。61题的情况比较特殊,其中的几个专有名词在之前都曾出现。不过,由于四级出题顺序一般与原文大致相同,由此不难推测出该题应当针对文章最后一段。

找到这些关键词以后,可以说我们已经完全抢占了解题的制高点。接下来的工作可以说是水到渠成——按照关键词的提示找到它们在原文所出现的位置,由此即可抓住在本文中真正有效的部分迅速解题。将57题的fascination代入原文很快看到它出现在第一段第二句当中,这与近年来命题的规律也是吻合的——顺序出题。根据题目要求,不难发现就是从该段第三句开始揭晓答案。美国历史上第一位入住白宫的黑人总统,还有他身边这位前无古人的黑人女性是让千千万万美国少数族裔尤其是黑人倍感激动的原因。而本文作者,作为一名女性似乎更看重的是这位新任白宫女主人在第一家庭中所能发挥的独特作用。其实读完第一段以后整篇文章的主题也就显现出来了。

如法炮制,就能找到58题关键词stereotype出现在文章第二段。不过更有意思的是,我们发现全文最后一段,也就是第五段居然把59、60两题的关键词blog和first lady全部囊括在内。结合我们刚才所讲的,61题其实也针对末段。这样看来第五段是文章中重要性最高的一段,而第三、第四两段居然是一题没出。回头来想,如果没有事先作定位的工作那么现场考试当中就会浪费大量时间。2008年12月的两篇文章分别有11和12段,完全可以想像如果这两篇文章不作定位而直接阅读的话将会事倍功半费力不讨好。

同样的情况也出现在今年6月份的题目当中。文章有六段话,依照关键词都可以快速突破。比如第63题

What is the finding of the Canadian researchers?

A) Encouraging positive thinking many do more harm than good.
B) There can be no simple therapy for psychological problems.
C) Unhappy people cannot think positively.
D) The power of positive thinking is limited.

按照刚才我们所讲的规律,其中的Canadian自然就是关键词。依此线索很快找到文章第二段,Researchers in Canada just published a study in the journal Psychological Science that says trying to get people to think more positively can actually have the opposite effect: it can simply highlight how unhappy they are。那么最后这个小分句——it can simply highlight how unhappy they are(这只能凸显出他们心情有多么糟糕)——非常明显地证明了积极思考(positive thinking)的局限性,因此选择D选项。

所以,文章段落再长也不用怕,先大致浏览题干,找准提问的关键词,再去文章中定位就行。大家在平时的联系中不妨多多实践。

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