仅凭一纸文书,17岁女生被哈佛耶鲁全录取(附作文原文)
作者:萧靖彤|来源:这里是美国|2017年04月21日 16:24

17岁华裔女孩萧靖彤(Cassandra Hsiao)近日收到了美国全部常春藤盟的录取通知书,成为华人世界的热门话题。

这8所学校分别是享誉世界的哈佛大学、耶鲁大学、普林斯顿大学、布朗大学、哥伦比亚大学、康奈尔大学、宾夕法尼亚大学及达特茅斯学院。

*科普时间:常春藤盟校

 

 

常春藤盟校(Ivy League)是由美国东北部地区的七所大学和一所学院组成的一个高校联盟(就是上面全部录取了萧靖彤的那8所)。这些大学都是美国首屈一指的大学,历史悠久,治学严谨,许多著名的科学家、政界要人、商贾巨子都毕业于此。在美国,常青藤学院被作为顶尖名校的代名词。

 

 

 

萧靖彤5岁时随家人移民到美国,她的父亲是中国台湾人,母亲是马来西亚人。

萧靖彤在成长过程中也经历了很多在美国的移民家庭所面临的困境和美好,以及在试图融入美国新环境中经受的挑战。

英文不是他们家的第一语言,刚到美国时,他们的英语发音不准。

“当自己在家外说一些在家里使用的词汇时,外面的人会嘲笑我,但这些东西对于我来说是十分正常的。”

不过,“烂英语”丝毫没有影响她和家人之间的沟通。“在我家里,我们说话的方式很美。在我家里,我们的话并不‘烂’,而是充满了感情。我们用词语建了一座房子……这房子有点歪,有点杂乱无章,但这是我们的家。”

语法规则和语调的细微差别让她意识到自己的经历对移民家庭而言是非常独特的。

于是,她把这些经历写进了大学的申请作文里。而这篇真情实感的作文,吸引了全美十多所名校的注意。哈佛、普林斯顿、耶鲁等全部八所“常春藤盟校”都给她寄来了录取通知书,斯坦福、纽约大学等也录取了她。

以下为萧靖彤的作文原文

In our house, English is not English. Not in the phonetic sense, like short a is for apple, but rather in the pronunciation – in our house, snake is snack. Words do not roll off our tongues correctly – yet I, who was pulled out of class to meet with language specialists, and my mother from Malaysia, who pronounces film as flim, understand each other perfectly.
在我们家,英语不是英语,不是在语音意义上,而是发音上的。在我们家,“snake”(蛇)会被读成“snack”(小吃)。我们的舌头总是卷不对。我常被语言专家纠正发音,我妈妈来自马来西亚,她说“film”的时候总是发成“flim”,但是我们完全能听得懂对方。

 

 

 

In our house, there is no difference between cast and cash, which was why at a church retreat, people made fun of me for “cashing out demons.” I did not realize the glaring difference between the two Englishes until my teacher corrected my pronunciations of hammock, ladle, and siphon. Classmates laughed because I pronounce accept as except, success as sussess. I was in the Creative Writing conservatory, and yet words failed me when I needed them most.
在我们家,“cast”(抛掷)和“cash”(兑现、现金)没有分别,这就是为什么在离开教堂时,人们常常取笑我“cashing out demons”(兑现恶魔,本应为丢弃恶魔)。我没有意识到两个英语单词之间的差异,直到老师纠正了我的hammock、ladle、和siphon的发音。同学们笑我,因为我将accept(接受)读成except(除外),将success读成sussess。尽管我已参加了创意写作,但常常词不达意。

Suddenly, understanding flower is flour wasn’t enough. I rejected the English that had never seemed broken before, a language that had raised me and taught me everything I knew. Everybody else’s parents spoke with accents smarting of Ph.D.s and university teaching positions. So why couldn’t mine?
突然之间,我开始明白,如果只是知道花朵和面粉的发音相同是不够的。我开始逐渐摆脱了那些伴随着我长大的、曾经自以为还不错的英语,既然其他人的父母,都能说一口流利的英语,为什么我的父母不能呢?

My mother spread her sunbaked hands and said, “This is where I came from,” spinning a tale with the English she had taught herself.
我的母亲摊开她那双晒黑的手说:“我就是从这儿来的”,她用自己以前学过的英语讲了一个故事。

When my mother moved from her village to a town in Malaysia, she had to learn a brand new language in middle school: English. In a time when humiliation was encouraged, my mother was defenseless against the cruel words spewing from the teacher, who criticized her paper in front of the class. When she began to cry, the class president stood up and said, “That’s enough.”
当我母亲从她居住的马来西亚村庄搬到一个城镇时,她不得不在初中开始学习一门全新的语言:英语。当时很多人以羞辱别人为乐,当她的老师当着全班的面,用尖酸的语言嘲笑她的作文时,她无力反抗。当她开始哭泣时,班长站起来说“够了”。

“Be like that class president,” my mother said with tears in her eyes. The class president took her under her wing and patiently mended my mother’s strands of language. “She stood up for the weak and used her words to fight back.”
“要像那个班长一样”,妈妈含着泪说,要为弱者说话。要知道那个班长不仅保护了她,还耐心地帮她提高语言。

We were both crying now. My mother asked me to teach her proper English so old white ladies at Target wouldn’t laugh at her pronunciation. It has not been easy. There is a measure of guilt when I sew her letters together. Long vowels, double consonants — I am still learning myself. Sometimes I let the brokenness slide to spare her pride but perhaps I have hurt her more to spare mine.
母亲要我教她正确的英语,这样Target 商场的白人老太太就不会嘲笑她的发音了。当我把她的话拼缀在一起时,会有一种歉疚感。长元音、双辅音,其实这些我自己也仍在学习。有时候我避免让一些只言片语伤害她的自尊心,但我可能已经在不经意时,伤害了她很多。

As my mother’s vocabulary began to grow, I mended my own English. Through performing poetry in front of 3000 at my school’s Season Finale event, interviewing people from all walks of life, and writing stories for the stage, I stand against ignorance and become a voice for the homeless, the refugees, the ignored. With my words I fight against jeers pelted at an old Asian street performer on a New York subway. My mother’s eyes are reflected in underprivileged ESL children who have so many stories to tell but do not know how. I fill them with words as they take needle and thread to make a tapestry.
随着妈妈英语词汇不断增加,我的英语也在不断进步。我可以在学校3000多人面前朗诵诗歌,还采访了各界人士、写舞台剧,站出来为无家可归者、难民和弱势群体发声。在纽约地铁,有些人会嘲笑街头艺人,我也用站出来和他们对抗。我还会教那些贫穷的、英语非母语的孩子学英语,看到他们有很多故事要讲、但又不知道如何表达的样子时,我仿佛看到了我妈妈的过去。

In our house, there is beauty in the way we speak to each other. In our house, language is not broken but rather bursting with emotion. We have built a house out of words. There are friendly snakes in the cupboard and snacks in the tank. It is a crooked house. It is a little messy. But this is where we have made our home.
在我们家里,家人之间说话的方式也很温馨。在我家里,我们说话的方式很美。在我家里,我们的话并不‘烂’,而是充满了感情。我们用词语建了一座房子……这房子有点歪,有点杂乱无章,但这是我们的家。

 

 

当然,除了这篇文章,萧靖彤本身的简历就非常令人难忘。

现年17岁的她已经是一名成功的剧作家、诗人和记者。她为叙利亚难民写过诗,采访过摩根·弗里曼和克里斯·埃文斯等好莱坞明星。她的作品刊发在许多刊物上,她本人还获得过一些奖项。 

萧靖彤说:“语言中有非常强大的力量。”

“身份认同感和归属感是最能让人产生共鸣的东西。我想和他人分享我家庭生活的一个侧面,我和母亲的感情和我们俩的经历。”

和萧靖彤的妈妈一样,很多来美国的第一代移民常常会陷入一种语言和精神层面的无力感,看着社会的意义越来越模糊,感觉自己被封锁在狭小的群体里,感受着儿女的世界离自己越来越远.....

BuzzFEED此前做过一个采访:在国外,你的父母不会说英语是什么体验?

 父母为了子女移民海外,然而不懂英语,只能依靠孩子给他们翻译,相互依偎,看到最后有点泪目!

面对文化差异、语言差异,希望每个人都多一份包容和理解!

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