In the afternoon of November 22th 2013, professor Zhu Weiyi delivered a splendid speech titled with Different Applications of Chinese and English in Legal Text in the room 306 of MingFa Building in ChangPing campus of CUPL. After graduating from NanJing University and Columbia University, professor Zhu has got the BA degree in American Literature and a doctor degree in law respectively. With a great knowledge of literature and law, he is an expert in combining these two elements into his lectures as well as his books, such as Coming across Law and Hearing Wind and Rain, which have achieved a great wide popularity.
At the beginning of the lecture, professor Zhu highlighted the importance of English in law study. He referred that as the most widely used language in the world, English had gradually influenced all the aspects in our daily life. Meanwhile, the rapid development of Business English indicated that the application of English had been extended to much more domains. Therefore, a good knowledge of English plays an extremely important role in students’ bright future development. After that, professor Zhu asked several students for their difficulties in learning English and gave an explicit explanation to each student. For instance, some students were worried about their slow speed in reading, while some met difficulties in translating the English articles into fluent Chinese, and others worried about their misunderstanding of English articles. Accordingly, Prof. Zhu pointed out that due to different language conventions and grammars, we should pay more attention to the key words and difficult sentence structures in English reading instead of pursuing the reading speed. Besides, after the first scanning, we should turn back to the whole article and summarize the main idea immediately. Only in this way could we learn standard English expressions. As for the problems met by students in the translation of English and Chinese, he said that we would view English sentences much longer and harder to understand because our native language tends to separate long and difficult sentences with comma, whereas in English, people tend to use different clauses in long sentences to express ideas. Thus he suggested that we should do more translation exercises with long and difficult sentences consciously in the following study, and as a result, our reading ability would improve naturally.
Then, to help students realize the different uses of English and Chinese, Professor Zhu gave out three English articles prepared in advance and let students do reading exercises. He asked students to read three times the first article, titled as How to curb your legal bills. After an explanation of the article structure and the meanings of key words, he guided students to get new understanding and discoveries each time after reading, and showed the importance of reading and re-reading, as well as concluding in time. In the second poem The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock written by an English famous poet Thomas Stearns Eliot, who won the Nobel Literature Prize in 1948 with his masterpiece The Wasteland, professor Zhu translated it together with students and he explained the writing background of the poem, as well as the emotions in it. He said that compared with English used in law, English in literature was more beautiful and difficult. As a result, he encouraged us students to read English and American literature widely with a suggestion of a reading list as The Search for Modern China written by Spencer D. Jonathan, On China by Henry Kissinger and The Good Earth by Buck Pearl. The last article was a list of English words and sentences. He hoped that students could have a further understanding of the same meaning expressed differently in English and Chinese and thus, value the internal understanding of language by translating those words and sentences.
At last, professor Zhu replied to the questions asked by students about searching for a further study abroad and provided us with a table, in which figures of the tuition fees, the number of students, and the ratio of international students in several famous universities were listed. And then, based on his study experience abroad, he told students that whether one chooses to pursue a master degree in law abroad or not lay greatly in their future vocation plan, not in others around them. Meanwhile, he referred that where to study law was not that important, instead, the self-development of international views and law thinking patterns was highlighted. Professor Zhu advised those students who determined to go abroad to apply for the top universities all over the world, as only in such universities they could pursue a deep further study and prepare themselves in the following pursuit of jobs.
Approachable and humorous, professor Zhu has interacted with students by raising and answering questions, and in this relaxed and openatmosphere, he helped students realize different uses and techniques of law in English and Chinese. Students all agreed that despite the short two hours of professor Zhu’s lecture, what they obtained in the lecture would greatly contribute to their future study and work.
Article by Shen Han (2013 master student)