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双语:总有那么些英文词 连母语者都觉得懵!

2017-02-03 17:16

来源:BBC

作者:

  如今在说英语的人群中,非母语者的数目已经渐渐要超过母语者了,为此那些母语为英语的人们亚历山大——如何能够在不说俗语和俚语的情况下顺畅沟通,这是个问题……

  BBC总结了在交流中最令人困扰的那些单词、词组,以及这些问题所产生的困扰:

  It’s all Greek to me

  我对此一窍不通。

  “Any native speaker talking to a majority of native speakers will tend to assume that everyone, even the non-native speakers in the room, can understand everything they say regardless of speed of speech and idioms used,” Mike Conroy commented on our Facebook post.

  麦克·康罗伊在脸书上说:“任何母语者在和大多数人说话的时候会倾向于认为所有人——甚至是非母语者——都在同一个‘房间’里,并且无论语速多快、用了多少俗语他们都能够理解他们所说的一切内容。”

  Some of the words that get lost in translation: torch versus flashlight, spanner versus wrench. Phrases such as “the umpteenth time” and “watching paint dry” and “taking the mickey,” tripped some readers up, while even subtle differences in spelling, such as ‘centre’ and ‘center’ caused trouble.

  有些词是不可翻译的:torch还是flashlight,spanner还是wrench。“the umpteenth time” ,“watching paint dry” ,“taking the mickey”,这些词组常常会让读者困扰不已,还有只是在拼写上有些许差异的单词如‘centre’ 和‘center’也让人产生困惑。

  “During a holiday in the US I had more problems with people understanding my [British] English than I do with my colleagues and customers on mainland Europe,” wrote Ray Gloster. “In Europe, I find it does help to tailor your choice of words, selecting Latin or Germanic origin words from the English vocabulary.”

  雷·格洛斯特写道:“有一次去美国度假就遇到了许多困难,那里的人们无法理解我的英式英语,比我无法理解欧洲大陆来的同事和客户的英语更甚。在欧洲,我发现斟词酌句是很有帮助的——选择那些带有拉丁语或者德语词根的英语单词能够使得交流更顺畅。”

  “[British] English and American English are full of instances of this,” commented Martin Hawkins. “I'm a Brit living in the US and the phrase 'two cultures separated by a common language' is very appropriate.”

  马丁·霍金斯评论道:“英式英语和美式英语中差别比比皆是。作为一个住在美国的英国人, 我觉得‘一种语言,两种文化’这个短语非常恰当。”

  The hardest adaptations

  最艰难的适应

  Martin Searle, a native English speaker living in Asia, noted three key lessons he had learned for adapting his mother tongue to his new surroundings: “One: never use a negative question such as "you didn't go to the office today?" You probably won't understand if the answer is a confirmation or not! Two: many Asian languages have no direct translation for "no" and "yes" so use a phrase like ‘that’s correct.’

  马丁·赛尔是一个住在亚洲的英语母语者,在他试着融入新的语言环境的同时认识到了三个关键的问题:“第一,永远不要使用否定疑问句,比如‘你今天没去上班吗?’因为你将无法判别答案到底是还是不是!第二,许多亚洲语言对于‘是’和‘否’并没有准确直接的翻译,因此尽量使用‘那是正确的。’这样的短句。”

  “Three: even the most fluent speakers of English as a second language often speak more directly than native speakers - levels of courtesy and discretion are very hard to learn. They don't intend to be rude so lose your sensitivity.”

  “第三,即使是作为二语学习者中最能够流畅使用英语的人,在委婉程度上还是不及母语者——客气程度的拿捏真的非常难学。”

  Standing their ground

  站在他人的立场

  Some of you blanched at the idea of anyone going to great lengths to adapt their language in their home country, to accommodate others.

  有些人非常不愿让本国人大费周章地改变自己的语言来迁就自己。

  “As a non-native speaker, I wouldn't like native speakers to speak to me any differently - it's condescending as it assumes that my English is not good enough to understand,” wrote Isabella Chan.

  伊莎贝拉·陈写道:“作为一个非母语英语学习者,我不喜欢母语者在和我说话的时候作出任何改变——这样会显得他们高高在上,而且觉得我的英语程度还不够格去理解他们所说的话。”

  John Smith offered another twist on the idea: “You learn a foreign language to communicate with people who speak it, not to have them water it down and de-bone it of its structure.” Part of learning, other writers noted, is to ask questions and understand peculiarities of a language.

  约翰·史密斯则持有不同的观点:“你学习外语就是为了和当地人交流,而不是去稀释或改变它。”其他作者认为,提问和理解语言中的特例也是学习的一部分。

(编辑:何莹莹)

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