Posts Tagged ‘英语’

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

一张图看清欧洲各语言之间的比重和距离

英语作为日耳曼语系,跟日耳曼诸语言的关系亲密。

1066年,诺曼底的威廉征服英国,把法语注入到英语中去,今天75%的现代英语词汇来自法语。法语跟英语之间的距离,比跟同一个语系的罗马尼亚语还要近。

为什么英语依然是日耳曼语系,最主要的原因是,虽然英语的词汇借鉴法语甚多,但语法依然是日耳曼语式的。

原始文章链接请点图。

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用字母表对抗健忘症

Friday, October 11th, 2013

有一天夜里,看足球,尤文图斯对米兰的一场比赛,看到中场大将皮尔洛,我忽然想起另外一位曾经在尤文图斯效力的铁汉,他叫什么来着?名字就在嘴边,怎么也想不起来。闭上眼睛,我能清楚地记得他的长相,我还知道他曾经是捷克队的主力,他的队友叫科勒,2.04米的大个之中锋,他的主教练叫布吕克纳,他的名字翻译过来也是四个汉字,但是我就是想不起他叫什么。想不起来并不可怕,可怕的是我的脑子里居然没有任何坐标可以搜寻到他。这让我不禁恐惧起来。这是记忆力衰退的标志。

我们知道,每个人都会忘一些东西,比如,一进家门把钥匙放到一个不常放的地方,或者把装着新买衣服的购物袋忘到商场的某个柜台。这些都不是健忘症,因为你可以通过大脑里的记忆回放,顺藤摸瓜,找到线索。而这名捷克铁汉在我的大脑里,毫无线索。

当然,你会说,到网上搜搜不就行了。的确行,但那样我等于承认自己在记忆力面前认怂了。有第一次,就会有第N次,大脑从此就可以肆无忌惮地原谅自己的遗忘,从而变本加厉,把我推向老年痴呆的不归路。

不,我要掐住命运的喉咙,它并不能将使完全屈服。贝多芬的这句话,我初中时候就会背,但直到中年以后,才对我有意义。

我决定用最笨的办法,把我脑海中记住的足球运动员名字,全都写下来,那么这个捷克悍将,应该就在这些名字里面。

说写就写,但是写的时候,我才发现,按照何种顺序写才是最重要的。在没有汉语拼音之前,汉字的检索是一件令人头疼的是。虽然有偏旁部首和笔画数检索的方法,但是笔画并不直观,笔画数也常常会数错。如果没有汉语拼音,汉字连简洁地分类都做不到。

就在我准备按照拼音顺序回忆球员名字的时候,我又遇到一个难题。汉字共有400多个读音,我要把这四百个读音全都列出来,然后再一个字一个字地去套球员的名字。

忽然我想起一个更简介的方法,我可以直接用英文回忆啊。英文只有26个字母,球员的名字的首字母,必然在这26个里。我只需要一个字母、一个字母地回忆就可以了。

以下是我的回忆过程:

A: Alex, 亚力山达罗,Ashley Cole
B: Beckham, 巴蒂斯图塔,巴雷西
C: C.Ronaldo, Cech
D: David Duff, 德尔·皮耶罗,德尔维奇奥
E: Eto’o, Essen
F: 法布雷加斯,法尔考,Figo
G: 古蒂,吉鲁
H: 赫尔南德斯,海挺加
I: 伊涅斯塔
J: 儒尼尼奥
K: 克洛斯,克劳泽
L: 兰帕德
M: 马尔蒂尼,马拉多纳
N:NEDVED,内德维德!

就是他,我要找的就是他!我想破脑袋德名字,终于回到我的记忆里,我长舒了一口气。感谢拉丁字母表,感谢英语,感谢伟大的字母文字,让我找到了对抗遗忘的方法。

现在搞什么国学,“汉字大赛”,纯粹是浪费时间,误导青少年。应该把这时间和热情用来学外语啊,笨蛋!

字母文字才是世界上最伟大的发明,才是人类进化的方向。任何中国人想更好地生存下去,就应当掌握一套字母文字,哪怕只认识26个字母,也大有用处。

以下是我对于字母表的一个应用实例。

前几天我在写一个故事,里面有四个人物,我总觉得似乎已经对这四个人了解了,实际上他们身上深层次的东西,我还知之甚少。于是,我用了一个跟回忆足球运动员名字一样的笨办法,我找来一张纸,画了一个表格。26个字母列了26行,每个字母联想一个单词,我故事中的四个人物,裂成四列,每个人物都必须对这个单词做出回答。

我列的26个单词是:

Ambition, Break point, Can-be, Doubt, Endangerment, Fight for, God, Haunting, Irony, Jealous, Kill, Lost, Monster, Next stage, Opportunity , Remorse, Strong, Threat, Under water, Victory, Weakness, X-file, Years after, Zest

等我填满这张表格,对人物的性格和命运发展又有了新的认识,甚至有一种,跟故事里的人相见恨晚的感觉。

中文真的不是一门好语言,我们不过是为了谋生,才勉强使用它而已。如果要获取智慧、力量,必须借助其他语言。故而,外语才是智慧、力量和灵感的来源。

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我买这些书是为了把自己当狗一样训练

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

卓越近期订购的英语工具书已达。

1、The Elements of Style: 50 Anniversary Edition

这是一本风行50年的写作小书,最初是一本美国康奈尔大学William Strunk教授自己编写的、教学生写作的小册子。只有43页,只限校园内使用。后来出版社找到Strunk的学生,《夏洛的网》的作者,当时在《纽约客》写评论的作家E.B.White,请他补写章节、丰富实例,于1959年出版。此后在1972、1979年分别出了第二、第三版,2000年出版了第四版。

这本书是写作的经典黑宝书,其主旨可以用书中这段话概括:

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all sentences short or avoid all details and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

试译如下:

鲜活的写作就是简明。一句中不应有赘词,一段中不应有赘句,就像画画不应有多余线条,机器不应有多余零件一样。这不是说,作家应该写短句,避细节,概括大意,而是说,每个单词都应该传达意义。

以下是一位台湾译者的译法。

盖须句无冗字,章无冗句,譬似画师无一笔之费,匠师无一器之赘。非谓为文设辞必欲苟简,叙事力避铺陈,乃字字皆响耳。

关于这本书,财新主编王烁曾有一篇读书摘要,可资参考。我读完后,也会写一篇笔记。

2、中式英语之鉴

这本书的出版是中国学外语者的福音。作者Joan Pinkham是美国职业翻译,曾在中国外文出版社和中央编译局从事译文修改工作,修订过周恩来、邓小平、陈云等人的著作译文。没有谁比她更清楚中式英语之害了。这本书是经验的结晶,也可以看作是The Elements of Style的中国扩展版。

我读了第一章就觉得受益匪浅,原来汉语的欧化反过来影响了汉译英,从而使得中国人写的英文一样叠床架屋,纠缠不情。这本书最贴心的是每章之后都有练习题,巩固所学的内容。

3、翻译的基本知识

钱歌川是英语翻译达人,他不泥古,不迂腐,真的贯通中西。

中国翻译界一直被严复的“信达雅”理论所统治,钱歌川认为只要做到一个“信”字就够了。想起了牟老针对《乔布斯传》的一篇博文,真的一针见血。顺便说一句,尽管在交朋友的问题上,我们存在分歧,但他的博客依然是我每天的食粮。

4、李特布朗英文写作手册(中文简释本)

这本书在外文书店见过,一看就喜欢,对于写作,无论英文也好,中文也好,我最缺乏的就是系统训练。嗯,我买这些书是为了把自己当狗一样训练(但愿英明神武的黄集伟老师能够看到这句)。

我上一代的青年,他们有一个万能理由,“都让四人帮给耽误了”或者“都让十年动乱给耽误了”。我们的悲剧在于,同样懒惰,同样一事无成,但再没有这么堂堂正正的可以说出口的理由。那么,承认吧,都是让自己给耽误的。所幸,一切还不晚。

5、美国大学英语写作(影印版)

这本书的用途跟《李特布朗英文写作手册》,期待更给我最最基础的训练,带我走入英语的花园。那花园里鲜花绽放,仙女在荡着秋千……

6、汉英大词典(第三版)、汉英词典(第三版)、新世纪汉英大词典

三部最重要的汉英词典都买齐了,要知道关键时刻,网络是靠不住的。

7、GRE词汇精选(红皮书)、GRE词汇精选(绿皮书、乱序版)

俞敏洪的代表作。怎样学英语才好,有万千说法,但千计百方都不能替代最笨的办法–背单词。生词,永远是隔断花园的围墙上的玻璃碴,必须消灭它们,让每一个单词都说出自己的故事,所谓字字皆响耳。

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一段脱口秀 两项基本功

Friday, March 26th, 2010

【按】以下是华人脱口秀演员Joe Wang最近在一次由美国副总统拜登参加的答谢宴会上的表演。他的每一段话,都会引来满堂笑声与喝彩。他还不失时机地揶揄拜登,而对方也很有风度地讪笑。

欣赏这段妙语连珠的脱口秀,你需要掌握两种技能。一是英语,你至少能够看懂下面的录音整理和笑点提示。二是翻墙,这两段都是Youtube的录像,你只有翻出去,才能看到它们。

从今以后,你要学会这两种技能。如果不想天天看CCTV和CNTV,如果不想天天用百度和新浪微博,除了忍痛学习,你没有别的选择。

第一段

第二段

录音整理 (原出处

Good evening everyone, my name is Joe Wong.But to most people, I am known as Who?, which is actually my mother’s maiden name and the answer to my credit card security question.

But joking aside I just want to reassure everybody that I AM invited here tonight.[refer to the Salahis crashing a white house party]

I grew up in China. Who didn’t20[I grew in America, who didn’t20poking fun at ignorant rednecks] And my childhood memories are totally ruined by my childhood.When I was in elementary school,as part of the curriculum, I had
to work in a rice paddy right next to a quarry where they use explosives to break rocks. And that was when I learned light travels fast than sound, which is almost as slow as a flying rock. My dad was a grumpy guy, but occasionally he would cheer me up with jokes. But he doesn’t do it right. When I was seven one day he said to me, “Hey, son,why is tofu better than centralized socialist economy?” So five minutes later I said “why?” He said
because I said so!

I came to the United States in, when I was twenty four to study at Rice University in Texas. That wasn’t a joke, until now.

And I was driving this used car that had a lot of bump stickers that were impossible to peel off. One of them said “If you don’t speak English, go home”. And I didn’t know this for two years.

And like many other immigrants, we all want our son to the become the president of this country and we are trying to make him bilingual, you know, Chinese at home, English in the public, which is really tough to do because
many times I have to say to him in public, “hey, listen, if you don’t speak English, go home.” And he would say to me, “hey dad, why do I have to learn two languages?” I said, “son, once you become the president of the United
State,you are gonna have to sign the legislative bills in English, and talk to debt collectors in Chinese.”

When I graduated from Rice, I decided to stay in the United States because in China, I can’t do the thing I do best here, being ethnic. And in order for me to become a US citizen, I had to take these American history lessons,
where they ask us questions like “Who is Benjamin Franklin?” I was like “Ah , the reason our convenience store gets robbed?” [Franklin is on $100 bill] “What is the second amendment?” I was like “Ah, the reason our convenience
store gets robbed?” [The second amendment grants right to own firearms] ” What is Roe versus Wade?” I was like “Ah, two ways of coming to the United States?” [Roe v. Wade legalize abortion in US, which everyone in the
audience knows. Illegal immigrants come to US either by rowing a boat or wading thru a river.] Later on, I read so much about American history that I started to harbor white guilt.[Obviously he is not white and should not
feel guilty.]

And in America they say that all men are created equal.But after birth it kind of depends on parents income for early education and health care. I read in the Men’s Health magazine that President Obama,every week, has two cardio days and four weight lifting days. You see I don’t have to excise, because I have health insurance. [poking fun at US health care system] I live in Massachusetts now, where we have universal health care. Then we
elected Scott Brown. Talk about mixed messages. I think there was a movie about him. It’s called Kill Bill.[Scott Brown vowed to kill health care bill .Apparently, there was not many Quentin fans in the audience. It was a greatjoke.]

I am honored to meet Vice president Joe Biden here tonight.I actually read your autobiography.And today I see you. I think the book is much better.They should have [not very clear] Brad Pitt, or even Angelina Jolie.

So to be honest, I was really honored to be here tonight and I prepared for months for tonight show and I [not very clear] the white house and [not very clear] by President Obama, that was when he decided not to come. And he
started to talk about immigration reforms. Take that Steven Colbert. [a liberal comedian always faking a conservative]

And President Obama has always been accused of being too soft. But he was conducting two wars, and they still gave him the Nobel Peace prize. And he accepted it. You can’t be more badass than that. Well actually, I am
thinking the only way you can be more badass than that is if you take the nobel peace prize money and give it to the military.

We have many distinguished journalists here, whom I consider as my peers because I used to write for campus newspaper.I think journalism is the last refuge for punks. Only on the newspaper can you say things like “I was born in the year of the horse, that is why I am a naysayer.” [poking fun at media for relating things that have no causality] My point exactly.

And tonight is my first time on C-span, which is a channel I obviously always watch when I couldn’t stand the sensationalism and demagogury of PBS and QVC [Public Broadcasting Service famous for subjectivity but hated by
conservatives, QVC television shopping channel] If I still couldn’t fall asleep after watching C-span, there is C-span 2 and C-span 3. [C-span channels broadcast boring congressional debates, etc.] Thank you very much.

So I became a US citizen in 2008, which I am really happy about.Thank you very much. America is number one. That is true because we won the World Series every year. [WS played between US baseball teams so US always wins.
Great joke]

After becoming a US citizen, I immediately registered vote for Obama/Biden. Thank you very much. You had me at “Yes we can”. That was their campaign slogan. So after getting Obama/Biden elected, I felt this power trip. And I
started to think maybe I should run for president myself. Well I have take a step back and explain a bit. You know,cause I had always been a merryless[0A] and pessimistic guy. I felt that life is kind of like peeing into the snow in a dark winter night. You’ve probably made a difference but it is really hard to tell. [best joke of the night]. But now we have a president who is half black and half white. It just gives me a lot of hope. Because I am half not black, half not white. Two negatives make a positive. You maybe say even “hey, what will be your campaign slogan?” You see, I spent 10 years in the past decades. Oh, you too20OK. So I understand that American people are suffering. So my campaign slogan will be “Who cares!” [best political joke of the night,reveal the truth behind political campaigns and also an indictment of Bush]

If elected, I will make same sex marriage not only legal but required. That will get me the union vote. You see I am married now. I used to be really scared about marriage. I was like “wow, 50 percent of all marriages end up lasting forever.”

And I will eliminated unemployment in this country by reducing the productivity of American work force. So two people will have to do the work of one, just like the president and the vice president, or the Olsen twins.

And despite heart disease and cancer, most Americans die of natural causes. So if elected, I will find a cure for natural causes. You seem to like that one, but it won’t be covered by health insurance though, because of pre-
existing conditions.

And I have quick solution to global warming. If elected, I will switch form Fahrenheit to Celsius. It was 100 degrees before. Now it’s forty. You are very welcome.

And I am great with foreign policy. Because I am from China. I can see Russia from my backyard. [poking fun at the ignorance of Sarah Palin] I believe that unilateralism is too expensive and open dialogue is too slow.

So if elected, I will go with text messaging. I will text our allies just to say hi, and text our enemies whenever they are driving.O M G, you are making a nuclear weapon20But you are doing it wrong, L O L.

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语言洁癖

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

安替经常在微博上把中文世界发生的消息,翻译成英文。这个工作难度很大,不但要选对新闻,而且要言简意赅。因为用中文写微博可以支持140个汉字,但用英文写只支持140个字母,这意味着安替基本上要拿出贾岛炼字的功夫才能把一条新闻转译。真是“推得一个字,捻断数根须”。

有一位网友今天在微博上说:“安替英文很有问题,还总是要用英文来发微博。本来是个好事,但拜托发正确的英文行不行。有谁能把这条推给他提醒一下?”

一向谦虚宽容、谨守恕道的安替,得到这条消息后,唯唯称是,表示感谢。并自辩说,因为英文字数限制,只能用英美标题党的办法处理消息。

我看了他们的讨论,怀着谦卑的心,来到这位网友面前。我说,不妨翻一条给安替做个示范,来个简单的吧。“孙政才和胡春华均出生于1963年,地方一把手里与之年龄相仿的只有努尔·白克力,而后者不会有更大的发展。因此孙和胡成为目前第六代领导核心的领跑者。”

我同时请这位网友赐教翻译一下《红楼梦》中这句话。“我们奶奶问这里奶奶好。原是我们二爷不在家,虽然迟了两天,只管请奶奶放心。等五奶奶好些,我们奶奶还会了五奶奶来瞧奶奶呢。五奶奶前儿打发了人来说,舅奶奶带了信来了,问奶奶好。”

我佩服这位网友的英语水平和乐于助人的好心肠,不过这让我联想起了语言洁癖的问题。在英语国家生活过的人都知道,无论你英语多差劲,只要你敢开口说,老外都不会嘲笑你,而是给你赞许与鼓励。表达是一种勇敢的行为,是人类跨出封闭与孤独的冒险第一步。然而,你在国内说英语情况就不同了,会招来很多嗤笑、哄笑和浪笑。

所以说,目前世界上最有英语洁癖的不是英国人,而是中国人。死抠语法、拼写、读音,全然不知道语言本是鲜活的,泰戈尔的英文不合规范,但是别有东方韵味。中国人拿英语基本当棒槌使,分明是学舌鹦鹉,还真把自己当老鹰了。

我自己不下十次被中国女士嘲笑英语读音,那种对英语纯洁性的捍卫真让人感动,仿佛英语是她们的第三性征。当然患有语言洁癖的不仅仅是女人,某些北京男人纠正起别人的普通话来,那叫一个苦口婆心。其实,北京话不过是蒙古人和满族人说的半吊子汉语,现在居然成了标准国话,还二甲三乙地考死那么多师生。我觉得最受不了的就是播音腔,其次是话剧腔。

强调语言洁癖的人不懂语言学的最新进展。在语言学上本来就有两个流派,中国从小受的应试教育片面强调语言的规定性,用规则规定语言的对错。全然不知,语言还有个描述派,承认凡是人们说的就是对的。自己坐井观天也罢了,偏要跑上陆地来挥斥方遒。

语言洁癖的背后是国民心态。我觉得中国人,无论男人女人,亲人仇人,往往都以打击摧毁别人的自信为乐。有多少人就是因为害怕被嘲笑而不敢演讲,不敢登台,不敢说英语,甚至不敢朗诵母语。

当然,那位说安替英语有问题的网友用意是好的,她也表示,以后会具体指出错在何处,以利于安替继续提高。我上述的议论不过是借题有感而发,由此造成的误会也理应避免。

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