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为何中文词条未大量进入英语?

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东南西北人 发表于 2014-4-25 18:35:33 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式


    As languages go, English is a notoriously promiscuous one, borrowing caricatures from Italian, chutzpah from Yiddish and faux pas from French.

从语言角度来说,英语在“杂交”方面可以说是恶名昭著,它将意大利语的滑稽荒诞、意第绪语的肆无忌惮和法语的不拘小节全都兼容并蓄。


And yet despite the English-speaking world's deep and wide confluences with Chinese culture, for some reason, few Chinese words have lately entered the English-speaking world's vocabulary.

然而,尽管那些说英语的国家已经深入而宽泛地与中国文化“合流”,但出于某些原因,近年来却几乎没有中国词语进入英语世界人们的日常词汇当中。


China's state media is hoping that could change: Last week, it cited several Chinese entries that have recently appeared UrbanDictionary.com. 'English speakers may soon be saying 'you can you up, no can no bb' in response to criticism,' the official Xinhua news agency said, referring to a Chinese phrase that means if you can do it, do it, and if you can't, don't criticize others. ( In Beijing dialect, 'BB' means to nag or complain.)

中国官方媒体新华社希望这种现状可以改变。上周,该媒体引用了几个最近出现在UrbanDictionary.com上的中文条目。新华社说,英语为母语的人可能很快就会说“you can you up, no can no bb”,这句话的意思是,你行你上,不行别BB。(在北京方言里,“BB”的意思是唠叨或抱怨。)


But don't hold your breath. There are some 8 million entries on UrbanDictionary.com, a volunteer effort akin to a Wikipedia of slang, the majority of which-'asdfwefewfawefwea,' anyone?-most people would never have heard. (By way of comparison, there are only some 230,000 words in the whole of the Oxford English Dictionary.)

不过这并不意味着什么。UrbanDictionary.com收录了大约800万个词条,这个网站由志愿者维护,就像是“俚语维基百科”,其中绝大部分词条大多数人都没有听说过。比如,谁听说过“asdfwefewfawefwea”吗?(相比之下,《牛津英语词典》(Oxford English Dictionary)一共只收录了大约23万个词条。)


Some of the Chinese terms that have entered UrbanDictionary.com include 'people mountain people sea,' a literal derivation of (), a term used to refer to large crowds, as well as 'No zuo no die,' a riff off (), that is, if you don't do something stupid, bad things won't happen to you.

一些中文词条已被收录进UrbanDictionary.com,其中包括“people mountain people sea”(人山人海)和“no zuo no die”(不作死就不会死)。


It seems implausible that such terms could enter mainstream English parlance. Linguists note that the heyday for linguistic absorption from China occurred before 1950, as can be seen in the spellings of certain loaner words-kowtow, gung ho, ketchup-many derived from non-Mandarin Chinese languages such as Cantonese.

这些中文词条进入主流英语的可能性似乎不大。语言学家们指出,以英语为母语的国家从中国吸收语言的高峰期是在1950年之前,这一点从借用语的拼写可以看出来,比如“kowtow”(叩头)、“gung ho”(工合)和“ketchup”(番茄酱),这些词很多都来自普通话之外的其他语言,比如广东话。


Though there are other Chinese terms that are well-known in English, such as bok choy or chow mien, as the Economist's Johnson language blog has pointed out, '[English-speaking countries] borrowed the foods, and their Chinese names merely hitched a ride into English.' The same could be true of another-by now-commonly known Chinese term, feng shui.

尽管还有一些其他来自中文的词汇是英语人群所众所周知的,例如“bok choy”(白菜)或“chow mien”(炒面),但正如《经济学人》(Economist)的博客作者约翰逊(Johnson)在其语言博客中指出的那样,英语借用了大量食物名称,这些中文食物名能进入英文不过是搭上了这班顺风车而已。同样的理由或许可以用来解释另外一个例子——“feng shui”(风水),这个词目前已是众所周知。


By contrast, China has adopted plenty of English words, each given its own transliterated characters-ku for cool, yimeir for email, leisi for lace, wutuobang for Utopia. Other terms used in China are the same ones that have been exported in English around the world: 'okay, bye bye, man.'

相比之下,中文吸纳了大量的英语单词,每个英文词都有对应的汉字写法, cool写成“酷”,email写成“伊妹儿”,lace写成“蕾丝”,Utopia写成“乌托邦”。还有一些词语在中文中直接使用,比如“okay”、“bye bye”和“man”,而这些词也是从世界各地输入到英语当中的。


On the English side, resistance to Chinese words doesn't seem to be a simple difficulty of pronunciation: though Mandarin's different tones may be daunting, the basic syllables are easy enough, and the trickiness of French or Japanese pronunciation (coup d'etat, karaoke) hasn't stopped English from embracing words from either language.

从英语的角度来说,中文词条“进入难”似乎并不只是简单的发音困难问题:虽然普通话的四声可能令人望而生畏,但基本音节还是很容易的,而且法语或日语发音困难(比如政变(coup d'etat)、卡拉OK(karaoke))也没能阻挡住英语将其包容进来。


And there are plenty of words that would seem ripe to jump the Pacific: Here at China Real Time, one particularly accessible term, mafan-meaning a hassle, or difficulty-could be easily adopted by English speakers (and in fact already has been by many on staff). And who could resist the roll-off-the-tongue ease of mamahuhu, a term that means 'so-so'? (The literal translation is 'horse horse tiger tiger.') Maybe, as some theorize, it's just a matter of time, as China's reach grows, and exchanges continue to deepen.

同时,有很多中文词进入英文的时机已经成熟。比如在“中文实时报”记者当中,一个经常用到的词——“麻烦”应该很容易受到操英语人士的欢迎,实际上本报很多记者都已经用上了这个词。再说,谁能抵抗能轻松发音的“马马虎虎”呢?也许正如一些人所推测,随着中国实力与日俱增和国际交流的日益深化,这些词进入英语只是一个时间问题。(via:华尔街日报中文版)


词汇学习:
*nag [næɡ] n. 唠叨;老马;竞赛马vt. 使烦恼;不断地唠叨vi. 不断地唠叨
*heyday ['heidei] n. 全盛期int. 嘿!(表喜悦或惊奇等)
*coup [ku:] n. 政变;妙计;出乎意料的行动;砰然的一击vt. 使…颠倒;使…倾斜vi. 推倒;倾斜;溢出
*dialect ['daiəlekt] n. 方言,土话;同源语;行话;个人用语特征adj. 方言的
*linguistic [liŋ'ɡwistik,-kəl] adj. 语言的;语言学的
*criticism ['kriti,sizəm] n. 批评;考证;苛求
*syllable ['siləbl] n. 音节vt. 划分音节vi. 按音节发音;讲话



鲜花(30) 鸡蛋(0)
yangfu 发表于 2014-4-26 09:33:54 | 显示全部楼层
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 楼主| 东南西北人 发表于 2014-4-26 09:49:29 | 显示全部楼层
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mastercard 发表于 2019-6-19 11:28:00 | 显示全部楼层
鲜花(1) 鸡蛋(0)
archer01 发表于 2019-6-20 09:16:44 | 显示全部楼层
番茄酱ketchup源自闽南语的腌鱼汁,再由英文转日语音译成目前的台语ke-jia-pu,真有意思!
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abuhan 发表于 2019-6-21 08:42:51 | 显示全部楼层
鲜花(69) 鸡蛋(0)
zspkd 发表于 2019-6-24 09:50:32 | 显示全部楼层
英语没有汉语那么大的包容性!
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