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美语中的非正式用语

Informal Language 美语中的非正式用语

 
Ever go jogging in a business suit? What about going to a job interview in pajamas? Dressing appropriately is a lot like using a foreign language in the right way. It all depends on the situation. People in America use formal English for making speeches and writing business letters. But they prefer informal language when they talk to friends. Americans are fairly laid-back, both in styles of dress and in language. So to understand their culture, it pays to know something about informal language-in other words, English in blue jeans and a T-shirt.

你曾经穿著办公的西装慢跑吗?或者穿著睡衣去应征工作?得体的穿著很像正确地使用外国语言,都得视情境而变化。美国人使用正式的英文作演说和写商务信件;但是当他们和朋友谈话的时候,则较喜欢使用非正式的语言。美国人不论是在穿著的风格或是语言上,都是非常轻松自在的。所以要了解他们的文化,就得认识他们的非正式用语,换句话说,就像穿著牛仔裤和T恤的英文。


English, like every language, is always changing. New slang terms are created all the time. Often they're here today, gone tomorrow. For instance, if you wanted to call something exciting in the 1960s, you would say it was groovy or far out. Today you might describe it as cool or even bad. Each sub-group of American society-from teenagers to soldiers to thieves to ethnic groups-has its own slang. People who aren't a part of the "in-group" can't understand the meaning, even though the words are "English." So it's not easy for outsiders to use slang correctly.

英语就像每一种语言一样是一直在变。新的俚语不断地出现,常常今天还在使用的,明天就被淘汰了。例如,在一九六O年代你若要形容一件很兴奋的事,你会说很「groovy」美好的,或是「far out」走在时代尖端的。而今天会形容为「cool」很酷,甚至「bad」好菜喔。从青少年、军人、小偷、到少数民族,美国社会中每一种附属团体都有自己的俚语。即使它们确实是英语,但是不属于那个团体的人就不会明白它的意思。因此局外人要正确地使用俚语实在不容易。


Like many languages, American English has numerous idioms that paint word pictures. These colorful expressions come from everyday life and add spice to language. When Americans want to make a good first impression on someone, they try to put their best foot forward. That way, they won't get off on the wrong foot in their relationship. Learning about idioms in a language and culture can be difficult, but don't get cold feet. Just be careful when using these expressions. Otherwise, you might put your foot in your mouth.

就像许多的语言一样,美语中也有许多的成语,刻画出文字的图像。这些多样化的表达方式来自于每天的生活,并为语言增添了许多风味。当美国人想要给某人良好的第一印象时,他们会先「伸出最好的那一只脚」(表现较好的一面);如此,在他们的关系上就不会「下错脚」(搞砸)了。学习一个语言和文化中的成语可能相当困难,但是也不要「让脚发寒了」(恐惧、受挫),只要在用的时候小心一点就是了。否则你可能会「把脚放进嘴巴里去了」(说错话)。


Americans enjoy making things easy on themselves. Even their pronunciation is relaxed. Sounds or syllables that are not stressed are shortened or combined with other sounds. As a result, "What do you want to do?" becomes "Whaddaya wanna do?" And "I don't know" sounds like "I dunno." See if you can understand the following conversation:

Gene: Jeet yet?
Tim: No, ju?
Gene: Skoeet!

Now let's translate it into regular English:
Gene: Did you eat yet?
Tim: No, did you?
Gene: Let's go eat!

School teachers probably cringe at this kind of pronunciation. But the fact is, that's how Americans often talk in real-life situations.

美国人喜欢把事物简化,甚至连他们的发音也很轻松自在,不是重音的发音或是音节,通常会被缩短或是和其它的音相连。因此,「What do you want to do?」就变成了「Whaddaya wanna do?」而「I don't know.」听起来像「I dunno.」看看你能不能听懂以下的对话:

吉妮: Jeet yet?
提姆: No, ju?
吉妮: Skoeet!

现在,我们来把它翻译成一般的英文:
吉妮: Did you eat yet? (你吃过了没?)
提姆: No, did you? (还没有,你呢?)
吉妮: Let's go eat! (一块儿去吃吧!)

学校的老师们对这样的发音恐怕是不敢恭维。不过事实上,通常美国人在实际的生活中都是这么说话的。


There's one type of informal language that you should avoid using, however. Swearwords offend many people in America. Sometimes people say "four-letter words" to express anger or pain. Many of these "curse words" are terms from the Bible that people have misused. For example, to damn means to punish forever in Hell, so "damn" and "hell" are strong curses. Using the names of God or Jesus without respect can also bother people. And one more thing: stay away from "dirty words"-vulgar descriptions of sex or the human body. True, some people talk like this, but such "gutter language" should stay in the gutter.

然而有一种非正式的语言是你应当避免使用的。在美国咒诅骂人的话是会得罪人的。有时候人们会说「四字经」来表达愤怒和痛楚。很多这类咒诅的字眼是取自圣经,但是被人误用的。例如,「Damn」该死!指的是诅咒人在地狱里受永远的刑罚,所以「Damn」和「Hell」都是很强烈的诅咒。而毫不尊重地妄用上帝或耶稣的名字也会使人很不舒服。还有一件事:绝对不要讲「脏话」--对性或是人体低俗的描述。没错,确实有人是那么说话的,不过这种属于阴沟的「脏话」就让它归于阴沟吧。


Americans enjoy being informal. They like making themselves comfortable, whether it's wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt or using informal language. So if you want to speak real American-style English, just go casual-especially if your English teacher isn't looking.

美国人非常喜爱非正式、轻松的感觉。不论是藉由穿牛仔裤、T恤还是使用通俗的语言,他们都喜欢让自己轻松自在。所以如果你想说真正的美式英语,尽量随意就是了,尤其是你的英文老师没看着你的时候。