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小心名词化(又称僵尸名词) – 译学馆
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小心名词化(又称僵尸名词)

Beware of nominalizations (AKA zombie nouns) - Helen Sword

说一个形容词,比如“不可改变的,难以和解的”
Take an adjective such as ‘implacable,’
或者一个动词“激增,扩散”
or a verb like ‘proliferate,’
甚至一个名词“好朋友”
or even another noun, ‘crony,’
添加一个后缀,比如像“-ity”,或者“-tion”,或者“-ism”
and add a suffix, such as ‘-ity,’ or ‘-tion,’ or ‘-ism.’
你将得到一个新的名词
You’ve created a new noun.
“无情”,“扩散”,“任用亲信”
‘Implacability,’ ‘proliferation,’ ‘cronyism.’
听起来很好记,不是吗?
Sounds impressive, right?
错了!这样的话,你只会变的很死板
Wrong! You’ve just unleashed a flesh-eating zombie.
从演讲中产生的一部分名词被称为名词化
Nouns made from other parts of speech are called nominalizations.
学术研究者喜欢研究这些词。
Academics love them.
这么做的会有律师、官僚、商业作家
So do lawyers, bureaucrats, business writers.
我称他们为僵尸名词,因为他们没有生命
I call them zombie nouns, because they consume the living.
他们拆分一些常用的动词,他们从有生命力的形容词里吸取经验
They cannibalize active verbs, they suck the lifeblood from adjectives,
人们用一些具体的东西代替抽象的东西
and they substitute abstract entities for human beings.
这里举个例子
Here’s an example.
名词化在话语结构上的扩散,
‘The proliferation of nominalizations in a discursive formation may be an indication
看起来有一种朝着浮夸与抽象发展的趋势
of a tendency towards pomposity and abstraction.’ Huh?
这句话包含了不少于七个名词
This sentence contains no fewer than seven nominalizations,
但它也并没有很好地达到了表达谁做了个啥的作用
yet it fails to tell us who is doing what.
当我们把这些僵尸化名词的名词性消除掉,或者重新动词化
When we eliminate, or reanimate, most of the zombie nouns,
趋势就变成了趋向于,抽象性就变成了抽象
so ‘tendency’ becomes ‘tend,’ ‘abstraction’ becomes ‘abstract,’
然后我们再加上一个人的主语和一些主动语态的动词
then we add a human subject and some active verbs,
这个句子就又活了过来
the sentence springs back to life.
那些在他们的遣词造句中过度使用名词的作家会倾向于被认为是浮夸和抽象的
‘Writers who overload their sentences with nominalizations tend to sound pompous and abstract.’
只有一个僵尸化名词,以及那个最关键的词,名词化
Only one zombie noun — the key word ‘nominalizations’ —
被允许留了下来
has been allowed to remain standing.
从最好的方面说,能够帮助我们表达复杂的想法
At their best, nominalizations help us express complex ideas,
比如说看法,理解,认识
perception, intelligence, epistemology.
从最坏的方面说,会阻碍正常的交流。
At their worst, they impede clear communication.
为了感受僵尸名词是怎么发挥作用的,我们可以从一个活生生的句子中释放几个僵尸名词出来,
To get a feeling for how zombie nouns work, release a few of them into a lively sentence
看他们是怎么把这个句子的活力给吸收掉的
and watch them sap all its energy.
乔治奥威尔在一篇名为”政治和英语”的文章中就这样做了
George Orwell played this game in his essay ‘Politics in the English Language.’
他从圣经传道书中选择一句非常著名的诗作为开始
He started with a well-known verse from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible.
这句诗是这么写的,“我又看到:
It says ‘I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong,
日光之下,跑得快的不一定赢得赛跑,强壮的未必赢得战斗,智慧的未必获得面包,聪明的不一定有财富,有知识的不一定受人喜爱
neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill;
而是:时运和机遇发生在他们每个人身上”(此段翻译来自xueqiu.com)
but time and chance happeneth to them all.’
好现在下面是奥威尔的新的英语版本:(这可怎么翻?网上竟找不到中译本)
Now here’s Orwell’s modern English version.
‘Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities
‘Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities
exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable
exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable
must invariably be taken into account.’
must invariably be taken into account.’
圣经上的文章用具体的名词表达我们的情感
The Bible passage speaks to our senses and emotions with concrete nouns,
人们的描述,言简意赅
descriptions of people, and punchy, abstract nouns such as ‘race,’
并且大量使用了诸如’race,”battle,’ ‘riches,’ ‘time,’ ‘chance.’一样的抽象名词
‘battle,’ ‘riches,’ ‘time,’ ‘chance.’
它们并不是僵尸名词
Not a zombie among them.
奥威尔充满讽刺的翻译,充满了名词化和其他一些抽象化
Orwell’s satirical translation, on the other hand, is teeming with nominalizations and other vague abstractions.
人们必须逃出被僵尸占领的村庄
The zombies have taken over, and the humans have fled the village.
僵尸名词进入行话的领域,并且作出了最大的破坏
Zombie nouns do their worst damage when they gather in jargon-generating packs
吞噬了每一个名词,动词以及形容词
and swallow every noun, verb and adjective in sight.
‘globe’ 变成 ‘global,’ 然后变成’globalize,’ 最后变成 ‘globalization.’!!!!
So ‘globe’ becomes ‘global,’ becomes ‘globalize,’ becomes ‘globalization.’
僵尸名词的老祖宗,
The grandfather of all nominalizations, antidisestablishmentarianism,
antidisestablishmentarianism(反对教会与国家分开学说)
contains at least two verbs, three adjectives, and six other nouns
包含至少2个动词,3个形容词,6个名词
inside its distended belly.
一篇充满僵尸名词的文章会直接让你的读者睡着
A paragraph heavily populated by nominalizations will send your readers straight to sleep.
快用充满活力的,结构清晰地动词
Rescue them from the zombie apocalypse with vigorous verb-driven sentences
来将他们从僵尸末日中拯救出来吧
that are concrete and clearly structured.
你得让你的话语生动起来
You want your sentences to live,
而不是死气沉沉
not to join the living dead.

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