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英语是怎么演进的? – 译学馆
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英语是怎么演进的?

How did English evolve? - Kate Gardoqui

我们先来做一个小挑战
I am going to start with a challenge.
我希望你们能想象以下两个场景
I want you to imagine each of these two scenes
越多细节越好
in as much detail as you can.
第一个场景
Scene number one:
他们给了我们一个热烈的欢迎
‘They gave us a hearty welcome.’
好 是哪些人给了我们一个热烈的欢迎
Well, who are the people who are giving a hearty welcome?
他们有怎样的穿着
What are they wearing?
他们在喝什么
What are they drinking?
好的 情景二
OK, scene two:
他们给我们办了一个热烈的招待会
‘They gave us a cordial reception.’
他们是怎样站着的
How are these people standing?
他们脸上有什么样的表情
What expressions are on their faces?
他们穿戴着什么喝着什么
What are they wearing and drinking?
在你的心中填补这些画面
Fix these pictures in your mind’s eye
然后想出一两个句子来描述他们
and then jot down a sentence or two to describe them.
我们稍后再来说这些情景
We’ll come back to them later.
现在开始我们的故事
Now on to our story.
在公元400年
In the year 400 C.E.
罗马人曾经统治过不列颠的凯尔特人
the Celts in Britain were ruled by Romans.
这对凯尔特人来说有一个好处
This had one benefit for the Celts:
罗马人保护他们免受了来自
the Romans protected them from the barbarian Saxon tribes
北欧野蛮撒克逊部族的侵略
of Northern Europe.
但是之后罗马帝国开始逐步瓦解
But then the Roman Empire began to crumble,
罗马人只得从不列颠撤退
and the Romans withdrew from Britain.
罗马人走后 日耳曼人
With the Romans gone, the Germanic tribes,
盎格鲁人 撒克逊人 朱特人以及弗里斯人
the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Frisians
迅速飘洋过海
quickly sailed across the water,
消灭掉了凯尔特人
did away with the Celts,
并在不列颠群岛上建立了王国
and formed kingdoms in the British Isles.
几个世纪过去 这几个部族一直居住在不列颠
For several centuries, these tribes lived in Britain,
他们的日耳曼语 盎格鲁撒克逊语
and their Germanic language, Anglo Saxon,
成为了通用语言 我们称之为古英语
became the common language, what we call Old English.
虽然现代英语使用者会觉得古英语听起来像一种完全不同的语言
Although modern English speakers may think Old English sounds like a different language,
但如果你仔细地去观察和聆听 你会找到很多可以辨识的词汇
if you look and listen closely, you’ll find many words that are recognizable.
例如 这里是古英语版本的天主经
For example, here is what the Lord’s Prayer looks like in Old English.
乍一看可能很陌生
At first glance, it may look unfamiliar,
但是稍微改变一下拼写
but update the spelling a bit,
你就会看到很多现代英语常见的词汇
and you’ll see many common English words.
就这样世纪更迭 不列颠人开心地说着古英语
So the centuries passed with Britains happily speaking Old English,
可是到了公元700年 维京海盗开始对不列颠发动了接连的入侵
but in the 700’s, a series of Viking invasions began,
直到不列颠半岛被一份免战合约一分为二
which continued until a treaty split the island in half.
一半被萨克逊人割据
On one side were the Saxons.
另一半则属于丹麦人
On the other side were the Danes
他们说的语言被称为古挪威语
who spoke a language called Old Norse.
渐渐地 萨克逊人开始爱上了他们可爱的丹麦邻居
As Saxons fell in love with their cute Danish neighbors
这两个部落间频繁的联姻打破了两族对立的壁垒
and marriages blurred the boundaries,
就这样 古英语开始和古挪威语产生融合
Old Norse mixed with Old English,
很多古挪威语的词 诸如
and many Old Norse words like
freckle(斑点)
freckle,
leg(腿)
leg,
root(根)
root,
skin(皮肤)
skin,
和want(想要)
and want
如今仍然为我们所用
are still a part of our language.
三百年后 也就在是公元1066年
300 years later, in 1066,
诺曼人的入侵使得不列颠半岛处处硝烟弥漫
the Norman conquest brought war again to the British Isles.
诺曼人部族 也就是定居在法国的维京海盗
The Normans were Vikings who settled in France.
他们早已把维京的语言和文化抛诸脑后
They had abandoned the Viking language and culture
转而吸纳了法国式的生活方式
in favor of a French lifestyle,
可他们干起架来仍然像维京海盗一般野蛮
but they still fought like Vikings.
诺曼人在英国的王座上盘踞着
They placed a Norman king on the English throne
三个世纪以来 法语都是不列颠皇室的语言
and for three centuries, French was the language of the British royalty.
不列颠的社会开始出现了两个阶层
Society in Britain came to have two levels:
说法语的贵族阶层
French-speaking aristocracy
以及说古英语的农民阶层
and Old English-speaking peasants.
法国人同时也带来了很多罗马天主教的牧师
The French also brought many Roman Catholic clergymen with them
于是交相混杂的语言中又多了拉丁语的成份
who added Latin words to the mix.
伴随着成千上万词汇的涌进
Old English adapted and grew
古英语不断适应完善
as thousands of words flowed in,
产生了很多涉及政府 法律和贵族的词语 比如
many having to do with government, law, and aristocracy.
council(会议)
Words like council,
marriage(婚姻)
marriage,
sovereign(君王)
sovereign,
govern(统治)
govern,
damage(损伤)
damage,
和parliament(议会)
and parliament.
随着语言的不断发展
As the language expanded,
英语的使用者们马上意识到了
English speakers quickly realized what to do
如何让自己说话更文雅
if they wanted to sound sophisticated:
他们使用了很多出自法语和拉丁语的词汇
they would use words that had come from French or Latin.
盎格鲁萨克逊词语似乎显得太粗朴了
Anglo Saxon words seemed so plain
只有盎格鲁萨克逊农民才会使用
like the Anglo Saxon peasants who spoke them.
现在让我们回到最开始要大家设想的两个情景
Let’s go back to the two sentences you thought about earlier.
当你想象着热烈欢迎的情景时
When you pictured the hearty welcome,
脑海里是否浮现出了亲戚朋友们叽喳喧哗互相拥抱的朴实场景
did you see an earthy scene with relatives hugging and talking loudly?
他们喝着啤酒吧?
Were they drinking beer?
他们穿着短夹克配牛仔裤吧?
Were they wearing lumberjack shirts and jeans?
可当你想象到盛大的招待会时
And what about the cordial reception?
我赌你肯定看到了一群举止优雅的谦谦君子
I bet you pictured a far more classy and refined crowd.
他们穿着合体的西装和衬衫
Blazers and skirts,
喝着红酒 吃着鱼子酱
wine and caviar.
这两个场景怎会如此迥异?
Why is this?
为什么词典中意义相同的措辞
How is it that phrases that are considered just about synonymous by the dictionary
却能引发如此不同的想象和心情
can evoke such different pictures and feelings?
“Hearty”(热烈的)和“welcome(欢迎)”都是萨克逊语的词汇
‘Hearty’ and ‘welcome’ are both Saxon words.
然而“cordial”(热诚的)和“reception”(招待会)都来自法语
‘Cordial’ and ‘reception’ come from French.
源于法语的词汇
The connotation of nobility and authority has persisted
其高雅权贵的内涵一直延续至今
around words of French origin.
来自萨克逊语的词汇
And the connotation of peasantry,
其质朴
real people,
吃苦耐劳
salt of the Earth,
农民式的词语内涵也延续至今
has persisted around Saxon words.
就算你之前从未听说过这段历史
Even if you never heard this history before,
当你说出词语时
the memory of it persists in the feelings evoked
它们仍能唤起你脑海中对长存其中内涵的记忆
by the words you speak.
在某种程度上 其实你已经听说过这些历史
On some level, it’s a story you already knew
因为不管有意或无意
because whether we realize it consciously
是否注意得到
or only subconsciously,
这些历史就蕴含在我们听到和说出的词句中
our history lives in the words we speak and hear.
Our history lives in the words we speak here.

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