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几个俚语背后的悲伤历史起源 – 译学馆
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几个俚语背后的悲伤历史起源

These Are The Saddest Phrases In The English Language

如今的一些流行短语背后蕴藏着相当悲情的起源
Some of today’s most popular phrases havesome truly tragic origins.
有些俚语来源于极深的偏见或可怕的古老传统
Certain common sayings are rooted in deep prejudice or gruesome old traditions.
其中大多数则是长期固有的成见
Plenty of them are just plain bummers
快来一场语言冒险吧
Come along on a linguistic adventure
来探究英语中最悲伤的短语的起源
through the origins of the saddest phrases in the English language
如果你曾经自称为一个”basket case”
If you’ve ever called yourself a”basket case,”
认为这是一种表达
figuring that it’s just a funny way to explain
你对假期忧虑的幽默方式
how stressed out you are about the holidays
准备好听些悲伤的消息吧
get ready for some upsetting news.
如同许多糟糕的事情一样 这个短语源自战争
As with so many terrible things, this phrase was created by war:
准确来说源自第一次世界大战
World War One to be exact
根据牛津词典的释义
According to the Oxford English Dictionary,
失去四肢的美国士兵
American soldiers who lost all four limbs
会被他们的战友同胞称为“basket cases”
were referred to by their fellow troops as”basket cases,”
意思是现在他们只能被装在篮子里挪动了
the implication being that they’d now have to be carried around in a basket.
到二十世纪中叶
By the mid-20th century,
这个短语也用于描述精神病患者
the term also came to describe people living with mental illnesses,
通常 人们用这个词来忽略这些病人的挣扎
usually as a way to ignore their struggles.
本质上 将某人看作是一个basket case意味着
Essentially, writing someone off as a basket case implies
你不用再费心
that you’re not going to bother
以任何形式去关注或帮助他们
paying attention to them or be helpful inany way.
不论你如何看待这个词组
No matter how you look at it,
“basket case”这个短语都有着边缘化处于痛苦中的人们的历史
the phrase” basket case” has a history of marginalizing people in pain.
下面这个俚语与拖延者有关
This one goes out to all you procrastinatorsout there.
你是否曾经在漫漫长夜盯着闪烁的屏幕
Have you ever spent a long night staring at a glowing screen,
祈祷疲劳的你能马上恢复精神?
praying that a second wind catches you soon?
对拖延症患者来说 “deadline”这个词已经成了英语词典中最令人沮丧的词
For you folks, the word “deadline” is already the most depressing entry in the English dictionary.
但当你对比这个词在十九世纪六十年代的原始含义后
But those deadlines aren’t so bad
就会觉得它不那么差了
when you compare them to the original”dead lines” from the 1860s.
在美国内战期间 “dead lines”指的就是画在地上的线
During the American Civil War,”dead lines” were literal lines in the dirt,
而不是现在的比喻性意义
rather than metaphorical ones.
这些边界线要么划在联邦监狱内 要么就划在其附近
These boundaries were drawn either in or around Confederate prisons,
而联邦监狱就是关押联邦军队战俘的地方
where captured Union soldiers were kept
如果一个战犯走过了这条边界线
If one of the prisoners of war decided to walk over the line,
他将会被就地枪毙
he would be shot.
没有缓刑 没有争议
No extensions, no debates.
“Dead”真的就意味着死亡
“Dead” really meant dead.
更不必说
Needless to say,
这些监狱因其恶劣的条件和士兵的糟糕待遇而臭名远扬
these prisons became infamous for their harsh conditions and poor treatment of soldiers.
“mad as a hatter”这个短语的起源似乎很容易解释清楚
The origin of the phrase”mad as a hatter”seems easy to pinpoint.
毕竟 作为《爱丽丝梦游仙境》中
After all, one of the most popular characters
最受欢迎的人物之一
in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
戴着大帽子的欢乐小家伙因其疯狂的见解被定义为疯子
is that jolly little fellow with the big hat, defined by his mad outlook.
但事实是 作者刘易斯·卡罗尔并没有创造这个短语
But it turns out that author Lewis Carroll didn’t invent the term.
他的疯帽子人物灵感来源于这个俚语
His Mad Hatter character was based on the phrase,
而不是由人物得到的这个词
rather than the other way around.
” Mad as a hatter”是十八和十九世纪人们对
“Mad as a hatter” is an example of stereotypes
真正制帽人的刻板印象的一个例子
regarding real hat-makers in the 18th and 19th Centuries,
大多数制帽人会将一种叫硝酸汞的物质
most of whom used a certain substance called mercury nitrate as part of
运用到帽子的制作过程中
the hat-making process.
而那种有毒的化学物质在
It turns out that when you combine that toxic chemical
糟糕的工作环境下
with poor workplace safety protocols,
就会最终导致人汞中毒
you end up with mercury poisoning.
而汞中毒会造成幻觉 语言障碍或颤抖的终生疾病
That causes lifelong ailments ranging from hallucinations to speech difficulties to tremors.
直到二十世纪四十年代
It wasn’t until the 1940s that
才禁止在制帽中使用汞
using mercury for hat production was finally banned,
到那之前 这些负面影响已经困扰制帽人
and by that point, these negative associations had plagued hat-makers
超过一个世纪了
for more than a century.
每一代人都曾经抱怨过
Every generation has complained
孩子们正在打破文化禁忌 并因为暴力电影而毁了自己的思想
that kids are breaking cultural taboos and ruining their minds with violent movies
比如1988年那部由布鲁斯·威利斯主演的圣诞电影
like that one 1988 Christmas flick starring Bruce Willis.
但是这些抱怨听起来很愚蠢
But these complaints sound silly
因为你了解到几乎所有
when you consider that almost anything that
在当今文化中判定为可怕的事物远没有
today’s culture deems”gruesome” is a lot less violent
我们的祖先为了取乐所做的某些事情暴力
than some of the things our ancestors did for fun.
举个例子:公开绞刑和短语“die-hard”
Case in point: Public hangings, and the phrase”die-hard.”
不久前
Not that long ago,
当最近的一名犯人被当众绞死 许多家庭会排成队来庆祝这件事
families would line up to cheer as the latest convict was choked to death in front of them.
追溯到18世纪 这些绞刑还未运用著名的下降式
Back in the 1700s, these hangings didn’t yet use the well-known”drop” method.
非快速下降意味着绞刑时间更长且服刑者更加痛苦
No quick drop meant that hangings took longer and were more painful,
这就导致了在绳套逐渐变紧的过程中
which resulted in a lot of individuals thrashing about and struggling to survive
许多犯人身体剧烈扭动并不断地挣扎
as the rope tightened around their throats.
这些人被看作是“die-hards” 因为他们死得很艰难 一点也不轻松
These folks came to be recognized as”die-hards,” since they died hard, rather than easily.
直到十九世纪 这个短语流传到战场
By the 1800s, the term spread to the battlefield,
而这时“die hard”的意思已经演变成了苦战到底
as”die hard” evolved to mean fighting to the bitter end.
把艰难地死去与顽固联系在一起 这一用法一直沿用到现今
The general connection between dying hard and stubbornness persisted to the present day,
但是这个词语暴力的含义已经完全没有了
though the violent connotation has sinceworn off.
如果你打开了一份体积很大的生日礼物
If you’ve ever unwrapped a massive birthday present
发现不是自己想要 但由于太大不好处理
that you don’t want but that’s too big to get rid of,
这样的东西你就可以叫它“white elephant”
that’s what you call a”white elephant.”
真正白色 或患白化病的大象是美丽的生物
Actual white, or albino, elephants are beautiful creatures,
但是它们是众所周知的
but they have a reputation for
难以照料
being difficult to take care of.
“white elephant”这个比喻第一次出现是在十九世纪五十年代
The”white elephant” metaphor first hit print in the 1850s
用于描述暹罗一种特别的习俗
to describe a rather peculiar custom in Siam,
这个习俗是国王会“奖励”难相处的部下
in which the king would”reward”a difficult subordinate
一头巨大的白象
with one of these giant, pale animals.
因为白色大象被视作神圣的动物
Because white elephants were regarded as sacred animals,
它们的主人必须为
their owners had to provide access
任何想要敬奉这些大象的人提供途径
to anyone who wanted to worship them,
另外还要提供特殊的食物 关怀和维护
in addition to special food, care, and maintenance.
换句话说 如果暹罗国王送你一头白色大象
In other words, if the King of Siam gave you a white elephant,
他就是想让你破产
he was trying to make you go bankrupt.
很难说这种情况是否真实发生过
It’s hard to say if this sort of exchangeactually happened.
但是关于这个短语的传说确实推动了这个短语的发展
But the myths surrounding it definitely inspired the phrase,
因此我们能有一种简单的方法来描述那些丑陋
thus giving us a handy way to describe those ugly presents
且未来将占巨大空间的礼物
that will be occupying too much space for years to come.
人们通常会用短语“off the reservation”
People usually use the phrase”off the reservation”
来描述某人正在做不应该做的事情
to describe someone who is doing the opposite of what they’re supposed to be doing.
问题是这个短语的消极含义来源于
The problem is that the negative connotations of this phrase are rooted in
北美土著居民几个世纪以来饱受
the centuries of mistreatment that North America’s indigenous population has suffered
来自政府的迫害
at the hands of the government.
历史上看 美国联邦政府限制土著在保留地内生活
Historically, reservations have been increasingly small spaces
并强迫头领签订严格的制约条约
that the United States restricted the native population into
因此 保留地变得越来越小
under severe limitations that indigenous leaders were forced to sign.
当政府多次违反这些条约时
While the government has violated these treaties multiple times,
这些被边缘化的居民被要求
the marginalized people have been expected
不能有任何怨言地留守
to stay put without complaint.
因此到了今天 如果有人正在做不被人文所认可的事
Hence today, if any person is doing something that isn’t culturally accepted,
他们会被控诉成就像“off the reservation”一样的土著
they are accused of being like a native individual who is”off the reservation.”
这个短语不仅有着血腥的历史
Not only does this phrase have a bloody history,
而且使关于被压迫人民的
it also perpetuates harmful stereotypes
有害刻板观念成为永恒
regarding oppressed peoples.

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视频概述

为人熟知的俚语可能性有着不为人知的悲情起源故事,那么从过去到现在它们的意思发生了什么样的发展呢?一起来一探究竟吧!

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收集自网络

翻译译者

Yuan LLL

审核员

审核员A

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDoEmbsJyzM

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