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什么是Diminutives – 指小词是什么? – 译学馆
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什么是Diminutives - 指小词是什么?

What Are Diminutives – and Why We Like Them

世界太广袤 常常超出我们的掌控
The world is a vast and often unmanageable place-
难怪我们会不时地喜欢把事物微型化
so no wonder if we sometimes display a powerful attraction to the idea of miniaturisation.
我们似乎偏爱玩具屋 泰迪熊 火车玩具 盆栽 航空模型
We seem to love dollhouses, teddies, train sets, bonsai trees, model airplanes
以及放在微型厨房边上的小型杯子和茶托
and tiny cups and saucers sitting on the sides of miniaturized kitchens.
这些东西象征着对生命巨大维度的驯服和人性化
These please us by symbolising a taming and humanising
因此会让我们感到愉快
of the gigantic dimensions of much of life.
迄今 将世界微型化最简单最迅速的方法
By far the easiest and fastest way to miniaturise the world
不是制作现实世界的模型
is not by making models of it,
而是通过语言学家所称的“指小词”来实现的
but through the use of what linguists call “DIMINUTIVES”.
“指小词”是指一种经修改的词
A diminutive is a word that has been modified
意指原词自身的缩小版本
to suggest the smaller version of itself –
通常是在单词词尾发生变化
usually through a tweak to its ending.
有趣的是 当我们意图使用指小词时
Interestingly, the moment we’re tempted to use a diminutive
通常是我们开始喜欢某人或某物的时刻
is often the moment we start to love someone or something.
喜欢的程度越深 我们就越想占有他们
The more we drawn, the more we want to possess them,
试图减少其差异性并拉近双方距离
to tame their otherness and intimidating scale,
因此意识上就会试图把它们缩成更易控制的东西
and therefore to shrink them down to something more manageable,
那种能够揣进我们口袋的小东西
something that might almost slip into our pocket.
当一对夫妻——我们暂且叫他们Emma和Brad——结合后
When a couple, let’s call them Emma and Brad get together,
随着关系迅速升温 他们也许很快会开始用“指小词”
they might swiftly add some diminutives to their burgeoning relationship.
Brad浪荡的不受束缚的一面会被
Brad’s vagabond footloose sides can be tamed
一个小“y”驯服 所以他变得“Brad-y”了
by a little y, so that he becomes Brad-y.
同样Emma可能会“缩小”而变成“Emm-ie”
And Emma might shrink by being called Emm-ie.
尤其有趣的是 每种语言指小词的使用程度都不同
It’s particularly interesting to find that not all languages use diminutives to the same extent.
第一名是西班牙语 尤其在拉丁美洲地区
The champion is Spanish, especially as spoken in Latin America.
拉丁美洲人民总在不懈地“缩小”各种东西
Latin Americans are constantly trying to shrink everything.
在墨西哥 “ahora”(意为“马上”)变成了”ahorita”
In Mexico “ahora” (in a minute) becomes “ahorita”,
“在几秒钟内” “un poco”(意为“少量”)
in just a little second. “Un poco”(a little),
变为了”un poquitin”(意为“一点点”)
gets changed to “un poquitín”, just a smidgeon.
“一杯咖啡” “un café”始终被说成“un cafelín”
A coffee, “un café”, is constantly changed into “un cafelín”
或是“un cafelito”
or “un cafelito.”
这并不意味着你的咖啡更小杯
That doesn’t make your coffee any smaller, but it brings you
但却使你和咖啡之间更亲近
into a more intimate relationship to it.
意大利语是另一门热衷于指小词的语言
Italian is another language very keen on diminutives,
通常在词中加“ino”或“ina”
usually with the addition of an “ino” or “ina”.
“一位老人”在意大利语中由“un vechio”变成“un vecchietto”
“An old man” in Italian “un vecchio” becomes “un vecchietto”,
“一个小男孩”由“ragazzo”变成了“ragazzino”
(A little boy)”ragazzo” becomes “ragazzino”,
“一位女性”由“donna”变成了“donnetta”
(a woman)”donna” becomes “donnetta”,
“一辆汽车”由“macchina”变成了“macchinetta”
(a car) “macchina” becomes “macchinetta”.
通常被认为正式严谨的德语
German, often seen as a formal, harsh language, also
也善用指小词
has a flair for diminutives.
后缀“-chen” “-lein”可以用于很多词
The suffixes “-chen”, “-lein” can be added to many words.
一根香肠“ein wurst” 可被换成“ein würstchen”
A sausage, “ein Wurst”, can be turned into “ein Würstchen”, which isn’t
这也不是指小香肠的意思
necessarily a smaller sausage,
但是这种说法却让香肠显得尤其可口让人难以抗拒
but it is one that is particularly irresistible.
类似的 “ein hündchen”也不一定是比“ein hund”小的狗
Likewise, “ein hündchen” isn’t necessarily a smaller dog than “ein Hund”,
但这一般是说那种非常可爱的狗狗
but it’s probably a dog that you have a soft spot for.
英语作为一门主流语言 反而缺乏指小词
The major language notable for a lack of diminutives is English.
充其量 在英语中顶多可以加“y”或“let”
at best, in English we can add a “y” or a “let”,
相比其他语言丰富的指小词显得非常寒酸
very poor moves compared the great richness of diminutives in other languages.
我们或许会想这是为什么 或许英语作为一种全球性语言
We might wonder why this is. Perhaps English, the global language,
是征服和帝国的语言 因此它抵制谦卑
the language of conquest and Empire, resists the accommodation with the modest,
抵制大白话 抵制亲密性 而其他语言不会这样
the everyday, and the tender which other languages pave the way for.
我们缺乏指小词可能是因为英语缺乏柔性
We may lack diminutives because it is that little bit harder to be tender in English.
更重要的可能是英国人的问题
Or, more importantly, as an English person.
指小词非常有助于还原甜蜜感
Diminutives do the valuable job of rehabilitating sweetness.
它们提醒我们童年的过往
They remind us that we have come from childhood
当我们去爱时 我们想把世界缩小到一个更易掌控更可爱的尺寸
and that when we love, we want to shrink the world back down to a more manageable and loveable scale.
当别人“缩小”我们时 我们就会知道TA喜欢我们了
We know that we are the objects of someone’s affection when they start to shrink us down,
我们应毫不犹豫地“缩小”我们所热爱的世间万物
and we shouldn’t hesitate to shrink down the bits of the world we have begun to care for.
按照德国人的爱称 这条消息来自于“The School of Life-lein”
This has been a message from what the Germans might term “The School of Life-lein”,
意大利人会说“The School of Life-etta”
or the Italians might call “The School of Life-etta”.
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视频概述

为什么人们那么喜欢指小词?他们有什么魔力?

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翻译译者

海参崴

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4gXsobd_ao

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