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英语的起源

发布者: 五毒 | 发布时间: 2021-7-25 01:58| 查看数: 144| 评论数: 0|



I am going to start with a challenge.

大家先来完成一个小任务:

I want you to imagine each of these two scenes in as much detail as you can.

请尽可能详细地勾勒出我所说的这两个场景。

Scene number one: "They gave us a hearty welcome."

场景一:“他们好客地招待了我们。”

Well, who are the people who are giving a hearty welcome? What are they wearing? What are they drinking?

是些什么样的人在好客地招待客人?他们穿着什么样的衣服?喝的是什么酒?

OK, scene two: "They gave us a cordial reception."

场景二:“他们热情接待了我们。”

How are these people standing? What expressions are on their faces? What are they wearing and drinking?

这些人的站姿如何?他们脸上都有什么表情?穿的什么衣服?喝的什么酒?

Fix these pictures in your mind s eye and then jot down a sentence or two to describe them. We ll come back to them later.

锁定你脑海中出现的图像,然后用一两句话把它记下来。稍后我们再来讨论。

Now on to our story. In the year 400 C.E. the Celts in Britain were ruled by Romans. This had one benefit for the Celts:

现在进入正题。公元400年,不列颠岛的凯尔特人正受罗马人的统治。这对凯尔特人来说有一个好处:

the Romans protected them from the barbarian Saxon tribes of Northern Europe.罗马人可以帮他们抵挡北欧蛮族撒克逊人的侵犯。

But then the Roman Empire began to crumble, and the Romans withdrew from Britain.

但当时罗马帝国已开始衰落,而罗马军队也最终撤出了不列颠岛。

With the Romans gone, the Germanic tribes, the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Frisians quickly sailed across the water, did away with the Celts, and formed kingdoms in the British Isles.

随着罗马人的离开,日耳曼部落的盎格鲁人、撒克逊人、朱特人和弗里斯兰人快速地横渡大海,征服了凯尔特人,并在‘不列颠诸岛’上建立了多个王国。

For several centuries, these tribes lived in Britain, and their Germanic language, Anglo Saxon, became the common language, what we call Old English.

这些部落在不列颠岛上共存了几百年,而日耳曼语言——盎格鲁撒克逊语,也变成当时的通用语,我们称之为古英语。

Although modern English speakers may think Old English sounds like a different language, if you look and listen closely, you ll find many words that are recognizable.

虽然使用现代英语的人 可能觉得古英语听起来像另一种语言,但如果留心看、仔细听,你能从中辨认出很多词。

For example, here is what the Lord s Prayer looks like in Old English.

比如,这里有一份用古英语写的主祷文,

At first glance, it may look unfamiliar, but update the spelling a bit, and you ll see many common English words.

乍一看可能觉得很陌生,但稍微更新一下拼写,你就能发现很多常见的英文单词。

So the centuries passed with Britains happily speaking Old English, but in the 700 s, a series of Viking invasions began, which continued until a treaty split the island in half.

不列颠岛上的人在几百年里都愉快地使用着古英语。公元700年,维京人发起系列入侵活动,直到达成协议把岛分属为两部分,战争才结束。

On one side were the Saxons. On the other side were the Danes who spoke a language called Old Norse.

不列颠岛一部分归撒克逊人,另一部分归丹麦人,丹麦人用的是古挪威语。

As Saxons fell in love with their cute Danish neighbors and marriages blurred the boundaries, Old Norse mixed with Old English, and many Old Norse words like freckle, leg, root, skin, and want are still a part of our language.

撒克逊人爱上了他们可爱的丹麦邻居,不断的通婚让边界变得模糊,古诺斯语与古英语交汇。很多古诺斯语的词语,比如freckle(斑点)、leg(腿)、root(根)、skin(皮肤)、want(想要)直到今天还在使用。

300 years later, in 1066, the Norman conquest brought war again to the British Isles.

三百年后,在1066年,诺曼人再次在不列颠岛引起战争。

The Normans were Vikings who settled in France. They had abandoned the Viking language and culture in favor of a French lifestyle, but they still fought like Vikings.

诺曼人是在法国定居的维京人,他们已不再使用维京人的语言,也撇弃了维京人的文化,而是采用了法国的生活方式,但还是像维京人那么好战。

They placed a Norman king on the English throne and for three centuries, French was the language of the British royalty.

他们在英国的王座上安置了一个诺曼人,在接下来的三百年间,法语成为英国的皇室语言。

Society in Britain came to have two levels: French-speaking aristocracy and Old English-speaking peasants.

英国社会分成两个等级:讲法语的贵族阶级、讲古英语的农民阶级。

The French also brought many Roman Catholic clergymen with them who added Latin words to the mix.

法国人还带去很多罗马天主教教士,这为英语注入不少拉丁词汇

Old English adapted and grew as thousands of words flowed in, many having to do with government, law, and aristocracy.

古英语不断演变和发展,吸收了成千上万的外来词,很多涉及政府、法律和贵族阶级,

Words like council, marriage, sovereign, govern, damage, and parliament.

比如council(委员会)、marriage(婚姻)、sovereign(君主)、govern(统治)、damage(损害)、parliament(议会)等等。

As the language expanded, English speakers quickly realized what to do if they wanted to sound sophisticated: they would use words that had come from French or Latin.

随着英语的不断发展,讲英语的人很快意识到,要想让自己听起来深奥优雅,就要使用源自法语和拉丁语的词汇。

Anglo Saxon words seemed so plain like the Anglo Saxon peasants who spoke them.

盎格鲁撒克逊的词汇太单调,听起来就像那些盎格鲁撒克逊农夫。

Let s go back to the two sentences you thought about earlier. When you pictured the hearty welcome, did you see an earthy scene with relatives hugging and talking loudly?

下面回到一开始让你考虑的那两个句子。当你勾勒“hearty welcome”(热情好客)的画面时,是否看到了亲人互相拥抱、开怀畅聊的淳朴场景?

Were they drinking beer? Were they wearing lumberjack shirts and jeans?

他们喝的是啤酒吗?他们穿的是伐木工格子衬衫和牛仔裤吗?

And what about the cordial reception? I bet you pictured a far more classy and refined crowd.那“cordial reception”

(热情接待)又是怎样的画面呢?我敢说你会想到一些时尚、优雅的人,

Blazers and skirts, wine and caviar. Why is this?

西装革履、曼妙裙装,喝着红酒,吃着鱼子酱。为什么会这样呢?

How is it that phrases that are considered just about synonymous by the dictionary can evoke such different pictures and feelings?

为什么明明在字典里是同义词,却能唤起如此不同的画面和感觉?

"Hearty" and "welcome" are both Saxon words.

“hearty”和"welcome"都是撒克逊词汇,

"Cordial" and "reception" come from French.

"cordial"和"reception"则来自法语。

The connotation of nobility and authority has persisted around words of French origin.

源自法语的词汇保留了最初的贵族阶级和权威的涵义,

And the connotation of peasantry, real people, salt of the Earth, has persisted around Saxon words.

而农民阶级、真情实感、社会中坚等涵义则保存在撒克逊词汇中。

Even if you never heard this history before, the memory of it persists in the feelings evoked by the words you speak.

即使之前你不了解这段历史,但历史的记忆从未消失,它就存在于不同词汇所唤起的感觉里。

On some level, it s a story you already knew because whether we realize it consciously or only subconsciously, our history lives in the words we speak and hear.

其实从某种角度说,你早就了解这段历史,因为不管我们是有意识地,还是无意识地体会到,历史就存在于我们所讲所听的词汇里。


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