英语中的汉语借词告诉我们什么?

他信你 发表于 2021-07-11 09:00:42 | 只看该作者
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借词、文化、历史


世界各主要语言都存在大量的外来语,这是不同国家、不同民族和不同文化在各领域的不断交流和融合的结果。外来语首先是语言对各种文化差异的反映,其次是对不同文化的碰撞和交流过程的生动记录。作为一种目前使用范围最为广泛的国际性语言,“英语在其漫长的历史发展过程中,几乎吸取了世界上所有主要语言的大量有用的词汇。据统计,英语词汇总量中,约有百分之八十来自其他语言,其中大部分已经同化成为英语的基本词汇,而另一部分则依然保留其外来语的特性。”(朱和中,2000)并且,英语从其他语言(包括汉语)中借入词语的进程从未停止过。


英语中的外来语绝大多数来源于印欧语系的各种语言,而一小部分来源于汉藏语系及其他语系。而“汉语因为是具有声调的表意文字,理论上讲,这一特点影响了英语对汉语词语的借入,但是,大规模的英语到汉语和汉语到英语的词语借入已经毫无困难地发生了(Tom McArthur82)。” 据估计,英语中来源于汉语的词汇也已达到约1000个(Tom McArthur119。显然,英语中的这些汉语外来语记录了中华文化与西方文化交流碰撞的历史。


根据Dennis Freeborn,有记载的汉语词语最早进入英语发生在16世纪晚期和17世纪初(DennisFreeborn351),如lychee/litchi(荔枝,1588),sampan(舢板,1620),tea(茶,1645-55)。这一时期,随着新航路的开辟和科学技术的发展,欧洲列强大规模的殖民运动开始,包括对美洲大陆的殖民和亚洲大陆的殖民和侵略,葡萄牙殖民者强占我国的澳门,荷兰殖民者夺取了我国台湾和澎湖列岛,中西方文化开始直接接触和碰撞,中国特有的一些事物和现象开始为西方所认识并传到西方。


18世纪,开始于十七世纪的欧洲资本主义迅速发展进一步加快,科学与文化都有很大的进步,而清政府却对外部世界茫然不知,仍然奉行夜郎自大、闭关锁国政策。中西方文化的接触和交流只是一些零星的活动。英语从汉语借入的词汇有ketchup(番茄酱,1711),pekoe(白毫,1712),souchong(小种茶,1760),等等。


19世纪早期,情况与十八世纪没有太大区别,到了19世纪三、四十年代,英国通过鸦片战争打开了中国封闭的大门,紧接着西方列强纷至沓来,中西方文化开始大规模接触和碰撞。这一时期被英语借入的有代表性的汉语词汇有kowtow(叩头,1804),shanghai(诱拐绑架,诱骗或迫使,1870-1875),chop-suey(杂碎,1888),等等。


到了20世纪,中西文化交流进一步增加,有更多的汉语词语被英语借入,有诸如chow mein (炒面,1903)shih-tzu (狮子狗,1921)mahjong (麻将,1922)gung ho (工合;卖力的,投入的,1942)dim sum (点心,1948)wok (镬,铁锅,1952),等等。事实上,随着我国全方位的改革开放和更进一步融入国际社会,这种进程仍在进行并将继续下去。


---刘连章:英语中的汉语外来语及其文化透视(节选)

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今天,我们来听读一篇来自VOA的广播稿,穿越历史,穿越时空,看看从这些词汇我们可以学到什么?又能得到什么样的启发?

Some Very 'American' Words Come from Chinese

 

By Alice Bryant

20 February, 2018

On a recent program, we told you the stories of English words borrowed from other languages. Today, we will tell you about words that English has taken from Chinese.

Many of the Chinese words that are now part of English were borrowed long ago. They are most often from Cantonese or other Chinese languages rather than Mandarin.

Let's start with kowtow.

kowtow

The English word kowtow is a verb that means to agree too easily to do what someone else wants you to do, or to obey someone with power in a way that seems weak.

Itcomes from the Cantonese word kau tau, which means "knock your head." It refers to the act of kneeling and lowering one's head as a sign of respect to superiors – such asemperors, elders and leaders. In the case of emperors, the act required the person to touch their head to the ground.



Britain's Lord George Macartney refused to "kau tau" to theQianlong Emperor. Soon after, the English word "kowtow" was born.

In1793, Britain's King George III sent Lord George Macartney and other trade ambassadors to China to negotiate a trade agreement. The Chinese asked them to kowtow to the Qianlong Emperor. As the story goes, Lord Macartney refused for his delegation to do more than bend their knees. He said that was all they were required to do for their own king.

It is not surprising, then, that Macartney left China without negotiating the trade agreement.

After that, critics used the word kowtow when anyone was too submissive to China. Today, the usage has no connection to China, nor any specific political connection.

北京西北:

“磕头”或“叩头”,作为一种礼仪在中国历史悠久。春节刚过吧?你一定知道在中国,很多地方依然流行农历新年晚辈向长辈叩头拜年的习俗。旧时候,一般情况下,人们需要行叩头大礼的对象如下:天地君亲师。当然,也有一些这种几种情况意外的特殊情况,比如跪谢恩人(这个可以有!),比如妻子让丈夫跪搓衣板或键盘(我竟然不厚道的笑出声来!)。

上文说到中国清代一个著名的公案,就是由马嘎尔尼率领的英国通商使团访问天朝觐见乾隆皇帝。要行三拜九叩大礼吗?清朝政府要求英国使臣按照各国贡使觐见皇帝的一贯礼仪,行三跪九叩之礼。英使认为这是一种屈辱而坚决拒绝。礼仪之争自天津,经北京,而继续到热河。乾隆帝闻讯,勃然动怒,下令降低接待规格。后来清朝大臣说番邦的野蛮人不懂礼数,还有一说就是这些野蛮人膝盖少一块骨头,无法下跪。我觉得吧,这就是英国人的不对了。他们不也常说“Wehn in Rome, Do as the Romans do”吗?

gung-ho 

Another borrowed word that came about through contact between two nations is gung-ho.

In English, the word gung-ho is an adjective that means extremely excited about doing something. The Chinese characters "gōng" and"hé" together mean "work together, cooperate."

The original term-- gōngyè hézuòshè -- means Chinese Industrial Cooperatives.The organizations were established in the 1930s by Westerners in China to promote industrialand economic development.

Lt.Colonel Evans Carlson of the United States Marine Corps observed these cooperatives while he was in China. He was impressed, saying "...all the soldiers dedicated themselves to one idea and worked together to put that idea over."

He then began using the term gung-ho in the Marine Corps to try to create the same spirit he had witnessed. In 1942, he used the word as atraining slogan for the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion during World War II. The men were often called the "Gung Ho Battalion." From then, the word gung-ho spread as a slogan throughout the Marine Corps. Today, its meaning has no relation to the military.

北京西北:

这个词你get了吗?“工合”,也就是“工业合作社”的简称。这个词反映了近代中国民族工业的发展和民族资本主义的萌芽(这可是官方语言的表述)。这个词进一步引申为“extremely excited about doing something”。工业生产需要众多人的合作,非自给自足的小农经济可比。现代社会,“工合”成为一种主导性的生活方式和生产方式。

typhoon

In English, a typhoon is a very powerful and destructive storm that occurs around the China Sea and in the South Pacific.

The word history of typhoon had a far less direct path to the English language than gung-ho. And not all historical accounts are the same.

But,according to the Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories, the first typhoons reported in the English language were in India and were called "touffons" or "tufans."

The word tufan or al-tufan is Arabic and means violent storm or flood. The English came across this word in India and borrowed it as touffon.

Later, when English ships encountered violent storms in the China Sea, Englishmen learned the Cantonese word tai fung, which means "great wind." The word's similarity to touffon is only by chance.

The modern form of the word – typhoon – was influenced by the Cantonese but respelled to make it appear more Greek.

北京西北:

“台风”。住在海边的朋友尤其是南方海滨的朋友应该又深切体会。地球的海洋面积占地球表面绝大多数,全世界范围内每年都会形成无数的台风,台风的可怕破坏力让人不寒而栗。台风所到之处遮天蔽日、惊涛拍岸、摧枯拉朽、大雨滂沱!每每让人想到大自然的力量之令人惊惧以及人类的渺小和脆弱!这个词是根据粤语的发音转写进入英文,已经成为英语中的基本词汇。

kumquat

A kumquat is a fruit that looks like a small orange. It is native to South Asia and the Asia-Pacific.

The word kumquat comes from the Cantonese word kam-kwat or gām-gwāt, meaning "golden orange." Gām means "golden" and gwāt means"citrus fruit" or "orange." The word also refers to the plant that carries this fruit.

In1846, a collector for the London Horticultural Society introduced kumquats to Europe. Not long after, the fruit found its way to North America.

北京西北:

“金橘”,或“金桔”。一种南方的常见水果,你一定吃过。怎么读起来不像“金桔”?一点都不稀奇,不是从mandrin转写进入英文的,又是粤语!这也说明了南方沿海地区在中外文化交流史上的地位。这种水果是“金桔”,不是什么“康夸”!

chow

Another food-related word from Chinese is chow. The English word chow is slang for "food." American English speakers also use the phrasal verb"chow down,"  which can mean to eat something quickly and without good manners.

It comes from the Cantonese verb ch'ao, which means "to stir-fry" or "to cook."

The American English usage of the word chow as "food" dates back to 1856 in California. Chinese laborers built the railroads in that state. Back then, the word mainly referred to Chinese food. Today it refers to all kinds of food.

北京西北:

“炒”。说起吃,其他国家和民族都得对我们顶礼膜拜俯首称臣心服口服外带佩服!中华饮食文化博大精深源远流长,“八大菜系”也只是其中一小部分。光是烹调方法就说不尽,如“煎炒烹炸溜烤涮蒸煮炖……”!“炒”是一种常见的做菜方法,进入英文毫不奇怪,进一步引申代表中国菜。对了,又是来自粤语!一种说法是加州修建铁路时华工把这个词连同中国菜带到了美国。

ketchup

Most Americans would have a hard time believing that ketchup was not created right here in the U-S-A.

Ketchup is America's most popular condiment. But, as VOA Learning English reported last year, the story of ketchup began more than 500 years ago in Southeast Asia.

The word ketchup most likely comes from the word ke-tsiap, from a Chinese dialect called Amoy. The word originally referred to a type of sauce made from mixing pickled fish with spices.

And, historians say, the sauce was probably first created in a Chinese community in northern Vietnam. Later, this sauce would reach Indonesia and be called kecap.

The word first met the English language in the late 17th century, when a British colony in Indonesia came into contact with this sauce.

Back in England, the English first used the word to refer to many types of sauces.

Later, English settlers brought ketchup with them to the American colonies, but the condiment did not contain tomatoes until the mid-19th century.

Join us again soon to learn the history of English words borrowed from other languages.

北京西北:

“番茄酱”。这个词据考证来自厦门方言,原意是指一种酱料,本来与番茄无关。有厦门的读者朋友吗?你又发言权啊!现在这个词用来泛指酱料或酱汁,尤其是指番茄酱。

春节过了,给父母“kowtow”了,开始工作。拿出“gung-ho ”的精神努力工作吧。晚上下班,“chow”几个菜,加上点“ketchup”,味道一定不错。餐后水果来点“kumquat”,好极了!不过,南方海边的朋友仍然需要多多关注“typhoon”预警。祝你狗年大吉、生活幸福、工作顺利!

I'm Pete Musto. And I'm Alice Bryant.

Alice Bryant wrote this story for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

_____________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

kneel – v. to be in a position in which both of yourknees are on the floor

superior – n. a person of higher rank or status than another

submissive – adj. willing to obey someone else

original – adj. happening or existing first or at thebeginning

promote – v. to help something happen, develop or increase

dedicate – v. to use time, money, energy or attention forsomething)

slogan – n. a word or phrase that is easy to remember andis used by a group or business to attract attention

horticultural – adj. related to the science of growing fruits,vegetables and flowers

pickled – adj. preserved with salt water or vinegar

condiment – n. something (such as salt, mustard, or ketchup)that is added to food to give it more flavor

sauce – n. a thick liquid that is eaten with or on foodto add flavor to it

 


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