2014.04.07【英译中】英语控:世界上最美丽的英文单词是哪个?

孤单羽毛 (Marble) 初涉译坛
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发表于:2014-04-07 13:31 [只看楼主] [划词开启]
What's the most beautiful word in the English language? Different people, using various criteria, will give a slew of answers.

世界上最美的英文单词是什么?不同的人会有不同的答案。

Surveying more than 7,000 English speakers in 46 countries, the British Council decided on "mother" an unglamorous word, yet one that conveys comfort and the deepness of human relationships. Others on their list include concepts, like "liberty" and "tranquility," or expressions, as in "smile."

英国文化委员对46个国家7000个说英语的人做了调查,英国文化委员会决定“母亲”为单调乏味之词,但它却体现着舒适和人类感情的维系。列在名单中的其他概念性词汇如“自由”、“宁静”或表情类词汇“微笑”。

Robert Beard, a former linguistics professor at Bucknell University, also created his own list of beautiful words. Through careful research, he determined 100 English words that people seem to like most though may not use frequently. Some eccentric yet notable words include ailurophile, inglenook, and Susquehanna

来自巴克内尔大写的语言学教授罗伯特·比尔德也列出他自己认为最美的英文单词,通过严谨的调查,他从中选出100个词汇,虽然大多数人们用的并不频繁。一些感觉怪异的用词,包括“爱猫癖”、“炉边”、“萨斯奎哈纳”。

While you might consider these words beautiful without knowing what they mean, linguist David Crystal says it's impossible to separate sounds entirely from their meaning. Words with positive connotations, like birds and flowers, naturally make us happy, while darker words, like "peril," instill less positive feelings.

你可能认为这些词汇美丽动听,但你却不知其意思。语言学家大卫·克里斯特尔说:不可能把他们的读音和意思完全分离。正面含义的词汇,像鸟类和鲜花一样,自然让我们感到快乐,当然负面词汇像“危险”之类的会有负面的感觉。

But even Crystal can't deny some patterns appear based just on sound; humans simply find some sounds more pleasing than others. By analyzing the consonant and vowel sounds that appear in language the most and least frequently, Crystal created certain criteria that compose the most beautiful words.

但是就算是语言学家克里斯特尔也无法否认,有一些模式只是跟声音有关;人们就是会觉得有些声音比其他的更好听。通过分析在语言中出现频率最多和最少的辅音和元音,克里斯特尔对于最美丽的单词组成制定了一些标准:

 

For example, the word "tremulous" fits every category. The word contains more than three syllables, with the stress on the first. It uses "m" and "l" letters we seem to enjoy pronouncing. It uses other consonants that appear in English with high frequency but eliminates those with low frequency. It also uses only short vowels, articulated in a mid or low position, in the front of the mouth.

打个比方,“胆小的”适合每一个范畴。这个词超过三个以上音节,重音在第一个音节上。它使用了“m”和“I”这两个字母是我们喜欢发音的,它使用其他辅音出现在英语中的高频词,摒弃了使用频率较低的辅音字母。

The chart also gives examples of other nice words.

图表也给了一些其他美丽的词汇例子。

Despite these trends, personal preferences also play into whether "mother" sounds more beautiful than "inglenook," and "tremulous."

Personally, I like "hullabaloo."

抛开这些语音趋势,“母亲”一词,听上去比“炉边”、“胆小的”更美。就我而言,更倾向于“喧嚣”这个单词。

上一篇: 2014.03.27【英译中】中美两国夫人在北京师大二附中发表讲话

 

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