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为什么把懦夫叫作chicken?-双语


Why are cowards called “chickens”?

Photo/Pexels


为什么英语中把懦弱胆小的人称作chicken?鸡是怎么和胆小联系到一起的?你也许不知道,这事和大名鼎鼎的莎翁也有关系。让北京翻译公司北京金橄榄外文翻译有限公司与您一起看看以下内容:


Anyone who refuses a double-dog dare is liable to be labeled a chicken. How dogs found their way into dare culture remains a bit of a mystery—but the reason cowards are called “chickens” is slightly clearer.


任何拒绝接受挑战的人都很容易被贴上懦夫(chicken)的标签。为什么挑战(double-dog dare)会和狗扯上关系现在还是一个谜,但是懦夫被称为chicken的原因倒是略微明朗一些。


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the earliest written instance of the word chicken in the craven sense comes from William Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, circa 1616. "Forthwith they fly, Chickens,” he wrote, describing soldiers fleeing a battlefield.

根据《牛津英语词典》的解释,chicken一词和懦夫含义相关的最早的书面实例来自威廉•莎士比亚创作于1616年左右的《辛白林》。莎士比亚在这个剧本中形容逃离战场的士兵时写道:“他们随即飞奔而逃,懦夫们。”


But as Grammarphobia reports, domestic fowl had been associated with an absence of bravery long before the 17th century. One play from around 1450 described a coward as a “henne-harte,” and poet John Skelton likened some spineless courtiers to “hen-hearted cuckolds” in his poem Why Come Ye Nat to Courte circa 1529.


但是据“语法恐惧症”网站介绍,早在17世纪前,鸡就和胆小关联在一起。创作于1450年左右的一部戏剧将懦夫描述为“母鸡心脏”,诗人约翰•斯凯尔顿在他创作于1529年左右的诗歌《为何你们不上朝?》中将一些谄媚无骨的朝臣比作“鸡心王八”。


Hens may have seemed especially timid because roosters were typically characterized as plucky. If you were a leader, a dauntless warrior, or just a dominant presence in the mid-16th century, someone might call you a “cock” (as a compliment). And when people first started using the term hen to tag submissive or cowardly folks in the 1600s, they were often juxtaposing it with cock.


或许因为公鸡通常都被描述得很大胆,从而让母鸡相形之下显得特别胆小。如果你是16世纪中叶的一个领导者、一个无畏的战士或一个重要人物,有人可能会叫你“公鸡”(作为赞美)。17世纪人们刚开始用母鸡来指代顺从懦弱的人时,通常都会与公鸡一词并列。


Take, for example, the closing stanza of a late 17th-century ballad known as Taylor’s Lamentation:


举17世纪晚期的一首民谣《泰勒的悲叹》的末节为例:


"Ever since then she bears such a sway,

That I am forc’d her Laws to obey.

She is the Cock and I am the Hen,

This is my case, Oh! pity me then.”


“从那以后她就说一不二,

她的命令我都得服从。

她是公鸡而我成了母鸡,

这就是我的命运,哎,可怜我吧。”


The sexist subtext here isn’t exactly hidden: Female chickens, like female humans, are characterized as subdued and faint-hearted, taking cues from their valorous and powerful male counterparts. Any time the script is flipped, pity is in order for the poor man. Fortunately, the less gendered phrase (hens and roosters are all chickens) won out over time, though it’s not totally clear why. Chicken meaning fool—which may have been an offshoot of goose-as-fool—first started showing up in print around 1600. So it seems possible that the coward connotation caught on partly because the term also worked as a more general insult, too.


在这里字里行间都可以看出带有性别歧视的隐含意思:母鸡和女人一样被刻画成顺从胆小的形象,只能听命于勇敢强大的雄性。只要脚本一反转,可怜的男人就应该受到同情。幸运的是,随着时间流逝chicken这个不带有强烈性别色彩的词胜出了,母鸡和公鸡都统称为chicken,尽管原因不是很清楚。17世纪前后,用鸡(chicken)来指代傻瓜的用法首次出现在印刷品中,这可能是鹅带有的傻瓜含义的衍生用法。所以鸡带有的懦夫含义一部分可能是因为这个词同时也具有更普遍的侮辱含义。


来源:Mental Floss 中国日报网

 

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