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另小玄机王:Unit 5 Text A Speaking Chinese in America翻譯,原文和錄音

[2018年11月6日] 來源:新視野大學英語Unit 5 編輯:給力英語網   字號 [] [] []  

黄大仙金身救世 www.obuem.icu Speaking Chinese in America


1 Once at a dinner on the Monterey Peninsula California my mother whispered to me confidentially: "Sau-sau (brother's wife) pretends too hard to be a polite recipient! Why bother with such nominal courtesy? In the end she always takes everything."


2 My mother acted like a waixiao an emigrant no longer patient with old taboos and courtesies. To prove her point she reached across the table to offer my elderly aunt from Beijing the last scallop from the garlic seafood dish along with the flank steak and the cucumber salad.


3 Sau-sau frowned. "B'yao zhen b'yao!" she cried patting her substantial stomach. I don't want it really I don't.


4 "Take it! Take it!" my mother scolded in Chinese as predictably as the lunar cycles.


5 "Full I'm already full" Sau-sau muttered weakly eying the scallop.


6 "Ai!" exclaimed my mother. "Nobody wants it. It will only rot!"


7 Sau-sau sighed acting as if she were doing my mother a favor by taking the scrap off the tray and sparing us the trouble of wrapping the leftovers in foil.


8 My mother turned to her brother an experienced Chinese magistrate visiting us for the first time. "In America a Chinese person could starve to death. If you don't breach the old rules of etiquette and say you want it they won't ask you again."


9 My uncle nodded and said he understood fully: Americans take things quickly because they have no time to be polite.


10 I read an article in The New York Times Magazine on changes in New York's little cultural colony of Chinatown where the author mentioned that the interwoven configuration of Chinese language and culture renders its speech indirect and polite. Chinese people are so "discreet and modest" the article started that there aren't even words for "yes" and "no".


11 Why do people keep fabricating these rumors? I thought. They describe us as though we were a tribe of those little dolls sold in Chinatown tourist shops heads moving up and down in contented agreement!


12 As any child of immigrant parents knows there is a special kind of double bind attached to knowing two languages. My parents for example spoke to me in both Chinese and English; I spoke back to them in English.


13 "Amy-ah!" they'd scold me.


14 "What?" I'd answer back.


15 "Do not question us when we call" they'd scold in Chinese. "It's not respectful."


16 "What do you mean?"


17 "Ai! Didn't we just tell you not to question?"


18 If I consider my upbringing carefully I find there was nothing discreet about the Chinese language I grew up with no censorship for the sake of politeness. My parents made everything abundantly clear in their consecutive demands: "Of course you will become a famous aerospace engineer" they prodded. "And yes a concert pianist on the side."


19 It seems that the more forceful proceedings always spilled over into Chinese: "Not that way! You must wash rice so not a single grain is lost."

20 Having listened to both Chinese and English I'm suspicious of comparisons between the two languages as I notice the reciprocal challenges they each present. English speakers say Chinese is extremely difficult because different words can be denoted by very subtle variations in tone. English is often bracketed with the label of inconsistency a language of too many broken rules.


21 Even more dangerous in my view is the temptation to view the gulf between different languages and behavior in translation. To listen to my mother speak English an outside spectator might make the deduction that she has no concept of the temporal differences of past and future or that she is gender blind because she refers to my husband as "she". If one were not careful one might also generalize that all Chinese people take an indirect route to get to the point. It is rather my mother's individual tendency to ornament her language and wander around a bit.


22 I worry that the dominant society may see Chinese people from a limited perspective hedging us in with the stereotype. I worry that the seemingly innocent stereotype may lead to actual intolerance and be part of the reason why there are few Chinese in top management positions or in the main judiciary or political sectors. I worry about the power of language: If one says anything enough times it might become true with or without malicious intent.


23 Could this be why the Chinese friends of my parents' generation are willing to accept the generalization?


24 "Why are you complaining?" one of them said to me. "If people think we are modest and polite let them think that. Wouldn't Americans appreciate such an honorary description?"


25 And I do believe that anyone would take the description as a compliment  at first. But after a while it annoys as if the only things that people heard one say were what had been filtered through the sieve of social niceties: I'm so pleased to meet you. I've heard many wonderful things about you.


26 These remarks are not representative of new ideas honest emotions or considered thought. Like a piece of bread they are only the crust of the interaction or what is said from the polite distance of social contexts: greetings farewells convenient excuses and the like. This generalization therefore is not a true composite of Chinese culture but only a stereotype of our exterior behavior.


27 "So how does one say 'yes' and 'no' in Chinese?" my friends may ask carefully.


28 At this junction I do agree in part with The New York Times Magazine article. There is no one word for "yes" or "no" but not out of necessity to be discreet. If anything I would say the Chinese equivalent of answering "yes" or "no" is specific to what is asked.


29 Ask a Chinese person if he or she has eaten and he or she might say chrle (eaten already) or meiyou (have not).


30 Ask "Have you stopped beating your wife?" and the answer refers directly to the proposition being asserted or denied: stopped already still have not never beat have no wife.


31 What could be clearer?

在美國說中文


有一次,在加州蒙特雷半島上用餐時,我母親私下悄悄地對我說:“嫂嫂想做個彬彬有禮的客人,但是裝得太厲害了!何必費勁講究形式上的客套呢?到最后她還是什么都要?!?/p>

我母親行事像個“外僑”,即一個移民國外的僑民,因為她已經不耐煩老一套的禁忌和禮數了。為了證明她剛才的觀點,她手伸過桌子,把蒜香海鮮拼盤里的最后一個扇貝,連同牛腩排及黃瓜沙拉一起,遞給我從北京來的年長舅媽。


嫂嫂皺起了眉頭,“不要,真不要!”她一邊大聲說一邊拍著自己已經吃得很飽的肚子。我不要了,真的不要了。


“拿去吧!拿去吧!”我母親用中文責備道。預料到她就會這樣,就像月亮盈虧周期似的。


“飽了,我已經飽了,”嫂嫂低聲嘀咕著,眼睛卻瞟著扇貝。


“哎!”我母親感嘆著說,“沒人愿意吃,只能讓它壞掉了!”


嫂嫂嘆了口氣,從碟子上拿去了那個扇貝,就好像是幫了我母親一個大忙,并省去了我們用箔紙將剩菜打包的麻煩似的。


我母親轉頭看著她兄長——一位經驗豐富的中國地方法官,這是他初次來看我們。她說:“在美國,一個中國人可能會餓死。要是你不打破老一套的禮數說你要吃,他們就不會再問你了?!?/p>

我舅舅點點頭,說他完全理解:美國人待人接物快速迅捷,因為他們沒有時間客氣來客氣去。


我在《紐約時報雜志》上讀到過一篇文章,描述的是紐約市內的中國城這一小塊文化聚居地的變遷。作者在文章中提到,中國語言與文化錯綜交織,使中文十分委婉和客套。中國人是如此“謹慎和謙虛”,文章開頭寫道,以至于他們都沒有詞語來表達“是”和“不是”。


我思索著,為什么人們會不斷地編造這樣的謠言呢?他們把我們描述得就像是唐人街旅游品商店里出售的一批小布娃娃。那些布娃娃的頭不停地上下晃動,似乎對一切都心滿意足,完全贊同。


生于移民家庭的孩子都清楚,有一種特殊的兩難境地與說兩種語言的生活聯系在一起。比如我父母,他們和我說話時中文和英文都用,但我和他們說話時只用英文。


“艾米??!”他們會這樣責備我。


“怎么啦?”我會回問道。


“我們叫你時,不要對我們反問,”他們會用中文訓斥道“這是不禮貌的!”


“你們什么意思?”


“哎!我們不是剛剛說過,叫你不要反問嗎?”


仔細想想自己的成長過程,我發現,我從小到大所接觸到的中文并不是什么特別謹慎的語言,也不存在出于客氣而對所說的話進行仔細檢查的現象。我父母向我提一連串的要求時,總是把一切都表述得清清楚楚:“你當然會成為著名的航空工程師,”他們會鼓勵我說,“對了,你業余時間還要做音樂會的鋼琴師?!?/p>

似乎更加強硬的事情總是通過中文傾瀉出來:“不能那樣!你淘米的時候,必須一粒都不漏?!?/p>

由于一直同時聽著中英文兩種語言,故而我對它們之間的任何對比總是心存懷疑,因為我注意到它們各自都有對方所沒有的難點。說英文的人會認為中文極其難,因為中文用非常微妙的聲調變化就可以表示不同的詞語。而英文則常常被認為缺乏一致性,因為英文具有太多不合規則的用法。


在我看來,更危險的做法是,人們往往傾向于通過翻譯來理解不同語言和行為之間的差異。如果一個旁觀的外人聽我母親說英語,可能會得出結論,說她對過去和將來這樣的時間區別沒有概念,或者認為她對人的性別不加區分,因為她提到我丈夫時總是說“她”。如果一個人對此類現象不假思慮,他也許還會概括說,所有中國人都是通過委婉迂回的方式才能說到話題重點的。而實際上喜歡修飾和繞彎子只是我母親個人的說話風格。


我擔心主流社會可能會從一個狹隘的角度、以一種成見看待中國人。我擔心這種看似無害的成見實際會導致人們對中國人難以容忍,并成為中國人在高層管理職位或主要的司法及政府部門寥寥無幾的部分原因。我擔心語言的力量,即如果一個人將一件事說了很多遍,無論其是否有惡意,這件事都會變成事實。


這會不會就是我父母輩的中國朋友愿意接受那些對中國人的簡單概括的原因呢?


“你為什么要抱怨呢?”他們中有人問我?!叭綣嗣僑銜頤喬槔袢?,就讓他們那樣想好了。難道美國人不喜歡這種贊譽性的話嗎?”


我當然相信每個人在一開始都會把這種描述的話當成稱贊。但過了一段時間,這種話就會讓人惱怒,就好像所聽到的只是些經過細微的社交區別過濾后的言辭,諸如“很高興認識你,我聽到許多人都夸獎你”之類的話。


這些話不能表達什么新觀點,也不能傳達什么真實的情感或深思熟慮的想法。它們就像一片面包,只是人們交往中最表層的東西,或社交場合下出于禮貌而說的一些話:問候、道別、順口的托詞,諸如此類。由此看來,那些對中國人的概括性評價并非是對中國文化成分的真實描述,而僅僅是對我們外在行為的一種成見而已。


“那么中文究竟怎么表達‘是’和‘不是’呢?”我的朋友也許會小心翼翼地問。


在這一點上,我的確在某種程度上同意《紐約時報雜志》的那篇文章。在中文里,沒有哪一個字專門用于表達“是”或“不是”,但這并非是因為需要保持謹慎。若的確有什么不同的話,那我會說中文里對應的“是”或“不是”的表達通常是針對所問的具體內容而定的。


如果你問一個中國人是否吃飯了,他(或她)會說“吃了”(已經吃過)或“沒有”(沒有吃過)。


你若問:“你停止打老婆了嗎?”他會直接就所斷定或所否認的假設進行回答:已經停止了,還沒有,從來不打,沒有老婆。


還有什么能比這更明了的呢?

 
 
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