斯蒂芬*弗莱 《关于语言》 Stephen Fry - Language -- 视频+文本

stephen fry

妙语连珠,口若悬河,气势磅礴 --- 关于语言

      站长按:谈到英国的文化圈,就不能不提到Stephen Fry;

      很多了解到他的人,可能是因为他出品的有声读物,他参演的电影或者是他优雅动人的口音。作为英国演员、喜剧演员、作家和电视主持人,斯蒂芬弗雷与至交英国演员休•劳瑞搭档成为“弗莱和劳瑞”的二人团体,合作了《弗莱劳瑞秀》(A Bit of Fry and Laurie)和《万能管家》(Jeeves and Wooster);还主演了电影《王尔德》,喜剧连续剧《黑爵士》(Blackadder),现在主持BBC电视节目《QI》。

      Stephen Fry一直以来为各种杂志和报纸撰写专栏,同时也出版了小说和自传《Moab Is My Washpot》,而他的第二部自传,也于2010年推出,题为《The Fry Chronics》;毕业于剑桥大学的Stephen Fry才华出众,在很多英国人的眼里,他已经成为了英国文化的一个象征。弗莱看上去“很英国”,或者说像是很典型的“英国绅士”,关于他更多的介绍,可以参看【桃花坞】

      今天给大家介绍的,是Stephen在其Podcast中关于“语言Language”的一段阐述,美妙的修辞,诙谐、大胆的想象和比喻阐述了自己对语言的理解,又自说自话、相当文雅和恰到好处得调侃起一些老派的学究,幽默犀利,实在是不可多得的文章。



【Stephen Fry 录音 - 关于语言】

      For me, it is a cause of some upset that more Anglophones don’t enjoy language. Music is enjoyable it seems, so are dance and other, athletic forms of movement. People seem to be able to find sensual and sensuous pleasure in almost anything but words these days. Words, it seems belong to other people, anyone who expresses themselves with originality, delight and verbal freshness is more likely to be mocked, distrusted or disliked than welcomed. The free and happy use of words appears to be considered elitist or pretentious. Sadly, desperately sadly, the only people who seem to bother with language in public today bother with it in quite the wrong way. They write letters to broadcasters and newspapers in which they are rude and haughty about other people’s usage and in which they show off their own superior ‘knowledge’ of how language should be.

 

      I hate that, and I particularly hate the fact that so many of these pedants assume that I’m on their side. When asked to join in a “let’s persuade this supermarket chain to get rid of their ‘five items or less’ sign” I never join in. Yes, I am aware of the technical distinction between ‘less’ and ‘fewer’, and between ‘uninterested’ and ‘disinterested’ and ‘infer’ and ‘imply’, but none of these are of importance to me. ‘None of these are of importance,’ I wrote there, you’ll notice – the old pedantic me would have insisted on “none of them is of importance”. Well I’m glad to say I’ve outgrown that silly approach to language. Oscar Wilde, and there have been few greater and more complete lords of language in the past thousand years, once included with a manuscript he was delivering to his publishers a compliment slip in which he had scribbled the injunction: “I’ll leave you to tidy up the woulds and shoulds, wills and shalls, thats and whiches &c.” Which gives us all encouragement to feel less guilty, don’t you think?

      There are all kinds of pedants around with more time to read and imitate Lynne Truss and John Humphrys than to write poems, love-letters, novels and stories it seems. They whip out their Sharpies and take away and add apostrophes from public signs, shake their heads at prepositions which end sentences and mutter at split infinitives and misspellings, but do they bubble and froth and slobber and cream with joy at language? Do they ever let the tripping of the tips of their tongues against the tops of their teeth transport them to giddy euphoric bliss? Do they ever yoke impossible words together for the sound-sex of it? Do they use language to seduce, charm, excite, please, affirm and tickle those they talk to? Do they? I doubt it. They’re too farting busy sneering at a greengrocer’s less than perfect use of the apostrophe. Well sod them to Hades. They think they’re guardians of language. They’re no more guardians of language than the Kennel Club is the guardian of dogkind.

      The worst of this sorry bunch of semi-educated losers are those who seem to glory in being irritated by nouns becoming verbs. How dense and deaf to language development do you have to be? If you don’t like nouns becoming verbs, then for heaven’s sake avoid Shakespeare who made a doing-word out of a thing-word every chance he got. He TABLED the motion and CHAIRED the meeting in which nouns were made verbs. New examples from our time might take some getting used to: ‘He actioned it that day’ for instance might strike some as a verbing too far, but we have been sanctioning, envisioning, propositioning and stationing for a long time, so why not ‘action’? ‘Because it’s ugly,’ whinge the pedants. It’s only ugly because it’s new and you don’t like it. Ugly in the way Picasso, Stravinsky and Eliot were once thought ugly and before them Monet, Mahler and Baudelaire.

      Pedants will also claim, with what I am sure is eye-popping insincerity and shameless disingenuousness, that their fight is only for ‘clarity’. This is all very well, but there is no doubt what ‘Five items or less’ means, just as only a dolt can’t tell from the context and from the age and education of the speaker, whether ‘disinterested’ is used in the ‘proper’ sense of non-partisan, or in the ‘improper’ sense of uninterested. No, the claim to be defending language for the sake of clarity almost never, ever holds water. Nor does the idea that following grammatical rules in language demonstrates clarity of thought and intelligence of mind.

      Having said this, I admit that if you want to communicate well for the sake of passing an exam or job interview, then it is obvious that wildly original and excessively heterodox language could land you in the soup. I think what offends examiners and employers when confronted with extremely informal, unpunctuated and haywire language is the implication of not caring that underlies it. You slip into a suit for an interview and you dress your language up too. You can wear what you like linguistically or sartorially when you’re at home or with friends, but most people accept the need to smarten up under some circumstances – it’s only considerate. But that is an issue of fitness, of suitability, it has nothing to do with correctness. There no right language or wrong language any more than are right or wrong clothes. Context, convention and circumstance are all.

翻译:

      对于我来说,英语为母语的人却不享受自己的语言,这真是我觉得很沮丧。貌似人们会去享受音乐,舞蹈,或者其他运动所带来的乐趣。除了语言文字,人们似乎能够在其他所有事情中找到一些肉体或者感性的乐趣。文字,似乎是属于另外一些人,任何通过文字来表达自己的原创,愉悦,或者口头上的创新,不是被欢迎,而是被人嘲笑,怀疑,或者被讨厌,自由而开心的使用文字被认为是唱高调或者炫耀。这的确是件很悲惨,悲惨到绝望的事情,因为唯一在乎语言文字的人,从一个完全错误的角度来关心语言文字。

      他们给电视台或者报社没完没了的写很粗鲁又充满焦虑的信,抱怨其他人语法用词的错误以显示自己更优越的语言知识。我真的是很讨厌这种人,而且我特别讨厌他们很多人觉得我是跟他们一个阵营的。我有时候会收到一些邀请,让我加入他们的运动,把街角蔬菜店的”Five Item or Less" 标志换成语法正确的标志。我从来不参加这种活动。拜托,我知道“Less”和“Fewer"在语法上的区别,我也知道”uninterested“和”disinterested"的区别,或者“infer"和"imply”,但是这些都不重要的。没错,我的确说了”None of them are of importance",我相信你注意到了。过去的那个迂腐的我肯定会很矫情的说“None of them IS of importance"。呵呵,我很高兴的说,我终于从那个阶段走出来,变得更成熟了。奥斯卡.王尔德,过去几千年来恐怕少有比他更伟大或者更完美的语言大师,某一次把自己的手稿寄给出版社,并附短笺说:至于那些”Woulds" 或者”Should"s, “will"s 或者”shall"s, "that“s 或者”which"s,诸如此类,我就交给你帮忙清理啦。这么想来,似乎能够减轻我们对自己不甚完美的语法的负罪感,难道不是吗?

      世界上就有这么一群老学究,他们宁愿没完没了的反复阅读或者模仿Lynne Truss或者John Humphrys的风格,也不愿意自己去写写小诗,情书,小说或者故事。他们要么就掏出马克笔在公共标牌加个逗号,要么就因为使用介词结束一句,用错的分词形式或者拼写错误话而摇头叹息。但是,他们可曾因为语言的乐趣而开怀,是否因为某些词句让舌头巧妙的碰到牙齿而发出的声音而喜悦,可曾把完全不可能连在一起的词放在一起而觉得幸福,可曾用语言去取悦,去勾引,去迷惑,去肯定,去让人开怀大笑?有没有?!

     估计没有!

      他们一天到晚忙着对杂货店招牌上错加的逗号嗤之以鼻。让他们去死好了。他们觉得自己是语言的捍卫者,如果他们能够捍卫语言,那么爱犬协会的人也能保护整个犬类物种了!

      这帮受过点教育的半桶水失败者们中,最可恶的是那些抱怨名词做动词用的人。你到底要对语言发展无知到什么程度?如果你真的不喜欢名词做动词用,拜托你最好干脆别看莎士比亚,因为他动不动就抓住任何一个计划把名词当作动词来用。Tabled the motion, chair the meeting, 莎士比亚在两种情况下都把名词当成动词用。我们这个时代的新例子,比如 He actioned it that day,或许对于某些人来说,走的有点太远。但是,我们一直以来都在“sanctioning”, “envisioning", "Propositioning",为什么就不能“actioning"呢?他们肯定会嘀咕说:什么嘛,好丑的说!他们看上去丑是因为他们是新生事物,而你不喜欢新生事物。毕加索,斯特拉文斯基,T.S.艾略特也曾经被认为是丑陋的,在他们之前的莫奈,马勒,波德莱尔也无一例外。

      这帮学究们还说他们是为了语言文字的明确性而战,对此我敢肯定根本就是毫无诚意的无耻谰言。维护语言文字的明确性当然是好的,但是难道真的有人不理解”five Item or less"的含义吗?除非你是瞎子,否则你肯定能够从讲话人的上下文和他的年龄及受教育程度来推测, “disinterested" 到底是正确的表达“漠不关心”,还是跟uninterested 混用表达“不感兴趣”。拜托,说什么自己是为了维护语言文字明确性,基本上全都经不起推敲。

     同样经不起推敲的说法是“正确的使用语法规则表示一个人思维敏锐头脑清晰”。虽然是这么说,我承认如果你是为了通过考试或者面试,那是用自创语句或者非正规语法肯定结果不会太好。我觉得这与其说是语法错误本身的问题,不如说考官更讨厌你满不在乎的态度。你去面试肯定要穿个正装之类,当然你也会“打扮”一下你自己的语言。你跟朋友在一起的时候,怎么讲话都可以,但是碰到一些特定场合,就要注意自己的语言。这更多的是礼貌问题,是适应环境,融入周边的问题,而不是“正确与否”的问题。这里没有所谓的“正确的语言”或者“错误的语言”,就好象没有正确或者错误的衣服。你所处的境况,周围通用的成文或者不成文的跳跃,和你当时的情景决定一切。

 

 

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