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  • You may think you know the words that sit plainly in black on your page,

    你可能覺得你 了解書面上的字

  • but don't be fooled.


  • Some words are capable of taking on different guises,


  • masquerading as nouns, verbs and adjectives

    偽裝成名詞, 動詞或形容詞

  • that alter their meanings entirely.


  • This seeming superpower is called lexical ambiguity.

    這種超能力我們稱作 詞彙歧義。

  • It can turn words and sentences into mazes that mess with our minds.

    它可以把字句轉變成迷宮 擾亂我們的思維。

  • For example, consider the following:


  • Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

    水牛水牛水牛水牛 水牛水牛水牛水牛。

  • That may sound like nonsense,

    聽起來好像 毫無意義,

  • but it's actually a grammatically correct sentence.


  • How? Well, Buffalo is proper noun, a noun, and a verb.

    怎麼說呢?水牛同時是專有名詞, 名詞和動詞。

  • It refers to an animal also known as a bison,

    這單字指的是 美洲水牛,

  • an American city,


  • and it can also mean to bully.


  • These different interpretations create a sequence of words

    這三種意思 形成一連串

  • that is grammatically correct as it stands,

    本質上語法正確 的句子,

  • though it helps to add in a few implied phrases


  • and punctuation marks to reveal what's really going on.

    和標點符號 會讓人更清楚它的意思。

  • Buffalo buffalo are bison from the city of Buffalo,

    『水牛水牛』指的是來自 水牛城的水牛,

  • and this sentence has three groups of them.

    而這句就有三組 水牛城的水牛。

  • Group A, which is bullied by Group B, bullies Group C.


  • In other words, bison from Buffalo that other bison from Buffalo bully

    換句話說,被另一隻水牛城的水牛欺負的 水牛城水牛

  • also bully bison from Buffalo.


  • If you let each buffalo perform its role, the meaning becomes apparent.

    如果每一隻水牛都扮演好自己的角色 那這句話就更清楚不過了。

  • What if the bunch of bullying buffalo decides to cross the ocean?

    如果這一群霸道的水牛 遠渡重洋呢?

  • Not just on any ship,


  • but a ship-shipping ship shipping shipping-ships?

    而是一艘運載著貨船 的運載船的船?

  • That sentence sounds just as outrageous, but there's logic to the babble.

    儘管這句話令人發瘋, 但其實亂中有序。

  • Ship can mean a vessel and to transport.


  • When we sub in those meanings, a clearer picture emerges.

    當我們加以解釋, 整句話就更清楚了。

  • Here we have a huge ship-carrying vessel


  • transporting ships that themselves are designed to carry goods across the sea.

    運載著本身能夠運貨的船隻 遠渡重洋。

  • A ship-shipping ship, shipping shipping-ships.

    運載著貨船 的運載船的船。

  • How about some entertainment on board this unusual vessel

    那如果在這船上再加上 一些娛樂

  • to offset the scuffling buffalo?

    來平衡一下 這群調皮水牛?

  • Consider the can-can.

    來看看 可以-可以吧!

  • Can-can can-can can can can can can-can.

    可以-可以可以-可以可以可以 可以可以可以-可以。

  • Here, the word can comes in many guises.

    在這裡, 這個字有帶著很多意思。

  • There's can-can, the flamboyant dance,

    當中有康康舞(可以-可以), 一種華麗的舞蹈,

  • can, that means able to,


  • and can, figuratively meaning to outperform.


  • By sticking in a comma and including the implied meanings,

    帶入逗號 和言下之意之後,

  • this sentence becomes clearer.

    這句話的意思 便顯而易見。

  • Can-can dances that can-can dances are able to outperform,

    康康舞者跳得康康舞 能夠表現特出,

  • can also outperform other can-can dances.


  • You wouldn't necessarily use any of these sentences in a conversation.

    你在日常言談中 不一定會用到這些句子。

  • They're just too ridiculous.


  • Yet they serve as an extreme example

    然而它們是 日常言談

  • on just how tangled everyday language can be.

    可以變得多拗口 的極端例子。

  • Lexical ambiguities sail into our speech and writing all the time,

    詞彙歧義常在我們的言談 和文筆中神出鬼沒,

  • spreading confusion and misunderstanding wherever they can-can.

    帶來疑惑和誤會, 只要它們能夠超越(可以-可以)。

You may think you know the words that sit plainly in black on your page,

你可能覺得你 了解書面上的字


單字即點即查 點擊單字可以查詢單字解釋

B2 中高級 中文 美國腔 TED-Ed 水牛 欺負 句子 船隻 超越

【TED-Ed】Buffalo水牛水牛。單詞句及其工作原理--Emma Bryce (【TED-Ed】Buffalo buffalo buffalo: One-word sentences and how they work - Emma Bryce)

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    Ann 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日