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  • There's a two-letter word that we hear everywhere.


  • OK. ♪


  • OK. ♪


  • OK, are you OK, Annie? ♪

    OK,妳還 OK嗎, Annie?

  • OK, OK, OK, OK ladies... ♪

    OK, OK, OK, OK,淑女們...

  • OK might be the most recognizable word on the planet.

    OK 可能是地球上最好辨認的字。

  • - OK! - OK.


  • It's essential to how we communicate with each other and even with our technology.


  • Alexa, turn off the living room light.


  • OK.


  • You probably use it every day, even if you don't notice it.

    你可能每天都在說 OK,即使你沒注意到。

  • But what does OK actually mean?

    但 OK 到底代表什麼意思?

  • And where did it come from?


  • - Uh, OK. - OK, then.

    -呃,OK。-那 OK。

  • OK, thank you.


  • "OK" actually traces back to an 1830s fad of intentionally misspelling abbreviations.

    「OK」的起源可以回溯到 1830 年代,那時流行故意拼錯的簡寫。

  • Young intellectual types in Boston delighted those in the know with butchered coded messages such as KC, or "knuff ced"; KY, "know yuse"; and OW, "oll wright".

    波士頓的年輕知識分子刻意拼錯字和使用縮寫像是 KC 表示 knuff ced(enough said); KY 表示 know yuse(no use); OW 表示 oll wright(all right)。

  • But thanks to a couple of lucky breaks, one abbreviation rose above the rest: OK, or "oll korrect".

    因為幾個幸運的機會,其中一個縮寫從中脫穎而出:OK,或 oll korrect(all correct)。

  • In the early 1800s, "all correct" was a common phrase used to confirm that everything was in order.

    在 1800 年代早期,「完全正確」是用來確認一切就緒的常見片語。

  • Its abbreviated cousin started going mainstream on March 23, 1839, when OK was first published in the Boston Morning Post.

    在 1839 年 3 月 23 日時, OK 第一次被印在波士頓早報上,它的縮寫開始變成主流。

  • Soon, other papers picked up on the joke and spread it around the country, until OK was something everyone knew about, not just a few Boston insiders.

    很快,其他報紙也開始搞懂這個梗,並且散布到整個國家,直到大家都知道 OK 的意思,不再限於少數波士頓的內行人。

  • And OK's newfound popularity even prompted a flailing US president from Kinderhook, New York, to adopt it as a nickname during his 1840 reelection campaign.

    OK 剛崛起的人氣,甚至讓來自紐約 Kinderhook 的總統在 1840 年競選連任時,用 OK 當作他的綽號。

  • Van Buren's supporters formed OK Clubs all over the country, and their message was pretty clear: Old Kinderhook was "oll korrect".

    范布倫各地的支持者成立 OK 俱樂部,他們要傳達的訊息很簡單:老 Kinderhook 是「oll korrect」(完全正確)。

  • The campaign was highly publicized and turned pretty nasty in the press.


  • His opponents ended up turning the abbreviation around on him, saying it stood for "orful konspiracy" or "orful katastrophe".

    他的反對者用同一個縮寫回擊他,說 OK 代表「糟糕的陰謀」(awful conspiracy)或是「悲慘的災難」(awful catastrophe)。

  • In the end, even a clever nickname didn't save Van Buren's presidency.


  • But it was a win for OK.

    但對 OK 來說卻是一大勝利。

  • That 1840 presidential campaign firmly established OK in the American vernacular.

    1840 年的總統大選讓 OK 在美國方言中建立穩固地位。

  • And while similar abbreviations fell out of fashion, OK made the crossover from slang into legitimate, functional use, thanks to one invention: the telegraph.

    當同期的縮寫都已經不再流行,OK 卻從俚語晉升成官方、正式用語,這都要感謝一項發明:電報。

  • If we lower the bridge, the current flows to the sounder.


  • At the other end, the current energizes an electromagnet and this attracts the armature.


  • The armature clicks down against a screw and taps out a message.


  • The telegraph debuted in 1844, just five years after OK.

    電報首次於 1844 年出現,也就是 OK 發明後的五年。

  • It transmitted short messages in the form of electric pulses, with combinations of dots and dashes representing letters of the alphabet.


  • This was OK's moment to shine.

    這就是 OK 發揚光大的時刻。

  • The two letters were easy to tap out and very unlikely to be confused with anything else.


  • It was quickly adopted as a standard acknowledgement of a transmission received, especially by operators on the expanding US railroad.


  • This telegraphic manual from 1865 even goes as far as to say that "no message is ever regarded as transmitted until the office receiving it gives OK".

    1865 年,這份電報手冊甚至說明「在接收處辦公室回覆 OK 之前,任何訊息都不算傳送成功。」

  • OK had become serious business.

    OK 變成一件認真的事。

  • But there's another big reason the two letters stuck around, and it's not just because they're easy to communicate.


  • It has to do with how OK looks.

    這和 OK 這兩個字的模樣有關。

  • Or, more specifically, how the letter K looks and sounds.

    或更精確來說,跟 K 的外型和讀音有關。

  • It's really uncommon to start a word with the letter K in Englishit's ranked around 22nd in the alphabet.

    英文中,真的很少有 K 開頭的單字,K 在字母表中排序是第 22。

  • That rarity spurred a "Kraze for K" at the turn of the century in advertising and print, where companies replaced hard Cs with Ks in order to "Katch" your eye.

    這樣的稀少性在上個世紀末激起了一股「K 的狂潮」,廣告業和印刷業的業者硬是用 K 取代 C ,來吸引目光。

  • The idea was that modifying a word, like "Klearflax" Linen Rugs or this "Kook-Rite" Stove, for example, would draw more attention to it.

    這個想法是把單字中的 C 改成 K,像是 Klearflax 的亞麻地毯,或 Kook-Rite 火爐,來吸引更多注意力。

  • And that's still a visual strategy: We see K represented in modern corporate logos, like Krispy Kreme and Kool-Aid.

    這是一個視覺策略:我們現在仍可以看到現代公司把 K 用在商標上,例如 Krispy Kreme 和 Kool-Aid。

  • It's the K that makes it so memorable.

    因為 K 會讓人印象深刻。

  • By the 1890s, OK's Bostonian origins were already mostly forgotten, and newspapers began to debate its history, often perpetuating myths in the process that some people still believe.

    到了 1890 年代, OK 在波士頓的起源幾乎被遺忘了,報紙便開始辯論它的歷史,有一些人們到現在都還一直相信謠言。

  • Like the claim that it comes from the Choctaw word "okeh", which means "so it is".

    像是說 OK 是源自印地安喬克托族語「okeh」,意思是「就這樣」。

  • Choctaw gave us the word OK; va... ♪

    喬克托族讓 OK 出現...。

  • OK's beginnings had become obscure, but it didn't really matter anymore; the word was embedded in our language.

    OK 的起源變得含糊不清,但這也不重要了,因為這個字已經深植入我們的語言之中。

  • Today, we use it as the ultimate "neutral affirmative".


  • OK, then.

    那就 OK。

  • OK, then.

    那 Ok。

  • - Learn to truly love yourself. - OK.


  • OK, get yourself up here!


  • OK!


  • I don't know what to say.


  • Say "OK".


  • OK.


  • It's settled, then.


  • Allan Metcalf wrote the definitive history of OK, and he explains that the word "affirms without evaluating", meaning it doesn't convey any feelings, it just acknowledges and accepts information.

    Allan Metcalf 寫了 OK 的最終歷史,他說明這個字是「沒有經過評估後的肯定」表示它沒有傳遞任何情感,只有單純同意和接受資訊。

  • If you "got home OK", it just means you were unharmed.

    如果你說「OK 回到家了」,表示你安全無虞的到家。

  • If your "food was OK", then it was acceptable.

    如果你的「食物還 OK」,表示它還可以。

  • And "OK" confirms a change of plans.

    「OK」 也可以確認計畫的改變。

  • It's sort of a reflex at this point; we don't even keep track of how much we use it.


  • Which might be why OK was arguably the first word spoken when humans landed on the moon.

    這可能是為什麼 OK 會是人類登陸月球後,所說的第一個字。

  • Not bad for a corny joke from the 1830s.

    這個 1830 年代的老套笑話還不賴。

  • All right, guys, cut it out.


There's a two-letter word that we hear everywhere.


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萬事 OK!為什麼我們會講 OK 呢?(Why we say “OK”)

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    Samuel 發佈於 2022 年 04 月 10 日