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  • English, like all languages, is a messy business.

    英文,就像所有語言一樣,是件棘手的差事。

  • You can be uncouth but not "couth."

    你可以表現得既粗俗也不文雅。

  • You can be ruthless, but good luck trying to show somebody that you have "ruth" unless you happen to be married to someone named Ruth. [To my sensitive husband. Love, Ruth.]

    你可以無情,但你如果想表現得有情 (ruth) 一點...祝你好運,除非你剛好與名為「有情」(Ruth) 的女孩結婚。[致我性格敏感的老公,愛你的 Ruth。]

  • It's bad to be unkempt but impossible to be "kempt," or "sheveled" as opposed to disheveled.

    蓬頭垢面 (unkempt) 不是件好事,但要一塵不染 (kempt) 又不太可能,或是比較整理好的 (shelved) 跟被弄亂的 (di-sheveled)。

  • There are other things that make no more sense than those but that seem normal now because the sands of time have buried where they came from.

    還有其他比以上的例子更無邏輯可言,不過這些事現在看來都十分平常,因為時間之砂掩蓋了這些變化的來源。

  • For example, did you ever wonder why a nickname for Edward is Ned?

    例如,你是否想過為何 Edward 的綽號是 Ned?

  • Where'd the N come from?

    這裡的 N 是從哪裡來呢?

  • It's the same with Nellie for Ellen.

    這和 Nellie 是 Ellen 的綽號是相同的變化。

  • Afterall, if someone's name is Ethan, we don't nickname him Nethan, nor do we call our favorite Maria, Nmaria.

    但追根究柢,如果有個人叫 Ethan,我們不會叫他 Nethan,我們也不會把 Maria 叫成 Nmaria。

  • In fact, if anyone did, our primary urge would be to either scold them or gently hide them away until the company had departed.

    事實上,假如有人這麼做,我們的第一反應不是責罵他,要不就是輕巧地隱藏這件事,就是直到這樣的錯誤不再發生。

  • All these nicknames trace back to a mistake, although, a perfectly understandable one.

    然而,這些綽號的源起都是可以追溯回某些錯誤,但,那是些可理解的錯誤。

  • In fact, even the word nickname is weird.

    事實上,就連綽號 (nickname) 這個字的由來都很古怪。

  • What's so "nick" about a nickname?

    「綽」號究竟有多麼錯誤呢?

  • Is it that it's a name that has a nick in it?

    是因為某個名字裡面有個裂縫 (nick) 嗎?

  • Let's face it, not likely.

    當然...不是這樣。

  • Actually, in Old English, the word was ekename, and eke meant also or other.

    事實上在古英文裡,確實有個字叫 ekename,eke 是「其他、或」的意思。

  • You can see eke still used in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in a sentence like, [speaking Middle English] in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in a sentence like, which meant, "When Zephyr also with his sweet breath."

    你仍可以在喬叟的坎特伯里故事集當中讀到 eke 這個字,有個句子說「當 Zephyrus 以彼如蜜般的喘息」,意思是指「Zephyr 用他那甜美的呼吸」。

  • Ekename meant "also name."

    ekename 有「別名」的意思。

  • What happened was that when people said, "an ekename," it could sound like they were saying, "a nekename," and after a while, so many people were hearing it that way that they started saying "that's my nickname," instead of "that's my ekename."

    這是因為當以前的人在說 an ekename 會聽起來像在說 a "nekename",久而久之因為大家都誤解了,所以他們開始告訴別人說「這是我的 nickname」,而不是,這是我的 ekename。

  • Now, the word had a stray n at the front that started as a mistake, but from now on was what the word really was.

    因此到現在這個字就有個 N 出現在字頭,這本來是個錯誤,但久而久之就積非成是。

  • It was rather as if you had gum on the bottom of your shoe and stepped on a leaf, dragged that leaf along for the rest of your life, were buried wearing that shoe and went to heaven in it, to spend eternity wedded to that stray, worn-out leaf.

    就像是有塊口香糖黏在你鞋子底下,接著你踩到一片葉子,然後踏著那片葉子走過你的一生,死的時候那鞋也跟著你一起埋葬,上天堂時你也穿著那鞋,從此那片在腳底下的葉子彷彿就成了你身體的一部分。

  • Ekename picked up an n and never let it go.

    同樣的道理,ekename 自從帶上 N 後,從此也離不開它了。

  • The same thing happened with other words.

    相同的事也發生在其他的字上面。

  • Old English speakers cut "otches" into wood.

    古英文說在木頭上砍出一個缺口應該是 "cut an otch"。

  • But after centuries of being asked to cut an otch into something, it was easy to think you were cutting a notch instead, and pretty soon you were.

    但從沒有人搞清楚是 cut an otch 還是 cut a notch,過了幾世紀,人們也遺忘了 notch 的正確唸法應該是 otch,事情就是這樣來的。

  • In a world where almost no one could read, it was easier for what people heard to become, after a while, what it started to actually be.

    在一個多數人不識字的時代,人們很容易搞混,並且把所聽到的錯誤說法當作原本正確的發音。

  • Here's where the Ned-style nicknames come in.

    這就是為何 N 開頭的綽號會出現。

  • Old English was more like German than our English is now, and just as in German, my is "mein," in Old English, my was meen.

    古英文比起現代英文更像是德文,在德文中,「我的」唸做 mein,等同於在古英文裡「我的」(my) 唸做 meen。

  • You would say "meen book," actually "boke" in Old English, or meen cat.

    你會說我的 (meen) 書,事實上古英文裡的「書」 是唸 boke,或是 meen (我的) 貓。

  • And just as today, we might refer to our child as my Dahlia or my Laura, in Old English, they would say, "meen Ed".

    就像今天,我們會把我們的小孩叫成我的 Dahlia,或是我的 Laura,在古英文我們會說 Meen Ed (我的小艾德)。

  • That is mein Ed, mein Ellie.

    就是在德文的 mein Ed (我的小艾德),mein Ellie (我的小愛莉)。

  • You see where this is going.

    從上面的例子你可以看到整個發展脈絡。

  • As time passed, meen morphed into the my we know today.

    隨著時間演進 meen 變成今天我們熟知的樣子 (my)。

  • That meant that when people said, "mein Ed," it sounded like they were saying my Ned.

    以前人在說 Mein ED (我的小艾德) 就像他們在說 my Ned。

  • That is, it sounded like whenever someone referred to Edward affectionately, they said Ned instead of Ed.

    聽來就像親切地叫某個人 Edward,因此久而久之人們就把 Ed 叫成 Ned。

  • Behold, the birth of a nickname!

    你看,綽號 (nickname) 就是這樣來的!

  • Or an ekename.

    或說「綽號 (ekename)」是這樣來的。

  • Hence, also Nellie for Ellen and Nan for Ann, and even in the old days, Nabby for Abigal.

    同樣道理可以解釋 Nellie 跟 Ellen 以及 Nan 與 Ann,或古早日子常說的 Nabby 跟 Abigal。

  • President John Adam's wife Abigail's nickname was Nabby.

    前總統約翰˙亞當的妻子 Abigail 綽號就是 Nabby。

  • All sorts of words are like this.

    其他類型的字型變換也都像這樣。

  • Old English speakers wore "naprons," but a "napron" sounds like an apron, and that gave birth to a word apron that no one in Beowulf would have recognized.

    古英國人穿 napron,可是 napron 聽起來像 apron (圍裙),apron (圍裙) 這個貝奧武夫時代的人不會認得的字因此誕生。

  • Umpire started as numpires, too.

    umpire (裁判) 這個字也是從 numpires 變化而來。

  • If all of this sounds like something sloppy that we modern people would never do, then think about something you hear all the time and probably say: "a whole nother."

    如果你覺得以上的例子都是在現代不會發生的粗心錯誤,想想有個你一直聽到,或許常常說的,例如,「另一個全然不同的 (A whole nother)」。

  • What's nother?

    什麼是 nother ?

  • We have the word another, of course, but it's composed of an and other, or so we thought.

    字典裡有「其他 (another)」這個字,但它是由 an 跟 other所組成的,你真的這麼確定?

  • Yet, when we slide whole into the middle, we don't say, "a whole other," we clip that n off of the an and stick it to other and create a new word, nother.

    如果把「全部 (whole)」插入到句子中間,我們不會說 a whole other,而是把 n 從 an 中拿下來放到 other 前面,nother 因此誕生。

  • For a long time, nobody was writing these sort of things down or putting them in a dictionary, but that's only because writing is more codified now than it was 1,000 years ago.

    有很長的一段時間沒有人寫下這類的變化或把他們收入到字典,但那是因為書寫系統在一千多年前並沒有當今如此地完善。

  • So, when you see a weird word, remember that there might be a whole nother side to the story.

    所以當你看到一個奇怪的字,記住,它很可能有另一個你意想不到的 (a whole nother) 故事。

English, like all languages, is a messy business.

英文,就像所有語言一樣,是件棘手的差事。

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B1 中級 中文 美國腔 TED-Ed 綽號 德文 字典 葉子 變化

【TED-Ed】為什麼綽號的英文稱作 nickname 呢? (Birth of a nickname - John McWhorter)

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    Halu Hsieh 發佈於 2020 年 04 月 09 日
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