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  • Take an adjective such as "implacable,"

    隨便找一個形容詞 像是 implacable(難以平息的)、

  • or a verb like "proliferate,"

    或是一個動詞 像是 proliferate(增殖)、

  • or even another noun, "crony,"

    或是另一個名詞 像是 crony(親信),

  • and add a suffix, such as "-ity," or "-tion," or "-ism."

    然後加上一個字尾, 比如說是 -ity、-tion、或是 -ism。

  • You've created a new noun.


  • "Implacability," "proliferation," "cronyism."

    像是 implacability(無法和解的)、 proliferation(增殖現象)、cronyism(親信主義)。

  • Sounds impressive, right?


  • Wrong! You've just unleashed a flesh-eating zombie.

    一點都不對! 你只是放出了一隻食肉殭屍而已。

  • Nouns made from other parts of speech are called nominalizations.

    將其他詞性變成名詞詞組的過程 叫作「名詞化」(nominalization)。

  • Academics love them.


  • So do lawyers, bureaucrats, business writers.


  • I call them zombie nouns, because they consume the living.

    我把它們叫作殭屍名詞, 因為它們會消磨生命。

  • They cannibalize active verbs, they suck the lifeblood from adjectives,

    它們生吃活靈活現的動詞, 並吸食形容詞的生命,

  • and they substitute abstract entities for human beings.

    它會用抽象的東西 來替代字辭的生命。

  • Here's an example.


  • "The proliferation of nominalizations in a discursive formation may be an indication

    「散亂形式的名詞化的增殖現象 可能是

  • of a tendency towards pomposity and abstraction." Huh?

    榮華性與抽象性的傾向程度的一種指標性。」 啊?

  • This sentence contains no fewer than seven nominalizations,

    這個句子至少包含了七個 名詞化的字,

  • yet it fails to tell us who is doing what.

    它讓人無法理解 什麼人做了什麼。

  • When we eliminate, or reanimate, most of the zombie nouns,

    當我們消除、一再消除 大部份的殭屍名詞的時候,

  • so "tendency" becomes "tend," "abstraction" becomes "abstract,"

    所以「傾向程度」改成「傾向」、 「抽象概念」改成「抽象」,

  • then we add a human subject and some active verbs,

    接著加一些有血肉的主詞 和生動的動詞,

  • the sentence springs back to life.


  • "Writers who overload their sentences with nominalizations tend to sound pompous and abstract."

    「過度使用名詞化的作者 傾向於讓人覺得浮華且抽象。」

  • Only one zombie noun -- the key word "nominalizations" --

    唯一的殭屍名詞, 也就是關鍵字「名詞化」,

  • has been allowed to remain standing.


  • At their best, nominalizations help us express complex ideas,

    好的方面來說, 名詞化幫助我們表達複雜的觀念,

  • perception, intelligence, epistemology.


  • At their worst, they impede clear communication.

    壞的方面來說, 它們毀了原本明確的溝通。

  • To get a feeling for how zombie nouns work, release a few of them into a lively sentence

    如果要感覺一下殭屍名詞的功力, 你可以把有生命的句子裡放一些這樣的字

  • and watch them sap all its energy.


  • George Orwell played this game in his essay "Politics in the English Language."

    George Orwell 在他的作品《政治與英文》裡 就玩過這把戲。

  • He started with a well-known verse from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible.

    他用《聖經.傳道書》裡 一段為人熟知的經文作為開頭。

  • It says "I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong,

    內容是:「我又轉念,見日光之下, 快跑的未必能贏;力戰的未必得勝;

  • neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill;

    智慧的未必得糧食; 明哲的未必得資財;靈巧的未必得喜悅。

  • but time and chance happeneth to them all."

    所臨到眾人的是 在乎當時的機會。」

  • Now here's Orwell's modern English version.

    現在輪到 Orwell 的現代英文版本:

  • "Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities

    「對當前現象的客觀考慮強制得出的結論是, 競爭活動的成敗

  • exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable


  • must invariably be taken into account."

    相當份量的不可預料事件。」 (譯註:此兩段譯文節自中文維基百科。)

  • The Bible passage speaks to our senses and emotions with concrete nouns,

    這節聖經直接 來和我們的感受及情感對話,

  • descriptions of people, and punchy, abstract nouns such as "race,"

    它包含了具體的名詞、對人的描述、 明確的抽象名詞,

  • "battle," "riches," "time," "chance."


  • Not a zombie among them.


  • Orwell's satirical translation, on the other hand, is teeming with nominalizations and other vague abstractions.

    而另一方面 Orwell 那諷刺的翻譯, 則滿滿都是名詞化的字、還有模糊不清的抽象概念。

  • The zombies have taken over, and the humans have fled the village.

    殭屍佔領了地盤, 人們都逃命去了。

  • Zombie nouns do their worst damage when they gather in jargon-generating packs

    殭屍名詞在和專業名詞結合後 就可以發揮最大的破壞力,

  • and swallow every noun, verb and adjective in sight.

    然後吞掉所有眼前的 名詞、動詞、和形容詞。

  • So "globe" becomes "global," becomes "globalize," becomes "globalization."

    所以「球」變成「全球的」、 變成「全球化」、再變成「全球化現象」。

  • The grandfather of all nominalizations, antidisestablishmentarianism,

    而名詞化的大老爺莫過於 「反廢除國教建立主義」,

  • contains at least two verbs, three adjectives, and six other nouns


  • inside its distended belly.


  • A paragraph heavily populated by nominalizations will send your readers straight to sleep.

    一篇太多名詞化字詞的文章 會讓你的讀者直接進入睡眠狀態。

  • Rescue them from the zombie apocalypse with vigorous verb-driven sentences

    動詞導向又有活力的句子 會有具體又明確的結構,

  • that are concrete and clearly structured.

    利用這些句子把讀著們 從殭屍末日中救回來吧!

  • You want your sentences to live,


  • not to join the living dead.


Take an adjective such as "implacable,"

隨便找一個形容詞 像是 implacable(難以平息的)、

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B2 中高級 中文 TED-Ed 名詞 殭屍 抽象 句子 動詞

【TED-Ed】當心名詞化字辭(又叫殭屍名詞)- Beware of nominalizations (AKA zombie nouns) - Helen Sword (Beware of nominalizations (AKA zombie nouns) - Helen Sword)

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    VoiceTube 發佈於 2016 年 09 月 12 日