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At this time of year, few sights evoke more feelings of cheer and goodwill than the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree.

The popularity of a tree at Christmas is due in part to my great-great grandparents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. After this touching picture was published, many families wanted a Christmas tree of their own, and the custom soon spread.

In 1949, I spent Christmas in Malta as a newly-married naval wife. We have returned to that island over the years, including last month for a meeting of Commonwealth leaders; and this year I met another group of leaders: The Queen’s Young Leaders, an inspirational group, each of them a symbol of hope in their own Commonwealth communities.

Gathering round the tree gives us a chance to think about the year ahead – I am looking forward to a busy 2016, though I have been warned I may have Happy Birthday sung to me more than once or twice. It also allows us to reflect on the year that has passed, as we think of those who are far away or no longer with us. Many people say the first Christmas after losing a loved one is particularly hard. But it’s also a time to remember all that we have to be thankful for.

It is true that the world has had to confront moments of darkness this year, but the Gospel of John contains a verse of great hope, often read at Christmas carol services: ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’.

One cause for thankfulness this summer was marking 70 years since the end of the Second World War. On VJ Day, we honoured the remaining veterans of that terrible conflict in the Far East, as well as remembering the thousands who never returned.

The procession from Horse Guards Parade to Westminster Abbey must have been one of the slowest ever, because so many people wanted to say ‘thank you’ to them.

At the end of that war, the people of Oslo began sending an annual gift of a Christmas tree for Trafalgar Square. It has 500 light bulbs and is enjoyed not just by Christians but by people of all faiths, and of none. At the very top sits a bright star, to represent the Star of Bethlehem.

The custom of topping a tree also goes back to Prince Albert’s time. For his family’s tree, he chose an angel, helping to remind us that the focus of the Christmas story is on one particular family.

For Joseph and Mary, the circumstances of Jesus’s birth – in a stable – were far from ideal, but worse was to come as the family was forced to flee the country. It’s no surprise that such a human story still captures our imagination and continues to inspire all of us who are Christians, the world over.

Despite being displaced and persecuted throughout his short life, Christ’s unchanging message was not one of revenge or violence but simply that we should love one another.

Although it is not an easy message to follow, we shouldn’t be discouraged; rather, it inspires us to try harder: to be thankful for the people who bring love and happiness into our own lives, and to look for ways of spreading that love to others, whenever and wherever we can.

One of the joys of living a long life is watching one’s children, then grandchildren, then great grandchildren, help decorate the Christmas tree. And this year my family has a new member to join in the fun!

The customary decorations have changed little in the years since that picture of Victoria and Albert’s tree first appeared, although of course electric lights have replaced the candles.

There’s an old saying that ‘it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness’.

There are millions of people lighting candles of hope in our world today. Christmas is a good time to be thankful for them, and for all that brings light to our lives.

I wish you a very happy Christmas.

每年圣诞节下午三点,英国女王伊丽莎白二世都会通过电视、广播、以及互联网向她在全球的子民发布表圣诞致辞。

圣诞致辞这个传统最早开始于女王的爷爷乔治五世。1932年,BBC创始人约翰.里斯爵士(Sir John Reith)向国王提议,让他在当年的圣诞通过无线广播对英联邦国家发表圣诞致辞。乔治五世在亲自参观BBC的广播设备后欣然应允,并在当年发表了英国王室的第一次圣诞致辞。

自此之后,圣诞致辞成了英国王室的圣诞传统,几乎从未中断。伊丽莎白二世1952年登基,当年发表她的第一次圣诞致辞。从1952年至今,除1959年因怀有安德鲁王子提前录制外,每年圣诞节的下午三点,女王都要要端坐在白金汉宫或温莎城堡的府邸,亲自向她分布在世界各地的大英子民(包括很多英联邦国家的人民)表达她的圣诞祝愿。

标准英文被称为RP (Received Pronunciation),能说一口标准的RP,是一件极有面子的事情。英国的贵族阶层所说的英文,被称为“Upper RP”,听起来大概是《唐顿庄园》里的感觉,高大上得不得了。不过,在“Upper RP”的上面,还有更高一级的英文,那就是女王英文了。理论上说,女王的英文就是英文的典范,最典范的英文就被为“Queen’s English”。

高中时候,我订过一本叫《咬文嚼字》的杂志。杂志从编委到作者都是一群誓死捍卫中文正确性和纯洁性的“腐儒”,他们不允许任何一点汉语使用上的瑕疵。不知这本杂志现在还有没有。我估计是没了,因为,所谓汉语典范在互联网时代早被糟蹋得千疮百孔,那本杂志的作者们如果不是被气死,估计早已“随其流而扬其波,哺其糟而啜其醨”了。

咬文嚼字的人不仅中国有,外国也有。这些人不仅纠正普通人的英文错误,连英国女王的英文也不放过。今天,我们就来看看,女王圣诞致辞的英文会有什么问题呢!

1. 在限定性定语从句中,使用“that”,不该用“which”

女王好像很喜欢使用“which”,比如:

  • The problems which face mankind often seem to defy solution. (1964)
  • It was the human conflicts and the wanton acts of crime and terror against fellow human beings which have so appalled us all. (2001)

在上面的两句话中,限制性定语从句的关系连接词应该用“that”,而不该用”which”。

2. 使用不恰当的句子副词

女王经常使用句子副词,如:

  • Frankly I do not myself feel at all like my great Tudor forebear. (1953)
  • Naturally I see more such people in Britain. (1985)

句子副词从14世纪开始在英文中使用,最近一百来年越来越流行。然后,很多英文语法家对这种用法非常反感。他们认为,副词就该行使副词的作用,修饰形容词,不该修饰一个整句话。

英语中被经常使用的句子副词包括:actually, apparently, basically, briefly, certainly, clearly, conceivably, confidentially, curiously, evidently, fortunately, hopefully, however, ideally, incidentally, indeed, interestingly, ironically, naturally, predictably, presumably, regrettably, seriously, surprisingly, thankfully, theoretically, therefore, truthfully, ultimately, wisely.

尤其当你把一个副词转换成它的形容词的形式,使用“It is … that”觉得别扭的时候,就更不应该来使用这个句子副词。

3. 用错“Each Other”

女王在致辞中,这样说:

  • The march of history stops while we listen to each other. (1955)
  • I hope we will all help each other to have a happy Christmas. (1987)

语法家认为:“each other”仅仅用于两个人之间,如果想表达一堆人之间,应该使用“one another”。

4. 乱用反身代词

有时,女王会独立使用反身代词,如:

  • For my husband and myself and for our children, the year that is passing has added to our store of happy memories. (1955)
  • I am sure that many of you, like myself, have been impressed by the courage they show. (1981)

5. 用错“Among”和“Between”

女王喜欢在应该使用“among”的地方使用“between”:

  • Co-operation between Commonwealth countries grows every year. (1960)
  • May the New Year bring reconciliation between all people. (1976)

6. 该用“Whether”的地方用“If”

Some people are uncertain which star to follow, or if any star is worth following at all. (1962)

7. 句子不该以连接词开头

  • And further north still live the Eskimos. (1970)
  • So take heart from the Christmas message and be happy. (1975)
  • But to look back in that way is to look down a blind alley. (1996)

8. 用错被动语态

  • There is nothing in heaven and earth that cannot be achieved by faith and by love and service to one’s neighbour. (1961)
  • The results of their kindness will be appreciated by young people. (1977)

9. “From”怎么没跟着“Different”?

跟着“different”的介词该是“from”,而不是“to”,但女王用错了:

  • The world was a very different place to the one we live in today. (1991)

10. “Might have” 还是 “May have”?

在该用“may have”的地方,女王用了“might have”。看下面这句话:

  • Many of you might have felt a twinge of sadness as we in Britain bade them farewell. (1997)

11. 用错“Anticipate”

“anticipate”表示“对未来要发生的某种预测”,女王本意是“expect”,但去错用了“anticipate”:

  • King James may not have anticipated quite how important sport and games where to become in promoting harmony. (2010)

12. “Forcibly” or “Forcefully”?

“forcibly”意思是“强行地”,有违法别人意志的意思;“forcefully”意思是“强有力地”,两个词有很大的区别。女王竟然把”forcibly”当成“forcefully”给用了。

  • What struck me more forcibly than his physical courage was the fact that he made no reference to his own illness. (1992)
  • In talking to the veterans, I was forcibly reminded of the detachment with which those personally unaffected by violence can view its effect on others. (1995)

13. “Quicker”是形容词,不是副词!

女王说:

  • Time is moving on rather quicker than we expected. (1987)

正确的用法应该是:

  • Time is moving on rather more quickly than we expected.

14. 永远不要分割不定式,最后的一个也不能分割

  • … the right of citizens to assemble, and to speak and argue. (1964)
  • … the freedom to travel and learn. (1998)

英文语法规定:不定式永远都不能分割,最后的一个也不能。可女王就有把最后的一个不定式的”to”个去掉的习惯。

正确是用法因该是:

  • … the right of citizens to assemble, to speak, and to argue.
  • … the freedom to travel and to learn.

15. 不定代词要用“One”,而非“You”

在正式的英文文体里,当你并非指定任何人,只是泛谈的话,最好用“one”,而非随意用“you”来指定。

看女王的这两句话:

  • We all need the kind of security that one gets from a happy and united family. (1958)
  • It is no easy task to care for and bring up children, whatever your circumstances —whether you are famous or quite unknown.

就第二句话而言,更好的修改可能应该是:

  • It is no easy task to care for and bring up children, in whatever circumstances — whether one is famous or quite unknown.

看完了这些专给女王挑出的问题,你是不是出了一口气,安慰自己说:“女王的英语都有语法错误,那我的那些错误就更可以原谅了”。

这么想当然没错,英国人说话,无论教育程度高低,多多少少也会犯一些语法错误。由此可见,语法这个东西,其实非常的难!难度不仅在于条目繁多的规则,更是因为有一帮“皓首穷经”、“寻章摘句”的孔乙己一样的人,抱着僵死的规则,当然也包括很多中国的英语老师,专门挑人毛病。

女王的圣诞致辞虽然有这样或那样的问题,但在我看来,每个都堪称典范:用词恰当而不卖弄,语气亲切又带有君王的威严,每一篇都值得我们揣摩学习。

给大家举一个例子,在1965年,女王的致辞里有“helping the poor”这样简单直接的表达,而在2009年,同样表达“帮助穷人”,她用了“ease the burden of deprivation and disadvantage”。中国有“弱势群体”一说,女王的后一句话中的“deprivation and disadvantage”不正是“弱势群体”最恰当的英文对应吗!

据说,女王的圣诞致辞均出自她自己之手,非秘书帮忙。之所以如此,因为女王不仅是名义上的政治首脑,更是英国国教(Church of England)的领袖,在圣诞这天亲自执笔并祝福她的子民,是她最为君主的责任。

作者: 英国范儿 | 微信: uktastes
简介: "英国范儿"微信公号是由几个非常热爱英国的主页君运营。他们对不列颠怀有深深的感情。他们都是非常好玩的人,有人中英文俱佳,有人喜欢比较东西方文化,有人行文嬉笑怒骂、中英文典故信手拈来。无论是稗官野史、风土人情、或是英文掌故,他们都能说得图文并茂、妙趣横生。

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