贝奥武夫故事简写?贝奥武夫故事简介英文

本周的第二篇,也是四月份精读的最后一篇文章选自《经济学人》的Johnson专栏。

这个专栏主要是关于语言,文字的一些文章。

今天这篇文章讲的是语言的起源

On the origin of languages

It is tempting to think that they have clear beginnings. They don’t

语言的起源:人们不禁认为语言的来源很清晰,但事实并非如此

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1. IN A CHURCH hewn out of a mountainside, just over a thousand years or so ago, a monk was struggling with a passage in Latin.

He did what others like him have done, writing the tricky bits in his own language between the lines of text and at the edges.

What makes these marginalia more than marginal is that they are considered the first words ever written in Spanish.

1000多年前,在一座从山中凿出来的教堂中,一个僧人正在纠结于一篇拉丁文写成的文章。

和其他人一样,他在文章的行之间和文章的旁边用自己的语言写上了令人费解的符号。

让这些旁注更有意义的是这些文字被认为是最早的西班牙文字。

◆ marginalia 旁注,标注◆ marginal 记在页边的

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2. The “Emilian glosses” were written at the monastery of Suso, which was founded by St Aemilianus (Millán, in Spanish) in the La Rioja region of Spain.

Known as la cuna del castellano, “the cradle of Castilian”, it is a UNESCO world heritage site and a great tourist draw. In 1977 Spain celebrated 1,000 years of the Spanish language there.

艾米利亚词汇是写在苏索的寺庙中的,是被一个叫做圣•埃米利安努斯的人在西班牙的拉里奥哈地区发现的。

被称作“卡斯提尔摇篮”的地方是联合国教科文组织确定的世界文化遗址,也是一个著名的旅游胜地。1977年西班牙在此地庆祝西班牙语1000年诞辰。

◆ draw 有吸引力的地方

3. Everyone loves a superhero origin story. Spanish is now the world’s third-biggest language, with over 500m speakers, and it all began with a monk scrawling on his homework.

But as with the radioactive bite that put the Spider into Spider-Man, there is more than a little mythmaking going on here.

每个人都喜欢超级英雄的历史故事。西班牙语是现今世界第三大语种,在全世界有5亿人说西班牙语。而这一切都源于那个在作业上乱写的僧人。

放射性的数字让蜘蛛变成蜘蛛侠的故事可不会在语言形成上上演。

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4. First, while “Castilian” and “Spanish” are synonymous for most Spanish-speakers, philologists argue that what the anonymous monk wrote is closer to the Aragonese than to the Castilian variety of Romance (the name for the range of dialects that continued their wayward development when Rome retreated from most of Europe after the fifth century AD).

In any case, the Suso monk’s scribblings have been pipped by the discovery in nearby Burgos province of writings that may be two centuries older.

首先,对大多数说西班牙语的人来说,卡斯提尔语就等于西班牙语,语言学家认为这个无名僧人写的文字更贴近阿拉贡语而非罗马时期的卡斯提尔语(其指自罗马帝国在公元5世纪从欧洲撤退后发展出的各种方言的总称。)

在某种情况下,苏索僧人的笔记恰好被两个世纪以前发掘出的附近的布尔戈斯省的文字中被人们看到。

◆ philologist 文献学者,语言学者

5. Even those are not the origin of Spanish. The very idea treats languages like a person, with a name, birth date and birthplace. But languages are not like an individual.

尽管如此,这些文字仍然不是西班牙语的起源。语言就像人一样,有名字,出生日期和出生地点。但是语言又不像独立的个体。

They are much more like a species, gradually diverging from another over many years. It would be as accurate to describe such jottings as degenerate Latin as it is to call them early Spanish—but that would probably not draw as many tourists.

它们更像某个物种,随着时间的推移逐渐与其他物种分离。把这种简写的内容称为衰落的拉丁文比称为早期西班牙语更为精确,但那样的话就不能吸引大量的参观者了。

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◆ jotting 简短的笔记,匆匆记下的东西

6. Most accurate would be to call the monk’s prose an intermediate form: words like sieculos (centuries) in the text are almost perfectly halfway between Latin’s saecula and modern Spanish’s sieglos.

In its way, the church in which the glosses were written is a mirror of such evolution. It includes arches in Visigothic, Mozarabic (Moorish-influenced) and more recent styles, added as it was expanded.

As many visitors to an ancient site find, it can be hard to date buildings in use for centuries. Little of the original remains; all is layers upon layers.

更精确的说法是这名僧人所写的内容是一种中间形式:介于拉丁语和现代西班牙语之间的文本形式。

在这种情况下,那个词汇被发现的教堂只是一个进化的反映。它包括西哥特莫扎拉布语被发现的拱桥以及近来的各种形式。

7. The desire to create heroic origins of languages is an urge to impose order on chaos. Students of other European languages are offered “Beowulf” or “La Chanson de Roland” as the earliest exemplars of English or French, which gives the grand story a comprehensible beginning.

人们创造语言的愿望是为了让混沌的世界变成有序的世界。其他欧洲语言的学生会被要求去读贝奥武夫或者罗兰之歌,因为这两本书被看作是英语或法语最早的典范之作。这两本书给了这两种语言一个宏大完整的开端。

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But literature, by its nature, requires the language to exist before poems and epics could be written. Imagining that a piece of writing represents the beginning of a language is like thinking the first picture of a baby is the beginning of its life.

但文学本质上需要语言在诗歌和史诗被书写下来之前就要存在。如果一个著作代表一种语言的开端,那么就像婴儿的第一张照片是他生命的起源一样。

8. A better analogy is that the first written records of a language are like the first fossil traces of a distinct species. But even this should not be mistaken for the moment at which the species emerged. After all, the neat nodes on a palaeobiologist’s tree of life are just simplifications of a messy continuum.

更好的类比是语言的最早书面记录就像一种灭绝物种的第一个化石痕迹。但即便这样也不要错误地以为物种会在此刻出现。毕竟在古生物学家的生命之树的整洁节点上是乱作一团的连续体的简化。

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9. The urge to put dates on the founding of languages seems universal. Google “Basque Europe’s oldest language” to see how many people think this language (which evolved gradually from some now-unknown ancestor) is somehow older than Spanish, though Basque has no clear birthday, either.

看来全世界的人们有给语言的建立确定日期的热切欲望。用谷歌搜索“巴斯克时代的欧洲最古老的语言”,你就会发现有多少人认为这种语言(从某个现在尚未明确的祖先逐渐进化来的语言)比西班牙语出现的早。但是巴斯克这种语言并没有确切的出现日期。

By quite a coincidence, the first known words written in Old Basque—just six of them—also appear in the Emilian glosses, though the site makes much less of this fact. Or to take a more modern example, a book on American English called “The Forgotten Founding Father” aims to give Noah Webster’s modest early-19th-century reforms, such as respelling “center”, the heroic role humans seem destined to seek in the birth of their cultures.

很巧合的是在古巴斯克发现的最早的书面语言(只有六个字)也出现在艾米利亚词汇中,但是真实性有待考证。或者我们找个更近的例子来说,一本关于美国英语的书-《被遗忘的创世之父》旨在对诺亚•韦伯斯特的保守的19世纪进行一些革新,比如重新对center进行拼写,这是人类似乎注定在寻找的文化缘起的英雄角色。

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10. Legal entities like the United States of America really do have a birth date. But languages do not. American English, Castilian Spanish and all other products of slow, disorderly change do not lend themselves to neat origin stories.

Remembering this is a good thing, reminding people of their membership in a common family. The need for stories of a glorious past is part of human nature, too. But like “Beowulf” or “La Chanson de Roland”, these are often best seen as literature, not history.

像美国这样的法律实体的确有出生日期。但是语言没有。美国英语,卡斯提尔西班牙语和其他慢慢且无需变化的语言并没有留下清晰完整的起源故事。

记住这一点是件好事,它会提醒人们在共同家庭中的成员身份。寻找辉煌过去的故事也是人类的本性之一。但是像《贝奥武夫》或《罗兰之歌》这样的书通常被看作是文学而不是历史。

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