约翰逊语言专栏--政治用词的影响(1)11

作者:Jerry 来源:未知 2020-03-18

Books & arts

来源于《秒速pk10和艺术》

Johnson

约翰逊语言专栏

Old wine, new bottles

新瓶装旧酒

Framing policies in focus-grouped language gets politicians only so far

用聚焦的语言制定政策只能让政客们到此为止

Last month Ronnie Cowan, a Westminster MP from the Scottish National Party, wrote to Britain’s Department for Work and Pensions on behalf of some incensed pensioners in his constituency. Pensioners are often incensed, but these complaints were not about inflation indexing or retirement ages; they were linguistic. The irate retirees did not want their pensions to be called a “benefit”.

上个月,来自苏格兰民族党的威斯敏斯特议员罗尼•考恩代表其选区内一些愤怒的养老金领取者,致信英国就业与养老金部。领养老金的人经常被激怒,但这些抱怨与通胀指数化或退休年龄无关;而是与语言有关。愤怒的退休人员不希望他们的养老金被称为“benefit(福利)”。

In some other Anglophone countries, this might sound odd. What could be better than a “benefit”, which (America’s) Merriam-Webster dictionary defines as “something that produces good or helpful results or effects or that promotes well-being”? In Britain, the word means much the same in most contexts, but its other definition is more salient: as the Oxford English Dictionary has it, “That which a person is entitled to in the way of pecuniary assistance, medical or other attendance, pension, and the like, under the National Insurance Act of 1911and similar subsequent Acts”.

在其他一些以英语为母语的国家,这听起来可能有些奇怪。还有什么能比“benefit (福利)”更好的呢?(美国的)韦氏词典将“benefit (福利)”定义为“产生好的或有帮助的结果或效果或促进幸福的东西”。在英国,这个词在大多数上下文中的意思基本相同,但它的另一个定义更为突出:正如《牛津英语词典》定义,“根据1911年《国民保险法》及其后的类似法案,一个人有权获得的金钱援助、医疗或其他照料、养老金等。”

This is where teachers of English might helpfully note the difference between denotation (dictionary meaning) and connotation (associations that may not be part of a formal definition). In Britain, “benefits” carry a strong connotation. For many people, a benefit is money handed out by the state, often to the undeserving. Consider “Benefits Street”, a documentary series on Channel 4 that was widely accused of portraying recipients of benefits as scroungers.

这就是英语教师可能会注意到外延(字典意义)和隐含意义(可能不是正式定义的一部分的联系)之间的区别的地方。在英国,“benefit (福利)”有很强的隐含意义。对许多人来说,福利是国家发放的钱,通常是给不值得的人的。想想第四频道的系列纪录片《福利街》,它将领取福利的人描绘成骗子而受到广泛指责。

In America the equivalent term is “welfare”, which has been applied to government aid for poor families since at least the 1930s. From the 1960s and 1970s, as Republicans became the champions of small government, they began to characterise welfare-recipients as disempowered dependents on the state, or even, sometimes, as conniving parasites upon it. Campaigning for president in 1980, Ronald Reagan famously told the story of a highliving “welfare queen” from Chicago (whose exploits turned out to be somewhat exaggerated).

在美国,对应的词是“welfare(福利)”,至少从20世纪30年代起,这次词就用来指政府对贫困家庭的援助。从20世纪60年代到70年代,当共和党人成为小政府的拥护者时,他们开始将福利接受者描述为对国家失去权力的依赖者,有时甚至是对国家的纵容寄生虫。1980年竞选总统时,罗纳德•里根讲述了一位来自芝加哥的“福利女王”(她的“英勇事迹”后来被夸大了)过着奢华生活的故事。

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