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学习 | 当词汇穿上不同的“小马甲”

语言是个很奇妙的东西,但语言以有限的形式来表现无限的意义,形式和意义之间没有必然的联系,势必会出现歧义现象。

汉语中有几种常见的歧义类型:语音歧义,词汇歧义,语法歧义,语义歧义,语用歧义。

歧义是一种普遍现象,任何语言里都存在,英语也不例外。

那么今天我们就来说说英语语言中的词汇歧义。

You may think you know the words that sit plainly in black on your page. But don't be fooled. Some words are capable of taking on different guises, masquerading as nouns, verbs and adjectives that alter their meanings entirely. This is called lexical ambiguity.

你也许觉得白纸黑字一目了然,但别被骗了。有些词能穿上各种小马甲,时而名词,时而动词,时而形容词,而其含义各不相同。这叫做词汇歧义。

For example: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. That may sound like nonsense, but it's actually a grammatically correct sentence. Buffalo is a proper noun, a noun, and a verb. It refers to an animal also know as a bison, an American city, and it can also mean to bully.

举个例子:水牛城北美野牛欺负的水牛城北美野牛也欺负野牛。这听上去似乎是在胡说八道,但语法上却是正确的。Buffalo同时是个专有名词,名词和动词。它可以使一种动物,又名北美野牛,一个美国城市,也有欺负的意思。

In other words, bison from Buffalo that other bison from Buffalo bully. also bully bison from Buffalo. If you let each buffalo perfrom its role, the meaning becomes apparent.

换句话来说,来自水牛城的北美野牛,被其他来自水牛城的北美野牛欺负,也欺负别的水牛城的北美野牛。如果你弄清哪只野牛干什么,意思就明了了。

What if the bunch of bullying buffalo decides to cross the ocean? Not just on any ship, but a ship-shipping ship shipping shipping-ship. That sentence sounds just as outrageous, but there's logic to the babble.

如果这群欺负来欺负去的野牛要去渡海呢?不是随随便便上了一艘船,而是一艘载着船的载船舰。这句话听上去也像胡言乱语,但却是逻辑正确的。

Ship can mean a vessel and to transport. When we sub in those meanings, a clearer picture emerges. Here we have a huge ship-carrying vessel transporting ships that themselves are designed to carry goods across the sea.

ship可以指船,也能指船运。理解了含义画面就清晰许多了。有一艘超大的载船舰运输用于运输货物的船。

Lexical ambiguities sail into our speech and writing all the time, spreading confusion and misunderstanding wherever they can-can.  You wouldn't necessarily use any of these sentences in a conversation. Becaese they serve as an extreme example on just how tangled everyday language can be.

词汇歧义在口语和写作中时常出现,每每都会造成困惑和误解。在对话里也许上述的句子你一句都用不到,因为它们是极端的个例显示了日常词汇能变得多复杂。

语言可真是个有趣的东西

编辑:李银霞

指导老师:葛展奕  宋响文