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这里是读者文摘版权合作《普知》的官方博客。美国《读者文摘》创刊至今已经87年,是一本拥有深厚传统和历史文化的杂志。它始终不变的编辑定位是:于琐碎平凡中看见崇高,在黑暗卑微处掘出希望。作为《读者文摘》大家族的新成员,《普知Reader's Digest》将秉承这种办刊理念。本刊网址http://www.readersdigest.cn/


【亦中亦英】我们英国最“拽”的8个理由 Eight Things That Make Us Great  

2009-07-13 14:39:23|  分类: 亦中亦英 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Britain, as any sensible person knows, is the greatest country in the world. Truth be told, I shouldn’t have to explain why, especially to readers of this esteemed organ, but needs must. Summing it up isn’t hard, though of course we British are characteristically modest about our many great and extraordinary achievements and qualities, even if one or two of these might not be obvious at first.



1.      Fish and chips. The British have a proud tradition of monarchy and navy. What nations eat tells you everything you need to know about them. French people eat frogs, snails and horses, which means either they’re crazy or at some point they were really, really hungry. Italians eat pizza and what does that suggest, relying on takeaway food for sustenance?


 The point is we live on an island and, because of our strong driving force of Common Sense, we have made the most of it by eating fish and chips. We’re making the most of our island: the fish from the sea, the chips from the land. World beaters!



2. Stonehenge. The mighty solemn stones stand on Salisbury Plain (though actually when you get there they’re not as big as you’d like them to be), an ancient reminder of our noble ancestors and their ancient culture, about which we know nothing whatsoever. But what we do know is this: they didn’t build it wearing hard hats. In other words, one of our greatest achievements was, um, achieved without the intervention of Health and Safety. Because Bronze Age British man was many things, but he wasn’t some soft-handed twerp hoping to bang his head and claim the compensation.



 3. The English language. The whole world speaks English, but then English is the natural language of the human being. Everyone thinks in English. When someone who speaks French speaks French, they have to translate from the English in their head to the French in their mouth. That’s why, when you go abroad, if you shout at people loud enough in English their brains will reverberate to their original frequency and they’ll understand you. Waving fists and money helps.



4. The British sense of humour. We have the greatest sense of humour in the world, without a doubt. Our jokes are the funniest and, unlike everyone else, we can laugh about ourselves (why don’t the Germans find themselves funny the way we do? Search me), even though there’s nothing funny whatsoever about the current state of the country. Though that raises the question: what must it be like abroad if Britain is in a state and it’s still better than everywhere else? No wonder no one else is laughing.



5. The weather. The British weather is, at first glance, dreadful, ghastly, horrendous, outrageous, horrible, shocking, woeful, rotten, bad. But because of its endless variety and changeability we’ve ended up with an amazingly expressive language with which to describe it. In France they have Il fait mauvais—“It is making bad.” Not good enough, mon ami. Our language, because of the weather, has blossomed into the most incredible mother tongue the world has ever known (see No 3, above). Our language is the best by a mile. This is why the French don’t have a Shakespeare.

5、天气。英国的天气,初看上去的话,讨人厌,死相,骇人,难以容忍,恐怖,雷人,可怜,烂,糟糕。但正由于英国天气的丰富多彩与变化多端才让我们的语言产生了如此丰富的辞藻来形容它,在法国他们会说“Il fait mauvais”——“它在捣乱”,不够啊,mon ami(法语“我的朋友”)。拜我们得天独厚的天气所赐,我们的语言已经成为这个世界上最棒的母语了(参见上述第三点),我们的语言顶顶棒,这就是法国没有莎士比亚的原因。


6. Sporting tradition. It’s not the winning, it’s the taking part that counts, they say. But when we don’t qualify for the World Cup or get past the heats at our own Olympics (the Commonwealth Games, to which the Americans, Russians and Chinese are not invited, mainly to increase our chance of winning medals), how are we supposed to take part? Well, we already did, by inventing the games and sports. Although we’re not there, we’re there. It’s our ball/mallet/net/javelin/track/field they’re all playing with/on/at. Therefore, we win. Each and every one of those medals belongs to us.



7. Trains. The British invented the train, in the form of the Rocket, which won the Rainhill Trials in 1829 by travelling towards Liverpool very slowly, which seems fair enough. It was late, dirty, crowded, smelly, uncomfortable—and so the railway was born. Since then, trains have sprung up all over the world and each and every one of them is British at heart. You can’t argue with that, can you?

7、火车。英国人根据在1829年Rainhill Trial内燃机车大赛获胜者“火箭”的原型发明了火车。因为终点站是利物浦,所以难怪它当时开得很慢。火车常晚点,肮脏、拥挤、臭哄哄的,让人不舒服,但铁路也只能这样诞生了。自从那以后火车就在世界上流行起来,因此每一辆火车都有一颗英国心,你对此不会有异议吧?


8. The Royal Family. People come from all over the world to see the Royal Family, or at least the people who guard them at Buckingham Palace. If it wasn’t for the Royals we wouldn’t have any sense of place (ie, beneath them). And, thanks to that, we’re all happy, because people really need to know where they are in life. And being Royal can’t be that good. They’re followed everywhere by the press, bodyguards and nutters. So, for the service of making us know our place, they make many great sacrifices, such as living in isolated palaces rather than among their people. The French don’t have this system. They cut the heads off their monarchy and it’s been downhill for them ever since.



So there we have it, eight good and sound reasons why Britain is and has always been top dog. Take these with you to your workplace, the dinner table or even—if you must—the pub. You’ll find your life endlessly enriched and there won’t be an argument you won’t win.



——此文发表于《普知·Reader's Digest》3月号。本刊在全国各大报刊亭、书店、便利店有售。(《读者文摘》版权所有,如需转载,请与我们联系:www.readersdigest.com.cn


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