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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/

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【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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作者:阿尔·默雷,酒吧

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.

略有点常识的人都知道英国是世界上最伟大的国家。我本来没必要就这个真理做什么解释,尤其是对如此优秀的刊物的读者,但是也许说两句也无妨。点出我们“拽”的几点理由其实不难,当然,我们英国人一向对我们众多伟大和卓尔不群的成就和气质保持谦虚,尽管下面有一两点可能在人们的意料之外。

 

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?

1、炸鱼和薯片。君主制和海军一直是我们的骄傲。一个民族吃什么往往能帮助你了解他们。法国人吃青蛙、蜗牛和马。很明显,他们要么是一群疯子,要么就是在某些情况下真的非常非常的饿。意大利人吃匹萨饼,这意味着什么呢,他们全靠外卖食品生存?

 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!

我们是一个岛屿国家,由于我们英国人都很有常识,所以我们发现吃炸鱼和薯片是最好的。我们充分发挥了岛国的优势:炸鱼来自大海,薯片产自陆地,全球最佳菜谱组合!

 

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.

2、巨石阵。这些伟岸的石柱矗立在索尔兹伯里的平原上(尽管你到它们面前可能发现它们不如你想像中那样大),向我们展示着没人知道的我们高贵的祖先的文化。嗨,但我们至少知道一点:造他们的时候可没有安全帽戴。换一句话说,我们的一大成就是,嗯,不用安全卫生管理协会掺和也能建成这么个大家伙。原因嘛,青铜时代的英国人可能有这样那样的缺点,但他们绝不会像某些软蛋那样,让自己脑袋故意撞上什么去骗赔偿金。

 

 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.

3、英语。全世界都说英语,所以嘛,英语是全人类的母语,每个人都用英语思考。当说法语的人说法语时,他们只好把脑袋里想的英语翻译成嘴巴里讲的法语,所以你出国的时候冲着人家用英语喊就可以了,只要你叫得够响,他们的脑袋里一定会产生英语回声,这样他们就能明白你了。挥舞拳头或者钱也有用。

 

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.

4、英式幽默。毫无疑问我们的幽默天下第一,我们的笑话最好笑,而且没有人像我们这样常拿自己开涮(我怎么没见到德国人像我们这样拿自己开玩笑的呢,谁见过?),哪怕英国的现状没啥可开心的。不过,这又引发了一个疑问:如果英国一团糟,却还是世界上最强大的国家,其他国家又会如何?你瞧,没有人笑了吧?难怪其他人都笑不出来了。

  

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.

6、运动传统。他们说不在输赢,重在参与。可是如果我们连世界杯和我们自己搞的“奥运会”(英联邦运动会,这样美国人、俄国人和中国人就不能参加,我们拿牌的机会可以大一点)的预赛都通不过,我们可怎么参与呢?没问题,我们是通过发明运动项目来参与的,从这个意义上来说,即使我们不参加比赛,但我们仍“参与”比赛。他们比赛里打、挥、挂、投和跑用的是我们发明的球、球棍、网、标枪、跑道和场地,所以,我们才是胜者,每一个奖牌都属于我们。

  

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.

8、皇室。全世界的人们都到英国来看他们,或者至少看看在白金汉宫守卫他们的卫队。如果没有皇室的话,我们每一个人都不知道我们的社会地位是什么了(即我们的地位各自比他们低多少)。就因为这个原因,我们每个人都很开心,因为我们真的需要知道自己在社会上的地位,而且其实作为皇室成员也没什么好的,他们到哪儿都有记者、保镖和疯子跟着。所以,为了让我们每个人知道自己的社会地位,他们做出了很多伟大的牺牲,比如说住在与世隔绝的宫殿里,而不能与他们的人民住在一起。法国人不信这套,他们把皇帝砍了头,结果从此以后他们就走下坡路了。

  

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.

 好啦,就是这些了,英国是、而且总是胜者的8个无可争辩的理由。你上班、吃饭,甚至——如果必须的话——泡吧的时候,都应该想着它们。他们会让你的生活永远充实而且保证你会成为论战的常胜将军。

  

——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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