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Why is Canadian English unique?

By James Harbeck

20 August 2015

为什么加拿大英语如此独特?

詹姆斯·哈贝克

2015年8月20日

颜林海/译

Is there such a thing as Canadian English? If so, what is it?
加拿大英语也存在吗?如果存在,它又当如何呢?

The standard stereotype among Americans is that Canadians are like Americans, except they say ‘eh’ a lot and pronounce ‘out and about’ as ‘oot and aboot’. Many Canadians, on the other hand, will tell you that Canadian English is more like British English, and as proof will hold aloft the spellings colour and centre and the name zed for the letter Z.
按美国人的标准,加拿大人跟美国人没什么不一样,只是前者爱说“eh”,将“out and about”说成“oot and aboot”。而许多加拿大人则会说加拿大英语更像英式英语,证据就是仍然坚持colour和centre的拼写法,zed代替字母Z。

Canadian does exist as a separate variety of English, with subtly distinctive features of pronunciation and vocabulary. It has its own dictionaries; the Canadian Press has its own style guide; the Editors’ Association of Canada has just released a second edition of Editing Canadian English. But an emblematic feature of Editing Canadian English is comparison tables of American versus British spellings so the Canadian editor can come to a reasonable decision on which to use… on each occasion. The core of Canadian English is a pervasive ambivalence.
加拿大英语作为英语的一个变体的确存在,二者存在细微的差异,体现在发音和词汇上。加拿大英语有自己的词典;加通社有自己的风格指南;加拿大编辑协会刚刚发布了《加拿大英语编辑》第二版。然而其中的一个标志性特征就是书中有一个美式英语和英式英语对照表,这样加拿大编辑就可以做出合理的决定在何种情况下使用何种拼写方式。加式英语的关键在于弥漫着矛盾性。

Canadian history helps to explain this. In the beginning there were the indigenous peoples, with far more linguistic and cultural variety than Europe. They’re still there, but Canadian English, like Canadian Anglophone society in general, gives them little more than desultory token nods. Fights between European settlers shaped Canadian English more. The French, starting in the 1600s, colonised the St Lawrence River region and the Atlantic coast south of it. In the mid-1700s, England got into a war with France, concluding with the Treaty of Paris in 1763, which ceded ‘New France’ to England. The English allowed any French to stay who were willing to become subjects of the English King.
加拿大的历史有助于解释这种矛盾性。最初,这儿有其土著民,语言和文化各不相同,其数量之多远超欧洲。他们至今都还在那儿,但加式英语,一般像加拿大英语协会一样,对他们来说,不过是增加一点点头之交而已。加拿大英语的形成还要归功于欧洲殖民者之间的争斗。在17世纪,法国人在圣劳伦斯河地区及其南边的大西洋沿岸开始殖民统治。在18世纪中叶,英国人与法国人开战,1763年结束战争,签订了《巴黎和约》(1763),合约规定将“新法兰西”割让给英国。只要愿意臣服英国国王的法国人,英国都允许他们留下来。

At the time of the Treaty of Paris, however, there were very few English speakers in Canada. The American Revolution changed that. The founding English-speaking people of Canada were United Empire Loyalists – people who fled American independence and were rewarded with land in Canada. Thus Canadian English was, from its very beginning, both American – because its speakers had come from the American colonies – and not American, because they rejected the newly independent nation.
然而,在《巴黎和约》鉴定之时,加拿大几乎没有人说英语。美国革命改变了这一切。在加拿大开始说英语的人都是联合帝国忠臣--这些人是从美国逃离而来,在加拿大得到土地馈赠。因此,加式英语从一开始都有美国味和非美国味之分,前者是因为说英语的人都是来自美国殖民地,后者拒绝美国这个新独立的国家。

Loyal to the Crown
Just as the Americans sought to have a truly distinct, independent American version of English, the loyalists sought to remain more like England… sort of. These were people whose variety of English was already diverging from the British and vice versa: when the residents of London and its environs began to drop their r’s and change some of their vowels people in certain parts of the United States adopted some of these changes, but Canadians did not.

忠于皇室

正如美国人追求的是要有一种真正有区别的,独立的美式英语一样,反独立者坚持保留更多的英国味。这些人的英语已经从英式英语分离出来了,反之亦然:住在伦敦及其教区的人开始扔掉“r”而且还改变了元音,在美国某些地区的人也采用了其中某些改变,但加拿大人没有改变。

There did end up being more British influx and influence in Canada. After the War of 1812, Mother England encouraged emigration to Canada to ensure that loyal sentiments prevailed. The accent did not become British, though British schoolteachers and authorities did leave their marks on spelling and grammar. Canadians are indeed subjects of the Queen, but they are also neighbours – and the greatest trading partners – of the United States. The British may be family, but Americans are friends. Or sometimes ‘frenemies’.
更多的英国人涌入及其产生的影响得以终结。1812年战后,母国英国鼓励人们移民加拿大以确保人们忠诚情绪。尽管来自英国的中小学老师和专家们注明了拼写和语法标记,但无法把口音也改变成英式口音。加拿大人至今确实还是英国女王的臣民,但他们也有自己的邻居--美国这个最大的贸易伙伴。英国人可以算作是家庭成员,但美国人却是朋友,或者说有些时候还可算作是“友敌”吧。

Canadian English varies only a little across most of the continent. The Canadian west was not much settled by Europeans until the late 1800s, when land incentives were given to Anglo-Canadians from Ontario and to immigrants from Britain and some other countries (for example, Ukraine, from where immigrants began arriving in Canada in 1891). There are more distinctions in the Atlantic coast provinces, but especially in Newfoundland, which had been settled by Irish English-speakers and was not officially a province of Canada until 1949.
北美大陆大部分地区的加式英语变化不大。加拿大西部知道19世纪才有欧洲人定居,当时对来自安大略的盎格鲁加拿大人、来自不列颠和其他国家(如乌克兰,这移民1891年开始到达加拿大)的移民实施土地激励政策。在大西洋沿岸省份还是有很多区别,尤其是在纽芬兰,这儿原本是说爱尔兰英语的人定居地,直到1949年才成为加拿大的一个省。

Today, one-fifth of Canadians have a mother tongue other than English or French – nearly as many as have French as their mother tongue. And yet the basic character of Canadian English still appears like a household of Anglophile Americans, with bits from other cultures mainly in the kitchen, a few traces of the indigenous cultures who used to be the only occupants, and some influence from the French roommate.
今天,五分之一的加拿大人都不是以英语或法语为自己的母语,--其数量之多接近以法语为母语的人数。然而加式英语的一个基本特点还是出现在亲英美国人家庭中,这些家庭中其他文化上的细微差异主要体现在厨房中,还留有一些土著文化的痕迹,这些土著文化本属于房屋的主人,有些还受到法国室友的影响。

‘Oot and aboot’

Canadian spelling is, as mentioned, a tug-of-war between the British and the Americans – jail but centre, analyze but colour. Because Canada is bilingual, French may also have an effect. For example, many signs and labels and institutional names are in French and English, and it’s easier if you can press a word into double service: Shopping Centre d’Achats.
加式拼写,正如上面所提及的那样,是一种英式和美式英语的拔河比赛。“监狱”采取美式拼写jail,而“中心”又吸取英式拼写centre,“分析”为美式拼写analyze,但“色彩”又是英式拼写“colour”。由于加拿大是双语国家,因此,加式英语也受法语的影响。比如,许多标牌和标签,机构名称都用法语和英语拼写,只要输入一个词,就很容易得到双语服务:“购物中心”的双语为:Shopping Centre d’Achats。

Most Canadians will tell you they don’t say ‘eh’ much
加拿大人大多会告诉你他们不会“啊,啊”说过不停。

Also possibly influenced by French is the Canadian eh. French Canadians use hein (also colloquially spelled han) in most of the same kinds of places English Canadians use eh, and they use it more. The eh of Canadian English is not a Canadian invention; it is used in England and elsewhere, but it is used in more different ways in Canada, notably as an emphatic and to maintain conversational involvement: No kidding, eh; Thanks, eh; So I was going to the store, eh, and this guy cut me off. The truth of it is, though, that most Canadians will tell you they don’t say “eh” much, and it is more associated with less-educated speech.
可能受法语影响的还有加拿大人口中的“eh(啊)”。法裔加拿大人使用hein(口语拼写为han),在相同场合,英裔加拿大人使用“eh”,而且使用频率更高。加式英语中的eh并非加拿大人的发明;英国或其他地方都是使用这个词,只是加拿大使用的方式更为不同,特别是被当作强调来使用,旨在表示在参与讨论:别开玩笑了啊,谢谢啊;那我要去商店了啊,可者家伙就是不让我走。然而,事实是大多数加拿大人会对你说他们不是老是说“啊”,这个词更多是与未受教育的话联系在一起。

The Canadian accent – or accents, since there is a bit of variation across the country (and much more in Newfoundland) and a larger amount across socioeconomic levels – has a few signal features, and they, too, trace partly to the US and partly to Britain. The best-known feature is ‘Canadian raising’, which affects two specific diphthongs before voiceless consonants: the first part of the diphthong is higher in ice and out than it is in eyes and loud. The out raising makes the vowel sound more like ‘oot’ to American ears. This feature is present across much but not all of Canada. It may be influenced by Scottish English (many British emigres were Scots), or it may be a relic of Shakespeare-era pronunciation.
这种加拿大口音--加式腔--由于各地都有些变体(尤其在纽芬兰),各个社会经济层面数量较大--因此,也有几个标志性特征,因此,这种口音的形成部分原因可以追溯到美国,部分可以追溯到英国。最明显的特征是“加式升音”,双元音如出现清辅音前,双元音中的每个元音都会受到影响:ice[ais]和out[aut]中双元音中第一个元音的音就要比eyes[aiz]和loud[laud]中的第一个元音要高一些。Out中的这种升音,让美国人听起来就像是“oot”。这个特征虽说不是全加拿大都有,但至少说大部分地区都这样。这可能受到苏格兰英语的影响(许多英国人移民都是苏格兰人),或者说可能是莎士比亚时代发音的遗迹吧。

Another feature is the ‘low back merger’, which makes caught and cot sound the same. Following on this is what is called the “Canadian vowel shift”, whereby bit sounds a bit like bet, bet sounds a bit like bat, and bat is said a bit farther back in the mouth. This shift is still in progress. These changes seem to have originated in Canada, though similar patterns can be seen in some parts of the US.
另一个特征就是“低后混合元音”,这就让caught和cot听起来是一样的。这种现象叫“加拿大元音迁移”,所以,bit听起来有点像bet,bet听起来有点像bat,据说bat发音时在口腔中要靠后一点。这种前移还在持续。这些变化好像源自加拿大,尽管相同的发音模式在美国有些地方也可以听得见。

Happy ‘May two-four weekend’!

Beyond these details, Canadians tend to sound like Americans, especially depending on where the Americans are from. This is why citizens of each country can be blindsided by the unexpected differences peppered throughout the vocabulary. There are many. Katherine Barber, former editor-in-chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, has collected many signature Canadianisms in her book Only in Canada, You Say.
“5.24周末”愉快!

除了以上那些细节差异外,加拿大人还有一个趋势,就是听起来要像美国人,尤其是那些来自美国的人。这就是为什么每个国家的市民都可能因为散布在词汇中意外的差异受到出其不备的打击,而且还有很多。前《加拿大牛津词典》主编凯瑟琳.巴贝在她的书《加拿大语言荟萃》中收集了许多这种具有鲜明特征的加拿大英语词汇。

Sometimes Canadians use the same words as Americans in different ways: in Canada, if you write a test, you’re the one being tested, while in the US you’re the test maker. Sometimes Canadians use different words for the same things: garburator for kitchen disposal, bachelor apartment for studio apartment,runner for sneaker or running shoe, two-four for a case of 24 bottles or cans of beer (the uniquely Canadian holiday Victoria Day, which occurs on a Monday near 24 May, is called the ‘May two-four weekend’ in reference to this).
有时,加式英语所用的字词,美式英语用另一种方式:在加拿大,如果你说你write a test,意思说在参加考试,但在美国,意思你在制卷。有时,同一个事情加式英语用不同的词来表达:garburator指厨房处理,bachelor apartment指单身小公寓,runner指运动鞋或跑鞋。Two-four指一箱24瓶/厅的啤酒(独特的加拿大节日维多利亚纪念日,指5月24日的星期一,故用“5.24周末”来指称。)

Some words refer to things Americans don’t seem to have:toque for a kind of fitted knitted hat; poutine, Nanaimo bars, and butter tarts for three of Canada’s great culinary gifts to the world if the world would but accept them; Caesar for a bloody Mary made with clamato juice (tomato plus clam). There are hockey metaphors, of course, like deking someone out and stickhandling a problem. There are occasional borrowings from Quebec French (unrecognisable in France) such as the aforementioned poutine, and dépanneur for a convenience store.
有些词所知的东西,美国好像是没有的,如toque指编制帽;poutine(普丁薯条), Nanaimo bars(纳奈莫甜点), butter tarts (牛油挞),这三种甜点,如果能得到世界的接受,也算是加拿大呈现给世界的三大厨房礼物吧。Caesar指血腥玛丽,由番茄汁(番茄+蛤肉)。当然,还有些隐喻来自曲棍球,如deking someone out (骗出某人),stickhandling a problem (灵活处理...)。有些偶尔借自魁北克法语(这些法语法国也没有),比如前面提到的poutine,dépanneur(即方便店)

These Canadianisms stand as evidence of the difference between Canadian and American culture. It is very important for Canadians to maintain that difference, even if people from Vancouver sound more like people from San Francisco than people from San Francisco sound like people from San Antonio. Though English-speaking Canadians remain loyal to the Queen, they aren’t truly interested in being British or sounding British; they’re just interested in using the British connection to assert their independence from the independent United States, which they left because they didn’t want to leave. An ambivalent situation indeed.
这些加式英语就是活生生的证据,表明加拿大和美国文化之间的差异。保持这种文化差异对加拿大人来说是非常重要的,来自温哥华的人与来自旧金山的人口音相似,旧金山人与自圣安东尼奥的人的口音。即便如此,前者的相似度大于后者。尽管说英语的加拿大人依然忠诚于英国女皇,他们对成为英国人或者听起来像英国人并不真正感兴趣。他们感兴趣的只是用英式英语来显示他们是从独立的美国中独立的,他们离开并不是因为真的想离开。这的确是一种矛盾的心情。