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[翻译]Words and Their Stories - Why Is 'Colonel' Pronounced 'Ker'nel?'

更新时间:2017/7/23 9:14:59 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名

Welcome to Words and Their Stories, from VOA Learning English.

On this program we explore the origin and history of American expressions and teach you how to use them.

在这个节目中,我们会探讨美式表达的起源和历史,并教大家如何应用。

Today we focus more on history than usage. We are going to answer an age-old question that may have been keeping you awake at night. Well, perhaps not. But it’s still an interesting word story!

今天我们更多地关注历史而不是应用。我们将会回答一个可能会让你难以入眠的老掉牙的问题。好吧,也许不至于让你难以入眠,但是它仍然是一个非常有趣的词汇故事。

The pronunciation of some words can cause trouble for people learning English. For example, words such as “circle,” “sir,” “certainly” and “surprise” all sound as if they begin with the same letters. But they don’t.

有些单词的发音可能会给英语学习者造成麻烦。例如,circle和sir,以及certainly和surprise,它们听上去都像是以相同的字母开头,但是事实并非如此。

Knowing language of origin for an unknown or new word – its roots – can help you pronounce the word the right way. Just ask any student who has ever competed in a spelling bee. One question that spelling bee contestants can ask the judges during the event is, “What is the language of origin?”

知道一个新单词的起源语言可以帮助你正确发音。问问任何参加过拼字大赛的学生就知道了。拼字大赛的参赛者在比赛中可以问裁判:“它的起源语言是什么?”

Nyctinasty

裁判:Nyctinasty。

Nyctinasty. Will you please give me the language of origin?

参赛者:Nyctinasty。你能告诉我它的起源语言吗?

It’s made up of Greek elements that were probably first combined in German.

裁判:它是由希腊语元素组成的,可能最初还结合了德语。

N-y-c-t-i-n-a-s-t-y. Nyctinasty.

参赛者:N-y-c-t-i-n-a-s-t-y, Nyctinasty。

Correct.

裁判:正确。

The development or evolution of a word over time can also play a part in how we say it. In fact, both origin and evolution are involved in the pronunciation of the word “colonel.”

随着时间推移,一个单词的发展演变也会在拼读中发挥作用。事实上,起源和演变都参与了colonel这个单词的发音。
 

Colonel William F. Cody, "Buffalo Bill", is shown in this undated photo sitting on top of his Arabian stallion "Muson". (AP Photo)

First, what does “colonel” mean?

首先,colonel是什么意思?

A colonel is a military official. In the United States, it can mean an officer in the Army, Air Force or Marine Corps.

上校(colonel)是军队的官员。在美国,它是指陆军、空军或海军陆战队的一种军官。

Colonel is spelled c-o-l-o-n-e-l. So, why do Americans say colonel as if it is spelled k-e-r-n-e-l? Adding to the confusion is that "kernel" is a word of its own and one that has several meanings.

Colonel拼写是 c-o-l-o-n-e-l。那么,为什么美国人念这个单词的时候就像是在念 k-e-r-n-e-l ?更令人困惑的是,kernel 本身就是一个单词,它有多种含义。

But, let’s get back to “colonel” … the c-o-l-o-n-e-l one.

但是,让我们回到colonel这个单词。

We know that many languages borrow and even steal words from other languages. The English language is probably the biggest thief of them all! It stole "colonel" from at least two countries – maybe even three.

我们知道,很多语言会从其它语言中借用甚至是偷来一些单词。英语可能是其中最大的小偷。它从两个国家、甚至可能是三个国家偷来了colonel这个单词。

First, let's talk about Italy.

首先我们来说说意大利。

By the 15th century, Italian forces were known for being good at war. So, many Italian war terms spread across Europe, including the word "colonel." It comes from the Italian word ‘colonnello.’ This is the position given to the officer responsible for a small force or column of soldiers.

到了15世纪,意大利军队以善战闻名。所以很多意大利战争术语传遍了欧洲,其中就包括colonel这个单词。它源自意大利语的colonnello,这是负责一小队士兵的军官职位。

Then there's the influence of France on “colonel.”

然后就是法国对colonel的影响。

The French also took this word from the Italians. But when they added it to their language, they changed the word "colonnelo" to "coronel." Language experts say this is because the French wanted to have the "r" sound in the word, instead of the two "l" sounds.

法国人也从意大利人那里拿来了这个单词。但是当他们把它加到自己的语言中时,他们把colonnelo这个单词改成了coronel。语言专家表示,这是因为法国人想要用r的读音取代两个l的读音。

Finally, let's not forget Spain.

最后我们不要忘记西班牙。

At the same time, the Spanish were also pronouncing c-o-l-o-n-e-l as k-e-r-n-e-l. It is possible that both the French and the Spanish pronunciation affected the English version of the word.

与此同时,西班牙人也把c-o-l-o-n-e-l读成k-e-r-n-e-l。这个单词的法语和西班牙发音可能都影响了英语的发音。

In addition to country of origin, there is something else at play in the word history of "colonel": written versus spoken language.

除了起源国,其它因素在colonel的词汇历史上也起到了作用,那就是书面和口语。

From the very beginning, when this word came into English in the 1500s, there were two versions of spelling and two pronunciations.

当这个单词于16世纪进入英语中时,一开始它有两种拼写和发音方式。

By around the 17th century, the word began appearing in military treaties across Europe. So, the written form of the word (colonel) and the spoken ("kernel") were both being used.

到了17世纪左右,这个词开始出现在欧洲各地的军事条约中。所以,书面形式的colonel和口语形式的kernel都在使用。

In English, a combination won out. Colonel was spelled c-o-l-o-n-e-l but pronounced "kernel."

在英语中,两者的一种结合体胜出了。它被拼写成c-o-l-o-n-e-l但是发音成kernel。

Please let me apologize from the bottom of my heart for our crazy and sometimes confusing English pronunciations!

对于这些错乱并且时而让人迷惑的英文发音,我发自内心地表示道歉。

That's all for this Words and Their Stories. Join us again next week when we talk about more words and expressions in American English.

I'm Anna Matteo.

Words in This Story

age-old – adj. very old : having existed for a very long time

pronounce – v. to make the sound of (a word or letter) with your voice : pronunciation – n. the way in which a word or name is pronounced

contestant – n. a person who takes part in a contest

confusing – adj. difficult to understand

column – n. a long row of people or things — often + of : a column of troops/cars

versus – prep. used to indicate two different things, choices, etc., that are being compared or considered

bottom of my heart – informal expression with sincere, deep feelings

crazy – adj. very strange or unusual

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