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[翻译]Words and Their Stories - What Is a 'Feather in Your Cap?'

更新时间:2019/2/24 9:25:25 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名

Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.

Our world is home to thousands of different kinds of birds. No two bird species are the same. Each one has its own unique qualities – like its feathers!

地球是成千上万种不同鸟类的家园,没有哪两种鸟类是完全相同的,每种鸟都有各自独特的特征,例如它的羽毛。

Feathers keep a bird warm and dry. Feathers also help it to fly. And they can be very colorful, making a woodpecker with its bright red feathers stand out in the woods on a cold, wintry day.

羽毛让鸟类保持温暖和干燥,也帮助它飞翔。羽毛可以是非常丰富多彩的,这让鲜红色的啄木鸟在寒冷冬日的树林中脱颖而出。

And people have been wearing bird feathers on hats for hundreds of years. But feathers were not just worn for decoration – to improve a person’s appearance. Hundreds of years ago it often meant something else. A feather could represent a person’s standing, success or even, in some cases, a kill.

数百年来,人们一直戴着插着羽毛的帽子,但是羽毛不只是改善某人外表的装饰。数百年来它经常意味着其它东西。羽毛可以代表某人的地位,成功,甚至在某种情况下代表一种杀戮。

Feathers have made their way into many common English expression. Today we talk about one: “To have a feather in your cap.

羽毛这个词已经进入了很多常见的英语表达之中。今天我们常说的就有:取得引以为傲的成就(A feather in your cap)。

'Cause I don't wanna go on with you like that

Don't wanna be a feather in your cap

(I Don’t Want to Go on With You Like That
by Elton John)

A feather in your cap is something you are really happy about. The feather gives you bragging rights – a chance to tell the world about your success.

引以为傲的成就是指让你为之异常喜悦的一些成就。这些成就给了你吹牛的资本(bragging rights),让你有机会向世界说出你的成功。
 

Being able to train eagles is a feather in this man's cap. Arman Kushkarov trains a golden eagle outside of the village of Shamalgan, in Almaty region, Kazakhstan, December 14, 2016. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov)

A feather in your cap also gives you an upper hand, meaning it puts you in a better position. For example, on social media, having a million followers on Twitter can be considered a feather in your cap. Getting a pay raise or winning an award can both be feathers in your cap.

引以为傲的成就也让你占据上风(upper hand),意思是它让你处于更好的位置。例如在社交媒体上,有100万推特粉丝可以被视为你引以为傲的成就。获得加薪或赢得奖励也都可以成为你引以为傲的成就。

So it is something you can be proud of and something you can use in the future to get ahead.

因此,它是指你引以为傲,也是你未来可以用来出人头地的东西。

The Etymology Online website notes that the act of placing a feather in a hat or on your head has meant success in many cultures, “apparently independently.”

词源在线网站指出,在帽子或是头上插上一根羽毛的行为在很多显然各自独立的文化中都意味着成功。

As an example, the site uses the early English travel writer Richard Hansard and his 1599 Description of Hungary:

例如,该网站引用了早期英国旅行作家理查德·汉萨德和他在1599年对匈牙利的描写:

"It hath (has) been an antient (ancient) custom among them [Hungarians] that none should wear a fether (feather) but he who had killed a Turk …”

“这一直是匈牙利人的古老习俗,只有杀死一位土耳其人才能头插羽毛。”

And some Native American tribes would give feathers to someone for a brave act.

一些美国原住民部落也会把羽毛奖励给做出英勇举动的某些人。

The saying "a feather in your cap" is widely used in conversation and even in some songs. Many American children sing these words without even knowing what they mean.

引以为傲的成就这种说法在日常对话甚至是一些歌曲中被广泛引用。很多美国儿童都在不了解含义的情况下唱出了这些单词。

Let’s listen to part of a well-known song called Yankee Doodle.

让我们来听听著名的扬基曲中的部分歌词。

Yankee Doodle went to town riding on a pony;

扬基·杜多进城,骑着一匹小马。

He stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni.

他帽子上插着翎毛,被人叫做纨绔子弟。

Yankee Doodle keep it up, Yankee Doodle dandy,

扬基·杜多,战斗吧!扬基·杜多,公子哥!

Mind the music and the step, And with the girls be handy.

听着音乐和着脚步同姑娘跳舞。

(Traditional American song)

(美国传统歌曲)

This song dates back to the days of the American War of Independence. Some people say British soldiers sang it as a way of making fun of the opposing forces.

这首歌可以追溯到美国独立战争日期,有人说英国士兵唱这首歌是为了取笑对方军队。

“Doodle” was an 18th century British term for a stupid person. And “macaroni” meant a well-dressed person, someone who likes the finer things in life. So, saying “stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni” meant that the colonists thought they could look good by simply placing feathers in their caps.

Doodle是18世纪英国人对笨蛋的称呼,而macaroni是指衣冠楚楚的人,他们喜欢生活中美好的事物。所以,他帽子上插着羽毛,被人叫做纨绔子弟这个歌词是指殖民者认为他们在帽子上插上羽毛只是为了好看。

By the way, we still use both “doodle” and “macaroni” today, except the meanings have changed completely. A “doodle” is a quickly made and simple artwork. And “macaroni” is a small noodle.

顺便说一下,我们今天仍然在使用doodle 和 macaroni 这两个单词,但是意思已经完全变了。Doodle 是指快速制作的、简单的艺术品,而macaroni 是指一种小面条。

One last note on this expression: The word “cap” can belong to anyone. In fact, you can use whatever descriptive words you need to explain who is wearing the cap. For example, winning an Oscar is surely a feather in the cap of any movie director. And getting accepted to a great university is a feather in the cap of any student.

关于这句表达的最后一个注释:这种表达中的“帽子”可以戴在任何人头上。事实上,你可以用任何自己想要的描述性短语来说明谁戴着这个帽子。例如,获得奥斯卡奖肯定是任何电影导演引以为傲的成就,而被名校录取也是任何学生引以为傲的成就。

Hopefully, speaking English is now a feather in your cap!

希望说英语现在也是你引以为傲的成就。

And that brings us to the end of another Words and Their Stories.

Until next time, I’m Anna Matteo.

Disappointment is a feather in your cap,

You want the truth so you can crush it in your hand.


(Feather in Your Cap by Beck)

Words in This Story

unique – adj. being the only one

feather – n. any one of the light growths that make up the outer covering of the body of a bird

upper hand – n. advantage

proud – adj. having a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction especially with a person's own achievements or with someone else's achievements : very pleased

well-dressed – adj. wearing attractive or fashionable clothes

conversation – n. an informal talk involving two people or a small group of people : the act of talking in an informal way

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