如何讓人聽懂你的英語？Penny has yet to drop for English speakers英國《金融時報》專欄作家邁克爾•斯卡平克
In an interview before this month's England-France rugby match, I heard a BBC reporter ask Serge Betsen, the former French international, about the time he “knocked seven bells” out of the opposition at the same ground.
本月英法橄欖球賽開賽前，BBC一位記者在採訪前法國名將塞吉•貝森(Serge Betsen)時，問起他在同一場地“痛揍”(knocked seven bells)對手的時候是什麼感受？I winced. Mr Betsen's English is pretty good, but how was he to make sense of such an obscure expression? He seemed to manage. Either he guessed from the context, or, having played in England, he had heard it used before.
我倒抽了一口冷氣。貝森的英語很好，但這麼晦澀的表達他能聽懂嗎？他似乎能夠應付過來。要么是通過語境猜測的，要么是因為以前在英國打球的時候聽過這種表達法。By contrast, when another Frenchman, the former footballer Eric Cantona, managed the New York Cosmos in a match against his old club Manchester United, he seemed to fail to understand the question: “What will it be like in the away dugout?” It was odd, perhaps, after his years in the game, but it shows that native speakers need to take care when talking to people for whom English is a second language.
但另外一位法國人，前足球運動員埃里克•坎通納(Eric Cantona)帶領紐約宇宙隊在一次比賽上邂逅了他此前效力的曼聯俱樂部，他似乎並沒有理解“What will it be like in the away dugout？”這個問題。這或許有些奇怪，畢竟他踢了那麼多年球，但這也證明，英語為母語的人在與那些以英語為第二語言的人交流的時候要格外用心。It is an issue I have been aware of ever since I heard about an Austrian banker who said: “I always find it easier to do business [in English] with partners from Greece or Russia or Denmark. But when the Irish call, it gets complicated and taxing.”
一位奧地利銀行家說：“我總認為，與希臘、俄羅斯、或者丹麥的合作者（用英語）做生意要容易得多。但要碰到愛爾蘭人打來電話，理解起來真的很複雜很費事。”當時聽到這番話後，我開始意識到了這個問題。As I wrote recently, those speaking English as a second language frequently say they find it easier to talk to each other than to someone from the US, the UK, Canada, Ireland or Australia.
我最近的寫作中也提到，以英語為第二語言的人往往認為，他們彼此之間的交流要比和那些來自美國、英國、加拿大、愛爾蘭或者澳大利亞的人交流容易得多。Over the past few months, I have been keeping a note of the (surely) incomprehensible expressions I have heard native English speakers use when speaking to cosmopolitan audiences. One Englishman described a recent controversial report as “a bit of a tree shaker”. He said of a group making some anti-establishment proposals: “They don't want to be seen as pony-tailed.”
過去的幾個月，我一直在記錄以英語為母語的人在與世界各地居民交流時口中“蹦出來”的晦澀詞語。比如一個英國人將最近一篇爭議頗多的報告描述為“像台振動採種機”(tree shaker)。他這麼說一群提出反正統提議的人：“他們不想被看成是紮著馬尾辮的人。”Other native English speakers used expressions such as “get slightly short shrift”, “pin their hopes on” or “shrug off”, apparently unaware that only the most advanced English learner would understand them.
Jacobite, short shrift, no-go zone
以英語為母語的人還會用到一些表達法，諸如“get slightly short shrift”、“pin their hopes on”、“shrug off”等，他們似乎沒有意識到，只有英語學得很好的人才能理解這些用語。Anyone wanting to get to the top of international business, medicine or academia (but possibly not sport) needs to be able to speak English to a pretty high level. Equally, any native English speaker wanting to deal with these new high achievers needs to know how to talk without baffling them.
在國際商業、醫學、學術（可能不包括體育）領域，任何人想要登上頂峰，都需要學會很流利地說英語。同樣，以英語為母語的人如果要與這些新取得卓著成就的人打交道，就要學會說不繞口的英語。Because so many English-speakers today are monoglots, they have little idea how difficult it is to master another language. Many think the best way to make foreigners understand is to be chatty and informal. This may seem friendly but, as it probably involves using colloquial expressions (“shall we crack on then?”), it makes comprehension harder.
因為現在很多說英語的人都只會這門語言，他們不知道掌握一門外語有多難。很多人認為，讓外國人聽懂你說話的最佳方式就是不要說得太正式。這或許顯得很友好，因為可能會用到很多口語（比如“shall we crack on then?”），但卻讓人更難以理解。Speaking slowly helps, but more important is avoiding figurative or idiomatic expressions. You may think you've bent over backwards to make yourself clear and that understanding your English is a piece of cake, but your audience is unlikely to have the foggiest idea what you are on about. Phrasal verbs (verb plus a particle) are another bugbear for non-native English speakers: imagine trying to understand the difference between “I couldn't put up with him” and “I agreed to put him up”. Far better to say “I couldn't tolerate him” and “I agreed to offer him accommodation”. The words may be longer but the meaning is easier to grasp.
語速放慢會讓人更好聽懂，但更重要的是，要避免使用修飾語或者是習慣用語。你費了九牛二虎之力，以為你已經清楚表達了自己的意思，別人要理解你說的話就是小菜一碟，但聽者可能根本就不知道你在說什麼。對於非英語國家的人來說，短語動詞（動詞加小品詞）也很讓人傷腦筋：試想一下，理解“我受不了他”(I couldn't put up with him)和“我同意為他提供住宿”(I agreed to put him up)的區別有多難。還不如說得直白一點呢。或許句子會比較長，但意思卻更好理解。Academic studies have shown that learners of English go to great lengths to avoid using phrasal verbs. They are happier to try when the meaning is literal, such as “go out” or “take away”. Figurative phrasal verbs, such as “let down ” or “brush up on”, are a real problem, even for speakers of languages such as Dutch that have very similar constructions. And as people have difficulty using phrasal verbs, they are probably not that keen on hearing them either.
學術研究顯示，學英語的人會盡力避免使用動詞短語。但如果是“go out”、“take away”等意思比較直接的短語，他們還是樂意使用的。諸如“let down”、“brush up on”等帶比喻色彩的動詞短語，即使對於講荷蘭語之類語言（語言結構與英語極為相似）的人來說也是個問題。既然人們使用這些動詞短語很困難，當然也就不希望別人口中冒出這些字眼。The greatest friend to anyone trying to understand another language is repetition: not saying the same thing over and over again, but saying it in different ways. “So, Eric Cantona, you were a great Manchester United player. They loved you here. Now you're on the other side. You're their opponent. How does that make you feel? What will it be like in the away dugout?”
要讓人聽懂外語，最有效的方式就是重複：當然不是反復不停地說同樣的話，而是用不同的表達來重複。比如可以這麼說：“埃里克•坎通納，你曾經是曼聯的一位優秀球員，大家都很喜歡你。但你現在屬於另一邊，成為他們的對手。隊友變成了對手，對此你有什麼感想？”Even if he fails to understand the final question, the rest will compensate (and note how we avoid using the complicated phrase “will make up for it”).
即使他沒能理解最後一句話，整個語境也會幫助（compensate，注意，在這裡我們避免了使用“make up for”這一複雜短語）他理解。
2 《野球》ダッグアウト.In baseball, the dugout is a team's bench area and is located in foul territory between home plate and either first or third base. There are two dugouts, one for the home team and one for the visiting team. In general, the dugout is occupied by all players not prescribed to be on the field at that particular time, as well as coaches and other personnel authorized by the league. The players' equipment (gloves, bats, batting helmets, catcher's equipment, etc.) is usually stored in the dugout.
3 丸太舟.4 ((英俗))（再召集された）退役将校.
The penny drops
A belated realization of something after a period of confusion or ignorance.
The Oxford English Dictionary states that this phrase originated by way of allusion to the mechanism of penny-in-the-slot machines. The OED's earliest citation of a use of the phrase with the 'now I understand' meaning, is Nigel Balchin's novel A Way through Wood, 1951:
"I sat and thought for a moment and then the penny dropped."
The image of someone waiting for a penny-in-the-slot mechanism (which often jammed) to operate does sound plausible and, if that isn't the origin, it is difficult to imagine what is.
The usage is surely earlier than 1951 though. Public toilets still then required users to 'spend a penny' in order to unlock the door to get in but, even counting those, coin operated machines were much less common in the 1950s than they were in the Victorian era.
Earlier citations, which make literal reference to actual coins and which are likely precursors of the later figurative use of the phrase, appear in print in the USA from the early 20th century; for example, this piece from the Maryland newspaper, The Daily News, November 1921:
The penny dropped [into the weighing scales], the needle started around the figures, and stopped this time on 150.
Penny has Dropped
If the "penny has dropped" it means someone has finally realised the situation they are in after possibly being unaware of it for a long time, depending on the situation.
==> The phrase dates back to the Victorian Era and the popular penny-slot arcades. The penny would often stick halfway down the slot and the user would then have to either wait, or give the machine a thump before the 'penny finally dropped' and they could begin playing.
THOMAS: "You know... The other day with the beavers?"
THOMAS: "We used their dam as a bridge?"
THOMAS: "Ruined their homes?"
COLIN: "OHHHHHHHH, now I get you."
GARY: "Ah, the penny has finally dropped. Stupid fool."
The penny dropped 話終於聽明白了
2015年 7月 21日
An expression from the days pennies were put in slots
The script of this programme 本節目台詞
Feifei: I love this shop, Rob! 這家店鋪真是我的大愛！It has everything you need and then things you don't even know you need. Look at this suitcase! Real leather. Very smart. I'm getting the beige one. Take the black one for yourself, Rob.
Rob: I can't buy anything at the moment, Feifei. I haven't got any money.
Feifei: You should save some money so you can buy things like this. Here - this one is a bit smaller and costs less... Oh, mine is big and luxurious though...
Rob: You see, I saved some money, but I lent it to a friend last month and I'm still waiting to be paid back.
Feifei: Oh, Rob. 你可不能隨便就借錢給你不熟悉的人。You shouldn't lend money to just anybody... Oh! I love that handbag too...
Rob: Really?! Yes, last month someone came to me and said she needed some cash desperately for the rent.
Feifei: Oh... Oh, that's right! It was me... Sorry, Rob. 真是不好意思，上個月我借了 Rob 的錢，還沒還。
Rob: Well, finally the penny dropped!
Feifei: Penny dropped? 在哪兒掉錢了？沒錢還掉錢！You shouldn't be dropping your pennies if you need cash! Let me help you get them.
Rob: It's not on the floor, Feifei. In English when we say 'the penny dropped' we mean somebody has finally realised or understood something.
Feifei: 在英語裏表達裏，如果某人說 the penny dropped，那意思就是「恍然大悟，話終於聽明白了」 Well, let's hear some examples of how this expression is used.
Susan keeps postponing the wedding, Joe. When is the penny going to drop? She doesn't love you!
If your boss doesn't appreciate you why not leave a job advert from another company on your desk? That will make the penny drop!
Feifei: The penny drops 是個非正式的口語表達，很有趣的一個說法。I'll pay you back, Rob. I promise.