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趣談英國-開口閉口都是LOVE的英國人

所屬教程:英語文化

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2019年06月04日

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趣談英國-開口閉口都是LOVE的英國人

常聽說英國人是嚴肅拘謹的,從日常稱呼上倒是一點也看不出來。走到英國的任何一個地方,和任何一位老太太攀談上了,你都有幸榮升為她的love。 到底這些昵稱有什么講究呢?

Pet names: ways of showing friendliness

In Britain there we have a funny habit that will either make you wonder what on earth is going on, or make you feel right at home! ‘Pet names’, have developed across each part of each of the countries. These are little terms of endearment, and can be used in public, by anyone, at almost any time.

You’ll hear the little old lady/man in the local shop say “There you go love” as they hand you your biscuits, though you’ve never been to their shop before, hairdressers and waitresses will greet you with “Hello my love” or “Hi hon’”, and strangers will say “Cheers sweetie!” if you do something to help; Boys will call to each other “Alright mate!” (even if they’ve never met before, and aren’t mates at all!). These words are used so often in fact, that in some parts of the country, you might notice more if they are not used than when they are!

Many foreigners to Britain find these terms of endearment to strangers really eccentric when they first arrive, but grow to realize that they are simply ways of showing friendliness; and many of us miss these little terms a lot when we move elsewhere!

Differences across the country

Let’s have a look at differences across the country, starting at the top!

Scotland: Hen

Wales: M’love

North England: Duck, My lovely, lovey, petal, flower South England: Love, darlin’, sweetie, treacle, poppet

Contexts in which to use Pet names…

I find that usually people who deal with a lot of general public will use these words just as a natural part of speech: waitresses, shop keepers, hairdressers, car mechanics, builders, workmen. People in professional environments tend not to use them so much! It's a kind of casual language, but people who work in environments where there's no need to be formal, will just use them in every part of life, with friends, family and probably with you, if you are ever in Britain!

So the rules on using these words are, only when you feel comfortable! How you use them and how often are really just a reflection of personal taste. Some people use them all the time (e.g. shop keepers/ waitresses), others, just when they feel like it, or around friends (which is what I usually do!). Avoid using them in professional environments, such as at business meetings, although, even here, you may not always be safe from hearing them!

Advice for you…

So the rules on using these words are, only when you feel comfortable! How you use them and how often are really just a reflection of personal taste. Some people use them all the time (e.g. shop keepers/ waitresses), others, just when they feel like it, or around friends (which is what I usually do!). Avoid using them in professional environments, such as at business meetings, although, even here, you may not always be safe from hearing them! Oh, and one last thing, when talking to boy to boy… stick with ‘mate’, ‘fella’, or ‘chief’! Not many boys will appreciate being called ’love’ by another boy.

下面來看看在英中國留學生的經歷:

房東、酒吧、老教授……大家都愛說昵稱

我在考文垂時的房東Judy,好稱人為Flower,那天和她打電話,才發現她的口頭禪又多了個Honey。在約克的房東Sylvia,典型的熱情的北部人,開口閉口的LOVE。電話帳單出了問題,房東打電話過去電信局詢問,和接電話的小姑娘爭執起來,卻還是滿口的love。

去年在酒吧打工,酒吧是典型的local pub(顧客以本區人為主的當地酒吧),客人們多是晚晚準點來報道的??停╮egular),談話間也無拘束,各式的昵稱更是豐富多彩。dear,darling,sweetheart俱是聽慣。后來說給朋友Cathy聽,Cathy掩口胡盧,說你真是大眾情人。

和朋友談到昵稱的事情,朋友說起他的一位老教授。此翁上課時接聽電話,笑瞇瞇地對電話那一頭一口一個honey,下面包括英國人在內的各國同學遂交頭接耳,或者互相交換一個曖昧的眼神,想這必是教授夫人了,老來還是如此親密。誰料片刻之后老教授放下電話,對下面做了個鬼臉,解釋說:“剛才是我的秘書。”聽者嘩然。

動物也可作昵稱:bird指女朋友

英國人還喜以動物稱人,意思不雅的不論,常見的便有bird。常常聽酒吧同事談到誰誰誰的bird長得sexy,誰誰誰最近又吊了個bird?;ハ嘀g問話也會說:“Is that one your bird?”在Newcastle和Cathy過千禧,元旦凌晨兩點蜷在沙發里看電視,看到女王和眾高官貴賓挽手共唱《友誼地久天長》,女王陛下卻挽錯了手,CATHY就笑罵:“That silly old bird!”Cow也是很常用的一個字,卻是僅有貶義的了。

也在那個關于文化沖擊的講座里,我們的國際辦公室的負責人說他上大學的地方好稱人為duck。他說大學三年,算是習慣了當duck,要叫別人卻是怎么也叫不出口。無獨有偶,兩月后我找到新工作,同事一個女孩便愛親親熱熱叫我pet,有事無事來問候一句“Are you alright, pet?”耳朵遂發麻,自覺還是當duck的滋味好一些些。

雖說要入鄉隨俗,但還真開不了口

其實我也不過是聽慣了而已,要自己說還真開不了口。先哲教訓的“非禮勿聽”算是辦不到了,只好打個折扣,實行“非禮勿言”。但想一想這話也不對。英國最是禮儀之邦,英國人豐富多彩的昵稱也是一種“禮”罷——只不過要教外國人都入鄉隨俗,卻還需一番磨練。

正是世說故事:卿自君我,我自卿卿。


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