完美的國度如中國 還有那裡找得到?│David Tang網誌

Chatterbox -A Chicken Talking To A Duck

-A Chicken Talking To A Duck

Chatterbox is a well-connected and popular face of the local media world. She has worked in nearly every type of media in Hong Kong and overseas. Most recently, she has found success in her latest venture as a radio presenter. Aside from her newfound fame on the airwaves, she is an established journalist and media professional.

雞同鴨講 ── 睇奧運,學「運動系」idioms!│A Chicken Talking To A Duck By Chatterbox

2016-8-13 14:12
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(中譯版本在下)

Now with the Olympic flame staying lit throughout August, I am sure many cities around the world including Hong Kong have been experiencing a bout of Olympic fever. That’s when it hit me that there are many common English idioms that appear to be sports related because of the way they are phrased, but in fact, they have tacit connections with sports nowadays. However, many of them began as sporting terminology and have over the years found themselves used in regular, everyday English. 

When I raised this aspect with some of my Hong Kong friends, they were very excited about it because most of their current office talk and casual conversations have something to do with this global sporting event, so I have decided to honour the Rio Olympics by going into detail to examine some of the more commonly used action-packed phrases. 

Let’s start with the phrase “kick off” as a way to say let’s begin. This phrase comes from football as a match will always begin with a player kicking the ball from the middle of the pitch.

Now I think about it, there are lots of phrases related to the word “ball”. For example, to say someone who is willing to do something in the way they are asked to do, we can say they are willing to “play ball”; if they don’t, that means they are being uncooperative. 

If you want to ask someone to keep paying attention to something, you can say “keep your eye on the ball”. 

Also, if you want to ask someone to get started with something, simply say “get the ball rolling”, then if you want them to keep going, simply say “keep the ball rolling”. 

Ever heard someone say to you that: “The ball is in your court”? In that situation, it means that it’s up to you to make the next move. 

When a situation has completely changed, you can woefully say it’s “a whole new ball game”. 

Enough talk about balls though, let’s move on. One very relevant Olympic-related phrase is “go for the gold” to describe someone trying their best to achieve success. 

Having gone through so many sports idioms, I think you’ve probably figured out that, like all idioms, some of these expressions shouldn’t be taken literally, but they certainly make sense once you understand their meaning. Native English speakers often use idioms unconsciously, so if you are able to master the use of English idioms, you’ll be one step closer to becoming a native English speaker. 

The truth is there are so many kinds of idioms around that even native speakers can’t know every single one. If you want to speak English like a native speaker, you will have to refine your ability to understand idioms and their references. Picking up fun idioms such as sports related ones makes learning the language more fun and keeps you motivated.

Let’s round up today with a few more. 

If you say someone is a “front runner”, it means someone is the favourite or the one who’s most likely to win. Conversely, if this person you anticipated to win has failed to do so, then you can use the expression “bet on the wrong horse”; this is one that Hongkongers can definitely appreciate. Pretty straightforward, right? 

Can you guess this one? “Throw your hat into the ring”? Translation: Showing your decision to take part in a competition. There’s also “throw in the towel” which is a boxing term and was a way for boxers to signify their defeat, so in popular usage it means to give up. 

I kid you not, good sports idioms can really pack a punch in conversational English. You’ve been a good sport guys, see you all next week. 

奧運聖火的光芒在八月亮遍全球,我肯定世界上的大小城市,包括香港在內,也身處在這股奧運狂熱之中。而特別令我感興趣的是,許多常見的英語習語(idioms),因為其措辭編排的關係,都被人認為與運動有關。但經過多年運用,它們如今不但與運動有毋需言喻的關係,更開始演變為體育術語,並在日常英語中被廣泛使用。

當我和一些香港朋友聊起這方面時,他們總是非常興奮,原因大概是他們大部分在辦公室或日常的閒聊,都離不開奧運這體壇盛事。所以,我決定把是次專欄連結奧運熱潮,與大家詳細考察一些較常見而動感十足的短語。

就以「kick off」起頭吧!這句解作「開始」的短語,源自足球賽事中,球員在球場中間「開波」,從而揭開序幕的典故。

想起來,倒有不少短語與「ball」有關。例如要形容某人很樂意執行獲派的工作時,我們可以說「they are willing to 『play ball』」;但如若他們不願意「play ball」,則意味其態度不合作、不配合。另外,如你想叫某人對某事保持關注的話,則可說「keep your eye on the ball」。

除此之外,想叫某人開始動手做事,說句「get the ball rolling」就可以了;要他們繼續下去,講法也差不多──「keep the ball rolling」。

有沒有聽過別人說「the ball is in your court」?這代表輪到你作下一步行動了。而當局面有翻天覆地的改變時,你亦可幽幽地說句「a whole new ball game」。

說夠「ball」了,談談其他吧。另一個與奧運相關的短語是「go for the gold」,代表某人盡力去取得成功。

看過上述多個「運動系」習語,你大概可想到,就像其他習語一樣,許多詞句都不可單從字面意思理解,但一旦你得悉其含意後,又會理解明瞭字面所載的道理。英語是母語的人,經常會不自覺地用到大量習語,因此,如果你能掌握其使用法則、熟能生巧,就能愈來愈接近英語為母語者的層次了。

事實上,習語的種類繁多,就算是英語為母語者,亦不會通通知曉。若你希望英語能說得像母語般流利,就不得不改進你理解習語及其出處的能力。而令學習語言變得富有娛樂性、並令自己保持積極的方法是:學習饒有趣味的習語,正如上述與體育有關的。那麼,就讓我們多學幾個,來完結是次專欄吧!

如你稱某人為「front runner」,則代表他是你的心水、摰愛,或最有機會勝出、一路領先的參賽者。相反地,如你的心水輸了,則可以說句香港人定會欣賞的說話──「bet on the wrong horse」,一看就懂吧?

此外,你又猜到「throw your hat into the ring」的意思嗎?是「正式決定參賽」的意思。而有幾分相似的「throw in the towel」則是一個拳擊術語,代表拳擊手宣佈投降之舉,廣義亦可譯作放棄或認輸。

不瞞你說,絕佳的「運動系」習語能使你的英語會話「pack a punch」(擊出有力的一拳)呢!運動精英們,下周見!

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