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经济学人:词汇意义的变化(1)

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来源于《图书与艺术》版块
Johnson
约翰逊语言专栏
In the beginning is the word
太初有道之词意变化
Changing the meaning of a word is hard but not impossible
改变词的意思很难,但并非不可能
“Misogyny” seems a straightforward word. In dictionaries, it is “hatred of women”. In its etymology are the Greek verb misein, to hate, and gyne, women. The word, like the sentiment, has been around for a long time. Euripides, an ancient Greek playwright, was called a misogynes, or woman-hater. (“Well, in his tragedies, yes,” his peer Sophocles is said to have quipped, “but in bed at any rate he was a philogynes.”) The first known use of “misogynist” in English is from 1620—by a female group counter-attacking against a screed called “The Arraignment of Lewd, Idle, Froward [sic], and Unconstant Women”.
“Misogyny(厌女症)”这个词似乎很直白。字典里的解释为“hatred of women(憎恶女性)”。这个词的词源来源于希腊语动词“misein(恨)”和“gyne(女性)”。这个词和它所表达的情感一样,已经存在很长一段时间了。古希腊剧作家欧里庇得斯被称为“misogynes”或“woman-hater”(两词均意为“厌女者”)。“在他的悲剧中,是的,”据说他的同行索福克勒斯曾如此打趣道,“但无论如何,他在床上是个爱女性的人.”“厌女症”在英语中的首次使用是在1620年,当时一个女性团体反击一篇名为《对淫荡、懒散、乖戾和不稳定女性的传讯》的文章。

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In fact, very few interesting words are quite so stable. As they are used, their meanings drift. Furthermore, they need not remain true to their etymological roots, a belief known to linguists as the “etymological fallacy”. The word “person”, for instance, comes from the Latin for “mask”; the word “tragedy” may derive from the Greek for “goat-song”. Over time, words evolve.

事实上,很少有有趣的词能如此稳定。当词汇被使用时,意思会发生变化。此外,它们不必忠于词源学的根源,语言学家将这种认知称为“词源学谬误”。例如,“person”一词来自拉丁语,意为“面具”;“悲剧”一词可能源于希腊语,意为“山羊之歌”。随时间的推移,词汇含义也不断演变。
Much of that process is random. But it is also possible to make a conscious effort to shift how a word is used. One such bid is under way for “misogyny”. For decades, feminists have expanded its connotations beyond the idea of “hatred of women”. Recently Kate Manne, a philosopher at Cornell University, has become the voice of that campaign. She thinks the notion of a hatred for all women deep in the psychology of some men is philosophically untestable. In any case, few men, she says, really hate all women. Instead of misogyny meaning something men feel, she says it should designate something women face.
这个过程大部分是随机的。但有意识地改变一个词的用法也是有可能的。“misogyny(厌女症)”就是这样一个例子。几十年来,女权主义者将其内涵扩展到“憎恨女性”之外。最近,康奈尔大学哲学家凯特•曼恩成为了这场运动的代言人。她认为,在一些男性的心理深处,对所有女性的憎恨是哲学上无法验证的。她表示无论如何,很少有男人真的恨所有的女人。她说,“厌女症”不是指男性的感觉,而是指女性所面临的问题。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
fallacy ['fæləsi]

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n. 谬论

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conscious ['kɔnʃəs]

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adj. 神志清醒的,意识到的,自觉的,有意的

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idle ['aidl]

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adj. 无目的的,无聊的; 懒惰的,闲散的; 无根据的

 
drift [drift]

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vi. 漂流,漂移,漂泊,吹积,偏离
vt.

 
derive [di'raiv]

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v. 得自,起源,引申于

 
campaign [kæm'pein]

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n. 运动,活动,战役,竞选运动
v. 从事运

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stable ['steibl]

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adj. 稳定的,安定的,可靠的
n. 马厩,

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mask [mɑ:sk]

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n. 面具,面罩,伪装
v. 戴面具,掩饰,遮

 
sentiment ['sentimənt]

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n。 感情,情趣,意见,观点,多愁善感

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peer [piə]

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n. 同等的人,同辈,贵族
vi. 凝视,窥视

 


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