現代英語評註-4

[in eclipse] [paragon] [land/country] [dilemma or quandary?] [descendant or descendent?] [it's or its?] [wimmin] [dependent or dependant?] [disinterest, uninterest, or lack of interest?] [irreparable, irrepairable, or unrepairable?] [yoof] [bail or bale?] [conference or congress?] [thesis or dissertation?] [apparently]

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in eclipse

20 世紀最後一次日蝕引發其所經過之國家的人民爭相目睹這項天文奇觀,就連教宗若望保祿二世亦提早結束彌撒以便觀賞日蝕。許多人認為這是一種非常驚奇的事件,夸夸談及精神經驗及與日蝕有關的迷信和風俗,但現代英語評註談的當然是語言層面。

正如太陽被月亮所遮蔽的日蝕 (或月亮被地球遮蔽的月蝕),當某人或某事不再重要或失勢時,你可以用 eclipse 來表示「黯然失色」的意思:

  • He was unrepentant, and became even more outspoken against the death penalty in the years after his political eclipse. (英國報紙)
  • What people are looking for is variations on familiar themes. This has resulted in the virtual eclipse of the old-fashioned European 'art' film. (英國雜誌)

你也可以使用 "in eclipse":

  • If Welles never again scaled the Olympian heights of Kane, there was a grandeur about him even in eclipse. (英國雜誌)
  • I conclude with reflections on how Democrats like Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackson, and independents like Ross Perot, have addressed fears of a nation in eclipse. (美國書籍)

然而,"eclipse" 當動詞用的情況比較常見:

  • Darwin is almost a cult figure today; Marx, in contrast, has been eclipsed by events. (英國報紙)
  • Science tends to eclipse technology in Britain, said Fairclough, and something like a technology research council could help to redress this dangerous imbalance. (英國雜誌)

值得注意的是,"eclipse" 非字面上意思的用法大多出現在文章中,鮮少出現在口語中。電台廣播偶爾會出現,而在一本英國口語詞庫中僅出現兩次,一次來自一項佈道,而底下這一句則來自一項演說:

  • In the mid eighteen-seventies however it suddenly and decisively became Birmingham's official style and the previously dominant classical style was effect effectively eclipsed. (英國的演說)

paragon

paragon 的標準定義是指具有臻於最高境界或完美程度的優良品質或崇高美德的人事物,一般英漢辭典的解釋是「典型」,「模範」,「完美的人 (物)」。我們可以輕易地在字典及其他英文出版品中找到這種「直接意思」的例句:

  • He is a paragon of the healing profession and is training to be a monk.
  • ...that well-known paragon of virtue Rupert Murdoch.
  • Ancient Rome, with its extensive aqueducts and magnificent public baths, was a paragon of cleanliness.

然而,更常見的是  paragon 被用在比較微妙的場合,尤其是在指人的時候。例如,你可以將   paragon 與一否定字或否定用語連用來表示某人不完美:

  • The corporate leader is not necessarily a paragon of wisdom.
  • We don't expect candidates to be paragons of virtue but we do expect honesty and integrity.
  • Our friend is not one whom I would hold up as a paragon of moral courage.
  • Norman would hate to be described as a paragon of political purity.

或者,如果你想以戲謔、幽默的方式來指某人不好的行為,你可以在它的後面加上表示負面意思的片語:

  • ...Little Hans, a positive paragon of all the vices.
  • William Alleyne, the 3rd Marquess of Exeter (1825-95) was a paragon of wasteful hedonism.

你也可將  paragon 用於諷刺的情況;當你想要指某人虛偽,不誠實,說一套做一套,他們的真實性格與公眾形象有很大的出入時,你就可以這種方式來使用 paragon

  • The sex-mad siren had evidently undergone a miraculous conversion into a paragon of womanly understanding.
  • ...that this paragon of chic academic achievement should stand revealed as the author of anti-Semitic articles.
  • So why does the helpmate of this paragon feel vaguely uneasy?

現在讓我們再來看看上面各組的例句。我故意將其中一個例句放錯類別,你能指出是哪一句嗎?


land/country

你知道 landcountry 之間的差異嗎?

country 就是國家,涵蓋某一特定面積的土地;但當你不是指任何特定的國家,或者你是在談論一個想像的或理想的地方,或者你是以一種訴諸於情感或愛國的方式來談論自己的國家時,你可以使用 land 來指一個國家或區域 -- 一種文學的用法。

雖然這兩個字在一些上下文中意思會重疊,可以互換,但你可能已瞭解 country 比較明確、實際,相對地 land 比較含糊、感性。請比較下列從字典中摘錄出來的 foreign countryforeign land 例句 (它們可譯為外國、異鄉或異國土地):

  • ...the papers and permits they need to live and work in a foreign country.
  • According to the new decree, a candidate can be disqualified for illegally emigrating to or from a foreign country.
  • Federal officials have been wooing foreign countries, particularly Japan, to get them to contribute to the project.

  • Matty had an image of the three Halloran children, stranded forever in a foreign land, separated from their father by the vast grey Atlantic.
  • He's seeking adventure and foreign lands; he doesn't care whom he serves.
  • It was built for a man named Nakh-Min, overseer of chariots and messenger to foreign lands for the Pharaoh Rameses II.

land 的典型上下文包括歷史的,神話的和聖經的句子:

  • The bell contains the inscription `Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto the Inhabitants Thereof'.
  • ...the once-drowned lands of Somerset, where the sea was only kept at bay in mediaeval times by the labours of monks along the coast keeping up the sea walls.
  • Parsifal's fame has come back to Arthur's court and the King sets out to find this great hero in his land.
  • Around the earth the gods raised a wall against the troublesome giants made from the eyebrows of Ymir. This land within the wall they named Midgard, the Middle Earth.
  • Ruth said these words to Naomi, as she followed her kinswoman back to her native land.

就這種關係而言,有人可能也會提到固定的片語如 the Promised Landthe Holy Land

在比較現代的上下文中,land 通常帶有愛國情操的意含:

  • The land to which we have returned is the land of our forefathers and no others have a part in it.
  • ...all that stuff about Germans drawing strength from their beloved land, returning to their cultural roots.
  • ...Warrant Officer Brandao Galvao's brave body, smitten down in the defense of his land and her freedom.

注意這裡使用了  forefathers, belovedsmitten. 等訴諸於情感和文學的字彙。

最後,軍人是 "fight for their country",而不是 "fight for their land"。  

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dilemma or quandary?

你應該說 "dilemma" 還是 "quandary" 呢?

如果你面臨 dilemma,你必須在兩個或多個方案之間做一選擇,而這些方案無一令人完全滿意。這是一種左右為難,進退維谷的情況:

  • She was faced with the dilemma of whether or not to buy the painting.
  • Prison governors face a dilemma. If they tighten security by restricting the movements of inmates, it could provoke confrontation. If they do nothing, the Strangeways scenario could be repeated.

有時 dilemma 被用在一種截然不同的情況。有人在遭遇沒有明顯解決辦法的問題時,說他們面臨了 dilemma

  • Once again, we're faced with the dilemma of just how to achieve that 35 per cent reduction.
  • Once again, we're faced with the dilemma of just how to achieve that 35 per cent reduction.
  • You cannot escape from the dilemma that there is no market for that amount of coal.

若干人士認為這種用法是錯的。他們說 dilemma 必須涉及在明確的選擇方案之間做一選擇,即 Do I do this or do I do that? 在這類句子中取代 "dilemma" 最佳的字可能是 quandary。我們經常可以見到 Someone is in a quandary. 的用法:

  • Facing evacuation from my home, I was in a quandary over what to do with my cat.
  • He has sacked the Chief Secretary and the Inspector General of Police, putting officials into a quandary: whose orders do they accept?

建議:

如果你遭遇某一沒有明顯解決辦法的問題時,你最好說你是 in a quandary,而非 "face a dilemma":

  • The Italian government appears to be in a quandary about what to do with so many people.
  • The revelations leave the international community in something of a quandary about what to do next.

descendant or descendent?

你應該說 "descendant" 還是 "descendent" 呢?

descendants descendents 都是「子孫」、「後代」、「後裔」的意思,也都有人使用:

  • The More O'Ferralls are believed to be descendants of the chieftain king Rory O'Moore. (報紙的文章)
  • The factory is still run by descendents of the family who started it in 1641. (報紙的文章)
  • In 1933, he married Lady Diana Wellesley, a direct descendant of the Duke of Wellington. (訃文)
  • Karen claims to be a direct descendent of Robert the Bruce. (報紙的文章)

在英式英語中,一般認為 descendant 是唯一正確的拼法。在美式英語中,descendent 被視為是一個可以接受的替代字。

證據:

在相關的英文書籍和字典中,在英式英語部分,"descendant" 出現逾 1,250 次,而 "descendent" 68 次。在美式英語部分,"descendant" 出現約 500 次,"descendent" 27 次。(若干用法書籍指出一個罕見的形容詞,可以拼成 "descendent" 或 "descendant",意為「自祖先傳下的」,「相傳的」,「下降的」。這個形容詞在一本著名的英英字典中僅出現兩次,兩次都拼成 "descendant"。 )

建議:

「子孫」、「後代」、「後裔」的英文最好寫成 descendants,不要寫成 "descendents"。


it's or its?

頗長的一段時間以來,我發現許多美國人士將 "it" 的所有格寫成 "it's" 而非 "its"。經常閱讀美國報章雜誌的網友可能也曾經見過這樣的寫法。

我們可以輕易地發現其中的混淆之源。名詞後面加 's 是表示「所有」關係:

  • Gordon's father was a driver of old steam engines. (報紙的文章)
  • Many of the house's original furnishings have been sold. (報紙的文章)

所以在 "it" 的後面加 's 來表示 it 的所有格似乎合乎邏輯:

  • Yosemite Falls, at 2,425 feet the fifth tallest in the world, was bone dry, it's scar easily visible upon the rock wall. (旅遊書籍)
  • The copier produces 11 copies per minute; it's document feeder can handle up to 30 A4 pages, with scanning to A3 size. (小冊子)

然而,這項用法被視為是錯誤的。一般都認為 "it" 的所有格應寫成 "its" (沒有省略符號):

  • The plant is propagated when a bird wipes its beak after eating the berries. (報紙的文章)
  • The most important element of a sports car is its looks. (報紙的文章)

而 "it's" 是 "it is" 或 "it has" 的縮寫:

  • It's an arrangement which has worked reasonably well in the past. (雜誌的文章)
  • Success has meant good times for Cliff, but it's been rewarding for the British economy, too. (報紙的文章)

根據查閱美英英文資料庫的結果,這並非一項常見的錯誤。雖然有若干將 "it" 的所有格寫成 "it's" 的情況,但相當少見 (在逾1,000個語句中僅出現約12次)。大多出現在錄寫演說的情況中,這可能是錄寫者的筆誤。不過,有數個發生這種錯誤的來源比較令人驚訝:

  • Glasgow and it's environs have recently suffered from Draconian club curfew regulations. (英國音樂雜誌)
  • One of the striking features of the Queensland team was it's closeness. (澳洲報紙)
  • Vogue is the latest most exciting Discotheque to open it's doors.(傳單) 
  • America has fallen back in lurve with it's girl groups. (英國報紙)

報章雜誌校稿人員的沒落以及報章雜誌越來越盛行的直接從電腦輸出記者的文稿並付梓的趨勢,應為這項謬誤負部分責任,不過事實上現今發生這種錯誤的情況並不會比過去來得多。

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wimmin

womenwimmin 之間有何不同嗎?

在此,我們不必探討太深的哲理,而且我假定我們都已瞭解 women 的意思。

下面這兩個摘自一本英英字典的例句應足以讓你瞭解 wimmin 的意思:

  • ...more protesting `wimmin' intent on scaling royal walls to make a well publicised protest.
  • A spat has broken out between the elegant ladies of Harpers and Queen, the glossy magazine concerned with fashion and the doings of the beau monde, and those whom they would doubtless term as the `wimmin' running a new publication known as Harpies and Quines, devoted to such issues as sexism, poverty, violence and humour.

我認為 wimmin 這個字是由英國時事諷刺性雜誌 Private Eye 創造出來的半幽默、半諷刺的名詞,用來形容該雜誌認為對女權和女性經驗抱持誇張和怪異觀念的好戰女權主義者。關於這項論述,若我有錯,請諸先進不吝指正。

這一由發音所衍生的拼法為何具有上述含意? 這倒值得我們猜猜看。或許是因為好戰女權主義者的用語中經常出現 "women" 這個字;如果你經常重複地使用一個常見的字,你會發現你變得非常熟悉它的形體、氣味等特徵,不信的話可以試試看。不管怎樣,這是我的理論。

令人感興趣的是,wimmin 這個字現在被若干女權主義人士以非貶抑的方式來使用:

  • ...her volunteer work at Michigan Wimmin's Festival.
  • ...advertisements for women-only holidays that range from The Wimmin's Place, a feminist hide-away in Kilkenny...
  • ...women's determination to be known as "wimmin".

dependent or dependant?

你應該說 "dependent" 還是 "dependant" 呢?

對於「仰賴」、「依靠」,你是寫成 someone or something is dependent on another person or thing,還是寫成 someone or something is dependant on another person or thing 呢?

  • She became emotionally dependent on him. (小說)
  • Some of those who opt out of the scheme may end up dependant on state benefits. (一本有關社會行政的書)

那麼某人的眷屬、受扶養的家屬該用哪個字呢? 他們是他或她的 dependents 還是  dependants 呢?

  • Shell is to evacuate the dependents of its employees from the city. (電台的報導)
  • Mr Ryan was a single man with no dependants.  (報紙的報導)

在英式英語中,dependent 通常被視為形容詞,而 dependant 為名詞。所以,你應該寫成 someone or something is dependent on another person or thing,但某人的家屬應該是 dependants,而不是 "dependents"。

證據:

證據顯示,英國人幾乎都是寫成 someone or something is "dependent" on someone or something else. 在英式英語中,在表示這項意思時,"dependent" 比 "dependant" 常用 40 倍;而在指某人家庭的成員時,"dependant" 比 "dependent" 還常見兩倍。

在美式英語中,上述兩種意思幾乎都是使用 "dependent" 這個拼字。

建議:

對於「仰賴」、「依靠」的意思,你應該寫成 someone or something is dependent on another person or thing:

  • She had been totally dependent on Stein for a long time. (小說)

在英式英語中,當你在指某人的家屬時,最好使用 dependants 這個拼字:

  • If the insured person dies within that time, the money will be paid to his or her dependants. (報紙的報導)

disinterest, uninterest, or lack of interest?

你應該說 "disinterest","uninterest" 還是 "lack of interest" 呢?

如果某人對某事不感興趣 (someone is not interested in something),你是說他們   disinterest in something 嗎?

  • Lund made clear his disinterest in deciding who was right and wrong.

你可以說他們 uninterest in something 嗎?

  • Chantal tended to look down on Martine's plump figure, her total uninterest in book learning, and her devouring absorption in boys.

有人說根本沒有 "disinterest" 和 "uninterest" 這兩個字。他們說,你應該說 someone's lack of interest in something:

  • He professes a lack of interest in being Prime Minister.
  • He had resented his wife's lack of interest in athletics.

證據:

在一本著名英英字典中,"disinterest" 出現 103 次,所以「這個字不存在」的說法是講不通的。"uninterest" 僅出現 3 次。"lack of interest" 出現 338 次。

建議:

disinterest 之所以被認為不存在 (做「沒有興趣」解釋的時候),主要是字典大多沒有這個意思,一般認為它與 "disinterested" 有關,它只能被用來表達「公正無私」、「不偏不倚」的意思。uninterest 是個意思比較相符的字,但顯然地他尚未成為英語的單字。

因此,我們最好使用 lack of interest in something 來表達對某事「缺乏興趣」的意思,而不要使用 "disinterest" in 或 "uninterest" in something:

  • Hobson's lack of interest in history was unsurprising.
  • After years of declaring my total lack of interest , here I was watching a game and enjoying it.

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irreparable, irrepairable, or unrepairable?

你應該說 "irreparable","irrepairable" 還是 "unrepairable" 呢?

事情「無法補救」,「不能挽回」時,你可以用 irreparable 來表達這個意思:

  • He said the move would cause irreparable harm to the organization. (電台的報導)
  • The strike could cause irreparable damage to Australia's reputation as a reliable supplier. (報紙的文章)
  • We have 400 manuscripts in a state of very serious deterioration. They are the only known copies and their loss would be irreparable. (報紙報導引述圖書館人員的話)

但如果一個物體或東西受損太嚴重而無法修復時,你是說它 irreparableirrepairable 還是 unrepairable 呢?

  • In two minutes the boards became irreparable. (科學書籍)
  • Most of the houses that were damaged were irrepairable. (歷史書籍)
  • On close inspection, the whole motor was pronounced unrepairable. (雜誌的文章)

若干人士認為這裡正確的用字應該是 unrepairable

證據:

在一本英英字典中,物體或東西壞了「不能修復」,"irreparable" 被使用兩次 "irrepairable" 一次,而 "unrepairable" 5 次。但更常見的說法是 "beyond repair" -- 被使用了 104 次之多。

建議:

如果一個物體或東西受損太嚴重而無法修復時,我們最好說 beyond repair,而非 "irreparable","irrepairable" 或 "unrepairable"。

  • The helicopter was found to be beyond repair. (電台的報導)
  • There are hundreds of great pictures which restorers say are beyond repair. (雜誌的文章)

yoof

Cobuilder 這本著名的字典收錄了一個重大的錯誤拼字。yoofyouth (青年男女 -- 集合名詞) 的變形。為了瞭解這個字不同的含意,我們查閱了多本英英字典並且在網路進行大搜尋,以找出其他最常跟它連用的字。經過統計分析後,我們得出下表 (依重要性的次序排列):

  1. tv
  2. youth
  3. culture
  4. porter
  5. janet
  6. programmes
  7. street

對英國文化不熟悉的人可能對第 4,第 5 和第 7 項感到困惑,不過下面的例句對你應該有所幫助:

  • ...BBC `Yoof' supremo Janet Street-Porter.
  • ...former BBC yoof boss Janet Street-Porter.
  • ...someone who worked for Janet Street-Porter's Yoof department at the BBC.

從上面的例句來看,yoof 似乎起源於電視界,而且是來自 Street-Porter 小姐獨特的 youth 發音。

我們還有許多其他例句可以支持這個字與電視的關係:

  • Terry Christian is doing very nicely out of the TV `yoof' market.
  • ...a regular fan of Channel 4's yoof-orientated Moviewatch.
  • He was invited to present the DEF-II arts programme for style-conscious yoof.

然而,與許多這類的字一樣,這個字的應用已超越其原來的範疇:

  • ...one of those `yoof' magazines like The Face.
  • Have you noticed how advertising is trying to talk to `today's yoof' by reflecting bright fast-moving, quick-smart, ravy images and attitudes?
  • The New of the World ran a competition to `Win grunge gear and CDs' by asking its `yoof' readers to write in and `tell us what your parents said the first time they saw you in grunge gear'.
  • ...the post-war explosion of materialism-mad yoof culture.

對我而言,yoof 基本上是個負面的字。上面的例句強調了若干人士認為的盲目追求流行,一窩蜂趕時髦,大手筆消費的現代青年文化的層面。我想我最好現在就打住了,如果再講下去,你們可能把我當成討人厭的 LKK (old fart)。


bail or bale?

你應該說 "bail" 還是 "bale" 呢?

這兩個字都有數個意思,其中若干意思並沒有一定要使用那個拼字。

法律的「交保」、「保釋」都是拼成 bail

  • Jenkins was released on bail. (報紙的報導)
  • He was bailed to appear before magistrates on 5 November. (報紙的報導)

板球 (cricket) 三柱門上的橫木都是拼成 bails

  • Russell whipped the bails off. (報紙的報導)

「一大捆或一大包紙、乾草、棉花或其他柔軟物質」都是拼成 bale

  • Olga was perched on a bale of hay. (小說)
  • The blaze destroyed 450 tons of baled straw. (報紙的報導) 

但當這些字被用於片語動詞 (phrasal verbs -- 請參考「文法寫作指南」的動詞與動狀詞) 時,問題就來了。

如果你協助某人擺脫困境,譬如說提供金錢,那麼你是 bail them out 還是 bale them out 呢?

  • Faulkner had given him a considerable amount of money to bail the business out. (報紙的報導)
  • The group was baled out by its bankers last month. (報紙的報導)


如果飛行員緊急跳傘逃生,他們是 bail out 還是 bale out 呢?

  • An aircraft ejection seat was first used in an emergency in 1942 when the pilot of a German fighter bailed out at 7,875ft. (報紙的文章)
  • His father, an air force captain, had baled out after being shot down in Vietnam. (報紙的文章)

「從船中舀出水」是寫成 a boat is bailed out 還是 a boat is baled out 呢?

  • If you have time, bail any water out of the raft. (報紙的文章)
  • Alloy dinghies with buoyancy in the seats remain upright when swamped and usually can be baled out. (報紙的文章)

證據:

證據顯示,在英式英語中,在表示「擺脫困境」的意思時,"bail out" 比 "bale out" 常用許多;就此意思而言,在一項有關使用頻率的研究中,"bail out" 出現逾 800 次,而 "bale out" 出現約 60 次。在美式英語中,幾乎都是使用 "bail out"。

在英式英語中,在表示飛行員「跳傘」(逃生) 的意思時,"bail out" 和 "bale out" 似乎同樣常見,前者出現 26 次,後者出現 29 次;而「從船中舀出水」也是一樣,"bail out" 出現 11 次,"bale out" 出現 8 次。就這兩個意思而言,美式英語都是拼成 "bail out"。

建議:

某人獲得交保應說成:Someone is bailed or released on bail. 板球三柱門上的橫木叫做 bails。而 Hay, cloth, or other material is baled or made into bales. 某人獲協助而脫困最好寫成:Someone is bailed out of a difficult situation. 而不要寫成:Someone is "baled out" of a difficult situation.

在英式英語中,你可以寫成:A pilot bails out. 或 A pilot bales out. 你也可以寫成:A boat is bailed out. 或 A boat is baled out.

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conference or congress?

你知道 conference congress 這兩個字的意思有何不同嗎? 我發現很難找出它們意思的不同。

這兩個字使用頻率旗鼓相當,也同樣相當常見,但 "congress" 大多出現在 US Congress、African National Congress (非洲民族議會 -- 南非執政黨) 和 Trades Union Congress 的用法中 -- 這些都是組織或機構 (至於古早 congress 的另一意思「性交」現今已不復存在)。"conference" 也用在組織的名稱中,但比較少見。若排除這些用法,以及 "press conference" (記者會) 和 "in conference" (開業務會議) 等片語,"conference" 比 "congress" 約常用 10 倍;我認為這是它們之間的主要差異。"congress" 大量使用在事件的名稱中,且通常具有比較正式的意味。a congress 比 a conference 來得重要而且正式。"congress" 也與政治有密切關係,如前蘇聯、中共及其他國家有 Congress of Peoples Deputies (人民代表大會)、National People's Congress of PRC (中共人大) 及其他 Communist Party Congresses。

  • Argentina has announced plans for the first World Congress of Housewives. (英國報紙)
  • ...the 17th International Congress of Genetics. (英國雜誌)
  • ...the Annual Congress of the Institute of Physics. (英國雜誌)
  • The World Congress on Tuberculosis meets today. (美國電台)  

有時, "conference" 具有特定的目的,最顯著的是 "peace conferences" (絕對不能寫成 "peace congresses")。但大致而言,conference 是個比較通俗的字,用做普通名詞,而且也用在特定事件的名稱中:

  • I once went to a conference on improvising in music. (BBC)
  • The eighth International Conference on AIDS opened in Amsterdam with defiant speeches criticizing the United States. (美國報紙)
  • ...the 69th annual conference of the German Society for Mammalian Studies. (英國報紙)  

有趣的是,雖然 "congress" 與政治有關連性,但英國政黨在稱它們的年會時是用 "conferences",而不是用 "congresses":

  • The Conservative Party conference has opened in Bournemouth on the south-coast of England with a debate on the family. (BBC)

thesis or dissertation?

有兩個學術用語有時也會讓人困惑。它們就是 thesis dissertation

它們是同義字嗎? 在學術界, thesis dissertation 之間的意思有很大的差異嗎?

雖然這兩個字並非完全的同義字 (事實上,許多英美人士辯稱,若有的話,英文中真正的同義字也是鳳毛麟角),但它們在用法上有許多重疊之處。"dissertation" 是比較通俗的用字,可指任何層級所做的任何原創研究論文,包括博士論文。"thesis" 通常用來指博士論文,但它也用來指為取得碩士學位所寫的研究論文 (即碩士論文),尤其用在美式英語中。

根據某一英文資料庫,"thesis" 比 "dissertation" 常用很多 (出現率:3,438 次對 691 次),但這其中有許多情況是在表達另一意思 (某人提出來討論的一項構想或理論 -- 這正是論文的起源)。

這兩個字用來表示學位論文時,它們出現的次數似乎差異不大:

doctoral thesis -- 89 次
PhD thesis -- 101 次
master's thesis - 31 次

doctoral dissertation - 108 次
PhD dissertation - 42 次
master's dissertation - 1 次

在一般和通俗英語中,這兩個字的用法似乎沒有差異:

  • He researched much of his doctoral thesis on 19th Century English poetry at the University of Leicester. (澳洲報紙)
  • She's writing her doctoral dissertation on `The Andy Griffith Show: The Lure of the Electronic Mayberry'. (美國電台)
  • I'm not interested in hearing about the professor's Ph.D. dissertation. (美國書籍)
  • She wrote her PhD thesis at Cambridge University in 1950. (英國報紙) 

apparently

apparently 這個字在大多數字典中的解釋是「表面看來」、「似乎」、「顯然」,但我在一本字典中卻看到有「事實上」(in fact) 的意思;請看下面的例句:

  • She looks about 12, but apparently she is 14.

這個字很常用做這意思? 這是一種新用法? 這是美式英語還是英式英語的用法?

我知道有人 (可能還不少) 會對這個句子感到困惑;; apparently 在語源上與 appearappearance 等字相關,暗示表面和事實之間有一段差距,有矛盾之處,也就是表面看來是這樣,但其實可能不然的意思。在下面的例句中,apparently 就是這種意思:

  • Canada, apparently so placid and pacific, is in constitutional confusion.
  • He'd once seen a coyote moving slow, apparently unwary, some three or four hundred yards out.
  • This apparently simple look is not necessarily simple to achieve.

然而,如果我們將這個意思應用到最前面的例句,那麼這個女孩同時「看來似乎是」("look" 和 "appear"),意思就不通了。

當然了,這是因為 apparently 有不同的意思。雖然該字典將 "in fact" 視為它的同義詞並沒有錯,但我們必須對這意思做進一步的說明。如果你把 apparently 用做這個意思,那是表示雖然沒有直接證據,只是因為你從別人那邊或其他來源聽到,你就相信某事為事實 (當然,你的信以為真事後可能改變) -- 這相當於「據我所知」的意思。下面例句中的 apparently 都是這個意思:

  • They're looking for us, apparently,' Rosanna said. `But we've seen no sign of them.'
  • The bodies apparently were found by Andrzej Jaroszewicz.
  • Hattie was looking rather drawn and apparently she's been in hospital and they've discovered arthritis.
  • At Eichstatt, 274 persons were burned at the stake apparently in one year, 1629.
  • Apparently by what we're hearing, civilians are not the primary targets.

現在我們來回答我們在上面所提出的問題:

-- apparently 常常被用做這個意思;根據我從網路上所找到的句子,apparently 被用做這個意思的情況竟然超過 50%。
-- 這不是一種新用法。我的一位美國友人告訴我,他已屆退休年齡的岳母一直都是把 apparently 當做「事實上」、「據我所知」使用。 
-- 它在美式英語和英式英語中似乎同樣常見。上面最後兩個例句係取材自美國資料。

然而,如果沒有完整的上下文,我們不可能確定 apparently 是什麼意思。例如:

  • `This is a serious incident,' said a police spokesman. `Although he apparently looked quite nice.'

這位警方發言人親眼看到犯下或做了此一嚴重事件的人嗎? 他被這位仁兄的外表所矇騙了嗎? 還是別人告訴他此一事件呢?

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