Sunday, August 12, 2007

Credit or Debit ?

<<我以前寫的一篇舊文,有增修過>>

      我在Blockbuster櫃台準備付帳。一個看起來像是經理的人在一旁"指揮交通",櫃台後兩個人在整理東西,過了一會,其中一個過來幫我結帳。

      "Did you find everything you need?" 這個櫃員拿了我要租的片子和我的會員卡,邊掃描上頭的條碼,邊說着。
      "Yes." 我回答。
      "Total is four fifty......credit....." 他後頭的櫃員仍在鏗鏗鏘鏘的整理片子,我沒注意聽到他後頭講的話,我想反正信用卡都給他了就沒有多理會。
      "Credit or debit?" 他看着我又問了一次。這下我聽清楚了,我回答"cre",還沒講到dit,他已經埋頭在他的鍵盤上頭敲敲打打。
      "Did you say credit?" 他抬起來望着我又問了一次。我想大概是背後的吵雜聲的關係吧,於是我放大音量說了"Credit",這次應該夠清楚了。這時他臉帶歉意的說: "It's credit, is it?"
      "Yes." 我回答。
      停了一會他又接着說 "It's been a long day." 然後遞給我收據讓我簽名。
      "Yeah, I know." 我邊簽名邊說着。
      "You know, credit and debit sound so close... I just want to be sure I didn't ring up the wrong one."
      "I understand." 我說,然後遞給他簽好的收據。
      "Do you need a bag for this?" 他把單據和片子拿在手上,等我回答。
      "No." 我搖頭說着。
      接着我走到出口,他準備把片子和單據拿到出口處交給我,同時再次問了我一次我要不要袋子,我還是說"No."

      不錯啦,他的服務態度算是不錯,為了確認還再次問我要不要袋子,年輕人就是這樣,即使忙翻了,在態度上也不至於擺個臭臉。

      在往停車場的路上,我想着,credit 和 debit,若是環境吵雜,聽起來還真像,因為都是"ㄝ" " 一"的母音。

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

No free lunch?

    There's no free lunch, but there's free dinner. What happened was my friends and I had dinner at a 99 restaurant a few days ago. One of us ordered a steak tips with "sauteed onions and mushrooms"(*1). His steak tips were fine, but his onion was a bit raw and there's only two mushrooms (mushroom halves I believe). He kinda complained his dish to our waitress so she wrote it off from our bill. After he saw the bill and found it out, he said to her that she didn't have to do this, but she said she talked to the manager and he agreed the chef didn't really sauteed the onion and mushrooms. Well, so my friend thanked her and we made sure we gave her a big tip.

    I don't usually complain about my dish, but there's exceptions. One time, I had some kind of fish and the fish was not cooked through. THAT, I had to tell the waitress because it was too hard and it wasn't something I could ignore. Another time was a deli dish. My friend and I was at a deli restaurant and I ordered a corned beef hash with egg or something. At that time, "corned beef hash" was still new to me and I wanted to try it out. After my dish arrived, I took a bite and I was curious about its sour tastes, so I asked our waitress if the dish was supposed to taste that way. She said it's home-made and if I wanted I could get something else, for free I believe. I was really curious if the food went sour or it's just their own special flavor, but she didn't really answer my question and kept saying I could get something else, so I said OK. When I was waiting for my other meal, I overheard two old ladies sitting behind me talking about their "sour" corned beef. I wasn't sure if ther're complaining about it though because they were talking in a low voice.

    I might have had other "free dinners" but I really don't remember. I'm simply not big in getting a free dinner.

(*1)

Sunday, July 1, 2007

大頭照

大頭照拍完後我本來想說這比去郵局拍省4塊錢,但是走出去後才想到我可以到藥房去拍。以前去過一次,那時是大約5塊錢。剛到一家藥房的網站查了一 下,兩張大頭照已經漲到8塊錢了。從很多年前開始這邊的大頭拍就已經是用數位相機現拍現印(我還沒碰過去相館拍,然後是用傳統相機拍攝外加打光甚麼的)。 後來聽朋友說有些連鎖藥房也有提供這種服務,因為很便宜我也去拍了一次。怎麼拍? 就店頭櫃檯邊拉下個白幕,然後店員美眉用數位相機拍,拍好後美眉說這會整張Letter尺寸相片整個印滿,所以會有很多個大頭照,然後我要自己剪裁。反正也才四五塊錢所以無所謂。

接著碰到要換台灣護照。當時照片用的還是台灣格式(些微長方形的,不是美國這邊用的正方形),然後我異想天開想到 Mall 裡頭的投幣式照相亭印出來的就是有些長方形(亭子外頭好像有說明寫說證照可以用),所以我就花了兩塊錢去拍。照出來的效果不是很好,有點過亮泛白,剛好我又是穿淺色衣服,所以拿到波士頓辦事處那時,辦事小姐直說不行,後來還是在我的堅持下收下我的照片。事後拿到我的護照才發現護照上的人頭照根本是低解析度"線條式"的陰影列印,就算我拿上好的大頭照也是白搭,真不知道這些人在想甚麼...

接下來大約兩次需要大頭照時我是到 Mall 裡的相館拍的。大概是太少拍,我居然忘了藥房那邊有便宜的... Anyway,反正拍好順便逛 Mall,我也沒去特別注意細節。這次拍大頭照時也是去同一家相館。我特意留意了一下細節:
  1. 拍攝地點是入口邊的一根柱子。柱子上貼了個白幕,然後前頭擺了個小凳子,要拍時就坐在那,然後店員也不用刻意站幾步之外直接就在短距離內用數位相機拍。
  2. 照片相關規定店員也不清楚,所以我要另外提醒她"眼鏡鏡片有沒有反光?" 她這時候才看了一下相機上的LCD小螢幕然後說"有喔,你最好把眼鏡拿掉"。我說"不行喔,規定是說眼鏡要留著"。
  3. 店員美眉拍好後就直接把 memory stick 拿到她旁邊的 kiosk 開始編輯。這一步我之前都沒去注意,所以她在操作的時候我刻意看了一下。她先把照片調亮些,然後換功能,這時螢幕出現兩條平行線,她把我的頭頂和下巴和這兩條線對好後就完成了(我本來想問照片上我身邊的店裡背景不除掉嗎?)約十秒二十秒照片印出來了,大大的上下並排的照片,然後店員用 2x2 的剪裁器直接把需要的部分切下來(難怪可以不用理那些背景)就OK啦!
  4. 店員美眉還可以再甜美多微笑一點。 



拿到美國護照後我看了上頭的照片,哈!也是那種低解析度的印刷。

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

herdlike

因為主要是我自己的看法,再說字都打了,不貼可惜,所以我選在這裡張貼。
這是回應這一串討論文:
herdlike 是什麼意思?



我在想,這也許是來自中西對"放牧"認知的不同所造成的差異。

"放牧"裡頭有個"放",這會讓人聯想到"放牛","放任"等等。"放牛班"裡的"放牛"兩字是取自"放牛吃草"這俗諺,白話一點就是"放任不管"。為什麼"放牛吃草"會有"放任"的意思?臺灣早期仍是農業社會的時候耕田用的水牛算是蠻普遍的,那麼這些水牛有時候需要些小孩(或成人)帶去吃草,這時候往往只是一隻或是兩隻,總之不會是一次成群的幾百幾千隻的帶。而水牛又不是會到處"趴趴走"的動物,所以一般是帶到一塊地後就讓牛自己去吃草,了不起栓根繩子,放牧的人也許可以躺在樹下打個盹,因為不用太擔心牛會跑遠,也不用擔心會突然跳出個獅子老虎豺狼啥的把牛給吃了或是咬走,牛隻則自己"愜意"的隨意走(反正一整個下午也是在同一個地方啃草),因此"放牛吃草" -- 放任牛隻讓牛隻自己隨意移動和吃草。當然臺灣也有"農場" -- 養乳牛那種,只是這和前述情況比較起來畢竟不是很普遍,所以"放牛吃草"的意思不帶有像農場那樣的養幾千幾萬(?)隻牛的情形那樣的要格外花些心神和精力。

----
至於英文的"herd",畢竟他們的放牧 -- 放牧一大群牛羊的情形 -- 和我們的"放牛"相較之下比較普遍,所以他們的"放牧"主要是偏向大量動物的這一情形。"herd"當動詞時的意思:

Longman
to make animals move together in a group

為什麼呢?就像前面討論串link裡頭有人提到的那個sheep的例子。有看電視電影的應該有看過放牧羊群的場景,如果放任羊隻不管的話,幾千幾萬隻羊各走各的走散不說,走遠的羊還會被野狼,豺狼之類的獵殺,所以非得 make animals move together in a group才行。

-----
以下是我對那句子裡頭的 herdlike的認知:

所以 a herdlike approach --> an approach of treating school kids like a herd of sheep(sheep好舉例,所以我以sheep為例子。當然也可以是其它動物)

(只是我剛好想到,並不是所有的類比情況 都是原句子裡頭的訴求)

在放牧綿羊之前/之後要先用車子載到目的地/自目的地載回 <--> 上下學要搭校車(這是美國的情形。大部分的學童是如此)

全部的羊要聚在一起 <--> 全部學校學童集中在學校裡上課,老師在上課時不可能臨時換場地帶全班或是只帶幾人到星巴克上課 :p

不能讓羊隻走散走遠 <--> 小學/高中的話要上個廁所要跟老師要hall pass。當然也不能隨便逃學。

要防野狼/豺狼之類的 <--> 學校有警衛,不能讓閒雜人等來學校鬧

如果羊被吃了太多,放牧的人工作不保 <--> 外人來學校鬧,警衛不理的話工作不保

所有的羊吃的和喝的是一樣的。當要轉換吃草的場地時,所有的羊要跟著放牧的人所帶的方向走,不能自己 跑到別的地方玩 <--> 所有的學童的教材一致,上課時老師教同樣的東西給全班的學生,"因材施教"做不到(是有資優班啦,但是也只是上課教材/內容和一般的學生不一樣而已,老師 還是整班一起教一樣的東西,整班一起帶)。大家按照時刻表統一行動。


那麼中文要怎麼翻呢?(大家習慣了學校的"標準答案"的學習方式,沒一個標準答案總是會讓人坐立不安)

I don't know ... 這也是為什麼我平常不大碰翻譯類的問題,因為太麻煩了.... 特別是以原例子的herdlike來說,我個人認為它帶有多重意思,不論是翻成哪種引申意思都會顧失彼此,如果按照字面直接翻,那麼又會讓人無法馬上看懂。另外一個翻譯的難處是這是複合字,字典裡頭沒有這字所以很難訂出一個統一的說法。如果"a herdlike approach"在教育界是一個已經存在多時的固定術語的話,那麼至少還有可能找到相對應的中文術語(如果已經有學術界的人翻好了)。如果這是新的自創詞,那麼難度就高多了,就算翻出來了,其他人也未必都能接受。對我自己來說,我在意的是我是否能直接讀懂,畢竟我住在美國,我並不需要知道某個說法的中文 怎麼說。總而言之言而總之,翻譯類的問題我是少碰為妙

Dude! Where's my car key?

     What would you do if you leave your car key in the car (and your car engine is still running)? The experienced would say "Call tripple-A(*1)!"
     The unexperienced?
     More than ten year ago, a friend went to a school in Connecticut, and I figured I could drive down there, pick him up, drive him back to Massachusetts and showed him around. So I went down there, and before we headed north we stopped at a supermarket near his place to grab something to drink. After we were done and came out of the store, I realized I didn't have my car key with me--what was worse was when I walked back to my car, I found out the engine was still running!
     Then a "Eureka!" moment came to me--I remembered my father once mentioned the same situation. He said he called the police, and then a policeman came and picked the lock. My father said he also got a fifty-dollar bill from the policeman.
     Well, back then I honestly thought that was a standard "service" provided by the police, so I walked to a pay phone, dialed 411, explained my situation to the operator and requested the phone number of a nearby police station. I remembered he asked me where I was very politely and patiently (For that I really appreciated it). I don't quite remember what I said next, because I don't recall I walked away from the pay phone and looked for the road sign, so I guess I told him the name of the supermarket.
     After I got the number, or he connected me to the police station, a lady at the station answered the phone. I told her what had happened to me and asked her if she could help me.
"No, sir, we don't provide that kind of service."
"Oh," I was a bit choked, "thank you then."
Just before I hung up my phone, I heard she said "Well, if you want, I can connect you to the tow station."
"Yes, please!" Of course I'd want it!
     The rest was standard; the tow truck came, the guy unlocked the door, and I paid him thirty dollars(or sixty? I forgot), in cash. It just so happened that I had that much money with me. Honestly, I wouldn't have known what to do if I couldn't pay him. I didn't own a credit card at that time, either.
     The following years I had the same mishap twice, one in San Jose and the other one in Houston; both times I called AAA.
(*1) AAA (usually read "tripple-A") is an American automobile organization. It provides many services to its members, including roadside assistance.

A snitch

     A few years ago, my brother had a trip back to Taiwan. One late night (or early morning, depends on how you look at it) he came back home and was parking his scooter at a small parking lot nearby. While he was doing it, he saw a woman across the street staring at him.
     That woman owned a family-operated tofu plant, and they usually started their business around 3 am. To be frank, I grew up with this family-owned business on my street and I didn't find it noisy or anything. As a matter of fact, last time I went back home, I found the plant's steam-releasing sound soothing, a nostalgic-like sensation that helped me sleep.... Anyway, one thing different from before was this woman's loud voice--it was almost like she was in a fight with her customers or something; back when her mother-in-law was in charge, it was never like that.
     Apparently one of ours neighbors couldn't stand it anymore and reported it to "環保局". So, that's what happened to my brother--a guy from the environmental protection office was measuring the noise level the small plant made (or she made), and it just so happened he was standing in a corner behind my brother.
     A few days later, my brother had a cold, so he went to a doctor in our neighborhood. During the visit, my brother told him this story and he said, "Well, to tell you the truth, I'm the one called the office(*1). It's been ten years; I can't stand it anymore."


(*1) 主格關代省略
Yes, he is a doctor, but even a doctor doesn't always talk in a (most) formal manner. Besides, my brother knew him very well and they chatted quite often. When people chat, that's how they usually talk, so after some thinking, I dropped the who between one and called (but I keep it intact in my old blog).


<<我的一篇舊文  有經過增修>>

絹豆腐

我很喜歡吃豆腐(別想歪啦!),所以看到一家以「絹豆腐」為店名的餐廳時,那欣喜的心情是可想而知的。那次是朋友臨時起意要到紐約市一遊,然後我們 一行三人啥也沒帶就直接驅車一路由波士頓西郊一路開過去。因為朋友的弟弟在那一帶上學,他弟弟也「傳授」了他一些在那一帶遊玩的方法和好去處,於是他提議 我們先到鄰近紐約市隔了條河的紐澤西先找下榻處,隔天一早再搭渡輪到紐約市,車子呢,就停在渡輪口附設的停車場即可。
那天晚上的晚餐就是在 「絹豆腐」這家韓國餐廳打發的。因為店名是用漢字,而且是我喜歡的豆腐,所以店名就這樣子記起來啦。
這家店的的店面不大,也因此看到了些很 有趣的畫面。一群食客要在店外等位子,然後是在餐廳外頭先點菜,這我倒是第一次遇到(也是唯一的一次)。等到位子後,女侍帶我們到一個靠近入口的長併桌坐 下,我的右鄰則是另一桌客人,這,又是另一個在美國餐廳很少遇到的情況,反正我們在台灣也常這樣,所以這倒沒甚麼。
在上正菜之前女侍先端來 好幾小盤的醬菜和「鹹雞蛋」(這印象有些模糊了,隱隱記得是有雞蛋的)。至於正菜,其實我也不知道那算不算,因為整個的感覺很像台灣那種賣「清粥小菜」的 店。碟碟碗碗的一大桌,整體感覺我是覺得很不錯。
至於隔天的紐約遊,因為不是第一次去所以不覺得有甚麼特別的,倒是去了 Guggenheim Musem,非常獨特且有風格的美術館。當天在紐約市是搭晚上六點多的也是渡輪附設的shuttle bus回到渡輪口,然後駛回對岸。六點多是早了些,但是我的腿早就快走斷啦!總之整個是個非常驚喜又有趣的weekend getaway!

可能我比較好運吧

(以前的一篇舊文)
      剛讀了這篇: 拚英文的迷思--和老外學美語有用嗎?
      在大原則/方向上我同意他說的,只是這和我的經驗不一樣,所以我在想,是當時我上課的地方師資特別好嗎?
      有老外老師教英文(會話)的一個很典型的上課模式:小班制,大家圍成個圈,上課過程中會玩遊戲/分組。根據我聽來的說法是這上課模式是由一個哈佛教授發明的,因為成效很好所以傳了開來。告訴我的人當時在哈佛大學裡的燕京圖書館任職,她本身也是校友。她說她有去上那位教授的課,雖然教授的年紀很大了,但是還是很有活力,她也上得津津有趣。
      「津津有趣」正是我當年上英文會話課的感覺。我的所有的老師們上課的模式也都是固定的。

* * * * *

      幾年前我的一個親戚到加拿大遊學學英文,上了快半年了然後抽空飛來麻州找我們。他抱怨說他實在很不習慣「那種」上課方式,然後他的老師也不大理他。我問他,那麼你是不是希望上課方式是像我們台灣學校那樣子老師在上頭教,然後學生在下方聽。他回說是。由他的反應我得到的感覺是似乎年紀大些的學員(他那時候四十囉)比較不習慣「活潑小朋友式」的上課方式。

* * * * *

      前頭提到的那篇文章裡頭提到一點: 基礎的建立,最好由同母語的人士來進行教學。這我同意。那麼上那些有老外的課是在建立基礎,還是在「用」英文?就像是那篇文章後頭提到的--到了美國,只是去「用」英文,而不是「學」英文(?)
      那篇文章裡頭提到的說句英文就「臉紅耳赤」的情形我也經歷過,但是如果一個學英文的人害羞到學了一兩年,甚至是兩三年還是講個英文就面紅耳赤,還是不敢開 口,我覺得那就真的是那人的個人問題了。換句話說,一些學習障礙的現象在初期是會出現的,但是讓這現象持續的責任我個人認為主要是在學員自己身上。教英文的老師當然也會是障礙之一,但是學員如果還是無法分辨,「呆呆的」繼續上不認真的老師的課,那麼這實在不能怪罪到別人身上。
      我當年在台北上了四期的會話課,班上人數一定是從開始的十多人到最後只剩四五人。美籍老師的師資有小學老師,也有陪博士老婆來台灣蒐集資料的博士。所有的老師都至少是大學學歷。我的四位老師都是上課認真,不是那種"講了一次就不講,不再重複,不糾正學員"的老師,但是為甚麼大部分學員都在上課過程中跑掉了?據我所知,有的是上班族無法每次都趕來,漏了幾次課後就乾脆不來了,也有的是嫌老師不會教所以不來了,而後面這類學員至少他們懂得選擇他們要的上課老 師和方式,他們也許不明智,但是不呆。
      現在的問題則是「呆呆牌」的人佔了全部學員多少人?以我上課的地方來說,應該是很低(除非我也是,但是我沒有呈現那篇文章裡頭提到的現象),但是其他地方呢?
      我哥剛來美國時也去上了些ESL課(他來的時候我已經在美國住了幾年了)。他找了好些個地方,其中有好的(or稍微好一些)也有壞的。他跟我說了些那個較好的那一個地方的上課時的笑話--基本上就和那篇文章裡頭提到的幾個怪現象一模一樣。有個學員是絕不開口(但是私底下說他一定要認真聽,然後把英文學好。他已經在那上了好幾期的課了); 有一兩個是上課拼命搶發言時間,拼命亂扯; 有兩三個是拼命的用自己的母語討論(討論完了,也漏了一大段老師講的), 剩下幾個就是「比較正常」的。至於老師呢,根據我哥的描述,雖然不差,但是比不上我在台北上課的那些美國老師(or我們的學生素質較高/較沒怪胎?)
      換句話說,那文章作者所描述的我相信是部分現象,而不是所有的學員都是一個樣。如果是全部都是一個死樣,那麼說實在的這實在和教的方法/教的老師無關。如果僅是部分現象,那麼我相信「正常的」學員還是可以各取所需的--這包含如果不爽老師/學校,那麼可以換地方上。至於「呆呆牌」,我是認為這些人不管到了哪裡/用哪種教法結果都是一樣的,所以這些人第一步驟要做的就是--請-不-要-再-呆-下-去-了。
      我前頭扯了那麼多只是要表達當你要討論一個教法/上課方式,那麼先把少數例子去掉,不然的話這世界上就不存在有任何可被接受的英文上課模式了。

* * * * *

      現在回到前頭的那個學和用。我覺得那句話的最大盲點是--難道不能邊學邊用嗎?說實在的,等「學會了」再去「用」那不知道要花多少年的時間,對某些人來說 也許一輩子也到達不了「學會了」的程度。我相信學和用之間絕對存在一個邊學邊用的過渡期,而且我相信我當年在上英文課時就已經有在「用」英文了--是實際使用英文和老外老師溝通,交換意見,而不是你念一句,我念一句,念完了,也下課了。如果要這種上課方式的話我回自己的國中/高中上英文課就行了,幹嘛要花這冤枉錢?這也是為甚麼我同意那句「基礎的建立,最好由同母語的人士來進行教學」,因為我們自己(國小)國高中學校裏頭的英文課已經有教了。當然我不是一開始在上會話課時就能用英文和老師溝通,第一期上課的時候我幾乎都是用猜的,也是有渡過一個過渡期(課程也確實是最低階),但是如果我一開始就會用英文的話那麼我幹嘛另外花錢去上課?
      現在最大的問題是像我這樣情形的人和那文章以及我這篇提到的怪現象的人哪個佔多數。如果我是屬於少數情形,那麼我就真的只能說我當時很好運吧。

Sukiyaki

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukiyaki



Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukiyaki_%28song%29

YouTube上有他的當年黑白片的演唱

My mom taught me

我不是她的支持者,只是在她的宣傳廣告聽到"My mom taught me ..."所以注意聽了一下。很多人在寫求職之類的自傳時很喜歡寫"My parents taught me ...."(翻自中文的「我父母教導我...」),這是沒錯啦,但是整句讀起來的感覺和"正港"美國人講的感覺真的差得很多,所以我引個Hilary的廣 告詞給大家參考,看看這位總統候選人是怎麼表達的:
    I'm thrilled that I have my mother and my daughter with me tonight. My mother Dorothy Rodham and my daughter Chelsea Clinton.

    You know as I travel around I see so many families who share the same values I was brought up with. My mom taught me to stand up for myself, and stand up for those who can't do it on their own. I'm proud to live by those values, but what I'm most proud of is knowing who(*1) I pass them on to.

    I'm Hilary Clinton, and I approved this message.

(*1) 應該是whom,但是用who也很普遍,尤其她的電視廣告詞的對象是一般大眾,所以內容不算是非常正式,因此講who沒關係。
可以注意讀一 下,看她如何把主題從她媽媽轉到自己身上,因為這是很多人在寫自傳第一段時的最大弱點--只講了我父母教導我,接下來就沒了(那麼你是有學起來還是聽過就 算了?)
http://www.youtube.com/v/mkxJHdQKSUM

"The school has xxx students" 是錯的?

因為是針對這說法,所以我把原貼文內容修改一下只取其意思。出處啦,誰貼的我就不引了,因為看樣子這說法恐怕不是偶一事件。
一個在 網路上看到的說法是如下列的句子是錯誤的:
The school has 1000 students.
理由是學校裏頭不是只有學生而已(比如還有校長啦,老師啦,警衛啦,花草樹木流浪狗等等),所以不能這樣子表 示。沒這回事喔。
首先我們先直接看英文書籍上實際的例子:

Google Books (books.google.com)
search pattern: (含前後雙引號)
"the school has * student"
在第三頁的地方:(還有更多的例子,只是這三個剛好列在一起)

以 這三個例子來說,這三本書不是甚麼低教育程度的阿狗阿貓自己亂寫然後就找人列印出版的, 而且三本書都算是較嚴肅的學術類主題的書,所以想出言攻擊說這三本書的作者不會寫正確的英文句子的人就免了。
我們以第一個例子來說:
The school has 450 students (in first through sixth grade).
這絕不是在表達這 學校裏頭"只有"450學生,然後校長老師工友甚至是整個學校建築物都不存在,沒這回事喔。語言是"活的",所謂的"語言是活的"就是說語言的使用和用法 一直在變,換句話說是由現時還活著的某特定語言為母語的人共同賦與的,如果(在台灣的)學校老師還在以"古代"的規則(*1)來教,那已經不是跟不上時代 而是在戕害學生。

(*1)若是在以前真的存在有這種文法規則那也罷了,若是訛傳聽來的或是自己搞錯,那就真的是罪過了。有空我再去 書局/圖書館翻翻Usage Books查看看是否真有那種說法(就算是有也沒有任何影響,因為現代用法已經不遵循那規則了)。

[轉錄] 中文托福 超好笑!!

【讓老美嚐嚐考托福的痛苦】

請大家出出氣。

華人世界經濟實力日增,老外來華即將趕考中文托福。

讓大家見 識一下中文的高深莫測。



       你知道中文托福考嗎?

       教育部在 4月14日決定 2年內建置首套中文能力測驗制度。

       也就是說教部要開辦中文托福考了!

       教育部應該要來參考一下這幾題中文能力測驗,

       同時舉辦一個全民中文托福考題徵選,

       考死那些外國人!

       讓外國人也體會一下我們在準備托福時的痛苦。

       第一部份、聽力測驗

       第一題

       男:我給你看李小姐的照片,她的外型很不錯。

       女:看你的大頭啦!
       從這個女人的談話,我們可以得到什麼結論?

       甲、她是腦神經外科醫生。
       乙、她比較喜歡那個男人的頭。
       丙、她覺得不耐煩且沒有興趣。
       丁、這女人在吃醋。

第二題

       女:你去臺東玩,覺得如何?
       男:臺東好不熱鬧,我玩的好不快樂。
       這男人是什麼意思?

       甲、臺東人多擁擠,我玩的好不快樂。
       乙、臺東很冷清,他很快樂。
       丙、臺東很繁榮,他在那很愜(音同竊,聽不懂吧)意。
       丁、臺東很荒涼,他很落漠。

 第三題

       女:好久不見,你還沒死啊?
       男:「恁北」好得很!
       這男人在說什麼?

       甲、女人的爸爸身體健康。
       乙、他的脾氣很好。
       丙、他過的不錯。
       丁、女人的爸爸過得很好。

第四題

       男:你想要看那一台啦?
       女:你們家有第四台嗎?
       從這個女人的談話,我們可以得到什麼結論?

       甲、她希望她家有第四台電視機。
       乙、她想看四號頻道。
       丙、她想看有線電視。
       丁、她想看鎖碼台。

第五題

       女:這次的遠東區少棒賽結果如何?
       男:結果中華大勝南韓,中華又大敗日本。

       這場比賽的結果到底誰是冠軍?

       甲、中華。
       乙、日本。
       丙、南韓。
       丁、三隊戰績相同,必須加賽才能分出勝負。

       第六題

       女:你不喜歡跟我去逛街?
       男:對啊!妳現在才知道。

       甲、他不喜歡逛街。
       乙、他喜歡逛街。
       丙、他覺得她早知道。
       丁、他自己也不知道。

第七題

       女:你跟她見面之後如何?
       男:她放我鴿子啦!
       由上面這段對話,我們可以得到什麼結論?

       甲、他們都很喜歡鳥類。
       乙、他們一起去放生。
       丙、他覺得她是個不錯的女孩。
       丁、他們根本就沒見面。

       第八題

       男:我們工廠最近連續三個晚上加班趕工!好累喔!
       女:你的工作實在太辛苦了!
       請問這名男子的工作狀況?

       甲、日以繼夜。
       乙、夜以繼日。
       丙、日夜顛倒。
       丁、日積月累。
       戊、夜不閉戶。

第九題

       女:我們公司上下班都很正常,不會辛苦啦!
       男:那我就放心了!
       請問這名女子的工作狀況?

       甲、朝三暮四。
       乙、朝九晚五。
       丙、朝令夕改。
       丁、三令五申。
       戊、日上三竿。

第十題

       陳先生:這次比賽我一定會贏你!
       吳先生:是喔!最好是這樣啦!
       請解釋吳先生的意思。

       甲、為陳先生祝福。
       乙、替陳先生打氣。
       丙、有本事再說。
       丁、覺得陳先生贏是最好的結果。

第十一題

       男:嗨!我來了!
       女:都快一點了ㄟ!
       請問女孩說這句話的心情?

       甲、高興;男孩早到了。
       乙、著急;叫男孩快一點。
       丙、興奮;男孩和女孩都快了一點。
       丁、生氣;男孩沒有準時到。

第十二題

       男:怎麼了?
       女:討厭死了!一天到晚都找不到你的人!
       這女孩說的話,代表了什麼意思呢?

       甲、女孩已經找了男孩一整天。
       乙、女孩覺得男孩很難找。
       丙、有一天晚上女孩找不到男孩的朋友。
       丁、白天和晚上都找不到男孩的朋友。


第十三題

       女:你說啊!你到底去了哪裡?
       男:我什麼都不會說。
       這男孩說的話,是什麼意思?

       甲、男孩不會說答案。
       乙、男孩不能說答案。
       丙、男孩不願說答案。
       丁、男孩不應說答案。

第十四題

       男:小姐,請問這件衣服怎麼賣?
       女:三百,算你八折就好了!

       男:二百啦!

       女:你二百五啊!
       請問最後這件衣服到底多少錢?

       甲、六十元。(80% off)
       乙、二百元。
       丙、二百四十元。(20% off)
       丁、二百五十元。

第十五題

       試想下列問題小姐應該如何回答最正確?

       老闆:小姐,請問妳叫什麼?
       甲、我叫蔡翠秋,你呢?
       乙、你耳朵有問題啊?我沒有叫啊!
       丙、來一盤豆干、一碗陽春麵。
       丁、我叫天天不應,叫地地不靈。

第 十六題

       女:哇塞!老闆,你們的臭豆腐好臭喔!
       請問老闆應該如何回答最正確?

       甲、那妳不要吃啊!
       乙、謝謝!大家都這樣說!
       丙、對不起,我馬上幫妳換一盤。
       丁、不會啊!這很新鮮 !


第十七題

       收機鈴響聲。

       男:喔!賣卡啊啦!
       以下敘述何者不正確?

       甲、男子叫對方不要催了。
       乙、對方連續打過一次以上的電話給男子。
       丙、男子的電話 SIM卡賣掉了。
       丁、男子的電話收訊正常。

第 十八題

       陳先生、吳先生、張先生、趙先生在一起打麻將。

       陳:二筒,碰!
       吳:可惡!二筒又被你碰掉了!
       張:別氣別氣,來片波卡洋芋片啦!

       王:我吃!

       請問王先生吃了什麼?

       甲、二筒。
       乙、波卡洋芋片。
       丙、上家打出來的牌。
       丁、沒吃東西。

第十九題

       續上題。

       陳:換誰啦!
       吳:換我啦!
       張:換你就快打啊!每次都是你最慢!

       吳:賽給你啦!

       請問吳先生做了什麼?

       甲、回罵張先生。
       乙、打了一張西風。
       丙、拉了一坨屎給張先生。
       丁、呼了張先生一巴掌。

第二十題

       弟弟:我回來了!爸媽呢?
       姊姊:在麻將桌上。
       根據姊姊的回答,以下敘述何者有誤?

       甲、爸爸媽媽在打麻將。
       乙、爸爸媽媽坐在椅子上。
       丙、爸爸媽媽身旁一定有其他人。
       丁、爸爸媽媽在麻將桌上做愛。


第二部分、克漏字

       一、有搬桌子、坐椅子、拿杯子,那什麼叫〝串門子〞?

       二、近世進士盡是近視。試翻譯之。

       三、和尚端湯上塔,湯燙塔滑和尚湯灑湯燙塔。試翻譯之。

       四、請解釋:一入侯門深似海。

       第二部分、作文

       試作一篇五言律詩 ( 夠狠吧! )

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My personal rant

轉 貼文
這篇之前有在別的地方讀到,剛好我對這篇也有話說。如果把這文中的「英文」換成「錢」,然後那些 怪樣子的會英文/留學的人換成「暴發戶」「土財主」,接著把標題換成「到底,我們是為了什麼才賺錢」,然後加個眉批--「金錢為萬惡之源,所以請大家不要 賺錢」。沒錯,這篇給我的感覺就是這意思。

一個值得思考的問題是這文章裡頭所描述的人是因為學了英文才會有那些壞性子(換句話說,如果他 們英文沒學好的話就會是模範公民),還是這些人本身的德性就有問題,只是剛好藉著英文展現了出來?(換句話說,就算那些人會德語,或是留法歸來,他們是否 就會變得和藹可親,奉公守法,愛家愛民?)

比如文章裡頭提到的留學生總是沒事聚在一起批評臺灣啥的,因為我剛好也是留美的(還在這裡住了 下來哩),我就從來沒碰過這種現象--也許我們這群學生不是什麼台大清華畢業然後是就讀MIT啥的精英份子,所以我們這一群臺灣留學生還沒有精明到懂得批 評自己國家的時政。我們當時閒著沒事也只是聚在一起吃吃飯,聊別人閒話而已。只是我不懂的是就算是真的在批評自己國家好了,這是犯了什麼法?還是我們的所 謂的民主進步仍然無法容忍異議?說老實話,都是閒著沒事,那麼自己人關起門來批評自己門內事也不行嗎?如果在場有人不喜歡聽,那麼這人難道是被限制自由不 能離去?如果別人的談話不喜歡難道不能離開嗎?還是自己根本也是太寂寞所以不想離開?不想離開又要事後批評,那麼這人不就根本和自己文章所要批評的人一個 樣子嗎?
不能批評時政才是真正的悲哀。

惡人不管在哪裡是一定會有的,金錢,英文,留學,這些也只是助因而不是主因,這個 惡人本身才是問題所在。如果看不爽,那麼不能當面反應嗎?比如文章裡頭提到的在捷運車廂裡頭大聲喧嘩(英文?中文?)的那些學生,如果他們的行為真的違反 了交通規則或是民法第八章第五款第七小節,那麼為何不直接用手機報警(*1)?真的,那文章的敘述讓我隱隱覺得作者認為那些學生當時是大聲的用英文說笑, 但是如果改成用中文或是喧嘩的是其他學校的學生就沒關係。又比如那個國外回來的太太,作者的敘述方式似乎在說她的「恰北北」和暴躁性格是因為留學和會英文 的關係,那麼是否任一個患有被害幻想症的本國人的問題則是出於他會中文和住在台灣?所以要治癒這類精神病患就要教他英文或是法文?(我是不想進一步提要這 些人搬到別國住)那麼那位「問題太太」的丈夫呢?他也是有留學和會英文啊,還是那篇作者是隱射會出現問題的只有女性?
總之「欲加之罪何患無 詞」就是我對那篇文章的評語。

(*1)題外話,之前我曾在一個網路論壇讀到一位學生的貼文,他說他有次在台北捷運車廂裡頭 看到一個金髮外國人在那嚼口香糖,於是他過去制止,對方不聽,於是他拉了車廂裡頭的警鈴/停車鈴「告列車長講」。(後來兩人到了車站出了車廂,那外國人還 出言恐嚇他)。這學生我就覺得他非常有正義感也很有種,路見不平馬上拔刀制止,而不是事後放不知所云的馬後砲。

你是媽媽的餐桌?

The Boston Blobe裏頭的關於感恩節活動的副頁:

較 大張的PDF檔案:
youre.pdf



Yahoo網站上的 Moives版面裏頭的一篇:



Yahoo News 上的一則新聞。我剛看到"An autopsy on .... was inclusive"時在想,這個"inclusive"在這裡是甚麼意思?難道又是個我沒學過的用法?查了字典我還是不知所以然。在我問老美之前我瞄到 了大標題"... inconclusive",所以我想該不會又是typo吧?但是為了保險起見,也許inclusive真的有這方面的用法,於是我問了個朋友。他聽完了 我念的句子後馬上皺眉說是inconclusive吧?




Korea vs Taiwan

I sometimes spend time reading posts on eslcafe.com. This is one of them:
Moving from Korea to Taiwan
Not that I care they have a better life in Taiwan, but I do feel a sense of warmth when outsiders are complimenting Taiwan.

"have lived"是錯的?

在這裡看到的一個敘述:

PTT BBS->Eng-Class->精華區-> 5 -> #216
作 者 (略掉)
標題 Re: [文法]完成式和簡單式
時間 Sat Jun 25 01:06:09 2005

第一 句有錯(*) have lived表動作
居住是指狀態
所以不能用have lived

請上東吳英文網路資源網站上 應該會有
(因為在報紙上面看過這題由東吳的老師講解)

so 要用have been living(現分作形容詞)
(*) 指的是第211篇裡頭的"I have lived in Taiwan for 10 years."


很奇怪,老是看到這種在美國這邊大家用得很平常很高興的說法,但是卻被英語不是母語的人說是錯的,實在是很奇怪。

如果上頭說的這個東吳老師真的這樣子說的話,那 臺灣的英語教育還真是堪憂。為了查證,我就上「東吳英文網路資源網站」去看,找了半天,有比較符合前述字樣的是「Live ABC英語學習資源網」,可是連了老半天連不進去,換到「英文寫作學習網」,哈!一樣連不上。

換個方式,用Google找,搜尋字串:
site:scu.edu.tw "have lived"
總共出現5個(*1),這裡挑其中兩個:

1. (某老師的教材)
vschool.scu.edu.tw/teacher/shihuei/topic/topic2/T10-1.pdf

Enclosure 10 – PowerPoint (Unit 3)
...
Spring: How long have you lived in Jiaoxi?
Man: I have lived here for 50 years.
...
2. (Project Gutenberg是個蒐集英文文學作品,免費開放的外國網站)
ftp.scu.edu.tw/scu/english/steelman/texts/gutenberg/etext97/10woz10.txt

*Project Gutenberg's Etext of Rinkitink In Oz by L. Frank Baum ...

"For four days I have lived in that narrow boat," said he, "with no other amusement than to watch the rowers and quarrel with Bilbil; ...
雖 然無法直接找到說"have lived for x years"是錯的那篇,但是光是上頭這兩篇就夠讓這幾位老師「起內鬨」了(如果那篇「錯誤的」解說是真有其事)。


(*1)順便修改第二個: "I have lived this area for eight years ..." -> I have lived in this area for eight years ..."。我猜這是學生的練習寫作

關於「孝順」的英譯

關於「孝順」的英譯 -- filial piety。以前在中學就學到的,但是搬到外國人那裡情況就是不一樣....
Newsgroups: tw.bbs.lang.english
From: "Chris Nelson"
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 16:04:01 GMT
Local: Wed, Jan 30 2002 12:04 pm
Subject: Re: filial piety......
    The term "filial piety" is a scholarly term used when studying the cultures of east Asia, particularly Chinese and Korean cultures. Few English speakers have heard of the phrase unless they have studied Chinese culture and Confucianism.
    You could, however, say something like "He is a dutiful son", and people would understand.
    In the west, there is no concept of filial piety. The closest we get is the Biblical commandment to "honor your father and your mother".
另一個這樣子說:
Newsgroups: tw.bbs.lang.english
From: Jim Walsh
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 2004 02:24:48 +0800
Local: Sat, Jun 26 2004 2:24 pm
Subject: Re: ....

    There is a part of Chinese culture from Confuscius which is translated in all the dictionaries "filial piety". Until I came to Taiwan, I never heard the words "filial piety" and I didn't know what they meant and had to look them up in a dictionary.
    Well, that actually didn't help, but only fooled me worse. It said filial piety was formal for treating ones parents as they should be treated. Well, the simple truth is that I DO treat MY parents the way MY culture says I should, but it is not remotely like what my Chinese friends meant when they said those words.
一個關於中文英譯的建議:
Newsgroups: tw.bbs.lang.english
From: Jim Walsh
Date: Tue, 03 Jul 2001 14:31:31 +0800
Local: Tues, Jul 3 2001 2:31 am
Subject: Re ...........

    Whenever I find some Chinese word which has no comparable equivalent in English, I recommend using the Chinese word.
    For example:
    I live in Taiwan. [no comparable equivalent]
    I got a hong bao(*1) [no comparable equivalent] from my boss for the Dragon Festival.
    I work in a buhsiban(*2). [no comparable equivalent]
-----
    註釋:
    (*1) 我猜原意是指"香包"吧
    (*2) 補習班。我在會話班上課的美籍老師當時也是直接講"補習班"這個音

<<我的一篇舊 文>>

Good or bad English?

最近在台灣可以看到的一個新口號"UN for Taiwan"。這是沒問題的英文? 還是另一中式英文? 有人在AUE新聞群組問英語人士這問題,看看他們怎麼說:
Anything wrong about "UN for Taiwan"?
這一串討論文裏頭有人提到這個:(我同意他講的,關於slogan 的部分)
http://michaelturton.blogspot.com/2007/10/un-for-taiwan-blogger-flap.html

荷包蛋的點法

以前在學校學的荷包蛋英文是"sunny side up",但是如果你在美國這樣子點的話,沒錯啦,是荷包蛋,只是這蛋的蛋黃幾乎沒有熟,靠近蛋黃邊的蛋清仍有些不熟,稍微搖一下蛋還會晃動。

那麼如果你想吃個表面有點焦黃,吃起來脆脆的荷包蛋,或者是蛋白煮熟但是蛋黃中心仍是蛋汁的嫩蛋,這時該怎麼叫呢?其實荷包蛋的點法和點牛排很像,有分不同的熟度。一般情況下侍者會問"How would you like your eggs?",這時你可以回答:

(以下的over指的是"翻面" -- turn over 的意思)

over easy / over light :
兩面稍微煎一下,裡頭蛋黃仍是生的。蛋黃上的蛋白有點熟,不會清楚看到蛋黃的顏色,蛋白部份會很嫩。

over medium :
兩面煎稍微久一點,蛋黃中心仍是生的,戳破後蛋黃會流出來,蛋白部份稍微硬一些,但是沒有焦。

over well / over hard :
蛋黃蛋白全熟,蛋白部份會有點焦,一些部份會硬硬脆脆的。有次我在餐廳說"well-done",結果女侍還問我是不是要scrambled,所以講over well會比較清楚。

scrambled:
蛋打散的炒蛋,這是最不會出錯的點法。

當然,如果你忘了或是不知道怎麼點,你可以用白話的方式解釋你的蛋要如何如何。另外,有的餐廳會在菜 單上寫可以選擇 egg beater 的字樣。egg beater 是不含蛋黃/膽固醇的蛋白製品,裡頭加了些色素和其他添加物,所以看起來像一般打散的蛋,但是基本上仍只是蛋清,所以吃起來風味比一般的蛋稍微差一點。

動名詞可以用複數型態嗎?

原作: aialoner
討論區: 文法教學區
原標題: 動名詞可以用複數型態嗎? (此篇已標為精華文章)

動 名詞可不可以有複數形?我想應該這樣說:若是因為句法要求,而由動詞加上ing所形成的「動名詞」,是不用複數形的。至於savings或 findings這種所謂的「動名詞」,雖有複數形,但他們已經不是純粹的「動名詞」;或者說,他們是一種特別的「動名詞」。

如果要深 究,「動名詞」(gerund)這個名稱並不精確,因此以下討論都暫時加上「」,以表示係為討論方便而姑且用之。A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language對gerund有以下的討論:

所謂的「動名詞」其實至少有以下三類:

(全 文請按下方的link)

動 名詞可以用複數形嗎?

Buy a drink lah ?!

Buy A Drink Lah ?!
曾在不同地方讀到有人說新加坡是英語系國家,因為英語是官方語言,這,只說對了一半。根據這裡的說法,官方/高教育程度人士確實可以說不錯的英語,但是民間所說的是混入各地方言的他們自己版本的Singlish.
下面這篇是在New York Times上頭瞄到的,還挺有趣的,如果link還在的話就直接點來看:

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/01/world/01SING.html?ex=1144382400&en=2088a6863cc45aa7&ei=5070


Update: 我現在正在看Science Channel的"Man Made Marvels". 這集是介紹新加坡的廢水處理工程。目前為止訪問了五個engineers和一個是高層的不知什麼東西,有男有女,都帶有明顯的亞洲口音(*1)(最後的那個高層口音最少,英文也是講得最好的)。這幾個人不去考慮口音的話英文是講得不錯倒是真的。
第六個是個Minister,這個英文最好,沒有亞洲口音。若不是我看了一下電視畫面,我會以為他是英語人士。

(*1)含印度

他都不會教

從我大二開始參加學校的英語社團到大四時到外頭上會話課,一個共有的現象是一開始時課堂全部客滿,然後人數漸漸減少,到了最後往往只有四到五個人,一直都是如此,『屢試不爽』。

會話課上到第二期時是個來自美國有印第安人血統的女老師,據她說她來台灣前是在小學教書。同樣的,課程開始後漸漸的有些學生不再出現,有的是上班族,有的是在學學生,上到後來一位某大學的女生抱怨一句『她都不會教』,再過個幾堂課她也不再出現。

但是這位老師卻是對我影響最大的老師。

她的上課方式其實很『制式』,就是那種典型的小班教學,上課時會分組討論,有時玩玩遊戲那種,這是種很『標準』的上課方式,所以我實在不曉得那位女同學所說的『不會教』是指什麼,我只能猜說這是她第一次在外頭上這種小班制的課,而她期待的是那種學生坐在下 頭一直抄一大堆筆記,然後老師在上頭一直滔滔不絕的講各種英文規則和注意事項的台灣式傳統教學方法吧。

有句話,我忘了是中文還是源自外文,大意是『一個人不要的垃圾是另一個人的寶』,一樣米養百樣人,同樣的授課方式無法滿足所有的人,只能說我很好運,非常的習慣這種授課方式,也吸收了不少。

上課的方式和內容其實沒什麼好說,因為老外老師的教法都大同小異。這位老師對我的第一個影響是關於我的英語發音,日後真的是受益良多。說穿了也沒什麼,那就是『慢慢來』。

再來的卻是約半年後的事,那時我能上的課幾乎都上完了,只剩最後的最高級,可惜要當兵無法報名, 剛好有次我在休息室遇到這位老師,她跟我說她打算繼續待在台灣一段時間,想學好中文,問我有沒有興趣和她『語言交換』,我當然有興趣囉,能練習的機會我是不會放過的。

這期間她又影響了我兩件事。一個是關於英文的學習,一個是關於人生的看法。對於前者,她說英文學習的重點是在過程而不是結果,對於後者,她借了本書給我,內容我就不多說,反正日後我才知道這書在美國曾流行一時,幾年前又在美國電視上看到關於這作者的報導。

前頭我沒有多寫『如何教』與『如何學』,因為上了這麼多課,我真的認為『自己』才是真正的主人,老師和書籍一樣,其實都是幫助自己學習英文的工具,我有問題問老師,然後他回答,就是這樣而已,唯一的差別是和老師之間有互動,沒那麼枯燥乏味而已,所以我才能一直從上課初坐到上課尾,上得津津有味。要我坐在下頭等著老師把英語知識灌給我,我真的會受不了。

Spam

No, I'm not talking about spam e-mails. I'm talking about the canned meat made by Hormel Foods Corp.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_%28food%29

To many people, it's crap because it doesn't taste very good, but it's very cheap, so cheap that it's been around forever and “has earned a special place in pop culture, and has even entered into folklore and urban legend” as wikipedia puts it. To me, it reminds me of dog food, but I don't especially hate it, and I do eat it “occasionally” -- like three times over the past ten years.

A friend once told me a story about his colleague and Spam. His colleague was from Minnesota, where the maker of Spam is. During one of his trips back home, he decided to pay Hormel a visit.

”Because he loves Spam,” my friend told me.
”Is it really?”
”That's what he told me. Who knows, maybe it's an excuse so they'll give him a tour.”

Anyway, that was exactly what he told them and what happened. They were very excited (possibly thinking “there ARE people who actually LOVE our product?!) and gave him a tour. Like every other tour of this sort, they also gave him free samples -- “Spam”s!!

大中小白?

幾年前在某個newsgroup裏頭讀到的一串文,應該是真實事件。
http://groups.google.com/group/tw.bbs.campus.advancededu/msg/c1b45fc34d1e29a9

Pub 與 Bar 的分別

    以喝酒的營業場所「酒吧」來說,最簡單的區別就是"pub"是英國那邊的說法(含愛爾蘭等等),"bar"是北美這邊的說法,兩者基本上是一樣的。 至於細節和細微差異可以看Wikipedia上的解說:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pub
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar_%28establishment%29

    以美國來說,如果店東要把店面裝潢得帶有英國/愛爾蘭等等的pub的風格然後稱之為pub可不可以呢?當然可以囉,美國法律又沒規定把酒吧弄得異國情調一點就不能叫pub對不對?特別是我們Boston這邊特多的愛爾蘭裔美國人,他們開的酒吧幾乎清一色都叫做"xxx pub", "Irish pub"也成了固定說法。至於英國那邊因為我沒去過所以我不知道那邊的"bars"的情況。

    bar和pub在規模上並沒有誰一定比誰大,比如我剛來美國時住的地方Waltham(, Massachusetts)曾被個朋友的同事戲稱是全美國"bars"密度最高的地方,因為真的很多bars開在街道的角落,這些bars規模一般不大,主要賣的是酒,可能沒有賣正餐,但是一些簡單些的餐點還是有賣,所以不了解的外國人會以為像這樣子小小的不賣正餐的酒吧才是"bars",大一點的有賣正餐的才是"pubs",其實這只是地點經營上的關係,倒不是因為是"bar"就一定該是如何如何,或是地方小點就不能開"pub",因為地方大些有賣正餐的"bars"在美國也到處都是,這是隨開店的人高興的。在美國的酒吧另外還有"tavern"的稱呼,根據wiki上的解釋基本上也是酒吧的一種稱呼,只是在英國的話在19世紀後被pub(public house)取代,在美國還是有店東用在店名裏頭。

    以上只是大致的說明區別,如果要知道很細微很詳細的區別和個別稱呼的詳細解說的話,那麼可以自行參閱Wikipeida。

    再來就要提到"club"。這其實很有趣,因為當我問我的老美roommate時就搞了好久。光是有賣酒的"club"就另外還有"strip club"和"dance club"。前者不用講,後者台灣也有,就是年輕人跳舞的舞廳囉。等到他知道我問的是"night club"(專指夜總會,要穿正式的禮服,西裝那種)後,他想了一下說,據他所知麻州東半部這邊已經沒有那種"night club"了,倒是我們住的town在許多許多年前有一個很有名氣的night club,據他說當時Frank Sinatra和一些名人也有到那裏表演,裡頭的氣氛其實大家都有在電視電影上看過,所以就不需要多介紹了。現在的話原場地變成一間大間的賣家俱公司(旁側還開了個中國餐廳; update: 那家餐廳倒了)。至於美國其他地方是否還有這類高級的night club我就不知道了。現在的話,night club只是個尋常的可以飲酒跳舞的娛樂場所。參考:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nightclub

    我剛來美國的頭幾年也有跟著朋友去些night club/dance club。每個club的顧客訴求未必相同,有的主要顧客群是年輕人,有的則是年紀較大的人,不是一定。

    至於其他的私人性質的 social club或是gentlemen's club(不是指strip club)就不用多說了,因為是私人團體,他們愛怎麼搞就怎麼搞,也因為是私人的,所以不開放讓一般人進去,這種情況的"可能附帶有酒吧的私人聯誼場所"其實不需要討論,難不成哪天你到美國觀光行經一個私人的club然後以為是傳聞中的「高級酒吧」然後就仗著「老子有錢」就要進去?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentlemen%27s_club
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_clubs



    最近我們這邊的新聞在報導州政府下令關一些"bars",原因是幾年前緊鄰麻州南邊的Rhode Island(也是一個州)的一間night club因為失火死了很多人,因此我們這州的州政府下令所有的bars都要加設發生火災時滅火用的灑水設備,但是很多的"bars"認為他們根本就 是"restaurants",因為他們雖然有提供各式各樣的酒類,但是也有提供很完整的菜單,而且也沒有開得很晚,即使是在晚上也很安靜,若是因此要安裝灑水設施的話要花很大一筆錢。但是沒辦法,麻州州政府還是認定他們是bars,所以勒令沒安裝的店關門,而一些遭勒令關門的bars則決定抗告。

    前頭提的失火的night club就是個普通的dance club,並不是"要穿西裝打領帶的高級夜總會",以這家來說,去的人大多是"熟男熟女",穿著的話由電視畫面可以看出都很隨便,很一般,而且由電視畫面也看得出來那場地其實也不大,整個外觀幾乎給人一種四四方方鐵皮屋的感覺,裏頭設備也不怎麼樣。因為新聞在報導這些被勒令關門的店時,主播有用"bars"和"night clubs"來稱呼(大概是不同台的,或是不同時段不同的主播所以用了不同的詞彙),但是指的都是一樣的那些稱自己為"restaurants(餐廳)" 的bars.

Bones in dressed fish?

We had a BBQ at my roommate's father's place. On our way there, my roommate and I stopped at a supermarket to pick up some food for the BBQ. After we were done, while driving, he asked me:
"Are there bones in a dressed fish?"
"What?"
"I bought a dressed fish, so I'm thinking if the bones are out."
"Well, a 'whole' dressed fish means its guts are out. If you take the bones out, it's a fillet." Well, not exactly, but that's not the point and he got the picture. I must say I was a bit surprised because he didn't know what a (whole) dressed fish meant; I guess he just didn't care.
If you have no idea what we were talking about, take a look at this old blog of mine:
http://dunchee.blogspot.com/2007/05/blog-post_3113.html

回文(Advertisements)

GMAT的一個題目
: Advertisements from 1960 for the film Psycho shattered convention, displaying
: actress Janet in a slip and brassiere, which, although white, a color
: associated with innocence, (were clothes more revealing than had been
: previously worn in a movie ad.)
整句基本上是講這三部分:

1. Advertisements for the film Psycho(*1) shattered convention, which displayed actress Janet in a slip and brassiere.

2. The kinds of clothes that Janet wore were more revealing than those worn in any movie ad before.

3. 一些較其次的補充說明 The color of the clothes was white. White is a color associated with innocence.

(*1)對老美來說,Psycho是很有名氣的舊片,理由之一就是句子裏頭講的,「居然」在電視預告裏頭出現「超清涼」的畫面(同時又很驚殐)。1960 那年代是屬於即使電視情節是夫妻出現在臥房裡頭,也不可以是在同一張床上,必須是兩人在兩張分開的床裏頭才行。


我想問的是這個句子的文法分析,如果答案是A,把所有關代放回去,句子會變成 Advertisements from 1960 for the film Psycho shattered convention, which(這個省略的which是指advertisements) displayed actress Janet in a slip and brassiere, which (這個which沒有被省略,應該是指 a slip and brassiere,是單數) although white, which is(←這個是被省略的關代,後面的a color...innocence是形容 white) a color associated with innocence, were clothes which is(再度被省略的關代,後面的more...ad是形容這個clothes) more revealing than had been previously worn in a movie ad.

把關代帶回去的話:

Advertisements from 1960 for the film Psycho shattered convention, which(yes) displayed Janet in a slip and brassiere, which(yes。是複數) ..(*2)..  were clothes (that were) more revealing than had been previously worn in a movie ad.

(*2)這部份夾了兩個插入語(功能只是附屬性質的附加解釋,特色是去掉也不會影響整句的主要意思)
第一個插入語: although white --> 說明了那兩件衣物是白色的。為什麼要提是白色呢?對於學電影的人應該會知道,但是一般大眾恐怕不知道,所以繼續解釋下去 -->
第二個插入語: a color(=white) associated with innocence。所以這個是用來修飾/解釋前頭的第一個插入語


Q1:紅色的although 部分
這部分形成

A slip and brassiere which, although white, a color associated with innocence.

這個紅色的部分的關係子句沒有動詞,而且保留了which,變得很奇怪,我無法理解。

如前述。不是子句,只是一些phrases(這字可以查英英字典,有些人把這和"idiom"給搞混了) -- 兩個字以上所組成的"詞"而且不是句子/子句。另外就是紅色部分不是一起的。


Q2:最後的黃色部分
.............. 

如前述。

各類『烤』的英文說法

在聊天室有人問起,剛好之前就有在想寫這個,這次一次寫出來。請注意,我的重點是放在幫助記憶和了解上,某些英文辭彙的古代歷史源流說明上未必正確。

中文裡頭和『烤』相關的辭彙雖然不少,但是我們日常在用的只有『烤』這個字,舉凡烤肉,烤麵包,烤魚等等的都是用同一個字,但是在英文上卻是各類的『烤法』有專門的字,意思也不一樣。

1. GRILL


有在外頭BBQ烤肉的人應該會知道,弄個鐵網,烤肉架子,底下燒炭火,然後把醃好的肉片肉串放在架子上烤。這整個的動作就是grill(動詞),要素是要有那個平平的放肉的架子(柵欄狀或是網狀),然後火在下面烤。 grill也可以當名詞用,有很多意思,比如可以指那個平平的架子,烤好的食物,食物上頭的柵欄狀或是網狀的焦痕,或是直接就指那個『烤肉餐廳』。

grill的特色是大火直接烤,所以是食物直接放在架子上烤,不會是先放在容器裡頭然後再放在架子上烤。因為是直接在熱源上,所以烤食物不需要花太久時間,食物表面容易焦。


2. BROIL


broil 也是烤,和grill其實很像,不過一個大差別是broil的意思比較單純,那就是『直接暴露在熱源裡頭』,名詞和動詞都是單指煮熟食物的方法而已。因為 『在架子上烤肉』這烤法已經被grill搶走了,所以這以外的『直接用溫度很高的熱源烤』的烤法就用broil。美國家庭必備的大烤箱其中一個功能就是 broil,要烤肉烤魚時,食物必需先裝在容器裡頭然後放在烤架上(和前頭的grill裡頭的食物直接放在架子上不同),然後只有上方的熱線圈或是熱源會加熱,下方的不會,而且溫度很高,食物表面也很容易燒焦,所以要常常翻面。


3. BAKE

有看過『魔女宅急便』卡通的人應該有印象,其中一幕是小魔女kiki在一個老婆婆家等著送『烤魚』(先暫時說烤魚好了),老婆婆用的不是新型的現代大烤箱,而是一個舊爐灶。她先在爐灶裡頭燒木柴(這時溫度最高),木柴燒一陣子後剩下餘燼,但是仍在燒(這時溫度較低,也比較穩定),這時把要烤的東西放在烤盤或烤盆裡頭,放在靠近爐口的地方,離炭火一段距離(這時溫度又更低了)。因為溫度較低,所以烤的時間要比較久,食物的表面也不會馬上就焦掉。這個就是 bake。現在的廚房裡頭當然不可能燒炭 bake,所以廚房裡頭的大烤箱就模擬出類似bake的功能,要烤時必需設定好溫度,這溫度和直接大火燒比起來低很多,一般在華氏325—400(約攝氏 160—205度之間),溫度當然可以設得更高或更低。食物要裝在容器裡頭,然後放在烤箱中間的架子上。烤箱裡頭的上下加熱線圈或是熱源會同時加熱,等裡頭熱到設定溫度後,烤箱會停止加熱,然後等溫度降到一定程度後會再次重新加熱。Bake和前頭的grill/broil最大不同點是裝食物的容器也是和食物一起烤(所以可以在上頭和裡頭放些有的沒有的,比如cheese啦,烤東西用的麵包屑/粉啦,以及其他的湯湯水水和奶油等等),再來就是溫度低很多,所以烤的時間比較長,食物比較不會像broil那樣馬上乾掉。

有吃過pizza的人也許有注意到,那也是bake,烤麵包就不用說了,也是bake。


4. ROAST

這也是烤,和bake的烤法其實很像,只是roast是模擬另一種『烤法』。有聽過『烤乳豬』吧?把乳豬叉起來橫架在火堆上,然後慢火慢慢的烤,慢慢的轉啊轉的,把乳豬四周都烤得很均勻....這個『用慢火長時間烤肉』就是roast,而且往往只能用在大塊肉上(要很久的時間才能加熱到裡頭,而roast beef卻是肉裡頭要是生的)。我住的地方的大烤箱沒有roast的功能,要的話也只能用bake來模擬,倒是連在一起的上頭的微波爐有roast的功 能,它用的是『循環熱風』的方式達到『在烤肉架上轉動』的均勻加熱的目的。一般家庭裡頭要roast時也是必需把肉放在容器裡頭然後放在烤箱裡頭慢慢的烤,不過最近有出一些家電產品可以把要roast的肉類串起來然後放在裡頭烤,裡頭的肉也會在那轉啊轉的。

roast當名詞用時指的是用這烤法烤出來的肉,當形容詞用時指的是"用roast這烤法烤的"。
要注意的是,只有roast beef,沒有roast steak,原因是roast是大塊的肉(最原始是整隻的),比較起來steak扁扁平平小小,烤個兩小時都變成牛肉乾了。


5. BBQ


barbeque 或是barbecue,字本身的定義是cookout(在外頭煮東西),同義字有cookout, party, picnic等等。我在台灣上英文地方的美國老師有次招待全班到她家的樓頂花園吃BBQ,本來我腦子裡頭想像的是像我們那樣的弄個烤肉架,起火,然後肉片放在上頭烤啊烤的,結果是一整長桌已經煮好的菜,沒有一樣是"烤"出來的,於是我問她,她解釋說像這樣子在外頭吃就可以是BBQ(參考下方例子),不一定要有烤肉。不過, 以美國人熱愛在大型烤肉架上烤肉的程度來看,大部人在BBQ時仍是會準備烤肉架或是烤肉台子。

barbecue當名詞時如上所說的,可以指這種外出烤肉的活動,可以指那個烤肉台子,也可以是指烤出來的肉。當動詞的話是烤,主要是在火上烤都算,所以可以是grill, broil, 和roast。

(不一定有烤肉的)一個例子:
http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/food/easiest-southern-picnic-made-healthier-for-labor-day-2528995/



6. ROTISSERIE


這是名詞(字源裡頭有to roast),就是串在鐵條上,然後在熱源上一直轉動(也就是用roast的慢烤法烤)。有種特製的烤爐是要一次烤很多的肉,比如雞肉,然後許多的全雞串成一條條後在烤爐裡頭上下循環轉動,烤爐有玻璃窗口可以看到雞在裡頭烤的情形。烤出來的雞非常柔軟可口,可以直接撕開來吃(台灣的手扒雞)。當然不限烤手扒雞啦。

當名詞時也可以用來指專門賣這種烤肉的餐廳。


7. CASSEROLE

這是名詞,是道菜名,也可以單指那個鍋子,中文是『砂鍋』或是『烤鍋』(字典上查到的)。做法是用casserole專用的 "淺鍋 ",大小和一般家裡用的橢圓形盤子一般,只是是有邊的,然後呢,把剩菜丟下去,攪入罐頭濃湯,麵條pasta之類的,反正有的沒有的都丟進去然後放在烤箱裡頭烤(bake)。別吃驚,casserole就是這樣來的,一般家庭專門用來處理剩菜或是要快速弄個一餐(meal)時,用買好的鮪魚罐頭加入有的沒 的烤一烤就是一餐了。我記得好些年前有次我跟我的老美室友提到說我好想(/喜歡)吃casserole,然後他笑說那種一般家庭常吃的用剩菜煮出來的東西你也想吃喔。當然要弄得"工夫"正式一點的也是可以的。

上頭的某些東西可以用google的圖片搜查功能找圖片來看。


8. 焗烤

現在還有個『焗烤』,似乎是外來語,連教育部國語辭典都查不到(*1),而且我在台灣時沒接觸過,所以這是什麼我不是很清楚,不過看了些圖片和食譜,感覺上這只是"bake(動詞/烤這道菜的加熱方式)"的一個好聽的中文說法。

有一個說法是"gratin"(菜的名稱),比如這個Wiki條 目: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratin
這基本上是一種casserole,源自法國菜。至 於"au gratin"則是指做這道菜的方式/手法。
Merriam-Webster's LEARNER'S DICTIONARY字典這樣子寫:
gratin (noun)
a dish that has bread crumbs or cheese on top and is cooked in an oven see also AU GRATIN
au gratin (adjective)<--形容詞
covered with bread crumbs or cheese and then baked until brown
▪ They served potatoes au gratin with the fish.
au gratin potatoes
Wikipedia就寫的比較詳細: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratin)
Gratin .... is a type of casserole dish that is covered with Béchamel sauce or Mornay sauce, topped with buttered breadcrumbs or grated cheese and either baked or broiled(*2), then served in its baking dish with a golden crust. Cooking au gratin is a technique..... anything that can be sliced thin, layered with a cream sauce and baked is material for a gratin....
說是這樣子說,但是在美國日常上比較是會去講個別菜的菜名, 比如Wikipedia的同一個頁面有提到:
Potatoes gratiné is one of the most common of gratins and is known by various names. In North America, the dish is referred to as scalloped potatoes.
而"scalloped potatoes"也是我平常接觸到的說法。
另外也可以看看這個,看看和大家在餐廳吃的"焗烤"有什麼差別(不要去理green bean這個作料的話):
http://video.about.com/southernfood/Green-Bean-Blue-Cheese-Gratin.htm

另外也可以看這個:
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/baked-macaroni-and-cheese-recipe/index.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zlqPKNJDxY
裡頭沒提到"au gratin"字眼


(*1)查的到「焗」,但是意思不一樣:
教育部國語辭典
焗:
一種烹飪方法。用鹽或淨沙下鍋炒熱,再將食物用紗布等包好,埋入熱沙或熱鹽中,蓋緊鍋蓋,利用慢火燜熟。如:「鹽焗雞」。

(*2) "broil"比較是特別情況下的加熱方式。Wiki頁面下方有提到。

找不到這本書

要找的書是
Essential English Grammar and Usage (*1)(Amazon.com用的書名,其他地方會看到前頭加上Chambers)
Publisher: Chambers (Oct 21, 1999)
因為要查中英文版的差異,而且印象裡頭有在附近的Barnes&Noble看到,所以找了個空檔到附近書局翻 書,結果找不到,用他們店裡提供的電腦查詢也找不到,後來轉去一家公立圖書館找,也用電腦查藏書,都沒有(圖書館書庫網路遍及麻州東部的公立圖書館),接 著再去Borders找,也是找不到,用他們的電腦查詢庫存也是沒有(接著又去旁邊Mall裡頭的一個小書局找,更是沒有),沒辦法只好回家用自己的電腦 查,查出來的結果是這本書已經絕版了,這還沒什麼,最神的是透過Google Books去找有這本書的圖書館,居然最近的圖書館是在英國!換句話說Google能連到的全美圖書館都沒有這本書。看樣子得去MIT或是 Hardvard的圖書館找(如果Google沒有連到他們的圖書館資料庫),只是為了查本書有點划不來...
好奇下我想試試看用eBay 能不能找到,也是沒有。找賣二手書的,啊,找到兩個,不過一個在加拿大,一個在英國。
用Google Books倒是查到在加州的三處圖書館有這本書的中文版。不過最讓我詫異的是用Google找這本書查出來的links非常的少.....(相較於我用的 那本書則有207,000個條目....差好多... 居然還找到有人弄成電子檔的盜版...)
(*1)我故意在書名的英文字裡頭用了幾個全形的中文系統的字碼

電熱水瓶

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_water_boiler

電熱水瓶:

Electric water boiler
或是
electric dispensing pot,
electric water heater,
electric water urn(這個比較是英國那邊的說法)

要注意的是電熱水瓶主要是東亞 /東南亞一帶比較盛行,在其他國家除了有前述背景的家庭外一般很少見,換句話說講了他們也未必知道那是什麼。我老美室友第一次到我爸媽家時也是在那裡像是 發現新大陸似的指著電熱水瓶說"What's that?!"

曾經有個老美朋友說他在某處看到這種熱水瓶後覺得這還挺方便的於是他也想 買,但是一般美國商店沒賣,於是他上網去找(這是十多年前的事了),找到一個郵購商店有賣,他還和那老闆在電話上聊了一陣子,基本上就是知道這種熱水瓶的 人不多,所以也不是很好賣,他進貨也沒很多。(我朋友是可以去中國超市買,他為甚麼不去我不知道,大概和我一樣嫌停車麻煩吧 :p )


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(原出處: 電熱水瓶(我貼在ECT討論區的一篇貼文)

Ouch!

     I've been feeling fatigue and some other discomfort for a while. They are mild and don't really affect my daily activities, but having a diabetes history in my family, I think it would be better to take extra precautions. My father is a diabetics and he has a portable blood sugar meter, so, during my last visit, I asked him if I could use it.

     He set up the meter, loaded it with a test strip, wet a tissue paper with rubbing alcohol, had the lancet(a sterile pointed needle) ready, and then it was time to collect a blood droplet from one of my fingertips. I always hate this part. Even though I'd done it before, still I had to ask my father, “It won't hurt, right?”

     “No, it feels just like a mosquito bite,” my father replied. “Yeah right,” I said to myself, but I still hoped it wouldn't hurt. He twisted the pen-like lancet device, made sure the puncturing mechanism was active, and then handed it to me. I placed the device on the tip of my left middle finger, looked away and pressed the button. “Click” and a tiny sting, blood started to come out of my fingertip. I waited a while for the blood to form a small droplet, wiped it on the tip of the test strip, and checked the readout. Nothing happened other than a constant flashing on the screen of the meter.

     “Hum.... Maybe this test strip is bad, let me load another one,” my father said. So I had to repeat the above steps. This time, I switched to my left ring finger. “Click” and a sting, well, still nothing. My father looked really puzzled and mumbled, “How can this be? They were not opened....” He searched his drawer for a while, found a box of test strips, took a look and said, “Ah! I'm sorry, I used wrong test strips.” “What do you mean you used wrong test strips?” I frowned. “I got those from work because they were throwing them out,” he then opened the box and said, “these are new ones.” “Are you sure you got the right one?” I still had some doubt in him. “Yes! I'm pretty sure.”

     So I had to repeat the same process yet again. This time, I switched back to my left middle finger. To be sure it'd work better, I increased the strength of the lancet device, which means it'd hurt more. (And yes, it sure hurts...) My father helped me collect blood this time. Finally, a beep from the meter and it was done. Thirty seconds later I got the readout. Well, let me just say I'm very healthy. :)

Rolling human dough

     I swear to God, I really thought they were doing some kind of yoga when I saw someone was "rolling" my coworker on the floor.

     It all happened during one “health clinic” session held by a health center located right next to the company I first worked for. They sometimes would come, set up a place in our cafeteria and give free tests and services as incentives to entice us to have them as our care provider. So, I went before noon and took advantage of it. I was interested in getting my cholesterol checked, so I stood in line in front of a station that marked “cholesterol”. You know how it often goes when you are waiting for something, so there I got bored, looked around and took a peek at a massage station. The masseur saw me, gave me a faint smile and got back to pressing her elbow on the back of her client.

     Then I saw my coworker lying on the floor with her eyes closed, and a clinic worker kneeling next to her was rolling her back and forth; her location was very close to the masseur, so I thought, “Hum... this is new, it must be some kind of new massage technique or yoga.” A moment later, two guys came in with a gurney, loaded her up and left. I thought she volunteered to participate in an emergency act, like a demo or the sort. No one was panic or anything; we stayed where we were and resumed what we were doing after they left. She didn't come back during my stay at the cafeteria.

     Some time later after I went back to my cube, she showed up. Her cube was right next to mine, so I walked over to her cube and asked her what was going on.

     “Well, I passed out....”
     “What happened!?”
     “I was getting my cholesterol checked and when the lady poked my thumb with that needle thing, it hurt so much. I got panic and felt weak all of a sudden, and the next thing I knew, I was on the floor...”
     “Yes... that's when I saw you. I thought they were giving you a massage or something.”
     “No... They're trying to wake me up. Then they call the ambulance....”
     “Ah, that must be those two guys.”
     “Yes. They put me on the gurney and sent me to the hospital.”
     “Did they do anything when you're there?”
     “No really. I felt better when I got there, so they released me soon after.”
     “That's good. At least nothing serious happened to you.”
     “Yeah, but I have to pay the bill just for this short trip.”
     “It's not covered by your insurance?”
     “No....”

     She told me how much it cost her, but I forgot.... I'm guessing it has to be several hundred dollars. Ouch!

Love Seat

This is kind of a joke. A friend of mine was in Texas visiting his girlfriend, and they went to a movie during one of their outings. The movie theater they went to had "love seats" and they wanted to sit together in one of those "love seats", but they didn't know how to say it, so my friend instead said "Can we sit together?" to the ticket salesperson.

"Uh... Let me ask my manager," the salesperson then left the ticket booth. A short moment later, he came back and said to my friend, "My manager said you two can sit together, but you still have to buy two tickets."

Starbucks 的 Tall? Small?

禮拜天晚上的60 Minutes,報導的是Starbucks的Chairman, Howard Schultz。
其中一個我很感興趣的問題是"為什麼你要把小杯的咖啡(small)用tall來稱呼呢?” Schultz笑著回答說"這一切都是行銷手法(marketing),你總不希望顧客進來一直講small, small吧!”
原來是這樣喔,害我之前一直在找tall是不是其他語言裡的"小”的意思呢。
其他的grande, venti則是來自義大利文。找個translator網站就可以查了,比如:
http://dictionary.reference.com/translate/index.html
(From Italian to English)
grande -> large(對應的卻是一般店裡賣的16 oz. 的"medium" size)
venti -> twenty(20 oz. 的大size!不過這是熱飲,冷飲的又會更大)

詳細的可以看這個:
http://www.quicksilverweb.net/sbucks/sbcharts.htm


前一陣子我逛了台灣的Starbucks網站才知道台灣的Starbucks某些咖啡飲料比美國的多賣了"short"(or在menu上頭有標出來)。比如前頭提到的最普通的(brewed)咖啡,美國這邊的Starbucks賣的(or在menu上頭有標出來的)最小容量是"tall"(12 oz)。我是有在網路上看到如果你額外要求"short"(8 oz) coffee他們還是會賣你。我是沒有這樣子買過,因為short實在是太小杯了。

--------------------------
(以下是我的另一篇「原來如此」,反正講的是一樣的東西,我就合併到這)
--------------------------
我就在想,怎麼每次在台灣的論壇提到星巴克的咖啡杯容量時總是和我知道的不一樣,原來台灣另外有不同的販售法
(我是專指美國這邊最普通/普遍的 brewed coffee)

台灣的:
商品專區 -> 飲料專區 -> 咖啡飲料 -> 新鮮現調Brewed Coffee -> Coffee of the Day
在T(Tall) 之下還有個 S(Short)

美國的:
beverage lineup -> Brewed Coffees -> Coffee of the Week ->(Tall)
最小的容量就是 Tall(12 fl. oz.)

其它類的我稍微看一下,奇怪,有些台灣好像也是另外有賣容量更小的"Short"....

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http://blogs.static.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/33297.html
-> 2

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Hard as rock

最近新開了家Long John Silver's(賣炸魚和薯條的快餐店; fish and chips --> 英國的特產小吃),朋友說這邊以前有,但是關掉了,所以他知道後很想去,於是我做了跟屁蟲順便看看這是甚麼玩意(之前吃fish and chips都是在餐館吃的)。

他點了炸魚炸蝦餐,我則是點炸魚和炸雞胸塊餐,剛吃時除了覺得有些硬,外層炸好的麵糊"好像"有些老(後來 才察覺)之外,滋味倒是不錯,魚肉也很新鮮,沒有魚腥味。吃了一陣,朋友開始抱怨炸魚和炸蝦"hard as rock",我是覺得還好,再加上這是第一次吃,我以為本來就是這樣子,不過聽他一說之後我也開始覺得好像真的是太硬了,因為我用塑膠刀子切魚塊時都切不 下去(後來乾脆直接用手拿起來咬)。

他又咕噥一陣子,說他是該拿回去還是繼續吃,我也懶得理他,繼續咬我的薯條,結果他站了起來,端起餐 盤然後走回櫃台去抱怨。

像他們這樣點的菜吃得不合意然後要退的情況我也見了很多次,但是在快餐店倒是頭一次遇到。過了一陣子,他端了餐盤 回來 -- 他們給他新的炸魚炸蝦餐,我看了一下,顏色居然是淺黃,而我們原先的是偏棕色,他分了個炸蝦和炸魚給我,我一吃之下居然不硬!這表示他們之前給的確實炸的 過久,而且他們有能力炸出"完美"的炸物。

看在不到美金4塊錢的份上,我還是會再度上門。

What do you think I am?

     A friend's car needed to be serviced, so I picked him up after he dropped off his car at the dealer. It would take three to four hours, so our plan was to go to some places in the vicinity and then go back there to pick up his car. Two hours or so later, while we're in the car driving, my friend's cell rang, so he answered the call. It was the service department calling to tell him about the car.

     At first everything seemed fine, but I heard him curse in a low voice. What happened next really caught me off-guard.

     "That's crap!" he suddenly sit up and yelled to the cell phone.

     "What do you mean the break light doesn't work? That's crap! I know the break light works and you know that, so don't give me that kind of crap...... I'm not spending 700 dollars just for the break pads, ......." he kept shouting. We were in my car at the time and the windows were all shut, so his loud voice didn't attract any attentions from other motorists.

     Then I heard some voices from the phone. I guess the poor guy (or the sneaky guy) from the service department tried to explain the situation, but my friend apparently didn't buy any of them. Near the end of the call, he told him not to do anything else not agreed upon when they first talked and we'd be there in 40 minutes.

     After that, he was still upset, "I know I shouldn't go to a dealer but I still went, and this is what I get. I asked for an inspection and they wanted to charge me 700 dollars. For what?!... What do they think I am?" Well, I've known him for quite some time, but this would be the first time I saw him like this.

     We had a quick stop at the dealer afterwards. On our way back to his place, I followed his car, and I noticed his car's break lights worked perfectly fine. So after we arrived at his place and parked our cars, I told him about the lights.

     He said, "See, they could have just told me the park break needs work but they had to lie."

     "What?"

     "I went there for the transmission oil and I also asked for an inspection(*1). They know it's not much money so they had to find something in my car. I know the park break needs serious work, but they could've just told me that. But no! They had to lie. And 700 dollars for the break pads? What do they think I am?!"

     "So, did they do any of those..."

     "No, I asked them not to, and they didn't remove the old inspection sticker."

     "?" I showed it with my face.

     "Normally if a car doesn't pass the inspection, they'd put a 'failed' sticker on, but they didn't even do that."

     "So did they charge you for the inspection if they didn't put the new sticker on?"

     "No. They only charged me for the transmission oil."

     I can only guess they realized they were busted, so they pretended nothing had happened by not writing those items on the bill. I can't blame him for being mean, if anything he's very tough; after all, he could have had been conned. As a matter of fact, he saved me from a similar situation before. Anyway, I'll tell that story next time.

 

(*1) Referring to Massachusetts state inspection. It's required by law. One of the test items is break lights.

Redbox nightmare

     What would you do when you spotted a suspicious transaction on your credit card statement? Well, today I saw one and I was pissed.

     It was a $25.02 charge and the description was REDBOX DVD. I was in shock and thought I ran into some sort of scam because Redbox is a one dollar movie rental, so how come they charged me $25.02?? Then I remembered I rented a DVD from a REDBOX DVD rental kiosk a while ago. Apparently, they thought I didn't return the DVD and charged me the full price of a movie, which was equivalent to buying it from them. But the thing is I RETURNED IT THE VERY NEXT DAY!!

     Anyway, I went online, found the website, filled a request form and explained what happened (together with "I'm not going to rent any DVDs from you again!"). Five or six hours later, I got a reply from their customer service. It was written as follows:

      "I have refunded you back for the price of the DVD ($25.20) as you say the DVD was returned the next day. It will take 3-5 business days before you see the credit on your account. If you have any questions feel free to call or email us."

      Well, I'm happy with the result (assuming I'll see my refund in 7 days), but, what does "as you say" mean? He took my words without verifying it? I mean I'm glad that he "trusted" me, but shouldn't he at least check their records? Perhaps, their machines make so many mistakes that they simply refund to any requests like mine.

      I was lucky because I checked my financial statements, but even I had a difficult time remembering small details because it was two months ago! When I found out the charge, the first thing I did was to find the receipt, but I couldn't remember where I put it! I searched two piles of my receipts on my desk, and then I remembered there wasn't one to begin with -- they don't give you a printed receipt but an electronic one which you won't get unless you give them your email address. I wanted to keep my privacy, so I chose not to give them my email address, and as a result I didn't get any receipt.

      Anyway, I'm done with it and I'm not going to go through the same hassle again.

========
Update:

I got my refund within a week.

========

Another update:

Well, I still rent DVDs from them from time to time...

Yet another address change mishap

I can't believe it happened again, and it's from a financial institute as well. This time they got it completely wrong.

Since I can't change my address online or over the phone, I downloaded the form and mailed it as stated on their website. Everything seemed fine after I mailed the form, and I did receive a confirmation letter, but, wait a second ... my new address becomes my old address, and my old address is now my new address??????

I waited till Monday(today) to give them a call. The lady on the other end of the line was very courteous, even though I had to wait for a long time (well, just a couple or so minutes actually) because she had to conduct a "research" to pull out my form.

Still, it remains a mystery to me. How could the person who processed my form make a mistake like this? New is old and old is new???

A mistake from my bank

I recently requested a change of address from my bank by mail because I thought a black-and-white document should be easier to process than spoken words exchanged over the phone. Today, I received a letter from the bank, in which it stated that my new address was updated and wanted me to verify it.

Well, they did update my new address alright, but with an incorrect street designation; instead of "ROAD" or "RD", it's "ST". For a moment, I thought it was my mistake, so I pulled out my record and found out I did give them my correct address name. The next step? I called their 1-800 number and corrected my address information over the phone.

The lady on the other end was quite courteous and repeatedly saying "I'm sorry", so I must say I was satisfied with the service, but still, I do think they shouldn't make this kind of mistake in the first place.

What's going on?

I came home late last night. The fist thing I did was check my mail and I found something unexpected--a bank statement of a supposedly closed account. I thought I might saw something stating this account was closed in this bank statement, but instead I saw a -$3.49 balance (which means I owe the bank money). My first thought was to verify my account online, so I turned on my PC and cable modem, and was ready to go online.

"Server can't be found ..." My Firefox displayed this message after I typed in my bank's URL. (Looks familiar? :-) ) After some quick checks, I noticed the "cable status" light on my cable modem wasn't on, so I rebooted it. It didn't work; the light blinked for a long time then went off, which means the cable modem couldn't get a lock on a channel. After two or three more tries, I gave up, so I moved to checking the cable--this is easier than checking the modem anyway.

Our cable came in through the basement, so I went to the place and checked the cable splitter. Everything looked fine to me, but....what the heck, so I detached the cable lines. Soon after I removed one cable, something fell off. I didn't know what it was, but soon I found out it was water because I saw water coming out of the splitter terminal which I just removed the cable from. I examined the cable I just removed and saw water in the metal casing too. So, it was obvious that the reason my network wasn't working was the water in the splitter and cable. (Oddly though, our cable TV didn't seem to be affected.)

I knew any further investigation would take time, so I moved on and went back to my bank account issue. It was straight forward--I called the bank and had the issue fixed. The explanation they gave me was the account was opened again when the monthly interest got deposited into it, and because the account "went back to life", they charged me a maintenance fee because of a below-minimum balance in the account. I didn't like the answer but what could I do? Maybe I'll write a complaint letter to the bank.

So, one issue down and it was time to go back to my cable problem. I later found out the water was from the cable outside. I could go out and take a look, but it was very cold and late, so I figured I'd continue my investigation the next morning.


Well, I did go out and take a look this morning, and everything seemed fine. The cable lines and the splitter in the basement looked dry to me too. I tried them on and the network was back to normal. I'm guessing the water was from condensation, but I'm not very sure......

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Stop the cat box

開車回家時在收音機裡頭剛好聽到"Rock the Casbah",於是想到下頭這個以前寫的blog(也找到那個電視廣告)

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電視廣告上的一段對白。一個人幫他的朋友download音樂到他的手機裡頭,然後兩人高興的走出房子跟著音樂唱歌...
      "...... The sheep don't like it"
      A: "Lock the cash box~"(邊唱手還做出上鎖的動作)
      B: "Isn't he singing 'Stop the cat box'?"
      A: "Stop the cat box"(微笑,點頭,繼續唱)

接著兩人繼續唱歌,這時的旁白"You don't have to understand your music to download it to......"
      A&B: "Stop the cat box~"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOLPrdd8JvU
or

--
剛剛我的roommate跟 我說那是"Rock the Casbah",剛好wikipedia上頭也有:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_the_Casbah

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當年Enya的專輯在台灣的電台播放時,我馬上就被那"Sail away~ Sail away~"的韻律給迷住了,然後我很天真的以為大家一定都很喜歡她的音樂。有次參加英語會話班的謝師宴,席中我跟老師的老婆(他們夫婦都是美國人)談到Enya的這首歌:

She: "What?"
Me: "You know. Sail away~ sail away~.."
She: "Oh! I've heard of that song. I thought it was 'Say when, say when'."
Me: "?!"

其實中文歌也是,現在年輕一代的歌手唱的歌,說老實話,沒歌詞的話有的我還真的聽不懂哩。

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這邊的電視電影沒有預設配字幕,有的電視節目有字幕,那麼可以選擇字幕功能看,電影的話除非是外語發音,不然的話是沒字幕的。有次我哥說他好奇問他的老美同事說像這樣子沒字幕會不會遇到聽不懂的情況,他的同事回答說當然會啊,然後我哥問說那麼該怎麼辦?他的同事回說聽不懂就跳過囉。

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雖然如此,美國人對他們自己語言的辨識度還是比我高很多。年初我和gf去看"BrokeBack Mountain",我對裡頭的60年代美國中西部低教育程度人所講的英語幾乎是完全沒轍,不但口音我抓不出來,他們用的俚俗語有很多我也沒聽過。看完電 影後在逛店時我的gf突然對電影的一個情節笑了出來,那情節也剛好是我沒有聽懂的部份。我問她是怎麼聽得懂得?麻州這一代沒有人有這口音啊(她在這出生長大,並沒有長期在中西部靠南邊待過),她說她以前工作的地方有遇過,所以聽得懂。

----

現在呢,我正努力的習慣"Doctor Who"裡頭的口音,這科幻節目是英國的常青樹,雖然換了幾代了但是仍是有在製作播放。奇怪的是英式口音我也不是沒聽過,公共節目裡頭就常有來自英國的節目,偏偏Doctor Who裡頭一些人講的英語我就是聽得很吃力,後來我得出一個結論--我聽習慣的是較偏正式的英式英語與口音,一些地區性的,較俚俗性的發音和用法我之前真 的沒碰過,比如我發現有的演員完全不發"t"音(害我在哪裡抓那「韻律」抓了老半天),知道後當我遇到那演員"吞"了一個音時,我自己會自動的把"t"加在那個"頓"點,果然,在辨識上就容易聽懂的多了。

Oriental Pearl

    A Chinese restaurant menu that came with the mail has been sitting at the “forgotten corner” on my desk about a week or two. Suddenly, a thought came to me. “It can't be”, I said to myself. To confirm my suspicion, I opened it and checked its location on the map printed on the cover. Well, it is.


   *    *    *    *    *    *    *    

    It all started from a couple of years ago. My brother saw a “new” Chinese buffet & dim-sum ad on a local Chinese newspaper. It was in my town, so my brother called me up and invited me to check it out. I didn't know where it was exactly, but after we found the place, I realized it was actually right across from a local town library I frequented. From the look of it, it seemed like the place used to be a regular “American" restaurant--like those chained restaurants, Friendly's or Denny's, which means the new owner didn't bother to redecorate the place, and its facade simply looked wrong.

    Anyway, we were there. What else could we do? So we walked to the entrance, but we had to stop right there because the whole place was packed--so packed that it reminded me a lot of an overcrowded student cafeteria, or a prison one, inside which everybody gathered around a huge metal pot of rice congee. The all-white walls didn't help much either. The whole setting simply looked so plain and it didn't help my appetite one bit. My brother walked to the food trays, took a look at the food, came out and said he wasn't impressed.

    *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

    Two or three weeks ago, a friend called us and said he was bringing his wife and relatives to a Chinese buffet & dim-sum restaurant near us. My roommate answered the phone. After he finished the call, he told me our friend saw the restaurant's ad on a Chinese newspaper, and he then told me the address and figured I'm Chinese so I must know the place. Wrong! Anyway, they came, picked us up, and we were on our way to the “new” restaurant. When we got there, my friend's wife said, “this place looks like a take-out restaurant!” “Well, why don't you go in and take a quick look,” her husband said to her.

    By now, I already recognized this place, so I tried to save us some trouble and told her, “well, I know this place. My brother and I were here before and it's horrible. Really, you don't have to go.”

    “Was the food that bad?” my friend said.
    “Well, I don't know, because I didn't go in.”
    “Then how do you know it's horrible?”
    “Well, it's the look. It looks horrible.”
    “But it doesn't mean the food is bad, right?”
    “Yeah, you're right. I guess you can take a look and see if you like it,” so finally I caved in.

    Then it's decided that he and my roommate would go in and take a look at the food. At the same time his wife and I were discussing other options in case the food was bad. Our conclusions weren't very good because other restaurants we could think of were far away. (Their relatives were from Taiwan and weren't very used to local food. As a result, local "American" restaurants were out of options.)

    A few moments later, they came out. My friend walked to the car, leaned over, and said, “well, the food is just about the same as the one we often go to.” He meant a Chinese buffet restaurant up north. I knew that place too. Yeah, their food was okay, limited selections, but at least they had a better decors--in other words, that one up north looked more like a Chinese restaurant.

    The verdict was in and his relatives okayed it, so we all walked in.

    Well, I must say, their food WAS okay, not as bad as I previously thought. Their dim-sum wasn't very impressive, but definitely not the worst. If I'm to give ratings, I'd say it's “edible”--“don't go there” if you just came from Taiwan, and “enjoy yourself” if you've been in the US for over 4 years and anything labeled with "Chinese" automatically means “it should taste okay” to you.
 
    *    *    *    *    *    *    *   
 
    I opened the menu laying on my desk, took a look, and already I found one typo and one grammatical mistake:

Lunch, Dinner Buffet
10% OFF
Expires: Oct, 30/2006
Not Inculded Dim Sum Buffet

    Will I go there again? Maybe. After all, I've been in the US over 10 years!

波士頓的『替』

那年白痴無聊,開了三個多小時的車去接一位在台灣時認識的並不是很熟的朋友來波士頓玩。到了波士頓後,我說:

『我們去搭 吧!』

『什麼 ?』他愣了一下。我解釋給他聽,他說『是 啦,什麼 !』
他剛來美國不久,不熟悉這裡的發音習慣,我也懶得跟他辯,只是想不透,明明不懂的人卻偏偏要糾正別人。

波士頓的捷運站入口都會有一個T字型 的標誌,所以這裡的人直接唸T來表示捷運。我剛來時聽他們唸T為『替』時有點不習慣,因為本地人唸T時聽起來像tea,而我們在台灣時,唸T則聽起來像 『踢』。

而剛剛那位「英語大師」在車站買車票時,還不是得乖乖的退到一旁要我幫他買。

T-Boned the Cruiser

看電視新聞時聽到的,因為是在我的 town ,所以刻意注意看了一下,畫面上是一輛車橫著,然後一輛警車直撞入橫著的車身,所以那樣子看起來像個"T"字形。接下來主播說這輛違規的車橫過車道,"and then T-boned(*1) the cruiser(*2).....",第一次聽到"T-bone"這樣子用,挺好玩的,後來用Google找了一下,還真的有,比如這個:
"She was hit by someone in a Pontiac Sunfire who went through a red light at high speed and T-boned the Cruiser. The Sunfire was totalled, and the driver had ..."

(*1) 取自T-bone steak : 丁骨牛排,骨頭的部份像個T字。
(*2) cruiser: 警車

一個奇景

上次回台灣時有次帶了剛升高中的堂弟到台北車站前的某飯店角落的星巴克買"冰沙"。因為是夏天而且外頭天氣不錯,所以我們到外頭的露天座想找個位子坐下喝 我們剛買的飲料。

那時候十幾個座位只有兩個人坐了一桌,其它座位全空,若是我的習慣的話我會選個周遭沒人的位子,但是堂弟卻是找了那兩人 的隔桌坐下,我只好跟著過去。我不確定這是現在年輕人的習慣,還是因為他想練習聽英文,因為那桌坐了個金髮中年老外以及一個略微"徐娘半老"的女子,而那 女子正在哇啦哇啦很大聲的...講英文吧(我不確定我有聽懂她在講什麼,而且外頭聲音很吵雜,我也不是聽得很清楚),而那老外只是臉稍微帶笑的插臂坐著, 眼睛望著外邊行人一句話也沒說。

一陣子後一個奇怪的景象發生了。一個外邊路過的穿著邋遢的瘦削男子,手提著印有"Macy's"的塑膠袋 在露天座外圍開始來回的走動,然後嘴裡不知道在講什麼,我猜是英語吧。我當時想他是對著那對男女說話吧,因為他是面向他們,然後偶而會對著他們稍微揮動手 裡的Macy's的塑膠袋。這時候我轉頭去看那對男女的反應,我猜他們大概沒看到他吧,因為女的還是在哇啦哇啦,男的還是姿勢沒變的坐在那。

我 不記得那男子在那裏徘徊了多久,也許我後來沒去看他,也許他走開了,也許我和我堂弟沒坐多久就離開了,總之一直到現在我還是不曉得那是一個怎樣的情況。

好書介紹 – Practical English Usage

曾有人在ETC聊天室問我要自修看哪本書好,當時我仍是處於在書局四處翻文法書的狀態,每本書都稍微看一下,所以無法推薦『一本書』。現在倒是有本文法書(英文用法書)我覺得很不錯: Practical English Usage – by Michael Swan(3rd edition — 最新的版本)。這本書的特色是它是以字典單字的排法把各式單字,詞,文法用語等等從A排列到Z(而不是像一般文法書是按照文法用詞來排),然後每一章節裡頭相關聯的細項是放在一起的,方便互相比照以及一次全部吸收,同時會在各項目底下列出其他相關項目的索引,方便讀者查詢。在Oxford U. Press的網站可以download幾頁試閱(有封面照片可以看):
https://elt.oup.com/catalogue/items/global/grammar_vocabulary/practical_english_usage/?cc=us&selLanguage=en&mode=hub

我喜歡這本書的原因是這作者不會寫一大堆艱澀的文法用詞來解釋英文字詞例句的用法,而是直接用很白話的英文去做解釋,在必要時才提一些文法用詞。這不表示這本書『不講』文法,比如在"tenses"這一部份,作者鉅細靡遺的對所有時態做解釋,提供例句,同時涵蓋範圍之廣讓人歎為觀止 – 連報章新聞與電視播報的特例用法也會提出來。一些常遇到的英文問題,甚至是冷門的,這本書裡頭都有解說。缺點的話就是作者主要是在「介紹」英文用法--"我們是這樣子表達的/我們的習慣用法就是這樣子",所以他不會做太多的細部(文法)說明,也因此這本書對英文程度不夠的人會很吃力/只能一昧的死背或是誤當成「文法規則」來背。(「有這樣的用法」不等於「文法規則」。前者只是部份現象,後者的話則是違反規則就是錯誤。兩者是不一樣的概念。)

這本書的對象是"Teachers of English"和"Higher-level students of English (working alone or in class)",不是針對應付考試的學生,所以他不會只列最嚴謹的正式文法。正式的,非正式的,口語的,粗俗的,他都會標出來,甚至是美式英語,英式英 語的異同也有專門的章節,在整本書的各項目如果有英美不同用法也會寫出來。

因為這不是『中文書』,所以對不習慣或是還不能讀英文的人就不適用,同時因為這本書可以說是一本字典,是遇到有英文問題時查詢檢索用的,並不適合一頁頁想從從第一頁翻到最後頁學習的人,所以對還不會文法的初學者也不適用,但是對於英文有一定程度,尤其是已經離開學校,不需要應付大學學測考試的人(or上班族),個人是覺得特別適用,因為這類人(像我就是一例)可以單靠過去記剩下的文法直接檢索這本書,直接接受書裡頭的以白話英語所作的用法解釋,而不需要被過去的文法包袱所拖累,或是望艱深文法用詞而興嘆。如果不確定 的話,到上述的網址試閱,看看能不能看懂就知道了。

附帶一提,因為這是本檢索用的"字典",所以要自修還是要靠多看英文報章書籍(聽說讀寫最好都要),然後在有疑問時可以查,或是在做題目時遇到不懂的也可以查。

詳細資料:
“Practical English Usage” by Michael Swan, Oxford University Press; 3rd Edition, 2005, Oxford
ISBN Index:
Paperback 0-19-442098-1
Hardback 0-19-442099-X
International Student Edition (only available in certain countries) 0-19-442146-5

Amazon.com賣的是約$29.xx美金(不是直接由 Amozon賣,這些3rd party要價不一),但是Barnes&Noble則是$19.xx美金。

要注意的是第二版的封皮只有寫New Edition,整本都沒有另外標明,只能靠封面頁的出版說明分辨這是1995年版本。第三版就有在封皮標明這是第三版,只是因為剛出,缺貨的可能性很 大。(亞洲地區)可能會有圖書館有這本書,即使是第二版也可以借來參考看看。

另外有一本書和這本封皮很像,連名稱也很接近,不要買 錯:“A Practical English Grammar”

"between" and "among"

Between只能用在兩人的情況,然後三人以上就只能用among嗎?

Think again!

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/between (usage notes)

and

http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=between
(usage note)


(未完成,但是有興趣的人可以自行去這兩處看usage notes)

我老哥說英文的膽子

(Note:這是篇舊文,之前登在ECT上)

我老哥在臺灣時號稱英文第一 -- 他圈子裡第一,他的圈子裡包含他的朋友,以及在台灣時的同事,不知怎地,只要遇到英文問題就得請他出來解決。他在台灣時最後的工作是銀行職員,上至外國傳來的合約文件,下至阿豆仔登門鬧事,都由我哥出面擺平。有次有個阿豆仔要領錢,但是沒帶印章,於是他就大鬧,抱怨為什麼台灣不像美國那樣用簽名就可以了, 鬧到後來我哥出了面,他跟那阿豆仔說:『為什麼你們要過感恩節吃火雞,我們就沒有?』那阿豆仔聽了後大笑了幾聲,滿意的離去了。想知道我哥那時的英語是怎麼說出口嗎?不知道也罷,因為他隨口說了出來,除了thanksgiving, turkey, why do you, why do we有清楚說出來之外,其他的都是隨口謅,但是,阿豆仔聽得懂。

這正是重點,我哥的膽子很大,他不怕出錯,不怕出糗。他常說:『管他聽得懂聽不懂,我先說了再說』,就這樣他搬來美國後,上至我爸家的保險,下至和修車的人爭討50塊錢,他前前後後自己一個人搞定了很多事情,前幾個星期他又成功的幫我爸買了輛二手車。我哥剛來美國時,他說的英文句子裡頭,十句有九句文法錯誤,但是大致上老美聽得懂。他又很外向很敢講,因為找附近修車廠的關係還和那個 mechanic 做了朋友。

他也聽我的勸去讀ESL,也去了很多家(便宜的),最近才上了個比較好的(和他之前去的比較起來啦。這次的是Berlitz,台北有分校,Berlitz是不是真的很好?I don't know),現在則是十句裡大約四到五句有文法小錯誤,一兩句大錯誤。

你認為我哥是什麼大學畢業的嗎?他是個商專生,還是混畢業的,他上班的地方不乏大學畢業生,更不缺研究所的,但是論到說英文的膽子沒人比得上他,他也因此比其他人多了許多練習英文的機會,單字會的比其他人多(註)。所以,只要你能練出說英語的膽子,相信你會比我哥還厲害。

算是個題外話。他剛來美國時我們勸他去讀大學,拿個正式的學歷文憑,他也真的去 Boston University 直接找(我記的好像是國貿系) Dean 談。據他說 Dean 接受他的入學要求,也認為他的英文說得不錯,所以就幫他開了個 folder 然後說等他考了 Toefl 分數送來就可以入學了。我哥也報名在 Boston 的一間語言學校上 Toefl 班,結果他抱怨說老師不一一解答題目,只是問大家有沒有問題。他當然也沒去考 Toefl ,因為他很多題目還是不會。

話是這樣子說,但是就他(和我)遇到的幾個在名校讀碩士、博士、博士後研究的台灣留學生和在工作的台灣人來說,遇到日常溝通的英文他們通常都不大行。簡單說就是考試用英文和日常溝通英文仍是兩回事。


Update:
許多年過去了,我哥現在的英文仍是屬於很難得說/寫出連續幾句完全正確無誤的句子(不過他至少已經稍微知道不該這樣子講英文-> I to buy clothes)(*1)。他前一陣子終於找到個銀行櫃員的工作。我是有些吃驚啦。總之你的英文不需要搞得像是一副要有能用英文寫出流傳千古的語言學書籍的程度才能在美國混下去。


(註)若是和他的大學畢業生同事比起來,我相信總單字量我哥比他們少,但是因為他常用,所以能夠活用的單字量比他們多。

----

(*1) 再次update: 有一陣子我還在想寫一篇關於他偶而會犯這種錯誤的文章,結果等我再次去注意他講的英文時,他已經完全改掉這錯誤了。



(2011, 新增) 前些天和我哥聊到這方面事情,他又說出一個更勁爆的內幕。原來他那時上班的銀行大樓裡頭還有個外國部,裡頭的人*據說*都有台灣研究所學歷。因為在同一棟大樓,也都互相認識,只是呢這些人常常會去「糾正」我哥的「英文」(比如在銀行餐廳吃飯時桌上很亂,我哥說"It's messy",然後他們某人「糾正」說這應該是"out of order"「才對」)。

有次他們銀行來了多位阿逗ㄚ要來開戶。原來他們隔壁新開了間連鎖(兒童)美語補習班,這些新聘的外籍老師就近到他們銀行開戶,結果呢行員不會英文,銀行經理於是緊急把樓上外國部的行員找來支援,結果還是「不通」。

我哥那時是在放款部工作,當時牽了摩托車正準備要去客戶那裡洽事,突然那位經理過去把他攔住要他幫忙。我哥很奇怪的說不是有外國部會英文的人幫忙嗎?幹嘛找他? 那位經理陪笑的說他們英文還是講不通。(我哥的說法是那些外國部員工的所謂「英文」是直接中翻英,所以才會造成雞同鴨講的問題)

我們還聊到英文財力證明的事。當初我在台灣時有辦過。那時候和我接洽的那位銀行人員(不是我哥工作的銀行)說英文版的要多一天,我還記得他那時用稍微帶有歉意的口氣說「你也知道,因為那是英文」。 我透過這事跟我哥說我實在不了解為什麼這會有難處,因為只要有英文範本,在開設英文證明時只要把名字和數字打上去就是了,這有什麼難的?我哥因此接著爆料說他們銀行的財力證明英文範本就是他寫的,但是每次範本(含拷貝)都是傳來傳去然後就不見了。等到我哥自己需要用到英文財力證明時(他那時已經是在放款部工作)他託一位(尋常櫃員)同事開,結果他的那位同事拖了三天還是沒開出來。後來我哥跑去「嗆聲」的時候,他的那位同事才苦喪著臉說「我不會英文」.....



後記:
很可惜的一點是我哥他不閱讀,不肯再上一層樓。他是能用英文「溝通」,但是遇到寫的場合,他的書寫英文仍是很糟糕。換句話說,如果「你」願意另外多下功夫大量閱讀,「你」的成就會大於他。

前一陣子我家裡有人住院。因為是我哥帶去的,所以他填自己是主要聯絡人。後來遇到需要開刀的情況,醫生需要家屬許可,於是打電話給我哥,但是我哥聽不懂,於是他給醫師我的電話要他打電話給我。事後我哥說因為醫生的印度腔太重,他聽不懂。不過後來遇到我們向主治醫師(沒有難懂的腔調)問病情的情況時,我哥也是在醫生說明完之後需要我解釋給他聽。

我的重點是任何階段都有改進的空間,但是不需要死命的鑽 。我哥他的態度是反正夠用了,他就不想再進步。我哥的例子算是個極端。但是也不需要在學習初階段就拼命的鑽完美、正確無誤,這又是另個極端。兩者間其實可以尋求個平衡點,而這平衡點可以隨你的英文程度進展而調整。


參考另一篇: 學英文重要的是什麼?

英文程度的迷思

這是以前在網路上找來的轉貼文,我是覺得很有參考價值:
有 關英文程度的迷思

由reel談起

剛剛在電視上聽到的(ABC Nightline):
"....they are colleagues and allies, and we are reeling at their loss."
(一個ABC記者在Iraq的兩位當地人同事,昨天被綁架然後今天早上屍體被發 現。這記者做了個短報導紀念他們)
前一陣子在ECT討論區討論到一個關於"reel"的用法: "People reeled in the wake of an event"。在查了些網路字典後我發現一件事,那就是"for learners"的英英字典居然有一般大本的英英字典所沒有的字義解釋:
Longman ONLINE
reel (verb):
1 to be confused or shocked by a situation

Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary
reel (MOVE) (verb):
3 If you reel, or your mind or brain reels, you feel very confused or shocked and unable to act:
We were reeling in amazement/shock/delight, etc. from/with the news that we had won all that money.

台灣烏骨雞

剛剛在Jay Leno Show看到人介紹台灣烏骨雞!據他說是"only found in Taiwan",我還真的不知道勒。

他後來又講了台灣的臭豆腐,之外又講了個什麼泡了四十多天的「$#D^&^&^%.臭豆腐」(我以為他是講一家餐廳的名字,所以沒去注意那是什麼名稱),他說這個他就只敢嘗一口。Jay問說那麼當地人會不會覺得你不禮貌?他說有些當地人也是不吃的。

我以前在台北上英文課時,有次的「謝師宴」我們是到家餐廳吃,然後有人就叫了道用砂鍋煮的臭豆腐,連我都是第一次看到那樣子準備的臭豆腐,還沒端進來就聞到臭味了,當然我們的美國人老師和她老公都不敢吃

冰淇淋風波

總覺得那個男的也是台灣來的,會這樣說的原因是我哥在幾秒鐘前才做過同樣的動作。

什麼動作呢?

那時我們在 Boston有名的觀光地點"Faneuil Hall Marketplace",逛著逛著看到一個賣冰淇淋的攤子,於是我們過去排隊買冰淇淋。那個時候有幾個小女孩擠在前面等著拿冰淇淋,另外還有一兩個人斜斜的站在一旁,也算是在排隊等著買,而我哥呢,一面抬頭看招牌上的價錢,一面就慢慢的往前走去,他根本沒有看到旁邊在等的人,我看到這情形拉了我哥一下,然後指指旁邊已經在排隊的人,我哥會意後閃到排隊的人後面。

過了一會,快輪到我們時,一對東方人夫婦走過來,而其中的男子正做著和我哥一模一樣的動作 --- 一邊抬頭看著招牌一邊往前走,然後就直接插隊在我們前面準備買冰淇淋。我那時真的是很不爽,臭著一張臉,大概是老婆終於注意到了,才對他低聲說了幾聲,而這位男子才恍然大悟似的回頭道歉。

(Faneuil Hall, Boston, Massachusetts. 圖片出自en.wikipedia.org)

Faneuil Hall

(左為North Market,右為Quincy Market。圖片出自en.wikipedia.org)

north & quincy market

檸檬與萊姆

萊姆--lime.

"Could you hand me the juice?" (I handed him the 100% bottled lemon juice.)

"No, this is lemon juice. I want lime juice."

"Aren't they the same?"

"No, they aren't."

這是我和我室友間曾有的一段對話。那時候他好像是要在某樣菜上頭加「檸檬汁」,剛好冰箱裡頭有lemon juice也有lime juice,所以我就拿了我在台灣時熟知的「檸檬」汁給他,然後他就抗議說lemon和lime是不一樣的,lemon適合加在xxx上頭(*1),然後 lime配yyy(*1)才適當。

說真的,我是知道它們在風味上有些微差別,但是也沒差到這地步吧?!



(*1) 我忘了是什麼了,因為這兩種汁實在是太像,在我的觀念裡頭,他們幾乎是一樣的東西,所以我到現在還是不知道哪種汁該配什麼食物。

Requiem

<<一篇舊文>>

     Finally, it died out, after almost 9 years of service. (Now to think of it, it's very impressive.)
     My old Athlon PC had been working perfectly for the past 9 years, but it all changed today. Ever since I got my new HP laptop, I've been using it every day, so my old PC was neglected for quite some time. Today, I had a need for it, so I turned it on, set up my programs and went out with my gf. I figured those programs should finish by the time I came back.
     A few hours later, I came home and found my PC not responding.... I clicked, pushed, pressed, typed, and kicked (Nah, I didn't), nothing I did could wake it up, so I resorted to the old trick--reboot. It didn't work.
     I was thinking the possibility of its being hacked, but I ruled it out. Anyway, I did some diagnosis, and I concluded that the PC's bios battery was out of juice.
     The funny thing is I went online afterwards to find some info about the battery's life, and spotted some descriptions on a webpage that matched almost all of my PC's symptoms--showing funny messages when booting up, failing to recognize multiple partitions on a drive, and bios time falling back to 2000. The only thing not mentioned in the list is my PC ceased to respond some time after it was up.
     So, DL3032 3V battery, kudos to your unusually long 9 years of life. I'll miss you!

House of the Dead

(SciFi channel is playing "House of The Dead". Well, it's not scary at all...)

I remember I hated this kind of "living dead" movies when I was a kid, or should I say "They scared the hell out of me"? The funny thing is I never watched any single one of them; the only thing I saw was previews on TV and that was enough to give me nightmares. I knew it was all fake, but those zombies looked real enough, and I really couldn't stand the sight of seeing someone trapped inside a zombie-occupied well and struggling to get out.

Apparently, the first movie was a big hit, so a series of "living dead" movies soon followed (just to jog your memories, if you're old enough, they are "生人勿近","生人迴避", etc)

Another one that scared the s**t out of me was "Friday the 13th"; it was the torturing scenes that prompted me to flip to another channel; I was fine with seeing a translucent or fog-like ghost but not a machete cutting through a torso!

Then came "A Nightmare on Elm Street". I guess the "trauma" I suffered when I was a kid stopped me from seeing this movie and its sequels. It wasn't until a friend told me they were actually quite funny that I started renting the tapes and watched them. Well, I wouldn't call it "funny" but he was right--they weren't scary at all.

Well, let's get back to the TV. So far, I have no idea what this "House of the Dead" is about other than a lot of kung-fu kickings, shootings and explosions. I guess the directer tried to make his movie look more "hip" in the hope that youngsters would love it, but I must say he failed miserably. It's not an action movie, after all.