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美语方言:美国本土的各式英语 | The Many Ways to Speak American English

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Y’all就是“你们大家”(=You all),在美国南方常常能听到这种说法,例如图中肯塔基州的佛罗伦萨市(Florence, Kentucky)。
Y’all就是“你们大家”(=You all),在美国南方常常能听到这种说法,例如图中肯塔基州的佛罗伦萨市(Florence, Kentucky)。

When you meet Americans, can you tell which part of the country they are from simply by listening to them? Or if someone asked you to imitate an American, would you try to sound like you were from Texas, Southern California or somewhere else? Chances are, it would be an accent you heard in a film or TV show rather than what you learned in class.

当你遇到美国人时,单听他们讲话你能说出他们来自美国的哪个地方吗?或者如果有人让你模仿一下美国人,你会试着让自己听起来像是来自得克萨斯州(Texas)、南加州(Southern California)或其他某地吗?你模仿的口音多半是你从某部电影或电视剧中听到的,而不是在课堂上学到的。

The American accent most nonnative speakers learn is just one among many used daily across the United States. Known as General American (GenAm), it is the same accent you would typically hear on network news, nationally syndicated radio, films and other media where the speakers do not want to draw attention to their background.

绝大部分母语不是美语的人学说的美国口音只不过是美国各地形形色色的地方口音中的一种。它被称为美国普通话(General American, GenAm),和你通常在电视新闻、全国性广播电台、 电影和其他媒体中听到的美语一样,因为这些媒体机构的人员不想特别突出自己的家乡口音。

GenAm has its roots in Pennsylvania, Ohio and other areas that make up “the Rust Belt,” and it followed settlers westward through the Midwest to California and the Pacific Northwest. The rise of radio and television in the 20th century led media outlets to investigate which American accent seemed the most “neutral” to the public and would therefore be understood by the widest audience.

美国普通话源于宾夕法尼亚州(Pennsylvania)、俄亥俄州(Ohio)和组成“铁锈地带”(Rust Belt)的其他地区,它跟随开拓者穿越中西部西行到加利福尼亚和太平洋西北部沿岸。20世纪广播电视的兴起促使媒体机构开始调查哪一种美国口音让公众听起来最为“中性”并能让最广泛的受众听懂。

While most Americans can easily identify a Southern or New England accent, for example, GenAm has become the national standard, even though its native speakers are confined to a small area of the Midwest.

虽然大部分美国人能够轻而易举地分辨出南方口音或新英格兰口音,但美国普通话已成为全国的标准话,尽管操这种口音的人局限在中西部一个小区域内。

Most Americans grow up speaking the same way as their parents and neighbors, but sometimes they adopt more common language characteristics to sound less regional or better educated. For example, as a child with a strong Mid-Atlantic background, I once pronounced the U.S. capital city as “Warshington” and the nearby city of Baltimore as “Bawldimer.” My Virginia-born grandfather also worked hard to lose his Southern accent when he moved to New York, since regional accents often invite biased social judgments about the speaker.

大部分美国人在成长过程中形成与父母和邻居相同的口音,但他们有时采用更常用的语言特点,以便听起来少一点地方口音或显得受过良好教育。例如,我童年时有浓厚的大西洋中部口音,曾经将美国首都(Washington)说成“Warshington”,并将附近的巴尔的摩(Baltimore)说成“Bawldimer”。我祖父出生在弗吉尼亚州,搬到纽约后竭力想改掉他的南方口音,因为操地方口音的人多半会招来社会上歧视性的评判。

BRITISH VERSUS AMERICAN ENGLISH

英式英语与美式英语

Like the United States, the United Kingdom has its own diversity of regional accents, and it has adopted a standard known as Received Pronunciation (RP) that is heard on the BBC and other national news outlets. If you are learning British English, you are most likely learning RP, which spread from southern England among the upper classes in the 18th and 19th centuries.

同美国一样,英国也有自己多种多样的地方口音。英国采用了一种标准发音(Received Pronunciation, RP),这是人们在英国广播公司(BBC)和其他全国性新闻媒体听到的发音。如果你在学英式英语,那么十有八九你是在学标准发音,这种发音在18世纪和19世纪流行于英国南部的上层社会。

One noticeable difference is the American use of the flat “a,” so the word "dance" does not sound like “dahnce.” Perhaps the most easily identified difference between RP and GenAm is the pronunciation of the letter “r” in some words, which phoneticians call rhotacism. For example, an American newsreader will pronounce the r in “hard,” but on British media it will sound more like “hahd.”

有一个明显的区别是美国人使用平舌的“a”,因此“跳舞”(dance)这个词不发成“dahnce”。也许英式标准发音和美国普通话之间最显著的区别是一些单词中字母“r”的发音,一些语音学者称之为r音化(rhotacism)。例如美国的播音员在说“hard”一词时带很重的r音,但英国的媒体则往往把这个单词发成“hahd”。

All Americans have some kind of an accent. Natives of a relatively small area of the Midwest are closest to the standard known as 'General American.' | 所有的美国人都有某种口音。中西部一个较小地区的居民的发音最接近美国普通话的标准发音。
All Americans have some kind of an accent. Natives of a relatively small area of the Midwest are closest to the standard known as 'General American.' | 所有的美国人都有某种口音。中西部一个较小地区的居民的发音最接近美国普通话的标准发音。

Some American accents, especially in the South, New England and New York, where port cities maintained close trading ties with England, joined their British counterparts in dropping the r sound, but 18th- and 19th-century Americans living inland, many of whom were immigrants from Scotland, Ireland or northern England where the r is pronounced, kept the rhotic accent.

某些美国口音,特别是在和英国保持密切贸易关系的港口城市所在的南部地区、新英格兰地区和纽约地区,与英国口音一样不发r音,但是18世纪和19世纪生活在内陆的美国人却保留了r音,其中许多人是来自苏格兰、爱尔兰或英国北部r音化地区的移民。

In fact, at the time of the American Revolution, the English language being spoken on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean was rhotic. Despite many films that show colonial Americans speaking in a modern British accent, it did not become fashionable to start dropping the r in places like Massachusetts and South Carolina until after the United States gained its independence.

事实上,在美国革命时期(American Revolution),大西洋两岸都讲r音化的英语。尽管许多电影中殖民时期的美国人都操现代英式口音,但在马萨诸塞州和南卡罗来纳州等地,直到美国获得独立之后不发r音才开始流行起来。

English actor Hugh Laurie, famous for his role on the TV show House, has described American r’s and l’s as the “twin demons for anyone trying to do an American accent.” In a 2012 interview with National Public Radio, he said he warms up for his character by practicing the word “really.” Laurie’s accent is so good that the executive producer of House is said to have been completely unaware that he was English when he auditioned.

因出演电视剧集《豪斯医生》(House)而成名的英国演员休•劳瑞(Hugh Laurie)将美国英语中的r和l说成是“任何想学美国口音者都要降服的孪生妖魔”。 在2012年接受全国广播电台(National Public Radio)的采访时,他说他通过练习念单词“really”来为自己的角色热身。劳瑞的口音极为标准,以致在他试镜时据说连《豪斯医生》的执行制片人都全然没有意识到他是英国人。

Along with helping to preserve the r sound, American speech has also retained several words and expressions that have fallen out of use in the United Kingdom. For example, Americans will still use “mad” for “angry” and “fall” for “autumn.”

在帮助保留r音的同时,美式英语也保留了几个英式英语中不再使用的单词和词语。例如,美国人仍然使用“mad”表示愤怒(angry),使用“fall”表示秋天(autumn)。

Thanks to American films, music, TV shows and other media, American accents are becoming more familiar to nonnative English speakers. Some of the most famous examples of regional dialect have come from U.S. politicians. Compare the New England accent of President John F. Kennedy to Arkansas-native President Bill Clinton’s Southern style of speaking. Of course, both men, like most Americans, probably grew up thinking they didn’t have any kind of an accent!

美国的电影、音乐、电视剧和其他媒体正在帮助母语不是美语的人越来越熟悉美国口音。一些最广为人知的方言例子出自美国政客之口。你不妨将约翰•肯尼迪总统(John F. Kennedy)的新英格兰口音和阿肯色州人比尔•克林顿(Bill Clinton)总统的南方口音做个比较。当然,他们俩人像大多数美国人一样,在成长过程中大概以为自己说话根本没有口音!

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