经济学人:威尔士语 龙之旋律

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The Welsh language

Dragonian measures
Government meddling has created a new Welsh dialect
Pay attention if you want a good job
IN THE Blue Boar, a pub so local that the landlord is surprised to hear its sign is missing, Roy Thomas picks up a text from his grandson. It contains the word “brechdanau”, meaning sandwiches. A Welsh speaker, Mr Thomas knows the word, but only because he has read it in old books. “I'll probably text back in English,” he says. “Otherwise I'll make a mistake.”

Wales's native language is in decline. Between 2001 and 2011 the proportion of people in the principality who speak it fell from 21% to 19%, with the steepest decline in its rural northern and western heartland. Native Welsh-speakers continue to leave for work, to be replaced, in those beautiful districts, by English retirees. But a new kind of Welsh language is rising, giving hope to some and perplexing others.

Welsh identity is linked to the Welsh language—far more than, say, Scottishness is linked to Gaelic—and the devolved government has done much to promote it. Almost a quarter of primary schoolchildren in Wales are now taught mostly in Welsh, and the proportion is steadily rising. Civil-service and media jobs often require it. As a result, the language is holding on, and sometimes even growing, in traditionally Anglophone south Wales, particularly in and around Cardiff, where politics and the media are clustered.
But the Welsh that can be heard in schools and that is spoken by the sports commentators on the Blue Boar's small television set is different from the kind that many native speakers grew up with. A standardisation centre at Bangor University has added new words, such as “cyfrifiadur” for computer. Old words that had fallen out of use in many parts, like “brechdanau”, have been revived. Grammar is more English and less complicated.
The new Welsh also sounds different. The second syllable of “tadau” (fathers) now has an a-sound in the north and an e-sound in the south. But in the 16th century it sounded something like the English “die”, and this is the way the new speakers have it. This is also the way the word is read out loud: written Welsh emerged when the Bible was translated in 1588, and preserves the ancient pronunciation.
Not everybody is delighted with the new lingo. “So bloody fake”, mutters the Blue Boar's landlord at the television, while local comedians like Daniel Glyn mock the clunky phrases on stage: “I can speak English and Welsh, but neither of them proper, bach.” Jonathan Snicker of St John's College, Oxford, says the change breaks the link between older villagers and the urbane young, who can struggle to understand each other.
But Colin Nosworthy, a spokesman for the Welsh Language Board, points out that the birth of a new dialect is a good sign for a language. “Better a slack Welsh than a slick English,” he says—and many agree. Efforts are being made to spread the new dialect to a belt above Swansea, where Welsh is doing particularly badly. S4C, the Welsh-language broadcaster, is moving from Cardiff to Carmarthen taking Welsh-speakers with it. This year's Eisteddfod, a cultural festival, is in nearby Llanelli.
There are worse ways of trying to preserve a language, some of which are also being tried in Wales. A planned nuclear power station in Anglesey has run into opposition from people who worry that many of the 6,000 construction jobs would go to non-Welsh speakers, diluting the language. Protests from the same quarters have held up the building of 8,000 homes in Gwynedd. A few awkward phrases from schoolchildren seems like a relatively small price to pay.
在 一家名为Blue Boar的地方酒吧里,店主对于其店名正在逐渐丧失含义而感到吃惊。罗伊·托马斯从他孙子的课本里挑出了一段文章,里面包含着“brechdanau”这 个单词,意为“三明治”。作为一名讲威尔士语的人,托马斯知道这个词的意思,但仅仅因为他曾在旧书里看过。他说:“我也许会将它改成英语,不然我会犯错 的。”
威尔士的本土语言正在衰落。在2001年到2011年间,讲 方言的人比率从21%降到了19%,以北部农业区和西部中心区衰落最为明显。当地说威尔士方言的人不断离开家乡外出工作,取而代之的是,英格兰退休者们来 到了这些美丽的区域。但一种新的威尔士方言正在崛起,这让一些人燃起了希望,也让一些人困惑不解。
威 尔士的身份认同与威尔士语是联系在一起的—这种联系比苏格兰语与盖尔人之间的联系更加紧密——当地政府也为发扬威尔士语做出了不小的努力。在威尔士,近四 分之一的小学生接受的是威尔士语教学,这个比例还在稳步上升。市政服务和媒体工作也通常会对这方面有要求。其结果就是在传统的以英语为母语的南威尔士地 区,这种语言延续下来了,有时还呈回暖趋势,尤其是在政治、媒体聚集的加的夫。
但 是人们在学校听到的、在Blue Boar酒吧的小电视机听到体育评论员讲的威尔士语和本地人从小听到大的威尔士语还有些不同。班戈大学的标准化中心在其中加入了新的单词,比如说表示电脑 的“cyfrifiadur”。一些地方不再使用的古词,比如“brechdanau”,已重新进入使用。语法方面也更近英语化,不再那么复杂了。
新 的威尔士语在发音方面也不一样了。“tadau”的第二个音节如今在北方有个“a”的音,在南方有“e”的音。而在16世纪,这个音听起来像是英语的 “die”,这是新一代讲威尔士语的人所采取的读音。这也是官方读音:在1588年翻译圣经时出现了书面威尔士语,保留了古老的读音。
并 不是每个人都乐于接受新的方言。电视里地方喜剧演员丹尼尔·格林在台上嘲弄笨拙的语句说:“我能说英语和威尔士语,但两种都不好,伙计。”看到这一幕 时,Blue Boar酒吧的店主嘟哝道:“简直虚伪做作!”牛津圣约翰大学的乔纳森·思尼克说这种变化割断了老一辈村民和生活在城市的年轻人之间的联系,他们需要费一 番劲才能理解对方。
但威尔士语言委员会的发言人科林·诺维斯指出,一种新方言的 诞生对一种语言来说是一个好的迹象。他说:“半拉子威尔士语总比流畅的英语好。”很多人都同意这一点。各方正在付诸努力将新方言传播到斯旺西海湾一带,那 里的威尔士语很不得到重视。威尔士语广播S4C正在从加的夫转移到喀麦登,追随它的还有一批讲威尔士语的人。今年的文化盛会诗歌音乐比赛会将在拉内利附近 举行。
在保留语言方面有很多糟糕的方法,而威尔士正在尝试其中一些。一原计划在 安格尔西岛建设的核电站遭到了人们的抵制,他们认为这项需6,000人的建筑工作大部分将由不讲威尔士语的人完成,这将削弱威尔士语。同一季度的抗议使得 格温内思郡8,000住宅的建设计划搁浅了。这么看来学生的几句不正宗词句似乎代价相对较小。
1.pick up 拾起

He picked up his hat and went away.

The frozen water surface will have to be picked up by hand.

2.continue to 继续

At the moment, we continue to do what we do.

The answer to the question of/whether we should continue to hold the meeting as planned depends in part on when the epidemic disease is curbed.

3.hope to 希望

That's what I hope to do.

The police hope to identify the body by the gold fillings in the teeth.

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