I used to be in What are the good ways for the Economist to start? In the article, the analysis lists a number of articles that can be used by English learners to follow. This article continues to discuss the topic of English writing, focusing on how to use metaphors reasonably to make the article more colorful.
Before we can compare the metaphors in English articles, we may wish to focus on Chinese first. In this way, we can compare the differences between Chinese learning and English learning, and explore the strategies for learning English from the differences between the two. When Chinese native speakers read Chinese works, there are roughly three ways to ingest metaphors: ancient Chinese, vernacular and translated.
The Book of Songs often has the word “bi”, which is better than anything. As for the meaning of “ratio”, there are many different opinions in nature. Some people reject the “comparison” as “metaphor”. However, if we do not make a detailed study (this is not necessary for further study), we can think that there are many metaphors in The Book of Songs. “Shushushuo, no food, I am swearing” is a politician who ignores the people’s life and death and excessively levies taxes and taxes.
This way of writing is to juxtapose two things to achieve the purpose of analogy. The four-character verse of Chinese poetry makes this juxtaposition a very rhythmic style, and it is catchy to read. Later Hanfu, Tang poetry, and Song poetry used similar writing methods to incorporate metaphors into their works. But if this kind of writing is transplanted into our English, it may not be easy to exert a fist.
The metaphors in the vernacular novels are also very common. The “Water Margin” uses the words “like” but “like”. In modern times, the vernacular articles written by the Chinese, and the translated works, the metaphors used are more visible. The appearance of metaphor often follows the characteristic words (metaphors), such as “image / image / seems / like / like…”. The use of this type of metaphor is similar to that of an English article.
Looking back at the metaphor in Chinese, and carefully comparing the metaphors in the English articles read by ordinary people, we will find that Chinese people use metaphors in a way that is different from native English speakers. Because of the differences, we often can’t appreciate the excitement of the article when reading English articles, let alone apply to our own English writing. In other words, the way we learn English and the way we appreciate English should also be different from learning and enjoying Chinese.
Next, I will explain from three aspects, how English articles generally use metaphors. These three aspects include:
- Use metaphorical rhetoric directly;
- Idioms contain metaphorical components;
- Use vocabulary to create scene effects for metaphorical purposes.
The material used in this article is derived from the Economist article used in the second activity of the Intensive Reading Society, which is also the origin of the title of this article. Of course, readable English articles are far from limited to foreign journals such as The Economist. Creating in English (and including the test composition) also has a long way to go. It is not enough to learn some skills.
In addition, you can use the Google engine to search for the article name mentioned in the article, you can find the original text, for example, you can enter “site:” in the search box. http://www.economist.com How the other tenth lives”，找到 How the other tenth lives One article. Let’s start with the details.
1. Use metaphorical rhetoric directly
The simile in English is the most perceptible, like / seem like / as such metaphors, it is easy for us to judge the ontology and the metaphor of a sentence. Regarding the simile, I will not say more. If there is a lack of metaphors (such as metaphors), we need to judge what the ontology and the metaphor refer to.
(1) lack of metaphorical metaphor
in Peacocks of the sea In the article, the author describes the life of the rich on the yacht. Peacock means peacock. It is also used to refer to the vanity. The word is used in the title. Naturally, the peacock is used to describe the rich. This kind of writing that compares one thing directly with another is more common. The skilled author sometimes saves the metaphor and directly refers to the ontology in the article.
Also from this article, there is a sentence to describe how the rich can escape from reality and play at sea. This sentence also directly uses the metaphor empire, which refers to the superyacht.
But they also want to be able to retreat into their private empires.
But sometimes the metaphor of no metaphor is not so easy to judge. in Hard bargains In the article, the author discusses why Hart, the Nobel laureate in economics in 2016, won this award: after signing the agreement, the parties often encounter new problems that were not resolved by the previous agreement, so they need to have one One way to get the two sides to deal with future issues; the important reason for Hart’s award is that he helped solve the problem of how the two sides responded to new changes after the cooperation. In the article, the author uses the term spoil to refer to the “interests” that the parties may obtain because of the cooperation.
In work with Sanford Grossman, (an economist who might plausibly have shared the prize), Mr Hart reasoned that firms solve this problem by clever use of the bargaining power bestowed by the ownership and control of key assets, such as machines or intellectual property. Instead of fussing over how to divide up the spoils in every possible future, in other words, workers agree to sell their labour to a firm that owns the machinery or technology they use, in the knowledge that ownership gives the firm the power to hoover up a disproportionate share of the profits.
In the face of such a metaphor that is not easy to judge the ontology, we must combine the context of the context before and after, and speculate on what the author really wants to say. Spoil here is best understood in terms of future interests when translating. Don’t really say that the parties are too negative when translating. For example, the translation that needs to be avoided is to translate the divide up the spoils into “bifurcations” without any quotes, which does not indicate the humor here.
(2) Expressing attitudes and positions with metaphor
in Two cheers for hypocrisy In the article, the author analyzes the entanglements between the EU and Turkey. The consistent position of The Economist is that the EU does not live up to expectations and believes that Turkey is naughty. This article will analyze the entanglements between the two parties, and the tone will naturally not improve.
The background of the article is: Turkey wants to join the EU before, and the relationship between Europe and Turkey is relatively normal; today, Turkey is more and more like a dictatorship. The author compares Turkey to a patient, and joining the European Union is an anesthetic that it can’t stop. The original text reads:
If happier times come, the comatose patient can always be awoken.
Accession was supposed to be a noble process that would expand European ideals of freedom and democracy to regions that had known little of either. In Turkey’s case, it is a seductive narcotic that has become dangerous for the addicted patients to give up.
Some metaphors are just to make the content of the article more vivid, but some metaphors can make the article’s views and attitudes very clear. This kind of strong metaphor is more common in the social assessment of the nature of vertical and horizontal.
The metaphors mentioned above are relatively easy to identify, and the metaphor and ontology are arranged by the author according to the content of the article, and the flexibility is very strong. Therefore, such metaphors often hinder the reader’s understanding and the translator’s translation. Especially when translating, how to deal with the original metaphor requires the translator to make a reasonable judgment. I used to be in 怎么翻译Sweating like a pig, feeling like a fox？ In the article, the poster slogan is taken as an example to illustrate the general idea of translation. This article does not talk much about translation. We continue to discuss metaphor.
2. Idioms contain metaphors
(1) Idioms and metaphors
Regarding idioms, Mr. Lu Gusun wrote in the preface to the Oxford English Idioms Dictionary (English-Chinese Dictionary):
Whether it is a beginner learner or a non-native English-speaking expert professor, encountering idioms or unusual expressions (and later discovering idioms), you will get a meal, turn a few dictionaries, and look up the meaning of idioms. And refer to the context to get the exact meaning of the idiom in the text. The definitions of idioms in Oxford Advanced and Longman are:
phrase or sentence whose meaning is not clear from the meaning of its individual words and which must be learnt as a whole unit
a speech form or an expression of a given language that is peculiar to itself grammatically or cannot be understood from the individual meanings of its elements
Oxford Advanced is to say from the front, how to understand idioms; Longman is from the opposite side, what kind of way to understand idioms is to avoid. It is true that when we understand idioms, we cannot treat words in isolation, but if we want to understand the process in which idioms work, we must understand the idioms into separate elements.
In the “Economist” bear Pitt column editorial Peacocks of the sea In the article, the author uses the idiom of pull in one’s horns.
The Superyacht Intelligence Agency says 62 yachts of 70 metres plus were delivered in 2011-16. Another 59 are under construction, despite the fact that some of the usual big spenders have pulled in their horns a bit.
The figurative meaning of the word Horn is the horn of the animal. If a sheep stretches out of the double horns, it is estimated to fight with other sheep; if the attacked sheep knows that they can’t beat each other, they must take a defensive and reduce the damage caused by the opponent’s attack. Therefore, it is not difficult to speculate that pull in one’s horns is roughly the meaning of the power to take the defensive.
By combining the articles, we can rewrite the original text as “…some of the usual big spenders have cut their spending a bit like a goat has pulled its horn”. In short, when we use idioms, we use two events to make an analogy.
This is back to the “Shushu” example at the beginning of this article. If you follow the writing of “Shushu”, the above sentence must be written in the following form:
A goat pulls its horn in a fight,
Some spenders cut spending a bit.
This also has the appearance of four-step yelling, but unfortunately, writing it in a social commentary is nothing more than a thanklessness or even a disappointment. The epic of the past has now fallen into modern English and has been simplified into idioms. This is also a good angle to appreciate idioms.
If we don’t have a scholastic attitude, we can happily observe the idioms with a metaphor. Of course, the easiest way is to query the dictionary. However, if you check it, you will know the answer, and it is also a boring thing.
(2) More examples
in Against happiness In the article, the author wrote a sentence that said that the UAE has set up a “happy department” in order to understand the happiness of the people:
…the United Arab Emirates boasts a brand-new Ministry of Happiness
If it is slightly rewritten, it can also be written as “…the United Arab Emirates boasts a Ministry of Happiness, which is as new as a mark of identification a cattle made with a hot iron”. This idiom is also a brand new metaphor for the establishment of the “Happy Ministry”.
in How the other tenth lives In the article, the author said that if the World Bank achieves its poverty reduction goals, it will be able to stop. The author used the common rest on one’s laurel.
If the World Bank’s dream of a world free of poverty is ever fulfilled, will the bank then sit back and rest on its laurels? No chance.
in Hard bargains In the article, the author mentions how to supervise employees and prevent employees from slacking. The term “regulatory” uses the idiom keep tabs on.
in A tale of two ethics In the article, the author describes the German struggle reform after World War I, and uses the idiom in the throes of sth/of doing sth to express the meaning of desperate hard work.
in Two cheers for hypocrisy In the article, the author uses tighten the screws to describe Turkey’s strengthening of domestic control. Similar expressions are so numerous that they are not listed one by one.
How to learn idioms and use the metaphorical rhetoric in many idioms to make the article more authentic? This is another topic.
First of all, we should read more. Only by reading more can we know what ordinary expression is, and we can cultivate sensitivity to “alternative” expression. Secondly, when encountering idioms, you should learn more about the source of idioms, diligently search the dictionary, and search diligently. Of course, the necessary “death work” is still needed. In the leisure time, the idiom dictionary is used as a reading material for the eyes. You can use the idioms to really accumulate.
3. Use vocabulary to create scene effects for metaphorical purposes
Some of the idioms mentioned above come from life scenes. If a scene no longer exists in the present, such idioms become unfamiliar expressions. I used to be in Pay attention to the concrete meaning of vocabulary, it will be easier to read foreign journals In the article, I briefly talked about the importance of understanding the meaning of vocabulary. In fact, understanding the figurative meaning of vocabulary is equally important for understanding idioms.
(1) Continue to talk about the meaning of representation
However, not all words derived from the concrete meaning have turned into idioms. Some words that fail to become idioms, in the original meaning of vocabulary, lead to abstract meanings, appearing in the text independently. A lot of polysemy has come from this.
in Hard bargains In this article, the author talks about the reasons for winning the Nobel Prize:
This year’s Nobel prize for economic sciences—awarded to Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström—celebrates their study of economic power, and the tricky business of harnessing it to useful economic ends.
The word harness used in the article is not difficult to understand. This word originally meant to give the horse a harness, and switched to other contexts (such as the context of the text), and changed the meaning of control and use to… with a certain abstract meaning. The connection between figuration and abstraction draws on the power of metaphor. Using good economic power to achieve a beneficial economic goal is like putting a harness on the horse so that it can pull the vehicle.
The following sentence, I have used in the previous article, here to talk about it.
Instead of fussing over how to divide up the spoils in every possible future, in other words, workers agree to sell their labour to a firm that owns the machinery or technology they use, in the knowledge that ownership gives the firm the power to hoover up a disproportionate share of the profits.
Hoover was originally a name, and it became a patent name at the beginning of the last century, especially a vacuum cleaner. Hoover up originally meant to suck clean and dust, which is easily linked to the suction profit, and later often expressed the latter meaning.
Handle used to refer to the handlebars, and the abstract meaning of the introduction, we have become commonplace. In the article A tale of two ethics, the author points out that understanding the concepts of ethic of conviction and ethic of responsibility is very useful for understanding German politics.
Anyone interested in understanding German politics, on anything from the euro to refugees, would do well to get a handle on them.
Some of the above are isolated words, while others are verb phrases, but the similarities between the two are that they have moved from the original figurative meaning to the abstraction. These words often attract readers’ attention and are classified as “good expressions”. They attract readers because they allow us to imagine a specific scene and give us a vivid hint.
Some vocabulary also have a concrete meaning, but their original usage often appears in literary history. If these words are used in modern English writing, what we think of may no longer be life scenes, but wars, epics, and so on. Such vocabulary will make the author’s writing more powerful. The sense of vertical and horizontal ambiguity that we often talk about often also benefits from the use of such expressions, such as the aforementioned harness.
(2) More examples
In the article “The happiness”, when the author talks about the “progressive management” theory, he uses rush through, which is analogous to the influence of the theory.
This columnist feels the same suspicion of the fashion for happy-clappy progressive management theory that is rushing through the world’s companies and even some governments.
When it comes to the company’s request for employees to smile at all times, the employees are squeezed in disguise, using extract. The meaning of the word originally extracted and squeezed out can also be understood as the use of the original figurative meaning.
Firms are keen to extract still more happiness from their employees as the service sector plays an ever greater role in the economy.
Look again Two cheers for hypocrisy In this article, there are more cases worthy of attention in this passage.
Worse, Turkey is negotiating to join the EU. The accession process is supposed to bind candidates closer to European norms. But under its would-be sultan, Turkey is sinking into the marsh of dictatorship.
Bind was originally meant to be bound. This intention was borrowed here, indicating that if Turkey wants to join the EU, it will be bound by relevant EU standards. But the actual situation is not optimistic, Turkey is “falling into the dictatorship of the swamp” – it is still a metaphor. Look at the yellow section of the following paragraph:
Turkey has never been close to membership. But for a time that didn’t matter. Before talks began in 2005 Mr Erdogan used the popular prospect of accession to anchor domestic reforms, such as scrapping the death penalty and allowing Kurdish-language broadcasts, and to shove the meddlesome army back in the barracks.
Achor was originally meant to anchor anchorage, and the metaphor was also taken here. The article’s intention: At that time, the European-Turkish relationship was good, Erdogan advocated joining the EU, and took the opportunity to implement a number of reform measures in the country.
The last words:
Writing here, we probably have a clearer understanding of why we feel that some expressions are very authentic and vivid. From the perspective of metaphor, summed up what we have learned in the past, I believe it will be a great inspiration for our English learning.
Every time a beginner encounters such an expression, it is necessary to study it carefully. However, it is forbidden to make a hard copy, and it is impossible to regard the expression of accumulation as learning itself. Learning, thinking, using and summarizing is the learning attitude we should have.
It is true that The Economist is a good publication, but we should pay attention to the ideological tendencies of foreign journals, and also know why native English speakers can write good articles and become role models for learning. On the one hand in English learning, on the one hand, we have to learn these new articles; on the other hand, we should pay more attention to the classics and pay attention to what the authors have learned. In a sense, foreign journals are just primers, but if you plan to learn English well, you should be extensively involved.
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About the author | Hu Xuechang, a literature enthusiast who has entered the training industry, a bachelor of literature from the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Languages, and a master’s degree in translation from the Shanghai University.
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