英语词汇:看小故事记鸟类名字

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2016-9-30 15:02

A large number of birds received their names through the imitation of their cries. The cuckoo is an obvious example of such an onomatopoeic naming, and so are the owl, the cockatiel, and many more. Some bird names, however, have a more intriguing linguistic history. Here we take a look at a few examples.

许多鸟类的名字是通过它们的叫声模拟得来的。杜鹃鸟(又名布谷鸟-cuckoo)的名字是一个明显的拟声词,同样还有猫头鹰(owl),澳洲鹦鹉(cockatiel)等等。然而,另一些鸟类名字的来源则有一个更有趣的语言的历史。在这里,我们看看几个例子。

Albatross--信天翁

The albatross received its name from the alcatras, a frigate bird of similar appearance with which the oceanic bird was confused. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the alteration of the firstsyllable alca occurred by folk-etymological association with classical Latin albus ‘white’ in reference to the predominant colour of the plumage of many species of albatross.

信天翁的名字源于词汇alcatras,alcatras表示一种热带大海鸟,与其他海鸟的外观相似。根据《牛津英语词典》(OED), 由于信天翁大部分物种的翅膀都以白色为主,其第一个音节alca与古典拉丁语albus(表示白色)有民间联系,由alcatras到albatross的第一个音节变更就与此有关。

Magpie--喜鹊

The magpie was earlier known as the maggoty-pie or maggot-the-pie, of which magpie is probably a shortening. Here, maggot, or later mag, is an obsolete pet-form of the female forenames Margery and Margaret. The second element, pie, derives from Latin pica。

喜鹊,喜鹊最初被称为maggoty-pie或maggot-the-pie,magpie是一个缩写词。在这里,maggot(后来简写作mag)是一个老式的女性名字Margery(玛杰里)和Margaret(玛格丽特)的昵称形式。第二个部分pie源自拉丁词汇pica。

Penguin--企鹅

The origin of the word penguin is still a matter of debate among etymologists. It is probably derived from a Welsh phrase pen gwyn, meaning ‘white head’. Apparently, the name was first given to a different bird, the now extinct Great Auk, which closely resembled the penguin in its appearance. It is assumed that the British sailors who first discovered the penguins mistook them for Great Auks and applied their name to the unfamiliar birds.

企鹅这个词的起源仍然是词源学家们存在争议的问题之一。它可能是来自威尔士短语pen gwyn,意思是“白头“。显然,这个名字第一次用于为另外一种鸟命名,即现在已经灭绝的大海雀,在外观上大海雀与企鹅相似。猜测是由于英国水手第一次发现了企鹅,并把企鹅误认为是大海雀,便将大海雀的名字用到了企鹅身上。

Turkey--火鸡

Keeping with the theme of people confusing one bird for another, the American turkey doesn’t actually originate from Turkey, but from Mexico. It was, however, first confused with the Guinea-fowl, a bird native to Africa, which was imported to England through Turkey in the 16th century.

这也属于人们将一种鸟类误认为另一种的情况,美国的火鸡并不是源于Turkey(土耳其)一词,它来源于墨西哥。然而,最开始人们混淆了火鸡和珍珠鸡,珍珠鸡是一种非洲本土的鸟类,在16世纪它经过土耳其被运送到英国。