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本 科 毕 业 设 计(论文)
题目
文化视野下的中英习语比较研究
学 院
外国语学院
年 级
2006 级
专 业
班 级
0302061
学 号
030206102
职 称
讲师
学生姓名
戴明逸
指导教师
曾国秀
论文提交日期
2010-05-18
英语
常熟理工学院毕业论文
常熟理工学院本科毕业设计(论文)诚信承诺书
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果。对本文的研究做出重要贡献的个人和集体,均已在文中以明确方
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常熟理工学院毕业论文
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
On the completion of my paper, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to
all those who helped me.
I am greatly indebted to my supervisor, Miss Zeng Guoxiu, for her valuable
instructions and suggestions on my paper as well as her careful reading of the drafts.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all the
teachers who have taught me and helped me during the years of my study in
Changshu Institute of Technology.
My thanks also go to all of my friends, classmates and especially my roommates.
They give me a lot of suggestions and helps. I can never finish this paper without their
help.
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常熟理工学院毕业论文
摘 要(300 字左右,翻译型论文为“内容简介”)
习语是语言的一个特殊的部分,具有用词少,寓意多的特点。对我们英语学
习者来说,翻译习语很难达到信,达,雅的标准。文化的差异是造成中英习语翻
译困难的主要问题之一。所以,了解并学习西方国家的文化就变得至关重要了。
本文试图从文化角度比较中英习语的差异,帮助英语学习者准确的翻译中英习
语。本文先介绍文化的概念定义,并限定此研究中的“文化”范围,再分别介绍
中英习语的概念定义,然后重点从宗教信仰,历史典故,价值观和地理环境四个
方面比较中英习语,从而帮助理解翻译中英习语……
关键词: 文化;习语;宗教信仰;历史典故;价值观;地理环境 (词与词之间
用分号隔开)
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常熟理工学院毕业论文
ABSTRACT
A Comparative Study of Chinese and English Idioms from Cultural Perspective
Dai Mingyi
Idioms are a special part of a language. They have a characteristic of carrying one
or more meanings with just a few words. As we are English learners, it is difficult to
keep fidelity, accuracy and elegance when we translate idioms. As the cultural
differences between Chinese and English become a major obstacle in the translation
of idioms, to understand and learn the culture of English speaking countries has
become more and more important. This paper tries to compare the idioms from
cultural differences between Chinese and English to help English learners in
translation idioms. This paper first introduces the definition of culture and designates
the four aspects in cultural sense in the present study and introduces the definition of
both Chinese and English idioms. Then it elaborates on the differences between
Chinese and English idioms about four aspects from cultural perspective: religious
beliefs, historical allusions, values and geographical environment. It can help us
understand and translate idioms…
(300 字左右,翻译型论文没有这一部分)
Key words: culture; idioms; religious beliefs; historical allusions; values;
geographical environment (词与词之间用分号隔开;首字母不大
写)
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常熟理工学院毕业论文
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS........................................................................... iii
摘 要 .......................................................................................................... ivv
ABSTRACT ................................................................................................ v
TABLE OF CONTENTS .............................................................................. vii
Chapter One Introduction ........................................................................... 1
Chapter Two Culture and Idioms ................................................................ 3
2.1 Definition of culture ........................................................................ 3
2.2 Definition of idioms......................................................................... 4
2.2.1 Chinese idioms ..................................................................... 4
2.2.2 English Idioms ...................................................................... 4
Chapter Three Differences between Chinese and
English Idioms from Cultural Perspective ............................................ 6
3.1 Differences between Chinese and English
idioms about religious belief ......................................................... 6
3.2 Differences between Chinese and English
idioms about historical allusions ................................................... 7
3.3 Differences between Chinese and English
idioms about values ...................................................................... 8
3.4 Differences between Chinese and English
idioms about geographical environment ....................................... 10
Chapter Four Conclusion............................................................................ 12
REFERENCES ........................................................................................... 133
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常熟理工学院毕业论文
Chapter One Introduction
China and English speaking countries are different countries, so there are a lot of differences
between Chinese and Western culture. Language is carrier of culture. It reflects culture. There
must be a lot of differences between Chinese and English. Idioms, as a special part of language,
reflect the cultural difference clearly. As there is more and more communication between China
and English speaking countries, the correct translation of idioms has become more and more
important, especially for us English learners. Cultural difference may become a major obstacle in
the translation of idioms when we want to have a translation with fidelity, accuracy and elegance.
It is necessary to learn more about the foreign culture. And it will also promote the exchange
between Chinese and English speaking countries in the international community.
Liu Yanqiu (2009) pointed out that idioms and culture are inseparable. We can not translate
idioms literally, but we must understand the idioms in the level of culture and respect their
cultural traditions.
Chen Lanjuan (2006) pointed out that there are differences between Chinese and English
idioms by comparing the Chinese and English idioms in five aspects: geography, customs,
religion beliefs, historical allusions and the different understanding of the same things. In
addition she thinks that we should understand the background of idioms before understand the
idioms.
Hu Huafang and Dai Haihong (2007) pointed out that there are differences between Chinese
and English idioms in three aspects: customs, geography and cultural differences in animals, and
that learning language should also learning cultural content in order to avoid misunderstanding
and unnecessary trouble.
Although there are many studies about idioms and culture, but there are not many studies
about the fundamental differences between Chinese and English idioms. This paper intends to
compare the differences between Chinese and English idioms in four aspects from cultural
perspective: religious beliefs, historical allusions, values and geographical environment, to find
out the fundamental cultural differences between Chinese and English idioms. It is hoped to help
us English learners achieve more effective learning of idioms in the English language with a
better understanding of western culture.
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常熟理工学院毕业论文
This paper is made up of four chapters. Chapter One is the introduction.
Chapter Two is
definitions of culture and idioms. It introduces both Chinese and English idioms. Chapter Three
compares the differences between Chinese and English idioms in four aspects from cultural
perspective: religious beliefs, historical allusions, values and geographical environment. Chapter
Four is the conclusion.
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常熟理工学院毕业论文
Chapter Two Culture and Idioms
2.1 Definition of culture
Culture is ubiquitous, multidimensional, complex and all-pervasive. For centuries, scholars
throughout the world have conducted many researches and tried to offer a satisfactory definition.
In 1952, Kroeber and Kluckhon listed about 300 definitions of culture that they found in the
anthropology literature in their book named Culture: A critical review of Concepts and
Definitions. Different people may have different views on it. While in modern anthropological
conceptions of culture, the definition given by Tylor, a British anthropologist, is commonly
accepted. He defined: “Culture is the complex whole that includes knowledge, beliefs, morals,
law, customs, opinions, religions, superstitions, art and other ability and habit obtained by a
person as a member of society.” (Liu, 1997:27) So far, this definition has been one of the
classical ones. Besides, there are some other definitions by scholars at home and abroad as
follows:
In accordance with Webster's Third New International Dictionary, culture is “the total
pattern of human behavior and its products embodied in thought, speech, action, and artifacts and
dependent upon man's capacity of using and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations
through the use of tools, language, and systems at thought.”
According to Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia (2002), culture, in anthropology, is the
patterns of behavior and thinking that people living in social groups learn, create and share.
Culture distinguishes one human group from others. It also distinguishes humans from animals.
A people's culture includes their beliefs, rules of behavior, language, rituals, art, technology,
styles of dress, ways of producing and cooking food, religion, and political and economic
systems.
Culture, in a broad sense, is “a system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors and
material objects that are transmitted from generation to generation though learning.” (Bates et al,
1999:5)
Chinese scholar Ke Ping states in his article Cultural presuppositions and Misreading “that
most anthropologists agree on the follow features of culture: 1)Culture is socially acquired
instead of biologically transmitted; 2) culture is shared among the members of a community
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常熟理工学院毕业论文
instead of being unique to an individual; 3) culture is symbolic. Symbolizing means assigning to
entities and events means which are external to them and not able to be grasped by themselves
alone. Language is the most typical symbolic system within culture; 4) culture is integrated.
Each aspect of culture is tied in with the aspects.”(Guo, 2003:138) In one word, culture is
“people's way of life”.
As we know that culture includes almost everything, so this paper will not do the study from
all aspects of culture. This paper will only compare the differences between Chinese and English
idioms about four cultural aspects: religious beliefs, historical allusions, values and geographical
environment.
2.2 Definition of idioms
2.2.1 Chinese idioms
Chinese idioms are set phrases, often quoted and accepted though practice and always with a
historical and national characteristic both in form and in content. The word “idiom” is often
translated into “成语”(Chengyu)and “熟语”(Shuyu).In Chinese-English Dictionary (1997),
Chengyu has been put into “set phrases; idioms”, and Shuyu has been pet into “idioms; idiomatic
phrases”. In Cihai (1989), Chengyu is defined as “(one kind of Shuyu) set phrases which have
been customarily used, mostly consisting of four characters”, while Shuyu refers to “set phrases
or sentence, whose structure is often established and can’t be easily changed. It includes
Chengyu(成语), Yangyu(谚语), Geyan(格言), Guanyongyu(惯用语) and Xiehouyu(歇后语).”
Chinese idioms are composed of 成 语 , 俗 语 , 谚 语 , 歇 后 语 and 粗 俗 语 . (Yu, Guo,
1999:18-23)
2.2.2 English Idioms
According to Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (2nd college
edition, 1972), idiom is defined as “an accepted phrase, construction, or expression contrary to
the usual patterns of the language or having a meaning different from the language or having a
meaning different from the literal.”(Yu, Guo, 1999:8) In Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary
of Current English (1984), idiom is referred to “phrase or sentence whose meaning is not
obvious through knowledge of the individual meanings of the constituent words but must be
learnt as a whole, e.g. give away, in order to, be hard put to it, and so on.” Cambridge
International Dictionary of English defines idioms as “ (1) a group of words in a fixed order
having a particular meaning, different from the meanings of each word understood on its own; (2)
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常熟理工学院毕业论文
the idiom of a particular person, place, or style of music, art, building, etc., is their particular and
typical style of expression.” The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms defines idioms as “a
set phrase of two or more words that means something different from the literal meaning of the
individual words”. “An idiom is a group of two or more words which are chosen together in
order to produce a specific meaning or effect in speech or writing.”(Wang, 2000/11:27) Idioms
in broad sense may include: “set phrases, proverbs, sayings, epigrams, slang expressions,
colloquialisms, quotations and
two-part allegorical sayings, of which the first part, always
stated, is descriptive, while the second part, sometimes unstated, carries the message(chiefly in
Chinese).”(Guo & Li, 2001:178) In a word, idioms are phrases which are made up of more than
one word, used widely in our daily life.
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常熟理工学院毕业论文
Chapter Three Differences between Chinese and
English Idioms from Cultural Perspective
3.1 Differences between Chinese and English idioms about
religious belief
Religion has influences on the people’s life. Different nations have different religion.
Religious belief is an important part of the culture of a country. As language is carrier of culture,
there must be a great relationship between religious belief and language. Similarly, there must a
great relationship between the idioms of this language and the religious belief of this country.
Therefore different countries must have different understanding about the idioms which have a
relationship with religion.
In China, people believe Buddhism, so Buddhism has great influence on Chinese idioms.
There are just a few examples:
放下屠刀,立地成佛 drop one's cleaver and become a Buddha — Anybody can become a
kind man as soon as he gives up evil.
平时不烧香,急来抱佛脚 usually do not burn incense but embrace Buddha's feet in one's
hour of need — One never gets ready until the last moment.
不看僧面看佛面 not for the sake of the monk but for that of the Buddha — To help or
forgive a person for the sake of the third party.
From these examples, we can see in Chinese idioms, Buddha has the image of being kind,
helpful and friendly. People use the idioms with the word Buddha to express the kind and
friendly meaning.
However, people in English speaking countries believe in Christianity. English idioms
related to Christianity are different from Chinese idioms. We can find that from the following
examples:
Man proposes, God disposes.
谋事在人,成事在天。
God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
人。
6
上帝阻挡骄傲的人,赐恩给谦卑的
常熟理工学院毕业论文
Nature does nothing in vain.
造物主无所不能。
God helps those who help themselves.
上帝帮助自助的人。
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
上帝造万物,各按其时成为美好。 (Zhao,
2008:146)
All the idioms above come from Bible. We can see that the word God means the omniscient
and omnipotent power. In English idioms, God can do anything as he want and will do anything
if it is right. It’s different from the meaning of Buddha in Chinese idioms.
Religion is the indispensable parts of culture. Buddhism and Christianity have a far-reaching
impact on Chinese and Western culture and idioms. In Chinese idioms, the word Buddha carries
a meaning of being kind and friendly. However in English idioms the word God means the
omniscient and omnipotent power. We can easily find the difference. Of course the two words all
have a holy image, but it seems that God is more powerful than Buddha in idioms. That's the
most obvious difference between Chinese and English idioms in religious belief.
3.2 Differences between Chinese and English idioms about
historical allusions
Every country has its own history, so as China and English speaking countries .In the long
history, many stories, real or not real, have passed down from ancient times to now. They
become the historical or literary allusions. A lot of idioms come from the allusions. Here are
some examples:
Chinese Idioms:
智多星 the nickname for Wu Yong, the resourceful strategist and mastermind of the
peasant army in the novel Water Margin — As he is very smart, we use the idiom to describe
someone who is very clever.
名落孙山 someone is behind Sun Shan, the last place on the name list of successful
candidates— Sun Shan is the last one on the name list. If someone is behind him, his name
won’t on the name list, which means he failed. We use the idiom to describe someone’s failure in
a particular competition.
万事俱备,只欠东风 Everything is ready, and all that is needed is an east wind — In the
novel Three Kingdoms, in Red Cliff War, Sun-Liu coalition can implement the scheme and win
the war if there is east wind. We use the idiom to show that everything is ready except what is
crucial. (Zhang, 2008:15)
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常熟理工学院毕业论文
There are also some examples of English Idioms:
poor as Lazarus
像拉萨路一样穷 — In Bible, Lazarus is a beggar,everyone is richer
than him.
the widow's offering
寡妇的小钱; 微小却又可贵的奉献 —
In Bible, a widow offers
all her money to God and does not care about other people's thinking, though she only has two
coppers.
throw the first stone
扔第一块石头,比喻批判某人,否定、打倒某人的发难者 — In
Bible, people with a criminal woman asked Jesus if she should be thrown stone to death. Jesus
said: “who is without sin can throw the first stone.” No one can throw the stone and Jesus saves
the woman. We use the idiom to say someone is the first one who criticizes another one.
the apple of discord
引起纷争的根源 — In Greek Mythology, the golden apple is the
root of the disputes “who is the most beautiful goddess”, and finally led to the Trojan War. We
use this idiom to describe the root cause of disputes.(Chen, 2007:116)
Achilles' heel
唯一的致命弱点 — Achilles is the hero in Homer and the son of the sea
goddess Thetis. After he was born, his mother holds his heel and dips him in the Acheron,
making him invulnerability beside his hell. In the Trojan War, the sun god Apollo shot his heel
and killed him. We now use the idiom to describe someone’s only weakness.
A Herculean task
艰巨的任务 — Hercules is the son of Zeus, the principal god of the
Greek pantheon. In Greek Mythology, he is a hero who has overcome the difficulties and
hardships and complete the 12 tasks imposed upon him. We now use the idiom to describe the
arduous task.
Meet one's waterloo
一败涂地 — French Emperor Napoleon has lost in the Battle of
Waterloo. This failure has ended his political and military life. We now use this idiom to
describe someone has totally failed. (Wang & Zhang, 2008:71)
From those examples, we can find that China and English speaking countries all have their
own history and allusions. A lot of them have become the idioms we used now. If we want to
translate them correctly, we should know more about the history and allusions.
3.3 Differences between Chinese and English idioms about
values
As China and English speaking countries have different cultures, the Chinese people the
western people have different values towards things in their life. The expressions of idioms about
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常熟理工学院毕业论文
different values in Chinese and English are revealed mainly from the different attitude towards
animals and colors in the paper.
Chinese and English have different attitudes towards animals. There are typical examples
about dogs. It usually builds a derogatory image by using the word dog in Chinese idioms, for
example:
狗仗人势 like a dog threatening other people on the strength of its master's power
狐朋狗友 generally refers to the friends who only eating and drinking with you but never
do any works
But it builds a lovely image by using the same word in English idioms. For example:
Love me, love my dog
lucky dog
爱屋及乌
幸运儿 .
On the contrary, it is different when using the word goose. It always shapes an elegant image
by using the word goose in Chinese idioms, for example:
鹅毛大雪
big snow like the feathers of goose
千里送鹅毛,礼轻情意重
send a feather of goose for gift Trinidad away, which means a
very friendship
But it shapes as unhappy and foolish image by using the same word in English idioms. For
example:
破坏某人的计划
cook one's goose
get the goose
被喝倒彩
由于冷或恐惧而引起的鸡皮疙瘩
goose flesh/skin
kill the goose that laid the golden eggs
杀鸡取卵
Chinese people and western people bear different values and attitude towards life and the
world, which can also be shown in Chinese and English idioms about colors. For example, using
the color word red, red means being lucky and happy in Chinese idioms:
红榜 honor roll
红运 good luck
红利 dividend
红颜 a beautiful girl
But red means being unlucky and bleeding in English idioms:
be in the red
透支,赤字
be red with anger
气的脸色发紫
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常熟理工学院毕业论文
当场捉获
catch sb. red-handed
like a red rag to a bull
惹人生气,惹人恼火
狂欢,痛饮
paint the town red
red ruin
火灾
red-tape
繁文缛节,官样文章
红灯区 (Yu, 2009:121)
the red-light district
red skin
对印第安人的鄙夷称呼
red alert
空袭、紧急警报
red cock
纵火引起的火灾 (Men, 2009:246)
It is the same when using the color word blue. Blue is used to show the beautiful and bright
image in Chinese idioms. For example:
蓝天白云
blue sky with white cloud
春来江水绿如蓝
in spring the water in river is like a blue cloth
But the image is different in English. Blue is used to show the melancholic, depressed and
unhappy meaning in English idioms. For example:
blue books
黄色书刊
Blue Monday
抑郁的星期一
till one is blue in face
shout blue murder
永远不会成功
大声诉苦 (Deng, Peng, 2005:28)
From those examples, we can easily find that Chinese and English have different values. If
we translate English into Chinese according to our Chinese values, we should make mistakes. So
we should know something about the English values if we want to have beautiful translation
work.
3.4 Differences between Chinese and English idioms about
geographical environment
Culture is inseparable from the geographical environment. Different geographical
environments will produce different cultures. Different cultures have different impacts on the
idioms, so do different geographical environments. Chinese are living in inland areas. For
thousands of years they live a life with agriculture. Many idioms are from agriculture and
farming, for example:
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常熟理工学院毕业论文
草木皆兵 a state of extreme nervousness
树大招风 a person of high position is liable to be attacked
五谷丰登 be abundant with corn
青堂瓦舍 simple life with black halls and tiled hut
粗枝大叶 careless
粗茶淡饭 live simply with tasteless food
Britain is an island country. The British had to fight with the marine environment for a lot of
years in order to survive. Many English idioms are from the fishing and seafaring industry, such
as the:
steer clear of
躲避
守口如瓶
as close as an oyster
cast an anchor to windward
未雨绸缪
when one's ship comes home
to keep one's head above water
more fish in the water
make a splash
当某人发财时
未举债、未陷入困境
天涯何处无芳草
引人注目,引起轰动
ride out the storm
(Zhang, 2008:11)
安然度过了风暴
know the rope 熟悉内幕 — An experienced sailor on board is familiar with all the ropes
which are used to hanging the sails.
raise the wind
筹钱 — Seafaring can not do without the wind. No wind no navigation.
You can do nothing without money. (Hu, Dai, 2007, 167)
These examples show that due to the different geographical environment between Chinese
and English speaking countries, there are bound to be great differences between Chinese and
English idioms. Chinese idioms are derived from agriculture and farming, while English idioms
from fishing and seafaring industry. Therefore, we will have a translation with more fidelity,
accuracy and elegance if we bear these differences in mind.
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常熟理工学院毕业论文
Chapter Four Conclusion
Idioms are a special part of a language. We will meet a lot of idioms in our daily life and
studies. For us, it is more and more important to translate the idioms correctly. Chinese and
English idioms are different, and the fundamental issue is the cultural difference. The differences
are mainly explained in the idioms about religious beliefs, historical allusions, values and
geographical environment. This paper can help us to know more about the cultural difference
between China and English speaking countries, so that we can know more about the background
of the idioms. As we want to have a translation with fidelity, accuracy and elegance, we should
learn more about the foreign culture, especially from the aspects of religious beliefs, historical
allusions, values and geographical environment. (应尽量明确所得出的结论,不能过于简略)
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常熟理工学院毕业论文
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