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慢速英语:Words and Their Stories: A Chip on Your Shoulder

Source: VOA    2011-12-04   English BBS   Favorite  
Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.
现在,这里是美国之音慢速英语词语典故。

Every week at this time we tell the story of words and expressions used in American English. Some of them are old. Some are new. Together, they form the living speech of the American people.
每周的这个时间,我们都会讲述美国英语中的词语典故。有一些是古老的,有一些是新的。这些典故和表达方式共同构成了美国人民的生活语言。

Some popular expressions are a mystery. No one is sure how they developed. One of these is the expression, carry a chip on your shoulder.  A person with a chip on his shoulder is a problem for anybody who must deal with him.  He seems to be expecting trouble. Sometimes he seems to be saying, “I’m not happy about anything, but what are you going to do about it?”
有一些流行的表达方式是一个谜,没有人能够确定这些表达方式是怎样产生的。其中一个这样的表达方式就是:carry a chip on your shoulder(脾气大,爱吵架)。肩上总带着一块碎片的人对于任何要跟他打交道的人来说都是一个麻烦。他似乎总在等着找麻烦。有时他的样子就好像再说,“我对某件事情感到不高兴,但是你又能怎么样呢?”

A chip is a small piece of something, like a chip of wood. How did this chip get on a person’s shoulder?  Well, experts say the expression appears to have been first used in the United States more than one hundred years ago.
chip指的是某个东西的碎片,例如木头碎片。碎片怎么会到人的肩膀上去呢?专家称,这个表达方式似乎在100多年前在美国首次使用。

One writer believes that the expression might have come from an old saying. The saying warns against striking too high, or a chip might fall into your eye.  That could be good advice. If you strike high up on a tree with an axe, the chip of wood that is cut off will fall into your eye. The saying becomes a warning about the dangers of attacking people who are in more important positions than you are.
一位作家相信,这个表达方式可能来自一个古老的谚语。这个谚语警告人们砍木头不要砍的太高,否则碎片会落到眼睛里。这应该是一个很好的建议。如果你用斧头砍树木很高的位置,被砍掉的木屑可能会落到你的眼睛里。这个谚语是警告人们袭击那些位置比你更加重要的人的危险性。

Later, in the United States, some people would put a real chip on their shoulder as a test. They wanted to start a fight. They would wait for someone to be brave enough to try to hit it off.
后来,在美国,一些人真的在肩膀上放上碎片作为测试。他们想挑起事端,等着有足够勇敢的人来将碎片打掉。

The word chip appears in a number of special American expressions. Another is chip off the old block. This means that a child is exactly like a parent.
chip这个词出现在很多特殊的美国表达方式中。另外一个是chip off the old block,意思是酷像父母的小孩。

This expression goes back at least to the early sixteen hundreds. The British writer of plays, George Colman, wrote these lines in seventeen sixty-two. “You’ll find him his father’s own son, I believe. A chip off the old block, I promise you!”
这个短语至少要追溯到17世纪初期。英国剧作家George Colman在1762年写下这些:“我相信,你会发现他就是父亲的亲生儿子。我向你保证,他酷像他的父亲。”

The word chip can also be used in a threatening way to someone who is suspected of wrongdoing. An investigator may say, “We’re going to let the chips fall where they may.” This means the investigation is going to be complete and honest. It is also a warning that no one will be protected from being found guilty.
chip也可以用来威胁涉嫌做了坏事的人。一位调查人员可能说:“We're going to let the chips fall where they may.(我们将不计后果)。”意思是,调查过程将会是完整,诚实的。这也是一个警告,即任何人都不可能逃脱法律的制裁。

Chips are often used in card games. They represent money. A poker player may, at any time, decide to leave the game. He will turn in his chips in exchange for money or cash.
chip还被用在纸牌游戏中,代表的是钱。玩扑克的人随时都可能决定离开游戏。他会将自己的chips筹码兑换成钱或现金。

This lead to another meaning.  A person who finished or died was said to have cashed in his chips. Which is a way of saying it is time for me to finish this program.
这就引申出另外一个意思。一个完成工作或者结束一生的人也会被人说cashed in his chips。用这个短语也可以表示,是时间来完成这个项目了。

(MUSIC)


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