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[双语]纽约时报评选年度汉字 “管”字界定中国社会 [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2012-3-1 15:09:19 |Display all floors
Anyone who’s studied Chinese for more than a few months becomes a folk etymologist. Look: the Chinese character for “good” combines “woman” and “child”! China must be a society of patriarchal homebodies!
任何学过几个月汉语的人都能成民俗词源专家,不信你看:汉字“好”由“女”和“子”组成,一双儿女凑成好,可以看出中国社会一定强调家族观念。

Anyone who’s studied Chinese for more than a few years tends to give it up. The history and evolution of Chinese characters is such a messy accretion of historical sediment and false cognates that even scholars of Chinese take its etymology with a grain of salt.
任何学过几年汉语的人都会想要放弃。中国汉字的历史和变革掺杂了太多历史的沉淀和似是而非的同源词汇,就算是中国的学者对本国的词源学研究也还是有所保留。

But language is telling, and as I translated a novel about official corruption over the past year, one character began to emerge as the linchpin of the book’s discussion of power and those who wield it. That character is 管, pronounced guǎn, with a “scooping” tone.
不过语言都是在讲故事。我在去年翻译过一本关于官员腐败的小说。书中主要讨论权力和弄权者,有一个汉字作为文章的关键主题浮出了水面:汉字“管”,第三声,读起来有一种“挖东西”的语调。

Originally meaning “pipe” or “flute” — the feathery bit at the top is the bamboo radical, indicating a section of bamboo culm — guǎn later evolved into a verb meaning “to manage” or “to be in charge of.” If I were given only one word to capture Chinese society, guǎn would be it.
这个汉字的本意是“管道”或“长笛”,上面是竹字头,表示是竹秆的一部分。“管”字后来发展成动词,意思为“管理”或“负责”。如果让我用一个单词来界定中国社会,我会选这个字。

Guǎn appears wherever authority is wielded. Besides its base meaning of being in charge, it shows up in “jurisdiction” (管辖, guǎnxiá), “management” (管理, guǎnlǐ), “supervisory control” (管制, guǎnzhì, sometimes a euphemism for a police lockdown) and “butler” (管家, guǎnjiā).
涉及到行使权力的地方都会用到这个字。根据“负责”这个基本意思,“管”字可以出现在下面这些动词短语中:管辖,管理,管制,管家。

“Who’s in charge here?” (这归谁管, zhèguīshéiguǎn) is the first — alas, often the only — question asked to solve problems. Just as a king “beats” (guǎn again) a queen in a deck of cards, he who guǎns has the final say.
有问题需要解决,第一句问的话便是:“这归谁管?” 就像在扑克牌中王“管着”后一样,管这件事的人有最终的决定权。

A common misconception about power in China is that it is totalitarian in nature — brutal, faceless and systematic. While that reality certainly exists, the majority of interactions with authority in China are of the kind embodied by the character guǎn: paternalistic, moralistic and personal. Authority can sometimes be bargained with and nudged. The image evoked is that of a local magistrate in imperial times, bending an ear to a peasant’s complaint and promising to take matters into his own hands.
人们普遍将中国的权力运行误解为集权主义:冷酷无情、没有个性、系统规律。虽然这些可能的确存在,但同中国官员交往的方式还是体现在“管”字上:家长式作风、道德说教和事必躬亲。有时候你可以跟官员讨价还价、唠叨抱怨,这让人马上想起封建帝王时代的这样一幅图景:地方官员侧耳倾听农民的抱怨,承诺自己将亲自处理。

In the traditional Confucian view of society, power relationships in the state are mirrored by those in the family; guǎn appears just as often in the home as in government. Pushover parents are “unable to guǎn” (管不了, guǎnbùliǎo) their unruly children. A decade later those children will loose the angst-ridden teenager’s cry: “don’t guǎn me!” (别管我, biéguǎnwǒ). Later still, when China’s tottering social welfare programs are unable to “take care of” (guǎn) the elderly, those now grown-up children may recall their filial responsibilities.
用传统的儒家的社会观点来看,国家的权力关系也反映在家庭中,“管”这个词出现在家庭中的几率也很频繁。父母会向顽劣任性的孩子示弱“管不了”;过上个十年,孩子们长到焦躁不安的青春期,会对父母喊出“别管我”;再往后,中国的社会福利制度无法“照顾”(管)老年人,长大成人的孩子将要履行孝顺父母的责任。

Besides its overtly political meanings, guǎn appears constantly in daily speech. A spiller of secrets is unable to guǎn his mouth. You can tell a busybody, “don’t guǎn other people’s business” (别管闲事, biéguǎnxiánshì), or wash your hands of a matter by saying “I won’t guǎn it anymore” (我不管了, wǒbùguǎnle). The word has even been abstracted from its literal meaning to play a role as a conjunction, appearing in the term for “regardless” or “no matter” (不管, bùguǎn).
除了明显的政治含义外,管这个字也经常出现在日常对话中。爱说秘密的人“管”不住嘴巴;那些好事者你可以让他们“别管闲事”;对某件事甩手不干,你可以说“我不管了”。“管”字甚至可以从字面意思进一步引申为连词,出现在“不管”这样的短语中。

Jackie Chan’s unfortunate 2009 statement that “Chinese people need to be controlled” sounds a little different when you consider that in Chinese he used the term guǎn rather than the word for “control” (控制, kòngzhì). Instead of advocating a police state, he was implying that the Chinese people need to be told what to do because they don’t know what’s best for them. Only marginally less distasteful a comment, perhaps; still, the distinction is worth making.
香港功夫明星成龙曾经在2009年发表过很有争议的观点,他表示“中国人是需要被管的”。用“管”字而不是用“控制”,这句话听起来可能意思就不同了。成龙的这句话,并不是支持极权国家的论调,他是在暗示中国人需要别人告诉他们该做什么,因为他们不知道什么对他们来说是最好的。虽然也许这个观点还是会有些让人感到不快,但“管”和“控制”之间的区别还是要分清楚的。

Contrast guǎn with zhì (治), the more abstract term for “rule,” which appears in China’s hot-button debate about the difference between “the rule of law” (法治, fǎzhì) and “the rule of man” (人治, rénzhì), as well as in official terms like “Autonomous Regions” (自治区, zìzhìqū) and “to punish” (处治, chǔzhì). This high-low distinction is evident in urban safety, where the police are in charge of “keeping the peace” (治安, zhì’ān) while employees of “city management” (城管, chéngguǎn) beat street vendors and migrant workers.
与“管”字相对的是“治”,这个字是“统治”的抽象术语,经常会出现在中国的关于“法治”和“人治”的热门辩论中,也会出现在官方术语“自治区”、“处治”等中。“管”和“治”之间的区别在公共安全方面体现得很明显,警察负责维护“治安”,而“城管” 则会对街边小贩和农民工拳打脚踢。

Hovering over guǎn and all its permutations is a gentle anxiety about a society ungoverned. “No one’s in charge!” (没有人管, méiyǒurénguǎn) is a phrase spoken in tones of disapproval, even horror. It’s not only Jackie Chan who believes that Chinese society needs watching over. To a certain mindset, in China everything is someone else’s business.
在“管”及其组成的词句中彰显着对无序社会一种淡淡的焦虑。“没有人管”暗含着不赞成甚至恐惧的意味。认为中国社会需要监管的不止是成龙一个人。从某种心态来说,在中国,一切事都是别人的事。
【外媒涉华报道创中式英语】
中国符号正在走红世界,外媒在报道一些中国新闻时,会创造中国专属的英文词汇。如 leading dragon 领头龙(中国经济在全球的地位),Peking Pound 北京镑(中国人所花的英镑), 来看看文中都有哪些中式英语吧!
管制 supervisory control
法治 the rule of law
人治 the rule of man
治安 keeping the peace
城管 city management

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