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趣谈英国-开口闭口都是LOVE的英国人

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2019年06月04日

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趣谈英国-开口闭口都是LOVE的英国人

常听说英国人是严肃拘谨的,从日常称呼上倒是一点也看不出来。走到英国的任何一个地方,和任何一位老太太攀谈上了,你都有幸荣升为她的love。 到底这些昵称有什么讲究呢?

Pet names: ways of showing friendliness

In Britain there we have a funny habit that will either make you wonder what on earth is going on, or make you feel right at home! ‘Pet names’, have developed across each part of each of the countries. These are little terms of endearment, and can be used in public, by anyone, at almost any time.

You’ll hear the little old lady/man in the local shop say “There you go love” as they hand you your biscuits, though you’ve never been to their shop before, hairdressers and waitresses will greet you with “Hello my love” or “Hi hon’”, and strangers will say “Cheers sweetie!” if you do something to help; Boys will call to each other “Alright mate!” (even if they’ve never met before, and aren’t mates at all!). These words are used so often in fact, that in some parts of the country, you might notice more if they are not used than when they are!

Many foreigners to Britain find these terms of endearment to strangers really eccentric when they first arrive, but grow to realize that they are simply ways of showing friendliness; and many of us miss these little terms a lot when we move elsewhere!

Differences across the country

Let’s have a look at differences across the country, starting at the top!

Scotland: Hen

Wales: M’love

North England: Duck, My lovely, lovey, petal, flower South England: Love, darlin’, sweetie, treacle, poppet

Contexts in which to use Pet names…

I find that usually people who deal with a lot of general public will use these words just as a natural part of speech: waitresses, shop keepers, hairdressers, car mechanics, builders, workmen. People in professional environments tend not to use them so much! It's a kind of casual language, but people who work in environments where there's no need to be formal, will just use them in every part of life, with friends, family and probably with you, if you are ever in Britain!

So the rules on using these words are, only when you feel comfortable! How you use them and how often are really just a reflection of personal taste. Some people use them all the time (e.g. shop keepers/ waitresses), others, just when they feel like it, or around friends (which is what I usually do!). Avoid using them in professional environments, such as at business meetings, although, even here, you may not always be safe from hearing them!

Advice for you…

So the rules on using these words are, only when you feel comfortable! How you use them and how often are really just a reflection of personal taste. Some people use them all the time (e.g. shop keepers/ waitresses), others, just when they feel like it, or around friends (which is what I usually do!). Avoid using them in professional environments, such as at business meetings, although, even here, you may not always be safe from hearing them! Oh, and one last thing, when talking to boy to boy… stick with ‘mate’, ‘fella’, or ‘chief’! Not many boys will appreciate being called ’love’ by another boy.

下面来看看在英中国留学生的经历:

房东、酒吧、老教授……大家都爱说昵称

我在考文垂时的房东Judy,好称人为Flower,那天和她打电话,才发现她的口头禅又多了个Honey。在约克的房东Sylvia,典型的热情的北部人,开口闭口的LOVE。电话帐单出了问题,房东打电话过去电信局询问,和接电话的小姑娘争执起来,却还是满口的love。

去年在酒吧打工,酒吧是典型的local pub(顾客以本区人为主的当地酒吧),客人们多是晚晚准点来报道的常客(regular),谈话间也无拘束,各式的昵称更是丰富多彩。dear,darling,sweetheart俱是听惯。后来说给朋友Cathy听,Cathy掩口胡卢,说你真是大众情人。

和朋友谈到昵称的事情,朋友说起他的一位老教授。此翁上课时接听电话,笑眯眯地对电话那一头一口一个honey,下面包括英国人在内的各国同学遂交头接耳,或者互相交换一个暧昧的眼神,想这必是教授夫人了,老来还是如此亲密。谁料片刻之后老教授放下电话,对下面做了个鬼脸,解释说:“刚才是我的秘书。”听者哗然。

动物也可作昵称:bird指女朋友

英国人还喜以动物称人,意思不雅的不论,常见的便有bird。常常听酒吧同事谈到谁谁谁的bird长得sexy,谁谁谁最近又吊了个bird。互相之间问话也会说:“Is that one your bird?”在Newcastle和Cathy过千禧,元旦凌晨两点蜷在沙发里看电视,看到女王和众高官贵宾挽手共唱《友谊地久天长》,女王陛下却挽错了手,CATHY就笑骂:“That silly old bird!”Cow也是很常用的一个字,却是仅有贬义的了。

也在那个关于文化冲击的讲座里,我们的国际办公室的负责人说他上大学的地方好称人为duck。他说大学三年,算是习惯了当duck,要叫别人却是怎么也叫不出口。无独有偶,两月后我找到新工作,同事一个女孩便爱亲亲热热叫我pet,有事无事来问候一句“Are you alright, pet?”耳朵遂发麻,自觉还是当duck的滋味好一些些。

虽说要入乡随俗,但还真开不了口

其实我也不过是听惯了而已,要自己说还真开不了口。先哲教训的“非礼勿听”算是办不到了,只好打个折扣,实行“非礼勿言”。但想一想这话也不对。英国最是礼仪之邦,英国人丰富多彩的昵称也是一种“礼”罢——只不过要教外国人都入乡随俗,却还需一番磨练。

正是世说故事:卿自君我,我自卿卿。


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