Yao Shun Translation Tips on Practice - Have the time 不是有時間

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Have the time 不是有時間

早年在英國修讀全球江湖地位最棒的一個應用語言學課程,班中大部分是來自五大洲的英語教師,日常相處居然不斷鬧出講英語的笑話,令大家從中領悟不少。

話說當日下午如常4時下課,大家喝完咖啡,收拾筆記簿準備作鳥獸散,鄰座的大鬍子過來問:"Do you have the time?"阿祥不加思索回敬一句:"I have to run home now, my wife should be waiting for me ."

他瞪大眼望著我,詫異之情寫在臉上,又好像責怪我牛頭不對馬咀。

其實當時阿祥歸心似箭,更是無心陪他們結伴喝酒(當地人下班慣常進酒吧泡至少半小時,言不及義,鬆弛神經,才回去「交人」)。

現在你知道洋相出了在哪裡?人家是想知道「現在幾點鐘了?(我戴著手表,他們沒有。)

阿祥當時33歲,打從幼稚園開始學英語,經過小學中學大學,記憶中從未聽過有"do you have the time"這樣的問句,老師也未教過我怎樣查詢時間,教科書上沒有提過,在電台電影電視中、日常與老外交往也未聽過。一直以為說"what time is it?"就OK囉。(反而母語使用者絕少會問"what time is it?"。)

接二連三此類撞板,令我learned it the hard way,明白到原來在當地實際處境使用的語言(大家那樣講的)才是真正的語言;即使在華洋雜處、殖民地背景的香港社會,大家使用的英語也多是不道地的,大概因為華人水平不足,英語人往往遷就非母語使用者,講得慢又白又不純吧。

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