English Collection

日頃目に付いた覚えたい英単語、慣用句などの表現についてのメモです。

a fly on the wall

2012年01月31日 | 英語学習
NEWS IS A VERBから最後に取り上げる表現です。
Serious journalists don't usually engage in this empty ritual. They need to spend extended time with the subject, like a fly on the wall, seeing what the big name actually does, in contrast to what he says he does.
ここに出てくる "a fly on the wall" は慣用句のテキストで覚えた単語ですが、実際の文章で見るのは初めてなので取り上げました。 壁に停まってじっとしている蝿は何をしているのでしょうか?
・Collins English Dictionary: a person who watches others, while not being noticed himself or herself: The fly on the wall could soon be listening in - with scientists developing insect-inspired surveillance robots.
・Wiktionary: A quiet, non-participating, or unseen observer; an eavesdropper or witness.
・Cambridge Dictionaries Online: If you say that you would like to be a fly on the wall on an occasion, you mean that you would like to hear what will be said or see what will happen while not being noticed: I'd love to be a fly on the wall when those two get home!
"fly-on-the-wall" となると形容詞になり、次ぎの様な意味でも使われるとCambridge Dictionariesに書かれています。
describes a television programme in which the people involved behave normally, as if they are not being filmed: a fly-on-the-wall documentary
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pulp fiction

2012年01月30日 | 英語学習

NEWS IS A VERBは1998年に書かれたジャーナリズム論なので現在の状況は変わっていますが、当時既に即時性の点ではTVには敵わないのは明白でした。
Newspaper can no longer compete with television on breaking news. Certain older features--narrative comic strips, short fiction--have also been supplanted by the pulp fiction and sitcoms that dominate television entertainment. The huge newspaper circulations of the past might never be seen again (although I believe they can be much larger). But if news papers don't service the city that is--instead of the city that was--they will just keel over and die.
上の引用文に出てくる "pulp fiction" が気になります。新聞に書かれた小説もパルプの上に書かれた小説と言えそうですが、ここではその意味では可笑しい。辞書を見ます。
・Wikipedia: Pulp fiction may refer to: pulp magazines, short stories presented in a magazine format, printed on cheaply made wood-pulp paper
・Infoplease.com: fiction dealing with lurid or sensational subjects, often printed on rough, low-quality paper manufactured from wood pulp.
・Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science: Sensational fiction of no enduring literary value, popular from the 1920s through the 1940s. Written for the mass market, usually according to formula, pulp fiction was printed on poor-quality paper, bound in softcover, and easily recognized by the lurid design on the front cover. Popular genres include romance, adventure, westerns, etc.
引用文の最後に "keel over" が出てきますが、これは先日取り上げた "on an even keel" とは反対の意味ですね。

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copies

2012年01月29日 | 英語学習

Q: What do you call twin policemen?
A: Copies

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speakeasy

2012年01月28日 | 英語学習

今日取り上げる単語、"speakeasy" は見ただけでは、話方に関する単語の様ですが、次ぎに引用するNEWS IS A VERBの文を読むと別の意味がある事に気がつきます。
Patterson, in fact, had an insatiable curiousity about his readers. He would take the subway to Corney Island and hang around bars and dance halls. He would prowl speakeasies and Broadway joints.
"speakeasies " は "joints" と同様な飲み屋だと推測できます。 辞書で確認します。
・Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary: a place where alcoholic beverages are illegally sold; specifically : such a place during the period of prohibition in the United States
An illegal saloon or tavern operated during the Prohibition period in the 1920s. Usage notes: Connotations of a classy establishment - some required coat and tie - compared with a more downmarket blind pig or blind tiger.
違法な店ですか。 語源も気になるのでEtymology Onlineも見ます。
"unlicensed saloon," 1889 (in New York "Voice"), from speak + easy, from the practice of speaking quietly about such a place in public, or when inside it, so as not to alert the police and neighbors. The word gained wide currency in U.S. during Prohibition (1920-1932). In early 19c. Ir. and British dialect, a speak softly shop meant "smuggler's den."
なるほど大きい声で喋ってはいけないのですね。

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muckraker

2012年01月27日 | 英語学習
NEWS IS A VERBは米国のジャーナリズム論なので米国の著名人と思われる人名が次から次に出てくるのですが、私にとっては知らない人がほとんどです。さすがに次ぎの文頭に出てきた人の名前は知っています。
Pulitzer was the first to exploit, to publicize, to attack the shameful incongruity between Murray Hill and the Lower East Side and to demand corrective social and political action. He was indeed the first of the muckraker.
Pulitzer氏はPulitzer Prizeで有名なジャーナリストなので、引用文の最後に出てきた "muckraker" はジャーナリストにとって褒め言葉となる様な意味があるに違いありません。
・Vocabulary.com: one who spreads real or alleged scandal about another (usually for political advantage): What becomes of New York’s most formidable muckraking paper when two of its greatest muckrakers are gone?
・Wikitionry: (US) One who investigates and exposes issues of corruption that often violate widely held values; e.g. one who exposes political corruption or the poor conditions in prisons.
・Cambridge Dictionaries Online(muckrakingの項): the activity, especially of newspapers and reporters, of trying to find out unpleasant information about people or organizations in order to make it public: There was so much muckraking about his family life that he decided not to stand for election.
政治家や役人の悪事を "muckraking" してくれるジャーナリストは世の中に必要ですね。
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osmosis

2012年01月26日 | 英語学習
今日取り上げる単語 "osmosis" は生物あるい化学の本で馴染みのある単語ですが、こんな一般的な事にも使用されるのを知りました。(出典 NEWS IS A VERB)
Most of all, editors must learn by osmosis, by having daily lives among their readers. One of the saddist truths about today's newspapers is that too many of their editors live in the suburbs, sometimes the distant suburbs.
生物/化学では浸透作用の意味で使われますが、「浸透作用で学習する」では分かったような分からない様な感じなので、もっと適切な意味があるか辞書で調べます。
・Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary: a process of absorption or diffusion suggestive of the flow of osmotic action; especially: a usually effortless often unconscious assimilation: learned a number of languages by osmosis
・Macmillan Dictionary: a gradual process in which information and ideas influence you without you realizing it: I picked up the language mainly by osmosis.
なるほど、徐々に染み込む様に学習するのは浸透作用と同じと言うことですね。英米に住んでいればある程度は自然に染み込むように英語を学習できるのは確かですが、日本にいる場合はそうはいきませんね。
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Can him and buy something

2012年01月25日 | 英語学習

私が読む英語の原書は地元の図書館にある事と余り厚くない本(だいたい300ページまで)が原則です。この選考基準はちょっと偏っていて、本の内容を問わないので邪道だと自分でも思っていますが、読むスピードがまだまだ遅いのであと数年はこんな状況は変わらないでしょう。 そんな訳で今読み始めたNEWS IS A VERB by Pete Hamill、副題Journalism at the End of the Twentieth Centuryも100ページしかありません。
さて、私は助動詞以外の "can" は缶詰(名詞と動詞)しか知りませんが、NEWS IS A VERBの中に次ぎのような動詞の "can" が出て来ました。
The newspaper has three sports columnists. Get rid of one of them and make life miserable for another; maybe he'll resign. That features department: Get rid of most of them and buy canned features. Use the photograph from the movie company instead of sending your own photographer. Do one-shot interviews and don't bother with additional interviews that might give some roundness to the subject. You have your own editorial cartoonist, providing a local take of the events of the world. Can him and buy something from a syndicate.
文脈から推測するとその前にある表現 "get rid of" と同じ様な意味ではないかと思われますが、 "can" にその様な意味があるか辞書で確認します。
・Macmillan Dictionary: American informal to make someone leave their job, for example because their work is not good enough. The usual word for this is to fire someone.: He got canned for showing up late once too often.
・Wiktionary: (US, euphemistic) To fire or dismiss an employee.: The boss canned him for speaking out.
・Oxford English Dictionary: North American informal dismiss from a job: he was canned because of a tiff over promotion
助動詞の事は昔 "auxiliary verb" と覚えていましたが、英英辞書ではほとんど "modal verb" となっているのも新しい発見です。

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policy wonk

2012年01月24日 | 英語学習
Jan.14付のThe Japan Times Onlineニュースの記事 "New Noda Cabinet on tax push" に覚えたい単語がありました。
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda reshuffles his Cabinet to draw the opposition into the tax hike debate and appoints policy wonk Katsuya Okada deputy prime minister to head up the talks.
上の引用文の岡田氏についている形容詞 "policy wonk" がそれです。 日本語で政策通などと言う言葉がありますが、 "policy wonk" がその様な意味になるのでしょうか?  "wonk" を辞書で見ます。
・Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary: person preoccupied with arcane details or procedures in a specialized field; broadly: nerd :a policy wonk; a computer wonk
・American Heritage Dictionary: 1. A student who studies excessively; a grind 2. One who studies an issue or a topic thoroughly or excessively: "leading a talkathon of policy wonks in a methodical effort to build consensus for his programs"
・Vocabulary.com: The noun wonk is an informal way of referring to an overly studious person. Wonk is as derogatory as words like "dweeb" or "geek," and it implies someone who is boringly focused on work or school ? like your physics major friend "the science wonk." Extreme fans of politics are sometimes called policy wonks. The word originated in the 1950s from American student slang, possibly from the word wonky, or "shaky and unreliable."
ほめ言葉とも言えますが、皮肉を込めている言葉の様です。
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square the circle

2012年01月23日 | 英語学習
卓球男子シングルスで国内では無敵だった水谷がついに破られました。相手は高校生です。60歳から卓球を始めましたが、中々上達しない中高年と違って、中学生や高校生はほんの数年で上手になります。若さには敵いません。
Never Let Me Goからの最後の引用です。
However uncomfortable people were about your existence, their overwhelming concern was that their own children, their spouses, their parents, their friends, did not die from cancer, motor neurone disease, heart disease. So for a long time you were kept in the shadows, and people did their best not to think about you. And if they did, they tried to convince themselves you weren't really like us. That you were less than human, so it didn't matter. And that was how things stood until our little movement came along. But do you see what we were up against? We were virtually attempting to square the circle. Here was tha world, requiring students to donate.
"square the circle"、円を四角にする、これは何かの比喩表現と思いますが、何でしょう? 不可能な事に挑戦しているのでしょうか、それとも努力すれば何とかなるのでしょうか? 辞書を見ます。
・Cambridge Dictionaries Online: If you try to square the circle, you try to do something which is very difficult or impossible.
・Cambridge Idioms Dictionary: to find a good solution to a problem when that seems impossible, especially because the people involved have very different needs or opinions about it Few poor countries can afford to look after their works of art properly, but neglect is unwise if you want to attract tourists. Thailand is attempting to square the circle.
・Dictionary.com: to strive without chance of success; attempt the impossible.
やはり不可能もしくは非常に困難な問題に対処する場合に使うようです。
Never Let Me Goをこれで読み終えましたが、主人公達は臓器移植の提供者としてのクローンとして普通の人間とは違う待遇でこの世に存在すると言う、本当に将来こんな恐ろしい事を人間は実行するのだろうかと疑問に思いますが、考えて見ると、現在でも生まれた時から普通の人間とは環境、待遇、権利、義務が異なる人種がいるのに気がつきました。 日本人の中にもいます。誰だかわかりますか? 皇族です。 私は、日本人は全て基本的人権は平等であるべきとの考えから、皇族の存在を認めている憲法はおかしい、この点については憲法は改正すべきと思います、とは言うものの、現在の多くの日本人はこの考えに賛成、もしくは積極的ではないようだと理解しています。 いつの日か、多くの日本人が、建前も本音も基本的人権は平等にすべきと考える時が来る事を願っています。
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TWO LETTERS

2012年01月22日 | 英語学習
昨日の午後はずっと卓球の全日本の試合を見ていました。準決勝も決勝も福原愛のできは最高でした。
さて、下記のReader's Digest のLIFE It's really like that!欄にあった投書は卓球とは全く関係ありません。。
Two letters arrived from my nine-year-old daughter, who had gone away to camp. One was addressed to Mum, the other to Dad.
The sweet, short note to me said, "Dear Mum, I am having a lot of fun at camp. Tell Eddie [our cat} I miss him. I miss you too. Love, Kenna."
The even shorter note she sent to her father read: "Dear Dad, Read Mum's note. Love, Kenna."
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