English Collection


Word Power

2015年05月31日 | 英語の本を読む

Reader's DigestのWord Powerは毎号特定のテーマに関する英単語クイズですが、いつも難しい単語ばかりで、半分答えられれば良い方です。4月号の問題には次の前書きがありました。
Merriam-Webster revealed some of the most frequently searched words on their website, and a few of them may surprise you.
1. paradigm
2. malarkey
3. ubiquitous
4. hypocrite
5. louche
6. didactic
7. holistic
8. albeit
9. insidious
10. camaraderie
11. touche
12. conundrum
13. pragmatic
14. esoteric
15. schadenfreude
"schadenfreude" は2/23/2007にブログで取り上げた単語です。
"holistic" と "esoteric" は10年程前に通訳ガイドの試験勉強で覚えた単語です。
"touche"(フランス語由来の単語で最後のeの上にはアクセント記号の様な点が本当は付いています)はつい先日読んだEnglish Journalの記事にあって覚えたばかりです。
結局今回は嬉しいことに "malarkey" と "louche" の2語を除いて分かりました。
問題の単語の意味としてReader's Digestでは簡単に次の言い換えをしています。
1. pattern or archetype
2. foolish talk
3. found anywhere
4. person who acts counter to stated beliefs
5. of doubtful morals
6. intended to teach
7. involving entire systems
8. though
9. treacherous
10. good fellowship
11. "Good point."
12. riddle
13. practical
14. arcane
15. taking pleasure in another's misfortune
私が分からなかった "malarkey" と "louche" については明日以降に更に辞書で確認します。



2015年05月30日 | 英語の本を読む

Raymond ChandlerのPLAYBACKは1958年に出版された小説なので、現在の米国とは異なり登場人物がやたらにタバコを喫う場面が多くあります。私はタバコを喫う習慣は若い時から全くなかったので、自分にも他人にも毒にしかならないタバコを喫う人、あるいは止めようと思ってもタバコと縁を切れない人の気持ちが全く分かりませんが、PLAYBACKの次の記述が気になりました。
I sat down and lit a cigarette, the always mechanical reaction that gets so boring when someone else does it. Then I just sat there and looked at her and waited.


highsign/ high sign

2015年05月29日 | 英語の本を読む

Raymond ChandlerのTrouble is My Businessを読んでいます。
We went out to the lobby again and Hawkins took me to the elevator and highsigned me in. As the elevator doors closed I saw him on his way to the entrance, probably for his walk around the block.
"highsigned" はどんな合図あるいはジェスチャーでしょうか? "high" が付くので手を高く挙げて合図をする様にも思えますがどうでしょうか、辞書を見ます。
辞書は "highsign" ではなく、"high sign" の二語での表現の説明しかありません。
・Oxford English Dictionary: A surreptitious gesture, often prearranged, giving warning or indicating that all is well: I’m getting the high sign from my secretary?gotta go.
・Collins Dictionary:(US, informal) a prearranged and usually covert signal to someone to tell them that they can do something ⇒ They gave me the high sign from the front of the house; the father and mother weren't home. So I had the run of the house.
語源は分かりませんでしたが、ジェスチャーについては俗語辞典のUrban Dictionaryに次の記述がありました。
Providing a non-verbal indication to someone that you are ready; usually ready to go or leave, or ready to do something. Can be done in a number of ways - high wave, thumbs up, point with index finger. You stumble in to a very boring party. You and your buddy both know that you want to leave. One finally gives the high sign to the other by pointing to the door. They leave.



2015年05月28日 | 英語の本を読む

Raymond ChandlerのTROUBLE IS MY BUSINESSを読み始めました。小説は場面や人物の描写が詳しいのは当たり前ですが、Raymond Chandlerの小説は特に描写が念入りの気がします。 His hair was gray and clipped short and his neck had as many folds as a concertina. His feet were small, as the feet of fat men often are, and they were in black shiny shoes which were sideways on the carpet and close together and neat and nasty.
"concertina" の様にしわが多いと言う事ですが、"concertina" が何か全く見当が付かないので辞書を見ます。
・Oxford English Dictionary: A small musical instrument, typically polygonal in form, played by stretching and squeezing between the hands, to work a central bellows that blows air over reeds, each note being sounded by a button.: concertina doors
・Wikipedia: A concertina is a free-reed musical instrument, like the various accordions and the harmonica. It has a bellows, and buttons typically on both ends of it. When pressed, the buttons travel in the same direction as the bellows, unlike accordion buttons, which travel perpendicularly to the bellows.
タンゴにつきもののバンドネオンを思い浮かべたのですが、バンドネオンは "concertina" の一種だそうです。イメージがわかない方はWikipediaに行けば写真が出ています。



2015年05月27日 | 英語の本を読む

Raymond ChandlerのPLYABACKを読み終えました。続いて同じ作家のTROUBLE IS MY BUSINESSを読むことにしました。そのIntroductionに "blue-penciled" が次の様に出てきました。日本語では赤ペンはありますが、青ペンと言うのは聞いたことがありません。
I don't think this power was entirely a matter of violence, although far too many people got killed in these stories and their passing was celebrated with a rather too loving attention to detail. It certainly was not a matter of fine writing, since any attempt at that would have been ruthlessly blue-penciled by the editorial staff.
"blue-penciled" の意味は赤ペンと同じだと思いますが、辞書で確認します。
・Oxford English Dictionary: Edit or make cuts in (a manuscript, movie, or other work).: Also, true excellence in writing will be quickly blue-penciled into oblivion.
・Dictionary.com: to alter, abridge, or cancel with or as with a pencil that has blue lead, as in editing a manuscript.
red-pencil: first known use 1946
blue-pencil: first known use 1888
で "blue-pencil" の方が古くから使われているそうです。


out on a limb

2015年05月26日 | 英語の本を読む

"I could have you killed, Marlowe. But in some strange way in the years I have lived here, I don't seem to be that kind of guy any more. So you have me licked. I don't have any defense, except to have you killed. Mitchell was the lowest kind of man, a blackmailer of women. You could be right all along the line, but I wouldn't regret it. And it's just possible, believe me, just possible that I too went out on a limb for Betty Mayfield. I don't expect you to believe it, but it is possible. Now, let's deal. How much?"
"How much for what?"
"For not going to the cops."
"I already told you how much. Nothing. I just wanted to know what happened. Was I approximately right?"
"Dead right, Marlowe. Right on the nose. They may get me for it yet."
"Maybe. Well, I'll take myself out of your hair now. Like I said-I want to get back to Los Angeles. Somebody might offer me a cheap job. I have to live, or do I?"
"out on a limb" は慣用句でしょう。意味を調べます。
・Oxford English Dictionary: In or into a dangerous or uncompromising position, where one is not joined or supported by anyone else; vulnerable: she’s prepared to go out on a limb and do something different
・Cambridge English Dictionary: having an opinion that is different from most people's and is unpopular: She's going out on a limb in criticizing her own party leadership.
・TheFreeDictionary: Fig. in a dangerous position to do something; at risk. (*Typically: be ~; go ~; put someone ~.) I don't want to go out on a limb, but I think we can afford to do it. If I had to go out on a limb, I would say that it will be a month before your merchandise will be delivered.
American Heritage Dictionaryにはこの言葉の由来についても記述がありました。
In a difficult, awkward, or vulnerable position, as in I lodged a complaint about low salaries, but the people who had supported me left me out on a limb. This expression alludes to an animal climbing out on the limb of a tree and then being afraid or unable to retreat.
"out of your hair" は先日取り上げた慣用句です。


take it from me

2015年05月25日 | 英語の本を読む
"Miss Maylield, please. Miss Betty Mayfield. Room 1224."
"I can't ring a guest at this hour."
"Why? You got a broken wrist?" I was a real tough boy tonight. "Do you think I'd call if it wasn't an emergency?"
He rang and she answered in a sleepy voice.
"This is Marlowe. Bad trouble. Do I come there or do you come to my place?"
"What? What kind of trouble?"
"Just take it from me for just this once. Should I pick you up in the parking lot?"
"I'll get dressed. Give me a little time."
"take it from me" が気になった表現です。文脈から意味は分かりますが、日本語力がないのでこんな時に言う台詞が出て来ません。そこで早速辞書を見ます。
・Oxford English Dictionary: I can assure you: take it from me, kid? I’ve been there
・Cambridge English Dictionary: (also take my word for it): accept that what I say is true, because I know or have experienced it: It won't work - take it from me.
・Wiktionary: (idiomatic) believe me, rest assured Take it from me, if you can't learn how to communicate with each other, your marriage will never work.

erect carriage

2015年05月24日 | 英語の本を読む
5年前(8/26/2011)に取り上げた "carriage" ですが、Raymond ChandlerのPLAYBACKを読んでいたら次のように出て来ました。
"Name: Eleanor King: Height five feet four inches. Age about 29. Hair dark reddish brown, thick, with a natural wave. Erect carriage, low distinct voice, well dressed but not overdressed. Conservative make-up. No visible scars....
久し振りに見かけましたが、意味(manner of carrying the head and body; bearing)を珍しく覚えていました。

opened it a crack

2015年05月23日 | 英語の本を読む

30年以上前になりますが、米国へ駐在となり、シカゴで自動車を買いました。その時に自動車のドアがしっかりと閉まっていないことを英語で "ajar" と言うのを知りました。 "AJAR" が計器に表示されていたのか、あるいはマニュアルに書いてあっただけなのかは忘れましたが、この単語は今でも覚えています。その "ajar" を思い出させる文がRaymond ChandlerのPLAYBACKに次の様に出て来ました。
I went over to the door and opened it a crack.


out of one's hair

2015年05月22日 | 英語の本を読む

"Maybe," Fred Pope said. "Anyhow, he just about created the town. And after a while he came to live here-up on the hill in one of them great big stucco houses with tile roofs. Pretty fancy. He had gardens with terraces and big green lawns and flowering shrubs, and wrought iron gates-imported from Italy, I heard, and Arizona fieldstone walks, and not just one garden, half a dozen. And enough land to keep the neighbors out of his hair. He drank a couple bottles of hooch a day and I heard he was a pretty rough customer. He had one daughter, Miss Patricia Hellwig. She was the real cream and still is.
慣用句と思えるのは "out of his hair" です。辞書を見ます。
・Oxford English Dictionary: in (or out of) someone's hair: informal Annoying (or ceasing to annoy) someone: they sent him to America, just to get him out of their hair
・UsingEnglish.com: If you get someone out of your hair, you get them to stop bothering or annoying you. ('Stay/keep/get out of my hair!' can be used as imperatives)
・TheFreeDictionary: get someone out of one's hair: Fig. Inf. to cause someone to stop annoying oneself. What do I have to do to get this guy out of my hair.
なるほど、命令形で使えば先日取り上げた "go fry an egg" と同じですね。