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VOA慢速英语:半真半假为何如此有趣?

所属教程:Words And Their Stories

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2018年05月25日

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Why Is 'Tongue-in-Cheek' So Funny?

半真半假为何如此有趣?

Now, it's time for Words and Their Stories from VOA Learning English!

这里是美国之音慢速英语词汇掌故节目。

On this program, we explore the meaning and usage of everyday expressions in American English.

在这期节目中,我们探讨美式英语中日常用语的含义和用法。

Today, we will talk about two parts of your head: the tongue and cheek. When you put them together, you get something funny!

今天,我们将讨论人们头部的两个部分:舌头和脸颊。当我们把它们组合到一起的时候,你会觉得很有趣。

A tongue-in-cheek comment or observation begins seriously but ends humorously. However, behind the playfulness is truth. So, tongue-in-cheek comments often get people thinking.

半开玩笑的(tongue-in-cheek)言论严肃地开始,却幽默地结束。然而,在嬉闹背后是事实。所以,半开玩笑的言论经常让人们思考。

Tongue-in-cheek comments are often used in critiques. They tell something truthful, but in a light-hearted, funny way. You can sometimes get away with a lot by using tongue-in-cheek humor because the truth in it can sometimes be hard to recognize.

半开玩笑的言论通常用于发表评论。他们坦率地讲述一些事情,但是是以一种轻松、愉快的方式。有时候你可以通过使用这种半开玩笑的幽默来避开很多麻烦,因为其中的实情有时候会难以分辨出来。

The American writer Mark Twain was an expert at making tongue-in-cheek comments.

美国作家马克·吐温(Mark Twain)是一位擅长发表半真半假言论的专家。

Another famous humorist was Will Rogers. He was born in 1879 in what is now Oklahoma. He was part Cherokee and was known as "the cowboy philosopher."

另一位著名的幽默作家是威尔·罗杰斯(Will Rogers)。他于1879年出生在现在的俄克拉荷马州。他具有切罗基人血脉,被称为“牛仔哲学家。”

Rogers' warm humor made him one of the best-loved performers of his generation. During his long career, Rogers did a little of everything. He was an actor, both in the theater and in movies. He had a weekly radio show and also wrote stories for a newspaper.

罗杰斯友善的幽默使得他成为那个年代最受欢迎的表演者之一。在他漫长的职业生涯中,罗杰斯各方面均有涉猎。他是一位话剧演员和电影演员。他主持了一档每周一期的电台节目,还给报纸写报道。

This tongue-in-cheek comment from Rogers is as meaningful today as it was when he said many years ago:

罗杰斯说的这种半开玩笑的言论到今天还跟当年一样很有意义:

"Everything is changing in America. People are taking the comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke."

“美国的一切都在变。人们认真对待喜剧演员,却把政治家当笑话看。”

Now, we all know that no one can know everything. But that fact doesn't sound very interesting, funny or witty. Will Rogers stated that truth in his typical tongue-in-cheek way when he said, "Everybody is ignorant only on different subjects."

现在,我们都知道没人能万事皆知。但是这个道理听起来不是很有意思、有趣或诙谐。罗杰斯用他典型的半开玩笑的口吻说出了这个道理:“ 所有人都是无知的.只是在不同的方面罢了。”

But how did putting your tongue in your cheek come to mean a kind of twisted, oftentimes truthful, humor?

但是把舌头贴到腮帮子里如何变成指代了古怪的,但通常是真实的这样一种幽默。

Some websites say this expression dates back to the 18th-century England. One site says that it first meant a common facial expression used to express dislike or contempt. These days, the contempt is gone and in its place are terms like irony. An irony is when you say the opposite of what you mean, usually to be funny.

一些网站称,这种表达可以追溯到18世纪的英格兰。一家网站称,它最初是指一种用于表达不喜欢或蔑视的常见面部表情。如今,这些蔑视的意味消失了,取而代之的是反语之类的说法。反语是指说出跟本来意思相反的话,通常都很有趣。

Another website says that people may have stuck their tongue in their cheek to keep from smiling or laughing.

另一家网站表示,人们可能曾经把舌头贴到腮帮子里以避免笑场。

However, when it comes right down to it, you should not take a tongue-in-cheek comment at face value. It starts to mean one thing but then ends by meaning something completely different. That is what makes it so funny.

然而,当面临这些的时候,你不应该只看到这种半开玩笑的言论的表面意义。它开始是指代一件事情,但是以完全不同的意思结束。这就是它的有趣之处。

Tongue-in-cheek humor is often successful when it includes the speaker in a funny critique or situation.

当这种半开玩笑的幽默把演讲者自己放到这种有趣的批评或状况中的时候,它往往就是成功的。

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy famously did this at a dinner celebrating 49 American Nobel Prize winners.

1962年,肯尼迪总统在祝贺49位美国诺贝尔奖获得者的晚宴上就成功地做到了这点。

He said: "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House ... with the possible exception of when (former President) Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

他说:“我觉得今晚的白宫汇集了最多的天份和人类知识——或许得撇开当年杰斐逊独自在这里吃饭的时候不计。”(51VOA注:这是肯尼迪变着法子吹捧杰斐逊。)

In this way, tongue-in-cheek humor can be self-deprecating. It is effective when you want to make fun of yourself a bit.

通过这种方式,半开玩笑的幽默可以是自嘲。当你想要略微自嘲时就很有效。

And this brings us to music.

这将我们带到了音乐方面。

For some reason, country & western music has a long history of producing tongue-in-cheek songs. With titles like "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy,'" "Queen of My Double Wide Trailer" and "Bubba Shot the Jukebox," it is clearly a type of music that does not mind poking fun at its own culture and lifestyle.

出于某种原因,美国西部乡村音乐在制作半开玩笑的歌曲方面有着悠久的历史。用“她认为我的拖拉机很性感,”“我的加宽拖车女皇”以及“巴布射击点唱机”这样的标题,这显然是一种不介意嘲笑自己的文化和生活方式的音乐。

In the 1970s, Mac Davis became one of the biggest names in country music. He wrote songs for Elvis. And because he was so handsome also got into acting. Then in 1974, he had everyone laughing with his tongue-in-cheek song making fun of his own life.

上世纪70年代,麦克·戴维斯(Mac Davis)成为了乡村音乐的大腕之一。他为猫王写过歌。而且因为他如此英俊,他也开始表演。然后在1974年,他凭借一首自嘲的半开玩笑的歌曲让所有人大笑。

"It's Hard to Be Humble" became an instant hit.

《It's Hard to Be Humble》这首歌一炮打响。

"Oh Lord it's hard to be humble

哦,上帝,想谦逊点很难

When you're perfect in every way

当你各方面都完美无缺的时候

I can't wait to look in the mirror

我迫不及待地想照镜子

Cause I get better looking each day

因为我每天都在变帅

To know me is to love me

认识我就会爱上我

I must be a hell of a man

我一定是个最牛逼的男人

Oh Lord It's hard to be humble,

哦上帝,想谦逊点很难

But I'm doing the best that I can!"

但是我已尽力。

And that's Words and Their Stories. Out of all the programs here at Voice of America, this is one of them. I'm Anna Matteo.

以上就是本期词汇掌故节目的全部内容。在美国之音所有节目中,这只是其中一期。安娜·马特奥报道。


Now, it’s time for Words and Their Stories from VOA Learning English!

On this program, we explore the meaning and usage of everyday expressions American English.

Today, we will talk about two parts of your head: the tongue and cheek. When you put them together, you get something funny!

A tongue-in-cheek comment or observation begins seriously but ends humorously. However, behind the playfulness is truth. So, tongue-in-cheek comments often get people thinking.

Tongue-in-cheek comments are often used in critiques. They tell something truthful, but in a light-hearted, funny way. You can sometimes get away with a lot by using tongue-in-cheek humor because the truth in it can sometimes be hard to recognize.

The American writer Mark Twain was an expert at making tongue-in-cheek comments.

Another famous humorist was Will Rogers. He was born in 1879 in what is now Oklahoma. He was part Cherokee and was known as “the cowboy philosopher.”

Rogers’ warm humor made him one of the best-loved performers of his generation. During his long career, Rogers did a little of everything. He was an actor, both in the theater and in movies. He had a weekly radio show and also wrote stories for a newspaper.

This tongue-in-cheek comment from Rogers is as meaningful today as it was when he said many years ago:

"Everything is changing in America. People are taking the comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke."

Now, we all know that no one can know everything. But that fact doesn’t sound very interesting, funny or witty. Will Rogers stated that truth in his typical tongue-in-cheek way when he said, "Everybody is ignorant only on different subjects."

But how did putting your tongue in your cheek come to mean a kind of twisted, oftentimes truthful, humor?

Some websites say this expression dates back to the 18th-century England. One site says that it first meant a common facial expression used to express dislike or contempt. These days, the contempt is gone and in its place are terms like irony. An irony is when you say the opposite of what you mean, usually to be funny.

Another website says that people may have stuck their tongue in their cheek to keep from smiling or laughing.

However, when it comes right down to it, you should not take a tongue-in-cheek comment at face value. It starts to mean one thing but then ends by meaning something completely different. That is what makes it so funny.

Tongue-in-cheek humor is often successful when it includes the speaker in a funny critique or situation.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy famously did this at a dinner celebrating 49 American Nobel Prize winners.

He said: “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House … with the possible exception of when (former President) Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

In this way, tongue-in-cheek humor can be self-deprecating. It is effective when you want to make fun of yourself a bit.

And this brings us to music.

For some reason, country & western music has a long history of producing tongue-in-cheek songs. With titles like “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,’” “Queen of My Double Wide Trailer” and “Bubba Shot the Jukebox,” it is clearly a type of music that does not mind poking fun at its own culture and lifestyle.

In the 1970s, Mac Davis became one of the biggest names in country music. He wrote songs for Elvis, and because he was so handsome also got into acting. Then in 1974, he had everyone laughing with his tongue-in-cheek song making fun of his own life.

“It’s Hard to Be Humble” became an instant hit.

“Oh Lord it's hard to be humble

When you're perfect in every way

I can't wait to look in the mirror

Cause I get better looking each day

To know me is to love me

I must be a hell of a man

Oh Lord It's hard to be humble,

But I'm doing the best that I can!"

And that’s Words and Their Stories. Out of all the programs here at Voice of America, this is one of them. I’m Anna Matteo.

_______________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

comedian – n. a person who performs in front of an audience and makes people laugh by telling jokes or funny stories or by acting in a way that is funny

witty – adj. funny and clever

twist – n. an unexpected or strange occurrence : something new created by changing something slightly

face value – n. Something that is taken/accepted at face value is regarded as true or genuine without being questioned or doubted

extraordinary – adj. extremely good or impressive

talent – n. a special ability that allows someone to do something well

self-deprecating – adj. meant to make yourself or the things you do seem unimportant

tractor – n. a large vehicle that has two large back wheels and two smaller front wheels and that is used to pull farm equipment

trailer – n. a vehicle that can be pulled by a truck or car and that can be parked and used as an office, vacation home, etc.

jukebox – n. a machine that plays music when money is put into it

to poke fun phrase to make a joke about (someone or something) usually in a friendly way

humble – adj. showing that you do not think of yourself as better than other people

instant – adj. becoming something very quickly

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