Like the people of any country, the British are given to loudly exclaiming something whenever they are startled; unlike most people, however, the restrictions on the English language that are caused by classic British politeness mean that such phrases are often absolute nonsense. Let’s take a look at some.
One of the most common and versatile of British exclamation, ‘Bloody hell’ is what we linguistics call a minced oath, as the word ‘bloody’ is probably a shortening of ‘By Our Lady’ (i.e. the Virgin Mary). Originally, then, this probably meant something like ‘by our Lady, all Hell’s about to break loose because of this thing that’s surprised me!’ It’s a little bit easier to say these days.
这是最常见并通用于各种场合的英式惊叹词之一。从语言学上来说，“Bloody hell”是一种避免爆粗的委婉表达。“bloody”应该是“By Our Lady”(即圣母玛利亚)的缩略语。这个词组最初的意思大概就是：“圣母在上，天都要塌了!这实在太令人吃惊了!”。相比之下，现在的说法还是容易多了!
This one is perhaps a little archaic now. Another minced oath, ‘Blimey!’ – or, less commonly, ‘Cor blimey!’ – is a shortening of the saying ‘God blind me!’ Hopefully you’re starting to see the pattern here: most British exclamations have their roots in religious oaths. This is because swearing by God was taken very seriously, so if you said ‘God blind me’ everyone would know you were truly pissed off and should probably be left alone.
这个词汇也是一种委婉表达，不过已经略显过时。它的另一种不太常见的说法是“Cor blimey!”。“Blimey!”是“God blind me!(上帝蒙骗了我)”的缩写。你可能已经发现了：大部分英式惊叹词都来源于宗教用语——因为对着上帝宣下的誓言都是严肃庄重的，所以如果你说“上帝蒙骗了我”，那么所有人都会知道你是真的非常生气，想要一个人呆着冷静一下。
These two interchangeable words are polite ways of saying ‘Damn’, though as everybody knows what you mean it’s a wonder anybody bothers. Like ‘Blimey’, saying these in ordinary conversation might make you sound a bit 19th century.
Now we’re really going back in time. This is a classic British phrase, probably not said in any serious since 1891, which consists of loudly exclaiming that you’re about to say something, but then actually sort of chickening out and deciding just to let ‘I say!’ do the business.
现在我们真的要回到过去了!“I say!”是一个经典的英式短语，大概在1891年后就没有在正式场合被使用过了。使用这个短语的大致场景是：你的一句大声惊呼刚刚开头，后面的话还没出口却又临阵退缩，于是决定说完“I say!”便就此打住。
In a similar way to ‘Blimey’, ‘Strewth’ is a shortening of ‘By God’s truth’, and is probably the most outdated word on our list – although it has enjoyed something of a recent revival in Australia. Still, if you’re ever asked to star in a traditional English drawing room drama, you’ll be equipped with exactly the right ways to express a truly British kind of surprise.
和“Blimey”相似，“Strewth”是“By God’s truth”的缩略语，这大概是这篇文章中最过时的一个惊叹词了，尽管最近它在澳大利亚还流行了一阵子。如果你被叫去演传统的英国客厅话剧，用上这个词，绝对能精确传达出原汁原味的英式“卧槽”!