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英语修辞与写作·14.3 Correction

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2021年10月24日

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14.3 Correction

14.3A Correction的含义与形式

1) Correction亦称Epanorthosis,汉译“换语”,意思是改换前言,用一个更恰当、更明确、更深刻或更有力的说法取代或补充刚刚说过的话。例如:

... most brave, nay, most heroic act!

(Webster's Third New International Dictionary)

前面讲了most brave,但又觉得不够,于是用nay加以否定,换成most heroic。

2) 从结构上看,前面已说过的话和新的说法两者构成并列关系。这种并列结构的含义有转折、递进、让步等(参见笔者拙作《分析英语语法》16.2节),担任连接成分的有否定词no, nay,并列连词or, and,等。例如:

... But if the defendant had asked his hosts, or rather had only hinted, this could easily have been accomplished.

(Patricia Bizzell)

句中or以引出的换语rather had only hinted有让步含义。

... All the while I was working at, and learning to write, fiction.

(Writer's Digest, Aug. 1992)

句中and learning to write是对前面working at的修正,连词and也可以换用or,但相比之下,and语气较为恳切。

14.3B Correction的使用

1) 日常说话中,有时说出一句话或说出半句时,觉得不够妥帖,于是往往自觉不自觉地使用换语。1993年4月29日美CBC节目中就有这样一个例子:

Do you think — do you believe that wild life can be preserved this way?

(Harry Smith)

2) 书面语中的换语通常是一种有意安排的加强语气的修辞手法。因为前面已有说法,并且使用的词语较为平常,改换说法之后,词语更为准确、鲜明、生动,就会大大加深读者的印象。例如:

After the men in question had conquered, or rather had been conquered — for how shall I call that which has brought more disaster than benefit to the conquerors?

(McCrimmon)

先用主动语态had conquered,再改换成被动语态had been conquered,形成一种强烈的对比,如果直接用被动语态,句子就显得弱了。

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's writing without giving proper credit — or perhaps writing without giving any credit at all — to the writer of the original.

(McCrimmon)

从without giving proper credit改换成without giving any credit at all,语气大为增强。

3) 通过使用换语,还可形成对照。例如:

O Virtue's companion, Envy, who art to pursue good men, yes, even to persecute them.

(Patricia Bizzell)

从pursue good men到persecute them,一针见血地道出了Virtue与Envy之间的区别,对后者具有尖锐的批判和讽刺意味。

诗人Robert Herrick的诗To Electra共两节,两句话,第二节可以看作是对第一节的换语:

I dare not ask a kiss,

I dare not beg a smile,

Lest having that, or this,

I might grow proud the while.

No, no, the utmost share

Of my desire shall be

Only to kiss that air

That lately kissed thee.

练习十四 (Exercise Fourteen)

I. Preview Questions:

1. Can you cite an example of Paregmenon which refers to words of the same root?

2. Why is it said that Paregmenon is a special kind of repetition?

3. Can you cite an example to indicate how Paregmenon is used together with Oxymoron?

4. Can you tell the origin of the figure of speech Malapropism?

5. What rhetoric effects can be achieved when Malapropism is used in children stories or describing people who are ignorant but pretend to know?

6. What effect can a deliberate use of Correction achieve?

7. Have you ever used the figure of Correction in your life?

8. How can you avoid using a wrong word as in Malapropism?

II. Read the following passages from Richard Sheridan and then do the exercises as required.

An error in denotation means that you have used a word wrong: the term simply does not mean what you think it does. Unlike a mistake in connotation, which results in a fuzzy word, a mistake in denotation results in an inaccurate word.

In a wonderful play, The Rivals, by Richard Sheridan, the character of Mrs. Malaprop was a silly woman who tried to appear more learned than she was and who constantly gave herself away by misusing words. In the following scene quoted, Mrs. Malaprop shows Anthony Absolute what she likes to do best — talk. Examine her choice of words.

MRS. MALAPROP: Fy, fy. Sir Anthony, you surely speak laconically.

ABSOLUTE: Why, Mrs. Malaprop, in moderation now, what would you have a woman know?

MRS. MALAPROP: Observe me, Sir Anthony. I would by no means wish a daughter of mine to be a progeny of learning; I don't think so much learning becomes a young woman; for instance, I would never let her meddle with Greek, or Hebrew, or algebra, or simony, or fluxions, or paradoxes, or such inflammatory branches of learning — neither would it be necessary for her to handle any of your mathematical, astronomical, diabolical instruments. — But, Sir Anthony, I would send her, at nine years old, to a boarding school, in order to learn a little ingenuity and artifice. Then, sir, she should have a supercilious knowledge in accounts; — and as she grew up, I would have her instructed in geometry, that she might know something of the contagious countries; — but above all, Sir Anthony, she should be mistress of orthodoxy, that she might not misspell, and mispronounce words so shamefully as girls usually do; and likewise that she might reprehend the true-meaning of what she is saying. This, Sir Anthony, is what I would have a woman know; — and I don't think there is a superstitious article in it.

Individual work: Tell whether each of the following statements is true (T) or false (F):

1. The word “malapropism” is originated from Mrs. Malaprop, a character of The Rivals by Richard Sheridan. The woman is silly and pompous, who often makes mistakes in her choice of words or pronunciations and thus makes herself a laughing stock.

2. According to Mrs. Malaprop, she considers herself wise and learned and expects her daughter to be so too.

3. Mrs. Malaprop likes to show off by using formal and high-sounding words, but from time to time, she mispronounces a word, e.g. “simony” for “symphony”, or uses inappropriate words, e.g. The word “fluxion” is an outdated term related to “maths”. The word “reprehend” means “find fault with” and it is obviously out of place in the context, for the speaker must have intended to use “comprehend”, a formal word which means “understand”.

Group work: discuss the questions either in pairs or in group:

1. Even if you do not know everything that Mrs. Malaprop is saying, you can enjoy the fact that she misuses words shamelessly. With your partner, try to figure out what she “would have a woman know”. Use a dictionary to help you out.

2. Mistakes in denotation and connotation result in different ways. Sometimes a wrong denotation results less from not knowing a word's definition than from not thinking clearly. Analyse the errors in Mrs. Malaprop's talk and enjoy how malapropisms are used for a comedy.

III. Correct the malapropism if any, in the following sentences and tell what figure of speech can be found there:

1. Your appreciation of art depends upon your sense and sensibilizing.

2. If paid by the hour, some people will ponder away their time.

3. The space program is a waste of time and money. There are problems to solve on our land, such as starvation, overpopulation, etc. How do you think of this statement?

4. Her look was remote and reproachful, or sometimes tasteful and blameful.

5. In such stories it is exciting to break away from the predictable world we live in and to enter an unrealizable world where anything can happen.

6. Across this country one sees deep holes in the floor where man has mined, oil rigs working day and night, and open spaces which were once cradles of trees.

7. Both essential commodities and luxuries seem important, but their importance can be measured by deciding which we are prepared to live without them. Our decisions indicate our scale of preferring.

参考答案

Ⅱ. Individual work: 1.T 2. F 3. T

Ⅲ. 1. Change “sensibilizing” into “sensibility”; Paregmenon.

2. Use “squander” for “ponder”.

3. Use “planet” for “land” and “What” for “How”.

4. Use “blameless” for “blameful”; Alliteration, Assonance, Correction.

5. Turn “unrealizable” into “unpredictable”.

6. Use “ground” for “floor” and change “open space” into “wasteland”, “emptiness”, “barren ground”, or “deserts”.

7. Delete “them” and replace “preferring” with “preferences”; Paregmenon, Anadiplosis.


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