如何閱讀英文報紙

 

 

 

July 7, 2004

 

學習英文,增進英文閱讀能力的管道很多,例如:閱讀英文散文、英文小說、英文劇本、英文雜誌及英文報紙等。若就內容的現代感、多元化、生活化、知識性、實用性與時效性來說,無疑是英文報紙。國內現有三家英文報紙,其中歷史最悠久的是「中國郵報」(China Post)創立於1952年,由於各人的需求和偏好不同,有人訂閱「中國郵報」,有人訂閱其它英文報。本人訂閱「中國郵報」已四十餘年,為了方便起見,就以「中國郵報」為例來說明如何閱讀英文報紙。

 

一、             選版閱讀

 

報禁解除之後,國內中文與英文報紙都增張了,以2004年六月二十八日(星期一)「中國郵報」(China Post)為例,共五大張二十版,我們不可能有時間閱讀每一版,因此我們就必須依照時間的多寡,興趣的所在,選版閱讀。例如:第一版是頭版新聞,第二、三版是國際新,第四版是社論與評論,第五版是亞太新聞,第六版是特別報導,第七、八、九版是體育消息,第十版是藝文與休閒,第十一版是生活,第十二、三版是工商新聞,第十四、十五版是國外工商新聞,第十六版是分類廣告,第十七版是廣告與卡通,第十八版是郵報導讀, 第十九,二十版是國內新聞。因為報紙的張數多,面積大,除非你有一張大桌子,並且只在辦公室或書房裡閱報,否則要攤開來閱讀,非常不便。因此你可以先將該日五大張剪裁為十個半張,選擇你所要的幾個半張,不但閱讀方便,折叠攜帶也方便。等車,坐車,等人,排隊購票,均可從衣袋中取出閱讀(成功的人是善用零碎時間的人)。

 

二、             劃記圈選

 

我們閱讀英文報紙和讀中文報紙的目的不盡相同,閱讀英文報紙主要是為了學習英文,因此閱讀時你必須準備一支紅色簽字筆,看到實用的句子劃底線,看到實用的一段文字,劃上一個大圈,準備剪貼備用。例如: 幾年前停刋的「中國日報」(China News )中有Dear Abby專欄,在1999年一月一日的專欄Promises for a New Year中有一段

And as we begin this bright, shiny New Year, consider this inspirational Chinese proverb:

If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character.

If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.

If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation.

"When there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.

這一句話正好類似中文「修身,齊家,治國,平天下」的英譯。當你讀到這句的時候,必定會有「踏破鐵鞋無覓處,得來全不費功夫」的驚喜。在我們學習英文的過程中常會自問:「這句話英語怎麼說?」但是英文老師不可能如影隨形,隨時在身邊為你解答問題,所以主要還是要靠自己。當你讀到這段英文,你就有了「這句話英語怎麼說?」的答案,除非你有過目不忘的本事,否則你就得劃下底線,事後找時間剪下來,貼在剪貼簿上,或鍵入電腦,準備將來英文寫作或中英翻譯時用。

 

三、中英對照

 

中英文報紙對照閱讀的目的有二。一是為了幫助瞭解英文報紙的內容。在閱讀英文報紙之前,先瀏覽中文報紙,對當日的國內外新聞有所瞭解之後,再閱讀英文報紙,如此,既使有些英文單字不認識,也可猜得出來,非不得已,不要查字典,因為那樣會減低閱讀速度和降低閱讀興趣。另一是為了自我練習中英翻譯。如果有一則新聞,中英文報紙上都有,你便可以將一段中文譯為英文,然後再讀英文報紙上同樣的那段新聞,看看自己譯對多少,譯錯多少,或者將一段英文譯成中文,然後再加比對。例如:1989年五月十四日「中國郵報」第二版有一則新聞,標題是 WHO votes against admission of PLO. 其內容第一段是 Under U.S. prodding, the World Health Organization has deferred until next year a decision on whether to admit the PLOs self-declared state of Palestine as its 167th member. 同日「聯合報」第十一版中,該則新聞標題的中譯是「巴解爭取聯合國機構承認受挫,世衛組織暫緩接受入會。」其內容的第一段中譯是:「在美國大力促使之下,世界衛生組織昨天決議,是否接納巴勒斯坦解放組織自稱的巴勒斯坦國成為該組織的第一百六十七個會員國一案,延至明年才做決定。」這樣的中英翻譯練習對學習翻譯有很大的幫助。

 

四、教學取材

 

教英文的老師、學英文的學生,都可以從閱讀英文報紙中獲得教授或學習英文文法與用法的例句。因此我們在閱讀時,可以刻意去尋找。例如:

我們想找一些說明英文文法中分詞或分詞片語的例句,1989年八月十九日「中國郵報」第一版有關歌者侯德健出現大陸中央電台的那則新聞中就有: Looking relaxed, smoking and smiling, he reappeared on state television on Thursday evening saying he saw no one hurt in the square and that advancing troops fired into the air. (劃底線者為分詞片語或分詞。)

我們想找虛字(expletive) it 在句前做虛主詞代替後出現的真主詞的例句,1987年七月二十六日「中國郵報」第六版中就有:
(1)
I think its nice to be recognized and it is certainly nice to be appreciated.
(2)
It was not clear whether the U.S. officials referred to the same incident…”
(3) It was not immediately clear what impact the bills would have on two two major U.S. military bases in the Philippines.

我們想找一個說明英文用法的例句,1989七月二十五日「中國郵報」第三版中就有:
(1)
Four in 10 of the institutions surveyed were already having difficulty filling business posts an one in four said they were having trouble recruiting faculty in mathematics and health professions.
  (在difficulty 與 trouble 之後用動名詞,即filling與
 recruiting.)
(2) 另一個英文用法的例句也出現在「中國郵報」,但日期與版碼未錄: 
   (a)
None of the crewmen aboard the supertankers was injured. An official  
      of Nissho shipping, owners of the Nichiharu Maru, and oil industry sources said
 
    damage was minor on both.

(b) None (of the differences) are really important,he said, repeating his statement in Bonn that nothing can decouple the United States from Europe.  
以上兩句中,第一句none之後,用單數was,第二句none之後用複數are,只要none之後跟可數名詞,兩者皆對。

我們想找一個說明前置詞在構句中的重要性的例句,

  1990年7月10日「中國郵報」就有:

Deputy Defense Minister Ran-jan Wijeratne elaborated on Monday on proposals by President Ranasinghe Premadasa for possible international involvement in any further talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

五、學習修辭

 

我們都學過英文文法,但學過英文修辭的不多,但閱讀英文報紙我們可以有機會學到。英文修辭學中有八種方法寫「加強句」。其中一種是「重複法」 (repetition),也就是重複使用句中某一個字或某幾個字以達到加強該句的目的。例句:

We have challenged these evil forces that are trying to waken our independence, our security and our future. (摘自「中國郵報」,惜未錄日期。)本句中重複 our 一字。

No troops were sent into combat to die unnecessarily, no laws were broken, no papers were shredded, no money changed hands, no one lied to Congress and every one of those thins happened under this administration, he said.(摘自「中國郵報」,惜未錄日期。)本句中重複 no 一字。

Now is not the time for anger and bitterness, for recrimination and blame. Now is the time for calm reflection Now is the time to tell Rich Higgins that we love him and we miss him, she said. (摘自1989年八月十日「中國郵報」。本句是美國人質Rich Higgins被處決後,他的太太向新聞界所發表的談話。)句中重複 now is (not) the time 與for。

 

六、專題研究

 

此處「專題研究」並非指什麼學術性的專題研究,而是指新聞英語的文體,表現方式等。在閱讀時,我們y加注意,不難發現,新聞英語特別簡潔。要簡潔就會用到分詞,動名詞和不定詞。另外是同樣一句話的不同表達方式。在閱讀時對這些加以研究可以增進閱報能力。例如:1987年七月二十一日「中國郵報」第三版有一則新聞標題是 Merry-go-round falls over in Poland; 16 kids, 9 adults hurt. (波蘭一旋轉木馬,16個小孩,9個大人受傷)。則該則內容入下:

Warsaw, July 20 (AFP) Sixteen children and nine adults were injured when a merry-go-round collapsed at a crowded fairground in a working-class neighborhood of Warsaw on Sunday, the Polish news agency APA reported.

The injured were taken to hospital but their lives were not in danger, the agency added, without giving details on their condition.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known. The merry-go-round was apparently going at high speed when it fell over, throwing animal figures and carriages containing children to the ground and hitting people standing by, the agency said.

此一新聞內容僅九十字,但卻含有七個分詞(劃底線者):crowded, working, injured, throwing, containing, hitting, standing及動名詞一個giving,此外,標題中尚有一個分詞:hurt.

 

新聞標題中用分詞、動名詞或不定詞更多。例如:1987年七月二十日「中國郵報」全部十二版上的新聞標題中有四十四個新聞標題含有分詞、動名詞或不定詞。現在各舉一二:(劃底線者即是)

p.1

(1) Thatcher to tell Gorbachev of U.S. concern on arms talks.

(2) Two Kuwaiti tankers to receive U.S. flags, protection tomorrow.

P.2

(1) Four Iranian embassy staff members expelled from France.

(2) Iranian activist killed in Vienna, newspaper says.

P.3

(1) Bus mishap death toll rises to 8; 2 still missing.

(2) 30 feared dead as floods sweep northern Italy.

P.4

(1) Mland China faces growing population among the elderly.

(2) Main witnesses at Iran arms hearings cast doubt on each others 
   credibility.

P.5

(1) 76,000 Mercedes cars recalled.

(2) Mexico continues cooperating with OPEC oil producers.

P.6

(1) Death toll from typhoon climbs to 111 with 257 missing.

(2) 38 die in 9 insurgency-related incident.

P.8

Paper gown designed for bride on a budget.

P.9

(1) Wilander to face Carlsson in U.S. Clay Court tennis finals.

(2) Tour de France cycling race moves into Alps.

P.11

(1) Smoking youths stab moviegoer.

(2) 8 detained on uninhabited island.

P.12

(1) Truckers boycotting Miaoli pottery plants.

(2) Cabinet says military to stay nonpartisan.

 

另外是同一句話用各種不同的表達方式中,最常見的是「要求匿名」或「拒絕透露姓名」這句話。例如「中國郵報」1985年六月十八日的新聞中就有五則新聞用到「拒絕透露姓名」。現抄錄二十五種不同說法以為證明如下:

1.          speaking on condition he be not identified.

2.          speaking on condition he not be named.

3.          who spoke with the condition that he not be identified.

4.          who spoke only on condition that his name not be used.

5.          who declined to be named.

6.          who did not want to be named.

7.          who asked to remain anonymous.

8.          who did not want to identify himself.

9.          who declined to be identified.

10.      who asked not to be named.

11.      who insisted on not being identified.

12.      who demanded anonymity.

13.      who insisted on anonymity.

14.      who briefed reporters on condition of not being named.

15.      who wished to remain anonymous.

16.      who did not wish his named used.

17.      who spoke in condition he not be identified by name.

(以上均摘自「中國郵報」,惜未記錄刊出日期)

18.      said a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, speaking on routine condition of anonymity.(5/18/01)

19.      . said a BBC spokeswoman on customary condition of anonymity.(1/13/02)

20.      A police spokesman told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.(04/21/02)

21.      Diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Arab ambassadors couldnt agree on language in the proposed resolution. (7/26/02)

22.      The official, who asked not to be identified, gave no other details. (11/27/02)

23.      With the votes tallied from more than half of Iran's 207 districts, the turnout was 43.29 percent, said Interior Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity. (2/22/03)

24.      said an MOJ official who preferred anonymity. (9/18/03)

25.      Saddam Hussein greeted his initial interrogation with a mix of sarcasm and defiance, said the officials, who discussed the questioning on the condition of anonymity. (12/16/03)

(以上均摘自「中國郵報」)

 

七、閱報工具書

我們在閱讀英文報紙的時候,時常感覺到所讀的英文在教科書裡並不常見,而且既使查閱字典,也只能查到個一個個的單字,多數的語詞卻查不到,例如:(1) zero-sum game (零和遊戲) (2) win-win situation (雙贏局面) (3) lose-lose situation (雙輸局面) (4) automated teller machine (ATM提款機)(5) drug lord (毒梟)(6) drug trade (毒品交易)(7) drug smuggling (毒品走私)(8) landing visa (落地簽証) (9) sunset industry (夕陽工業)(10) traditional industry (傳統產業)等。

「工欲善其事,必先利其器」 (One who wishes to be good at his work should sharpen his tools first.)。因此,我們在閱讀英文報紙的時候,為了排除閱讀的障礙,及擺脫字典上查不到的困境,我們必須具備「英漢、漢英新聞詞彙」方面的工具書。

上述七種閱讀英文報紙的方法,是本人多年來閱讀英文報紙的一點心得,自覺不僅在擴大知識領域方面,而且在增進英文知識方面獲益良多,特別寫出來,供給初閱英文報紙者參考。

 

(本文改寫自拙著英語英文怎麼學一書中「如何閱讀英文報紙」)

 

  陵著 英語英文怎麼學

 

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