Pub Talk and the King's English 3 Pub Talk and the King' s English Henry Fairlie 1 Conversation is the most sociable of all human activities. And it is an activity only of humans. However intricate the ways in which animals communicate with each other, they do not indulge in anything that deserves the name of conversation. 2 The charm of conversation is that it does not really start from anywhere, and no one has any idea where it will go as it meanders or leaps and sparkles or just glows. The enemy of good conversation is the person who has "something to say." Conversation is not for making a point. Argument may often be a part of it, but the purpose of the argument is not to convince. There is no winning in conversation. In fact, the best conversationalists are those who are prepared to lose. Suddenly they see the moment for one of their best anecdotes, but in a flash the conversation has moved on and the opportunity is lost. They are ready to let it go. 3 Perhaps it is because of my up-bringing in English pubs that I think bar conversation has a charm of its own.
Bar friends are not deeply involved in each other's lives. They are companions, not intimates. The fact that their marriages may be on the rooks, or that their love affairs have been broken or even that they got out of bed on the wrong side is simply not a concern. They are like the musketeers of Dumas who, although they lived side by side with each other, did not delve into,each other's lives or the recesses of their thoughts and feelings. 4 It was on such an occasion the other evening, as the conversation moved desultorily here and there, from the most commonplace to thoughts of Jupiter, without any focus and with no need for one, that suddenly the alchemy of conversation took place, and all at once there was a focus. I do not remember what made one of our companions say it--she clearly had not come into the bar to say it, it was not something that was pressing on her mind--but her remark fell quite naturally into the talk. 5 "Someone told me the Other day that the phrase, 'the King's English' was a term of criticism, that it means language which one should not properly use." 6 The glow of the conversation burst into flames. There were affirmations and protests and denials, and of course
the promise, made in all such conversation, that we would look it up on the morning. That would settle it; but conversation does not need to be settled; it could still go ignorantly on. 7 It was an Australian who had given her such a definition of "the King's English," which produced some rather tart remarks about what one could expect from the descendants of convicts. We had traveled in five minutes to Australia. Of course, there would be resistance to the King's English in such a society. There is always resistance in the lower classes to any attempt by an upper class to lay down rules for "English as it should be spoken." 8 Look at the language barrier between the Saxon churls and their Norman conquerors. The conversation had swung from Australian convicts of the 19th century to the English peasants of the 12th century. Who was right, who was wrong, did not matter. The conversation was on wings. 9 Someone took one of the best-known of examples, which is still always worth the reconsidering. When we talk of meat on our tables we use French words; when we speak of the animals from which the meat comes we use Anglo-Saxon words. It is a pig in its sty ; it is pork (porc) on
the table. They are cattle in the fields, but we sit down to beef (boeuf). Chickens become poultry (poulet), and a calf becomes veal (veau). Even if our menus were not wirtten in French out of snobbery, the English we used in them would still be Norman English. What all this tells us is of a deep class rift in the culture of England after the Norman conquest. 10 The Saxon peasants who tilled the land and reared the animals could not afford the meat, which went to Norman tables. The peasants were allowed to eat the rabbits that scampered over their fields and, since that meat was cheap, the Norman lords of course turned up their noses at it. So rabbit is still rabbit on our tables, and not changed into some rendering of lapin. 11 As we listen today to the arguments about bilingual education, we ought to think ourselves back into the shoes of the Saxon peasant. The new ruling class had built a cultural barrier against him by building their French against his own language. There must have been a great deal of cultural humiliation felt by the English when they revolted under Saxon leaders like Hereward the Wake. "The King's English"--if the term had existed then--had become French.
And here in America now, 900 years later, we are still the heirs to it. 12 So the next morning, the conversation over, one looked it up. The phrase came into use some time in the 16th century. "Queen's English" is found in Nash's "Strange Newes of the Intercepting Certaine Letters" in 1593, and in 1602, Dekker wrote of someone, "thou clipst the Kinge's English." Is the phrase in Shakespeare? That would be the confirmation that it was in general use. He uses it once, when Mistress Quickly in "The Merry Wives of Windsor" says of her master coming home in a rage, "... here will be an old abusing of God's patience and the King's English," and it rings true. 13 One could have expected that it would be about then that the phrase would be coined. After five centuries of growth, o1f tussling with the French of the Normans and the Angevins and the Plantagenets and at last absorbing it, the conquered in the end conquering the conqueror. English had come royally into its own. 14 There was a King's (or Queen' s) English to be proud of. The Elizabethans blew on it as on a dandelion clock, and its seeds multiplied, and floated to the ends of the earth.
"The King's English" was no longer a form of what would now be regarded as racial discrimination. 15 Yet there had been something in the remark of the Australian. The phrase has always been used a little pejoratively and even facetiously by the lower classes. One feels that even Mistress Quickly--a servant--is saying that Dr. Caius--her master--will lose his control and speak with the vigor of ordinary folk. If the King's English is "English as it should be spoken," the claim is often mocked by the underlings, when they say with a jeer "English as it should be spoke." The rebellion against a cultural dominance is still there. 16 There is always a great danger, as Carlyle put it, that "words will harden into things for us." Words are not themselves a reality, but only representations of it, and the King's English, like the Anglo-French of the Normans, is a class representation of reality. Perhaps it is worth trying to speak it, but it should not be laid down as an edict , and made immune to change from below. 17 I have an unending love affair with dictionaries-Auden once said that all a writer needs is a pen, plenty of paper and "the best dictionaries he can
afford"--but I agree with the person who said that dictionaries are instruments of common sense. The King's English is a model?a rich and instructive one--but it ought not to be an ultimatum. 18 So we may return to my beginning. Even with the most educated and the most literate, the King's English slips and slides in conversation. There is no worse conversationalist than the one who punctuates his words as he speaks as if he were writing, or even who tries to use words as if he were composing a piece of prose for print. When E. M. Forster writes of " the sinister corridor of our age," we sit up at the vividness of the phrase, the force and even terror in the image. But if E. M. Forster sat in our living room and said, "We are all following each other down the sinister corridor of our age," we would be justified in asking him to leave. 19 Great authors are constantly being asked by foolish people to talk as they write. Other people may celebrate the lofty conversations in which the great minds are supposed to have indulged in the great salons of 18th century Paris, but one suspects that the great minds were gossiping and judging the quality of the food and the wine. Henault, then
the great president of the First Chamber of the Paris Parlement, complained bitterly of the "terrible sauces " at the salons of Mme. Deffand, and went on to observe that the only difference between her cook and the supreme chef, Brinvilliers , lay in their intentions. 20 The one place not to have dictionaries is in a sit ting room or at a dining table. Look the thing up the next morning, but not in the middle of the conversation. Other wise one will bind the conversation, one will not let it flow freely here and there. There would have been no conversation the other evening if we had been able to settle at one the meaning of "the King's English." We would never hay gone to Australia, or leaped back in time to the Norman Conquest. 21 And there would have been nothing to think about the next morning. Perhaps above all, one would not have been engaged by interest in the musketeer who raised the subject, wondering more about her. The bother about teaching chimpanzees how to talk is that they will probably try to talk sense and so ruin all conversation.
Pub Talk and the King's English 词汇 词汇(Vocabulary) 词汇(Vocabulary) 词汇
intricate (adj) : hard to follow or understand because full of puzzling parts,details,or relationships 错综复杂的;难以理 解的,难懂的 indulge (v.) : give way to one’s own desire 尽情享受;从事于 meander (v.) : wander aimlessly or idly;ramble 漫步;闲逛 conversationalist (n.) : a person who converses;esp.,one who enjoys and is skilled at conversation 交谈者;(尤指)健谈 者
anecdote (n.) : a short,entertaining account of some happening,usually personal or biographical 轶事,逸事 intimate (n.) : a close friend or companion 密友,知己 on the rocks [colloq.] : in or into a condition of ruin or catastrophe (婚姻)破坏的;失败的 musketeer (n.) : (formerly)a soldier armed with a musket 火枪手 delve (v.) : investigate for information;search 发掘;调查(研 究) recess (n.) : a secluded,withdrawn,or inner place 幽深处
desultorily (adv.) : aimlessly;at random 随意地;无目的地 alchemy (n.) : an early form of chemistry,whose chief aims were to change baser metals into gold:a method or power of transmutation; esp. the seemingly miraculous change of a thing into something better 炼金术;变化物质的方法或魔力 tart (adj.) : sharp in taste;sour;acid 辛辣的;尖酸的;刻薄 的 convict (n.) : a person found guilty of a crime and sentenced by a court 罪犯 churl (n.) : a farm laborer;peasant 农民;庄稼人,乡下人 rift (n.) : an open break in a previously friendly relationship
分裂;失和 scamper (v.) : run or go hurriedly or quickly 急驰,快跑 rendering (n.) : a translation 翻译 bilingual (adj.) : of,in or using two languages(用)两种语言 的 intercept (v.) : seize or stop on the way, before arrival at the intended place 拦截;截断;截击。 abuse (v.) : use wrongly;use insulting,coarse or bad language;scold harshly 滥用;辱骂,口出恶言 coin (v.) : make up;devise;invent(a new word,phrase,
etc.)编造;杜撰(新词、新短语等) tussle (v.) : fight,struggle,contend,etc.vigorously or vehemently 斗争,搏斗;竞争 dandelion (n.) : any of several plants of the composite family,common lawn weeds with jagged leaves,often used as greens,and ye
 

相关内容

现代大学英语精读3Lessen 3课文翻译与课后练习答案

   非常抱歉,该文档存在转换错误,不能在本机显示。建议您重新选择其它文档 ...

现代大学英语精读3Lessen 1课文翻译与课后练习答案

   非常抱歉,该文档存在转换错误,不能在本机显示。建议您重新选择其它文档 ...

高级英语下册课文+知识点+课后练习+答案5.

   Love is a Fallacy Max Shulman 1 Charles Lamb, as merry and enterprising a fellow as you will meet in a month of Sundays, unfettered the informal essay with his memorable Old China and Dream's Children. There follows an informal essay that ventures ...

高级英语下册课文+知识点+课后练习+答案2.

   Marrakech George Orwell 1 As the corpse went past the flies left the restaurant table in a cloud and rushed after it, but they came back a few minutes later. 2 The little crowd of mourners -- all men and boys, no women--threaded their way across th ...

高级英语下册课文+知识点+课后练习+答案13

   Britannia Rues the Waves Andrew Neil Britain's merchant navy seldom grabs the headlines these days; it is almost a forgotten industry. Yet shipping is the essential lifeline for the nation's economy. Ninety-nine percent of our trade in and out of t ...

新视野大学英语读写教程第二版第二册课后练习答案

   新视野大学英语读写教程第二版第二册课后练习答案 unit 1 Section A: Vocabulary III. 1. charge 2. convention 3. efficient 4. obtain 5. competent 6. asessing 7. fulfill 8. conducting 9. consequently 10. significance IV. 1. behind 2. at 3. in 4.out 5. to 6. to 7.in 8.with 9.bu ...

新视野大学英语(第二版)读写教程第二册课后练习答案

   新视野大学英语(第二版)第二册 Unit 1 答案 Unit 1 Section A I Comprehension of The Text 1. The attitude is that if one is not moving ahead he is falling behind. 2. Time is treated as if it were something almost real. (People budget it, waste it, steal it, kill it, ...

新视野大学英语读写教程第二版第二册课后练习答案

   新视野大学英语读写教程第二版第二册课后练习答案 unit 1 Section A: Vocabulary III. 1. charge 2. convention 3. efficient 4. obtain 5. competent 6. asessing 7. fulfill 8. conducting 9. consequently 10. significance IV. 1. behind 2. at 3. in 4.out 5. to 6. to 7.in 8.with 9.bu ...

新视野大学英语读写教程第二版第一册课后练习答案

   Keys to Exercises of Unit 6 of Book1 of NHCE Section A Vocabulary III:1boasts2registered3employment4peculiarContinuousgraduated7dump8retreat 9contrary10treambled IV: 1in 2of 3behind 4about 5At 6about/7with 8by 9on/upon10at V.FMJGA DOLIC Sentence St ...

仁爱英语 八年级下Unit 6 Topic 1课文知识点

   教学设计方案 XueDa PPTS Learning Center 同步教学知识内容 教学目标 个性化学习问题解决 教学重点 教学难点 重点词汇短语、重点句型及交际用语 使役动词 make, let 的用法。 使役动词 make, let 的用法。 使役动词 make, let 的用法。 教师活动 Unit 6 Enjoying Happy Topic 1 We're going on a spring field trip. 课文词组: 课文词组 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 教学过 ...

热门内容

浅谈中学英语词汇教学

   浅谈中学英语词汇教学 浅谈中学英语词汇教学 英语 词汇是构成语言最基本的材料,扩大词汇量是提高学生听、说、 读,写能力的前提,因此,词汇教学是中学英语教学的重点。那么, 在教学过程中, 怎样才能有效地扩大学生的词汇量呢?唯一的途径就 是运用科学的教学方法。 一、强化语音教学,为词汇教学打好基础 词汇教学一般采取由音到形再到义的顺序。 音是学生接触一个词 的最初印象,如果读不出音就记不住形,无音无形就谈不上什么义, 因此,要牢记一个单词首先应把音念准。听是语音教学的根本方法, 先听音,后开口和 ...

四年级下册英语第4-5单元测试卷

   四年级下册英语第 4-5 单元测试卷 ( ( )3. A、It’s on my bed. )4. A、Yes, please. )5. A、There are ninety. B、It’s yellow. B、These are tomatoes. B、Ninety yuan. Ⅰ 听力部分 ( 一、听辨单词,将听到的单词字母编号写在左边的括号里,每题读两遍。 ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. A. twelve ...

英语单词记忆法宝,融心理学与词汇学一体,看了可以让你词汇量狂飙!!

   英语词汇学课程课件 课件名称:英语词汇学习 制作人:寻阳、张培成 单位:曲阜师范大学外国语学院 Chapter 11 Aspects of Vocabuary Learning Objectives: " To consider some technics and strategies appropriate to autonomous vocabulary development. development. 11.1 Vocabulary storage Word sets and wor ...

英语课堂游戏72种

   英语课堂游戏 72 种 Game 1: 上车 目的:用"Hi\Hello.I'm..."向别人问好,并介绍自己。 方法:将学生分散在教室的各个角落,及车站站点,等待上车。老师做司机,到各个站点接学生上 车。学生上车前必须向司机问好。(还可再加一个学生当固定售票员) 知识点:T:Bus stop! Hello! I'm David. ticket. S1: Thank you. Game 2:下车 目的:练习用"Goodbye.""Bye-by ...

2010职称英语考试技巧

   我英语本来基础就不行,而且放下已经 6 年多了,属于菜鸟 级别的,今年报考理工 B,本来不抱太大希望,幸亏听了周 涵老师和张艺老师的网络课堂辅导, 分数刚出来, 分! 65 ~~~ 感谢两位老师,感谢网络课堂~~~~~需要强调的是,在复习 过程中我没有背一个单词!~~~现将一些个人体会简述如下, 供大家讨论交流~~ 1、词汇、阅读理解、完型填空所占分值最高(合计高达 75 分),放到前面来做,避免万一时间不够,可以确保先抓住 大部分分数。 2、词汇、阅读理解、完型填空都是部分来自教材,放到前 ...