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降级冥王星 2006年度词汇拔头筹
[ 2007-01-09 13:07 ]

2006年冥王星被踢出行星行列可谓天文学史上的一大事件。不过有失亦有得,冥王星充满戏剧性的命运,为它在语言学史上赢得了一席之地。在美国方言协会发起的英语“2006年度热词”评选中,“Plutoed”一词拔得头筹。原本只有名词含义的“Pluto”(冥王星),如今被语言学家们赋予了动词含义,即“使某人或某物降级或贬值”。这如同冥王星在国际天文学协会大会上被认为不符合行星定义而遭降级一样。Pluto的过去分词形式“Plutoed”因此具有了“被降级、被贬”的含义。 

 

 

"Plutoed" was chosen 2006's Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society at its annual meeting Friday.

Pluto is finally getting some respect - not from astronomers, but from wordsmiths.

"Plutoed" was chosen 2006's Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society at its annual meeting Friday.

To "pluto" is "to demote or devalue someone or something," much like what happened to the former planet last year when the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union decided Pluto didn't meet its definition of a planet.

"Our members believe the great emotional reaction of the public to the demotion of Pluto shows the importance of Pluto as a name," said society president Cleveland Evans. "We may no longer believe in the Roman god Pluto, but we still have a sense of personal connection with the former planet."

"Plutoed" won in a runoff against "climate canary," defined as "an organism or species whose poor health or declining numbers hint at a larger environmental catastrophe on the horizon."

Other words considered: murse (man's purse), flog (a fake blog that promotes products) and macaca (an American citizen treated as an alien).

Republican former Sen. George Allen was ahead in his re-election campaign when he said "macaca," which some regard as a racial slur, and "welcome to America" in referring to a US-born man of Indian descent who was volunteering for Allen's opponent. Allen lost to Democrat Jim Webb.

The 117-year-old American Dialect Society comprises linguists, grammarians, historians and independent scholars, among others. Members conduct the vote for fun and not in an official capacity to induct words into the English language.

The society chose "truthiness" as its top word last year. The word is credited to Comedy Central satirist Stephen Colbert, who defined it as "truth that comes from the gut, not books."

Last month, an online survey by dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster declared "truthiness" the word of the year for 2006.

(chinadaily.com.cn)

Vocabulary:

wordsmith:词语大师,语言艺术家

demote:降级

devalue:贬值

runoff:决赛

racial slur:种族歧视

(英语点津陈蓓编辑)

 
 
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