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[ 2011-03-25 15:06 ]

In 1839, the initials "O.K." are first published in The Boston Morning Post. Meant as an abbreviation for "oll correct," a popular slang misspelling of "all correct" at the time, OK steadily made its way into the everyday speech of Americans.


1839年,“O.K.”这个缩写第一次刊登在《波士顿晨邮报》上。OK表示的是一个常用俚语词“all correct”(完全正确)的错误拼写“oll correct”的缩写,它逐渐进入美国人的日常对话中。

During the late 1830s, it was a favorite practice among younger, educated circles to misspell words intentionally, then abbreviate them and use them as slang when talking to one another. Just as teenagers today have their own slang based on distortions of common words, such as "kewl" for "cool" or "DZ" for "these," the "in crowd" of the 1830s had a whole host of slang terms they abbreviated. Popular abbreviations included "KY" for "No use" ("know yuse"), "KG" for "No go" ("Know go"), and "OW" for all right ("oll wright").

19世纪30年代末,受过教育的年轻人圈子中有一个广受喜爱的做法,就是人们会故意拼错单词,缩写这些词,然后在互相交谈中把这些缩写当作俚语使用。就像现在的年轻人会歪曲常用词创造出他们自己的俚语,比如把“cool”写成“kewl”,或者把“these”写成“DZ”,19世纪30年代的“潮人”们拥有他们自己缩写出的一整套俚语词。常用的缩写包括把“No use”写成“KY”(know yuse),把“No go”写成“KG”(Know go),以及把“all right”写成“OW”(oll wright)。

Of all the abbreviations used during that time, OK was propelled into the limelight when it was printed in the Boston Morning Post as part of a joke. Its popularity exploded when it was picked up by contemporary politicians. When the incumbent president Martin Van Buren was up for reelection, his Democratic supporters organized a band of thugs to influence voters. This group was formally called the "O.K. Club," which referred both to Van Buren's nickname "Old Kinderhook" (based on his hometown of Kinderhook, New York), and to the term recently made popular in the papers. At the same time, the opposing Whig Party made use of "OK" to denigrate Van Buren's political mentor Andrew Jackson. According to the Whigs, Jackson invented the abbreviation "OK" to cover up his own misspelling of "all correct."

在那个年代里被使用的所有缩写之中,OK从它作为一个笑话的一部分被印在《波士顿早报》上开始受到巨大关注。被当代政客们使用后,它的受欢迎程度大大增加。时任总统马丁•范•布伦谋求连任时,他的民主党支持者们组织了一队暴徒来影响选民。这个团伙被正式称为“O.K. Club”(O.K.俱乐部),既指代范•布伦的昵称“Old Kinderhook”(老肯德胡克,根据他的故乡纽约肯德胡克而来),也指最近在报纸上很流行的这个词。同时,对立的辉格党用OK这个词诋毁范•布伦的政治导师安德鲁•杰克逊。根据辉格党人所说,杰克逊发明了“OK”这个缩写以掩饰他自己拼写“all correct”(完全正确)时的错误。

The man responsible for unraveling the mystery behind "OK" was an American linguist named Allen Walker Read. An English professor at Columbia University, Read dispelled a host of erroneous theories on the origins of "OK," ranging from the name of a popular Army biscuit (Orrin Kendall) to the name of a Haitian port famed for its rum (Aux Cayes) to the signature of a Choctaw chief named Old Keokuk. Whatever its origins, "OK" has become one of the most ubiquitous terms in the world, and certainly one of America's greatest lingual exports.

负责解开“OK”背后的秘密的人是一位叫做艾伦•沃克•瑞德的美国语言学家。瑞德是哥伦比亚大学的一位英语教授,他摈弃了关于“OK”起源的一系列错误理论,从一种流行的军旅饼干的名字(Orrin Kendall),到一座因朗姆酒而出名的海地港口的名字(Aux Cayes),到一个叫Old Keokuk的乔克托族头领的签名。不管它的起源是哪个,“OK”已经成为世界上使用最普遍的词语之一,当然它也是美国对外输出的最伟大的语言之一。






(来源:新浪教育 编辑:崔旭燕)

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