English 中文网 漫画网 爱新闻iNews 翻译论坛
当前位置: Language Tips> 译通四海> 翻译服务

On disrespecting dogs and discordant unions

[ 2009-01-22 13:43]     字号 [] [] []  
免费订阅30天China Daily双语新闻手机报:移动用户编辑短信CD至106580009009

This week the phrase “yellow dog contract” appeared on our bulletin discussion board and several bright readers were able to enlighten us with its meaning.

One fellow Donald Dong provided the best response informing us that it refers to a type of contract with an agreement between a worker and a boss whereby the former agrees that he or she will not join a union.

A good question we may ask then is why they would call it a yellow dog contract rather than just calling it a contract that prevents you from joining a union?

Well I think in this context and in many situations in the English language the word dog is used derogatively. That is, it isn’t used politely but is used to comment negatively towards someone or something.

For example if I don’t like someone I can often call them a ‘dirty dog’ or a “smelly dog”.

“Also when we look at the use of “yellow” we find that linguistic associations with this color in the English language are usually less than complimentary, often being connected to a lack of courage.”

For example, “the soldier dropped his gun and ran away like a yellow coward.”

Now when we put both words together they take on added meaning creating an image of a worker who is scared to act independently and would rather do anything for his or her boss, which in this case means not signing or joining a worker’s union.

Also, I think it is useful if we bring in a further aspect that looks at a type of yellow dog, the Labrador – often referred to as a golden retriever or ‘old yella’. By nature this dog is very loyal and obedient and easy to control. It has a gentle disposition so by calling someone a ‘yellow dog’ it also has this extra connotation of an obliging, unproblematic, passive worker who may be a little meek at times.

I think in contemporary society the common usage of this phrase has been lost to all but a few well read or politically active folk.

As for myself I had never heard of it before so if you didn’t know what a “yellow dog contract” was you certainly weren’t alone.

(Nb about the title, ‘On disrespecting dogs and discordant unions’, personally I love dogs so when people use this word to speak badly about another person I feel it is disrespectful to a lovely animal and “discordant” means noisy or lacking of harmony and I think that is one role of a union, to create attention and challenge the boss’s control by way of strike or protest).





About the author:

On disrespecting dogs and discordant unions

About the author: Brendan has taught at universities, high schools and primary schools in Japan,the UK, Australia and China. He is a Qualified Education Agent Counsellor and has extensive experience with International English Language Examinations. In the field of writing Brendan has been published in The Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, Inflight magazines and the Asia News Network. He can be contacted at brendanjohnworrell@hotmail.com.