ドラマの中の英語

The Name of the Game Is Communication

自分の英語は American or British?

広告

以前から気になっていたのが、表題の、自分の英語は果たしてなんなんだ?という疑問。もちろん、Japaneseなのは言わずもがな。End of story。それでも、海外ドラマばかり見ていて、そのうち9割以上がアメドラなので、個人的にAmerican寄りだとは思うんだけど、どれほどAmericanなのか? なんかうまく測定できないかな?、とずっと考えていました。こういうテーマの時によく出てくるtrousersとかtube等の有名な英単語の違いは既に知ってしまっているので、単なる英単語の比較では難しそう。じゃあ、スラングで比較すればいいのでは?と、この前ふと気づきました。スラングはドラマ特有だし、ドラマ視聴体験がそのまま自分のボキャブラリに色濃く反映してそう。そこで、この理論を確かめるため、ググって見つけたのが以下のサイトの2つの記事。

(追記)残念ながら消されていますのね・・・。インターネット・アーカイブから単語だけ拾って、下に貼っておきました。

www.smartling.com

www.smartling.com

信頼がおけそうな同じサイトの記事同士で、American と Britishのスラングがある程度に載ってるという条件でなんとか見つけました。40と50と数字がずれているのはご愁傷様だけど、背に腹は代えられない。記事に出てくるスラングの意味をほぼ知ってれば「知ってる」とカウントした結果は・・・

American British
知ってる 60% (24/40) 2% (1/50)

あれー? めっちゃ差がついた(笑) というか、Britishの方のスラング難しすぎない? Fortnightしか知らないのだけれど・・・。

それに、Americanの方も、Feeling blue, Piece of cakeとか本当にAmericanなの? というか、出てくるスラングがa piece of cakeすぎない?

ということで、上記記事に出てきたスラング自体のレベルがそもそも違っているから、「自分の英語はAmerican or British?」に対する信頼のおけるテストにはなりえませんでした、というのが今回のオチ。うーん、なんか良い方法ないかな。というか、別に知ってどうすんの?というのも正論ですけどね。American とか British とかいう区分け自体が、将来的にナンセンスになっていくでしょうし。

英語ネタがこのままでは皆無なので、最後に申し訳程度に・・・。アメリカンスラングの記事に出てきた jones という動詞。人の名前っぽいのに「渇望する」という意味がありますが、PodcastのA Way with Words | Jonesing で既に取り上げられていました。内容は、アメリカ人がロンドンの親戚を訪れて、動詞jonesingを使ったら意味が通じなかったという話。別の意味に取られたということですが、どうも勃起したと取られたみたいですね(笑) 実際の語源はドラッグ中毒からみたいです(詳しくはpodcast)。ドラッグ中毒ですか。そりゃ、渇望しちゃいますねw

America

  • Bail — Intransitive verb for leaving abruptly.
  • Feeling blue; have the blues — A feeling of depression or sadness.
  • A buck — Slang term for a the American dollar.
  • By the skin of (my/your/his/her) teeth — just barely.
  • Creep (n.) — An unpleasantly weird/strange person.
  • Couch Potato — A lazy person who spends the bulk of their time engaged in things that can be done while sitting on a couch.
  • Cram — To study feverishly before an exam typically done after neglecting to study consistently.
  • Crash — To abruptly fall asleep, or to show up without invitation.
  • Down to earth — And adjective for practicality and lack of pretense.
  • Drive up the wall — To irritate.
  • For Real — A proclamation of honesty.
  • Going Dutch — When each person, usually in a dating scenario, pays for his/her own meal.
  • The cold shoulder — A metaphor for deliberately ignoring someone.
  • Give a ring — To call someone on the telephone.
  • Hyped (adj.) — A very excited state.
  • Hang out — To casually gather together or spend time with someone in a social manner.
  • Jack up — An abrupt increase, typically in the price of something.
  • Knock — To speak negatively, to disparage, to badmouth.
  • Lighten up — To relax and take things too seriously. Typically stated as an appeal to someone who is acting uptight.
  • Pass the buck — To deflect responsibility onto someone else.
  • Piece of cake — A metaphor to describe something that is easy or effortless.
  • Pig out — A metaphor for binge eating.
  • Plead the fifth — References the fifth amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allows a witness in court to refuse questions on the grounds that they risk self-incrimination.
  • Screw up — To make a mistake, i.e. mess up.
  • Sweet — An adjective that describes something that is good, or nice.
  • Tight — An adjective that describes closeness between competitors, i.e. a tight competition.
  • Trash — Can be used as an intransitive verb for destruction. e.g. “He trashed the car.”
  • Uptight — Stuffy, persnickety, the opposite of relaxed.
  • Wrap (something) up — To finish or complete something.
  • Zonked — Completely exhausted.Our next post will cover British slang terms that Americans find confusing. Until then, here are some of our favorite American slang words:
  • Pants — CLOTHING RETAILERS TAKE NOTE: The Brits say ‘trousers’ … The American default word for the article of clothing that covers the legs and pelvic region seems pretty general and innocuous to English speakers in the U.S.
  • For the birds — Imagine how this phrase must sound to someone who doesn’t understand that it refers to something that is substandard in some respect. Is it a bag of seeds or some kind of yard ornament reference? The Brits sometimes use the word ‘bird,’ to refer to women, in the same way Americans use ‘chicks.’ So, maybe it comes off like reference to girlishness. Who knows?
  • Bought the farm — ”I didn’t know he wanted to move to the country,” is how a British person might respond to hearing this phrase. At this point ‘bought the farm,’ is a general reference to untimely death.
  • Jonesing — To want, crave, or desire something intensely, and its noun form, ‘joneser,’ (a person who wants or craves something intensely), isn’t always apparent even to Americans.
  • Take a raincheck — This is an Americanism that dates back to the 1880s and references the practice of giving baseball game ticketholders a pass to a game that must be rescheduled due to weather.
  • Spill the Beans — British English speakers might pick up on the use of the word ‘spill,’ as a metaphor for divulging. But ‘spill the beans,’ might be obscure enough for them to assume a more specific connotation, which they are not aware of.
  • Shoot the breeze — An idiomatic phrase for killing time with idle chit-chat, ‘shoot the breeze probably stems from old-west imagery, either cinematic or anecdotal in origin, in which men with nothing but time and ammunition on their hands shot their guns at no particular target.
  • John Hancock — Although obscure associative references are a favorite form of Cockney slang, it’s unlikely that an English person would have any idea who John Hancock was.
  • Monday morning quarterback — Because quarterback is an on-field leadership position played in American football, which the British have no interest in, and because Monday morning references the fact that most NFL games take place on Sundays, this is a doubly obscure metaphor.
  • Ride Shotgun — Another phrase taken from Old-West folklore, riding shotgun is a statement of both position and status—a sort of second-in-command support position who works from a preferential vantage.

British

  • All mouth and no trousers — All talk, no action, i.e. Braggadocio.
  • Argy-bargy — An argument or heated confrontation.
  • Bang to rights — Equivalent of ‘dead to rights.’ Caught in the act. Caught red-handed.
  • Bent as a nine-bob note — Metaphor for dishonesty or corruption that references the nine-schilling (bob) note, which does not exist and must therefore be counterfeit.
  • Blinding — An adjective for excellence.
  • Chuffed — To be very pleased about something.
  • Conk — A blow to the head or nose.
  • Corker — Someone or something that/who is outstanding. A standout.
  • Do one’s nut — To become enraged. Presumably a reference to doing an impression of a madman (nut). “I gave him the news, and a he did his nut.)
  • Damp Squib — Something that fails on all counts. Reference to small explosive charges that fail when wet.
  • Doofer — An unnamed object. Thing, thingamajig, whatchamacallit.
  • Earwig — To eavesdrop.
  • Eating Irons — Cutlery, eating utensils.
  • Fortnight — Very common British slang term for a period of two weeks.
  • Fence — n. A person who deals in stolen property. v. To pawn off stolen property to a buyer.
  • The Fuzz — The Police.
  • Gaffer — Boss, foreman, or employer.
  • Gutted — A state of extreme despair.
  • Go to Spare — To become angry, frustrated, distressed, or enraged.
  • Hard Cheese — An expression of bad luck.
  • Honk — To vomit.
  • Idiot box — A television set.
  • Ivories — Teeth, piano keys, or dice.
  • Jock — A nickname for John in Scotland but widely used as a Scottish everyman term like, dude, or mack, or buddy. It can be pejorative depending on context.
  • Joe Bloggs — Equivalent to Joe Blow. A typical, average, or unremarkable man.
  • Kerfuffle — A skirmish or fight caused by differing views.
  • Knees up — Adjective for liveliness.
  • Know One’s Onions — To be well versed on a subject.
  • Lag — A convict, especially one who served or is serving a long prison sentence.
  • Laughing Gear — A metaphor for one’s mouth.
  • Marbles — Wit, intelligence, or good sense.
  • Miffed — Upset or offended.
  • Nob — Person of high social status, snob.
  • Numpty — An incompetent or unwise person.
  • Odds and Sods — Equivalent to ‘odds and ends.’ Miscellaneous.
  • Old Bill, The Old Bill — A metaphor for a policeman, or the police in general.
  • Paddy — A temper tantrum.
  • Paste — To hit, punch, or beat thoroughly.
  • Penny-dreadful — A cheap sensationalist magazine. Tabloid.
  • Queer someone’s pitch — To spoil someone’s efforts.
  • Richard the Third — Cockney rhyming slang for a ‘turd.’
  • Rozzer — A policeman.
  • Skive — Feigning illness to get out of going to work or school.
  • Skint — Without money, broke, bankrupt.
  • Spawny — Lucky.
  • Steaming — The state of extreme drunkenness, or extreme anger.
  • Take the mickey — To tease or mock.
  • Tosh — Nonsense.
  • Wag off — To waste time, or play truant.
  • Warts and all — Equivalent to ‘as is.’ Taken to include all negative characteristics.