是时候“装死”了 分享到
It’s Time to ’Play Possum’ 2018-10-03120237

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Now, it’s time for Words and Their Stories from VOA Learning English.
这里是美国之音慢速英语《词汇故事》栏目。
On this program, we talk about words and expressions in American English.And today we will talk about “defense mechanisms.”These are different ways the body reacts to changing conditions to keep it safe.
在本期节目中,我们会讨论美式英语中的词汇和表达。今天我们将讨论“防御机制”。这些是身体面对不断变化的环境做出的不同反应,以保证自身安全。
To learn more about defense mechanisms, let’s turn to the experts – animals!Many of them are experts at avoiding danger to stay alive.When animals are frightened or feel threatened, they take steps to protect themselves.
想要了解更多关于防御机制的知识,让我们求助于专家——动物吧!许多动物都是避免危险以维持生命的专家。当动物受到惊吓或感觉受到威胁时,它们会采取措施保护自己。
A monkey runs for the trees.Birds take flight.A turtle sticks its head back into its shell.An armadillo rolls up into a ball.And a skunk releases an unpleasant chemical.
猴子跑向树林。鸟儿飞走。乌龟把头缩回壳里。犰狳卷成球状。臭鼬释放一种难闻的化学物质。
The ostrich, not known for its brainpower, buries its head in the sand as if nothing else can see the rest of its huge body.In American English, we also hide our heads in the sand to avoid something unpleasant.
鸵鸟不以聪明著称,它把头埋进沙子里,好像没有别的东西能看到它庞大身躯的其他部分。在美式英语中,为了避免不愉快的事情,我们也会把头埋进沙子里。
But another animal, the opossum, does something even more unusual.It stops moving and pretends to be dead.
但另一种动物,那就是负鼠,它做了一些更不寻常的事情。它停止移动,假装死了。
An opossum is a somewhat small animal with a long pointed snout.Most have a white face and grayish body.
负鼠是一种长着长尖口鼻的小动物。大多数负鼠都有一张白色的脸和灰色的身体。
Opossums were one of the first wild animals encountered by white settlers in the English colony of Virginia.The name “opossum” entered the English language in the early 17th century.It means “white dog” in the Native American Powhatan, or Algonquian, language.Many people drop the first “o” in the name, and use the term "possum" instead.
负鼠是白人殖民者在英国殖民地弗吉尼亚遇到的第一批野生动物之一。“opossum”这个名字在17世纪初融入英语。在印第安波瓦坦语或阿尔冈琴语中,它的意思是“白色的狗”。许多人省略了这个名字中的第一个“o”,而使用“possum”一词来代替。
A possum plays dead to trick other animals or the person hunting it.The possum hopes that its hunter is not interested in a dead possum, only a live one.Faking death suggests: “Nothing to eat here.Just a dead possum.You can go on your way.”
负鼠装死是为了欺骗其他动物或猎取它的人。负鼠希望猎人对死负鼠不感兴趣,而只对活负鼠感兴趣。装死暗示:“这里没有什么可吃的。只有一只死负鼠。你可以继续前进了。”
An opossum playing dead can be, in a way, great theater.If the animal world gave awards for acting, the opossum might win the award for ‘Best Death Scene.’
在某种程度上,负鼠表演死亡可能会是一场很棒的戏剧。如果为动物世界颁发表演奖,负鼠可能会因 “最佳死亡场景”而获奖。
However, before we give that acting award, science may want to weigh in.
然而,在我们颁发该表演奖之前,科学可能想要衡量一番。
Scientists explain that opossums are not acting at all.They can’t help it!Playing dead is an involuntary reaction to a threat.It is simply the animal’s way to protect itself against danger.When it feels threatened, its body plays dead.
科学家们解释说,负鼠根本没有表演。他们也没办法!装死是应对威胁的一种不自觉反应。这只是动物保护自己免受危险的方式。当它感觉受到威胁时,它的身体就会装死。
But why let a few scientific facts change a good expression.We haven’t!The fact that possums are not playing or acting at all has not changed the way we use the expression “playing possum.”And you can use this expression in many different situations.
但为什么要让一些科学事实改变一个好的表达呢?我们才不会!负鼠根本没有表演或假装这一事实并没有改变我们使用“playing possum”这个表达的方式。你可以在很多不同的情况下使用这个表达。
For example, we play possum when we lie to avoid something unpleasant.
例如,当我们为了避免不愉快的事情而撒谎时,我们就在“play possum”。
Let’s say you have a big test at school, but you did not prepare for it.You may pretend to be sick and stay home.Or you may want to avoid a difficult project at work.So, you call in sick.Both are examples of playing possum to avoid work or responsibility.
假设你在学校有一个重要的考试,但你没有做好准备。你可以假装生病待在家里。或者你可能想避免工作中的一个棘手项目。所以,你打电话请病假。这两个都是为了逃避工作或责任而装病的例子。
English has a great word that we can also use – feign.When you feign an illness, you are pretending to be sick.If you feign interest, you are pretending to be interested in something.
英语中有一个很棒的词,那就是feign,我们也可以用它。当你feign an illness时,你就是在假装生病。如果你feign interest,你就是在假装对某事感兴趣。
We also use the expression “play possum” when feigning ignorance.In other words, we pretend not to know something so that we seem in the dark.Again, this is a good way to avoid responsibility.
当我们假装不知道的时候,我们也会用“play possum”这个表达。换句话说,我们假装不知道一些事情,所以我们似乎一无所知。此外,这是一个逃避责任的好方法。
Or we can simply play possum when we want to hide away and avoid other people.
或者,当我们想躲起来避开他人时,我们可能只是在逃避。
We have another expression for this form of playing possum.If I lay low, I don’t respond to email; I don’t answer my phone; I don’t even open my door.I am avoiding the world.Singer Alan Jackson does the same thing in this song, “Just Playing Possum.”
我们还有play possum这种形式的另一种表达。如果我躲起来了,我不会回邮件;我不会接电话;我甚至不开门。我在逃避这个世界。歌手艾伦·杰克逊在《就逃避吧》这首歌中唱出了同样的事情。
Now, sometimes “playing possum” is the same as burying your head in the sand.But sometimes it is not.So, they are not interchangeable all the time.
现在,有时候“playing possum”的意思就和“burying your head in the sand”的意思一样。但有时并非如此。所以,它们不是一直都可以互换的。
Like our friend the ostrich, when you bury your head in the sand, you are avoiding a bad reality -- something you wish were different.You are not trying to lie or deceive anyone but yourself.
就像我们的朋友鸵鸟一样,当你把头埋进沙子里的时候,你就是在逃避糟糕的现实,你希望糟糕的现实会有所不同。你不是在试图欺骗任何人,你只是在欺骗你自己。
It’s a way of tuning out life’s unpleasant situations.If the daily news upsets you, you may choose to bury your head in the sand and not tune in to any news programs.
这是一种避开生活中不愉快情况的方法。如果每天的新闻让你心烦意乱,你可能会选择自欺欺人,而不去看任何新闻节目。
Another thing to note, we use “burying your head in the sand” for both serious and lighthearted issues.But we usually use “playing possum” in a lighthearted way.
另外需要注意的是,在严肃和轻松的话题上,我们都可以用“burying your head in the sand”。但我们通常把“playing possum”用在一种轻松的方式中。
I mean, you have to agree, it does sound much nicer than lying.
我的意思是,你必须同意,这听起来确实比撒谎好多了。
And that’s Words and Their Stories.I’m Anna Matteo.
以上就是本期《词汇故事》栏目的全部内容。安娜·马泰奥为您播报。

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