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词汇掌故:Sing Like a Canary 告密;告发;知情必报

kira86 于2018-12-06发布 l 已有人阅读

金丝雀.jpg
Time to 'Sing Like a Canary'

是时候“告密”了

Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.

这里是美国之音慢速英语《词汇故事》栏目。

There are thousands of different kinds of birds. They come in many different sizes and colors. And they each make their own sound.

有成千上万种不同的鸟。它们的体型和颜色很不相同。它们发出独一无二的声音。

That is a robin.

那是一只知更鸟。

Here is a nightingale.

这是一只夜莺。

And this is the song of the canary.

这是金丝雀的歌声。

Canaries are active, cheerful birds. And they are known for their ability to sing. Some animal experts say they are among the best singing birds. You can even train a young canary to sing. And they can sing for hours!

金丝雀是活跃欢快的鸟儿。它们以唱歌的能力而闻名。一些动物专家表示,它们是最会唱歌的鸟类之一。你甚至可以训练一只小金丝雀唱歌。它们可以唱好几个小时!

So, if someone says that you sing like a canary, you would think that they mean you sing cheerfully all day long!

所以,如果有人说你唱得像金丝雀一样,你会认为他们的意思是你一整天都唱得很开心!

But that is not what singing like a canary means. Not even a little.

但那不是“sing like a canary”的意思。一点也不沾边。

In English, if you sing like a canary, you are reporting on someone to high-level officials, like the police.

在英语中,如果你“sing like a canary”,你就是在向警察等高级官员告发某人的情况。

Let's say police officers question someone suspected of a crime. The officers offer the woman a deal -- a lighter prison sentence in exchange for her cooperation. Wanting to avoid jail time, she sings like a canary and provides details about the people who helped her carry out the crime.

比方说,警察审问涉嫌犯罪的人。警察要和这名女子做一笔交易,以较轻的刑期换取她的合作。为了避免坐牢,她知情必报,提供了帮助她实施犯罪的人的详细信息

In fact, even after the police have enough evidence, she keeps on talking, telling them about other crimes. She is like a canary that cannot stop singing!

事实上,甚至在警察掌握了足够的证据后,她还是不停地说,告诉他们其他罪行。她就像一只金丝雀,唱个不停!

In this case, you could also say that she snitched or ratted on her criminal friends. If I snitch or rat on someone, I can also simply say that I have told on them. To tell on a person is to tell someone else a bad thing they have done.

在这种情况下,你也可以说她告发或出卖了她的罪犯朋友。如果我告发或出卖某人,我也可以简单地说我揭发了他们。揭发一个人就是告诉别人他们做了一件坏事。

So, for example, if I tell on you, I share something bad you have done with someone else. Although, to tell on someone sounds a little childish. Brothers and sisters often tell on each other to their parents. Classmates can tell on each other to their teachers.

所以,举个例子,如果我揭发了你,我就是和别人分享你做过的坏事。不过,揭发某人听起来有点幼稚。兄弟姐妹经常在父母面前互相揭发。同学们可以向老师互相揭发。

Now, at this point, you might say, "Anna, wait a minute. Why does English use canaries in this expression? People love canaries and keep them as pets. They are happy, harmless little birds."

现在,在这一点上,你可能会说,“安娜,等一下。为什么英语在这个表达中使用金丝雀?人们喜欢金丝雀,并把它们当宠物养。它们是欢快又无害的小鸟。”

Well, yes, they are. But that is not the point.

嗯,是的,他们是欢快又无害的小鸟。但这不是重点。

To say someone "sang like a canary" simply states what the bird naturally does and often. It sings! The expression does not mean that the birds are bad. Also it does not liken them to criminals.

说某人“唱得像金丝雀一样”,这只是简单地描述了这种鸟的自然行为和惯常行为。它唱歌!这个表达并不意味着这些鸟是坏鸟。也没有将它们比作罪犯。

So, if someone sings like a canary and rats on their friends, we would never call them a "canary." But, we could call them a rat. Canaries, it seems, are easier to love than rats.

所以,如果有人告密出卖他们的朋友,我们从不叫他们“金丝雀”。但我们可以叫他们老鼠。金丝雀似乎比老鼠更容易得到人们的喜爱。

There is an important thing to note when using these expressions.

在使用这些表达时需要注意一件重要的事情。

When we use "sing like a canary," most often the person doing the singing is also guilty themselves. However, if you snitch or rat on someone, you do not necessarily have to be involved in whatever it is you are snitching or ratting about.

当我们使用“sing like a canary”时,大多数情况下唱歌的人自己也是有罪的。然而,如果你告发或出卖某人,你不一定参与了你要告发或举报的事情。

But when you sing like a canary, you usually have had a hand in the trouble.

Unlike the cheerful canary. It just wants to sing.

And that's Words and Their Stories! I'm Anna Matteo.

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