英文

名人教英文:To bite the dust 一敗塗地

【明報專訊】Leo: Have you finished writing the report?

利奧:你的報告寫完了嗎?

Salwa: Not quite, but I'd had enough for the time being and heard the TV so I came downstairs to see what you were watching.

薩爾瓦:還沒有,但暫時不想再寫。我聽到電視聲,就從樓上下來,看你們在看什麼。

Leo: Well the election results of course. They're beginning to come through.

利奧:當然是看選舉結果。結果開始公布了。

Salwa: Oh. I'd forgotten about that. How's it going?

薩爾瓦:啊,我忘了這回事。情况怎樣?

Leo: It's early days, but the Liberals are doing well so far and there have been a few good results for the Green Party.

利奧:目前還說不定,但自由黨成績至今不錯,綠黨也有幾處得勝。

Salwa: Well that's good news as far as I'm concerned. What about the Unity Party?

薩爾瓦:對我來說,那是好消息。團結黨怎樣?

Leo: Not so good for them. Their man who was the Finance Minister in the last government bit the dust early. He was beaten by the leader of the Green Party. She's only 35.

利奧:他們成績可沒有那麼好。上届政府中任財政部長的那個團結黨候選人,一早就告敗北。擊敗他的綠黨領袖才三十五歲。

Salwa: Ah that'll be Jane Rowley. She's good, I like her. I'm hoping that the Liberals and Greens will win enough seats together to form a government.

薩爾瓦:啊,那是簡.羅利。她很不錯,我喜歡她。希望自由黨與綠黨會贏得足夠議席,合組政府。

Leo: Me too. The Unity lot have been in power too long. They've made some bad mistakes. That's why they're losing seats.

利奧:我也是這樣想。團結黨那些人在位太久了,其間犯了不少嚴重錯誤,所以現在議席相繼輸掉。◆

Bite/Kiss/Lick the dust 直譯是「咬/吻/舐地上塵埃」,本是指戰場上將士倒地陣亡。古希臘史詩《伊里亞特》(Iliad)早就有類似說法,見十九世紀美國詩人布賴恩特(William Cullen Bryant)譯本第一卷第二章邁錫尼(Mycenae)國王阿伽門農(Agamemnon)的禱告:「And may his fellow warriors, many a one, / Fall round him to the earth and bite the dust(復盼其身邊同袍,紛紛倒地,嗚呼哀哉)。」現在,這成語常用來說「死亡」、「一敗塗地」、「(機器、計劃等)壽終正寢」等,例如:A brilliant development plan bit the dust when the foolish manager rejected it(一個出色的發展計劃,給那愚蠢的經理拒絕,壽終正寢)。

̷̷ 作者︰古德明 ̷

作者簡介﹕專研中英文,著有時事評論、英語學習、散文等書籍。

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