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語言偽術練成法

2016/5/29 — 14:21

語文除了用來傳情達意,有時也用來矇混敷衍、塗脂抹粉。此道官員政客、公關人員最擅長。舉個例,公司要裁員減開支,直截了當的說法是:To cut costs, we will sack some of you.(為減開支,我們要炒些人。)但通告上一定不會這樣寫,而可能是:

In response to the current global economic downturn, we are planning to better manage our costs by introducing a series of business restructuring initiatives which will result in an increase in non-voluntary turnovers.

(為應對目前環球經濟衰退,我們正籌備一系列商務重組計劃以更有效地控制成本,其間非自願人員更替的數量會因而上升。)

因為語言在此的功用不在達意,而在粉飾。這些粉飾壞事、醜事、尷尬事的句子,其實不難寫。只須掌握以下五招,再加一張厚臉皮就行。

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第一招:Use the passive and omit the agent. 轉主動為被動,不要加「by」

主動句的主語通常是做事的所謂 agent,假如改寫成被動句即可把他從句子剔走。所以不說 Tom stole the apple 而說 The item was stolen(物件被盜)。當然不要加 by Tom。

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第二招:Prefer the abstract to the concrete. 棄精確,取模糊。

所有精確的字,都要用含混語言代替:棄 kill,steal,rape,sack,dump,而取 occur,engage,conduct,render,undergo。所以,不是 We are going to sack some people(我們將要炒人),而是 Our company is undergoing a restructuring process(本公司正進行業務重組的過程。)

第三招:Prefer nouns to verbs. 棄動詞,取名詞

這與第二招互相補足。總之生動鮮明的動詞,都改成名詞,再配上 abstract verb。所以,不說 Tom raped Mary(Tom 強姦 Mary 了)而說 Tom and Mary engaged in non-consensual sexual activities(Tom 跟 Mary 發生非自願的性行為)。

第四招:Prefer the long to the short. 字越長越好,句子亦然

因為讀起來較廢勁,表達亦較間接。所以 steal 不夠 misappropriate 好,misappropriate 又不夠 temporarily remove from the lawful owner(從合法物主處暫時拿走)好,所以:Tom temporarily removed the apple from its lawful owner。假如配合第一招一起用,就變成:The item was temporarily removed from its lawful owner(物件被人暫時從合法物主處拿取)。從 Tom 的角度看,這樣寫肯定比赤裸裸的「Tom stole the apple」( Tom 偷了個蘋果)順眼。以上四招的目標相同,都務求令讀者花最大力氣才能把文字和文字代表的事物連繫起來。最後,畫龍還要點睛:

第五招:Sprinkle with favourable modifiers. 有利己方的修飾詞,不妨多加

別說 We tortured the suspects(我們虐待疑犯),要說 We subjected the suspects to some harmless but effective interrogation methods(我們在疑犯身上進行了一些無害但有效的審問措施)。別說 We burn coal to get electricity(我們燒煤取電),卻說 We have devised a fuel strategy that enables us to produce electricity in a sustainable and environmentally-responsible manner(我們的燃料政策,讓我們能以可持續和有利環境的方式發電)。

實際應用

說了這麼多,看例子吧。兩軍打仗,傷及無辜在所難免,但政府通常怎樣向公眾交代無辜平民傷亡增加的消息?最符合現實、最容易理解的寫法是:

We are killing more and more innocent civilians in the war.(我們殺的無辜平民越來越多。)

怎樣令它變得「得體」?首先改成被動句,就不必寫「我們」:

More and more innocent civilians are killed in the war.(越來越多無辜平民被殺。)

再用名詞配上模糊的動詞。現在「kill」不見了,變成委婉詞「collateral damage」(這個詞,根據新出的牛津英漢漢英詞典 Oxford Chinese Dictionary,中文譯為「附帶性破壞」,跟英文的有異曲同工之妙)。「More and more」太直接了,改成「There is an increase in」;「war」也因為太敏感而改成「operation」:

There is an increase in the occurrence of collateral damage during the course of our operation.(我方執行任務其間,附帶性破壞的發生次數上升了。)

血腥味頓時消減不少。最後,「There is an increase」語氣太肯定了,改成「There have been reports of the possibility of an increase」(有報告顯示有可能增加)。而「our operation」可進一步修飾成「our peacekeeping operation」(維持和平任務):

There have been reports of the possibility of an increase in the occurrence of collateral damage during the course of our peacekeeping operation.(有報告顯示,我方執行維持和平任務其間附帶性破壞的發生次數可能上升了。)

這樣就把血淋淋的慘劇化妝成冰冷的陳述,大功告成。

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