Blog entry by Joanne Chuang

Anyone in the world

我們不是字典的忠實擁護者,也並非反對書籍,實際上,我們愛書(Luiz : 沒錯,我們寫書 ! )。只不過,字典對於某些事物的定義常過於簡化,以致錯失了這些事物所代表更廣泛有用的涵義。就如同我們在動物園看一隻豹,雖然同是一隻豹,但這和在野外所見是完全不同的體驗(Luiz : 我不確定自己想在野外遇見牠....Matt : 膽小鬼!)。語言之道亦相通,你需要實際看到語言被應用的實例。所以字典並非是上乘的替代方案。

We are not big fans of dictionaries. No, we are not anti-book - we love books (Luiz - indeed, we write them!). But dictionaries often seek to define something so simply, they can miss the wider more useful meaning. It's like looking at a leopard in a zoo. Yeah, it's a leopard, but that's a very different experience from seeing it in the wild (Luiz - I am not sure I want to see it in the wild... Matt - coward!). Language is the same - you really need to see it being used. A dictionary is a poor replacement.

當我在BBC看到一則1萬2千年前的古老 'frieze 雕樑壁畫/帶狀雕刻’ 石畫在亞馬遜被發現的新聞時 ( 該畫含括呈現了已滅絕的動物如:長毛象),我拿起字典研究這篇文章,結果令我大失所望。身為母語人士,我雖知道 'frieze 雕樑壁畫/帶狀雕刻’ 一詞,不過這可能是我頭一遭查閱。對我而言,'frieze' 是指一系列連續的水平岩畫。的確,就是新聞中的岩畫藝術,一個長幅水平畫作,就像一個長形飾帶。不過,若你查找字典,會看到兩個定義:一是繡帶邊框的布料、二是牆壁頂部具裝飾性的水平飾邊,字典中未提及任何與藝術或繪畫有關的內容。只有進一步在 wikipedia 維基百科上才能找到更完整的解釋,此字涵義已衍生涵蓋任何一連串系列長幅水平藝術作品。

When I saw the news on the BBC about a 'frieze' of ancient 12000 year old rock art paintings discovered in the Amazon (complete with pictures of extinct animals like mastodons), I took to my dictionary to research this article - and was disappointed. Now, as a native speaker, I know what a 'frieze' is, but this may be the first time I've actually checked. To me a 'frieze' is a series of horizontal paintings. And, indeed, that is what this rock art is - a long horizontal painting, like a band. But, if you look it up in a dictionary, you will get 2 definitions: 1 - some kind of cloth with an embroidered border 2 - a decorative horizontal band at the top of a wall. Nothing about art or paintings. Only when you get to wikipedia do you get a more full definition that explains that the meaning is extended to any long horizontal piece or series of pieces of art.

這個字歷史的確源自 'cloth 布 / 織物' ( 法語中的 'frise' 或 'friser 捲曲/捲髮'  )。的確,我們今日常以'frizzý' 形容細軟捲曲的頭髮 ( Luiz : 就如Matt的頭髮,Matt : 謝謝噢!Luiz )。不過這對我們記憶這個字幫助不大,除非你原本就知道 'frizzy' 一字;而這個字聽起來又像 'freeze 凍結' ,所以我們可以利用這點 ! 記住這句話 :  'A frieze of rock art from the freezing Ice Age was found in the Amazon 一幅冰原世紀的雕樑壁畫在亞馬遜被發現' !  freeze 凍結 = frieze 雕樑壁畫/帶狀雕刻。當然,你要記住不同的拼法,而且例句中已經提供一個線索,Ice Age 中的 'i' 會提示你正確的拼法 ! 

The word's history does come from the idea of 'cloth' (French 'frise' or to curl 'friser'). Indeed, we often say curly hair is 'frizzý' today if it is fine and curly (Luiz - like Matt's hair, Matt - thanks, Luiz). But that doesn't really help us remember it, unless you already know the word 'frizzy', The word does sound like 'freeze' however - so we can use that! Remember this sentence: 'A frieze of rock art from the freezing Ice Age was found in the Amazon!' freeze = frieze. You will, of course, need to remember the different spelling, but we have worked a clue into the example - Ice Age will give you the 'i' you need to spell the word right!

耶!我們終於教了一個與川普或疫情無關的單字 ! 記得,不要光查字典,上 google 找找會發現什麼?圖片、維基百科、其它例句…。在廣闊的荒地中查找單字,別只光看猶如動物園般狹隘的字典 ! 

Well, we did it! We finally taught you a word that has nothing to do with Trump or the pandemic! And remember - don't just check a dictionary - google a word and see what you find - the pictures, the wikipedia, other examples. Look at words in the wild, not just the 'zoo' of a dictionary!