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英语记叙文的语言特点

2006-07-29 14:36

  有的同学说:我的汉语记叙文写得不错,英语记叙文也不会有什么大问题吧。这种说法是片面的。英语记叙文是用一种与汉语完全不同的语言写成的记叙文,因此,它必然会有自己的语言特点,光知道记叙文怎么写,而不了解英语记叙文的语言特点,是无法用英语写出好的记叙文的。那么,英语记叙文有那些语言特点呢?

  先让我们来读下面这篇短文:

  One day a graduate student went to see his teacher. He had just got an important job and now was coming to say good-bye to him. The teacher asked him how he would behave among the high officials(高官)。 The graduate said, “I will be all right. I have prepared a hundred 'high hats’, one for each official I meet.  I am sure I will succeed. ”The teacher became angry at the words. “What!” he cried. “Is this what I have been teaching you for the past ten years?  Nothing but a mean flatterer(马屁精)!”“Forgive me, honored master! the student rose to his feet and apologized hurriedly.”But you have always been interested in your studies only and do not know how vulgar(庸俗的)the world has cothe to be. There are few men in the world who are behaving honestly like you. “”There is something in what you said, the teacher sighed(叹息道),nodding his head. So they parted(分手)on the best of terms, with the graduate's total number of“high hats” being one less.

  在这篇大约180个词的短文中,出现了9种不同的动词时态,几乎包括了英语中所有的重要时态形式。在这些时态中,又以一般过去时为主。这种复杂的时态特征在汉语记叙文中是根本没有的;但正是有了这些时态变化,才使这篇英语短文所记叙的动作有了层次感和立体感。

  因此,以一般过去时为主,各种时态为辅,合理使用丰富多彩的谓语动词时态是英语记叙文的首要的语言特征。

  在写作实践中,我们可以发现:不少同学在写英语记叙文时,时态概念淡薄。有的在文章中用一种时态到底,没有任何变化;有的不顾上下文,随心所欲地使用不同的动词时态。写出的文章没有了动作的先后性或层次感。究其原因,就是在写记叙文时,没有在英语动词时态这一最为重要的语言特点上下功夫。我们必须明白:汉语的动词是没有时态的,但对于英语记叙文来说,动词时态错了,即便你的文字有多么漂亮,你所记叙的内容也就成了一个没有时间概念的“混乱世界”。

  现在,让我们再回过头来看那篇英语短文:在180个英语单词中,动词及其变化形式占了47个。由于这些动词的存在,整篇短文有了“动感”,而这种让往事再现的“动感”正是优秀记叙文所要追求的。英语动词具有时态、语态、谓语动词和非谓语动词等表现形式,所以就更能醒目地体现出这种动感。

  因此,多用动词,特别是动态强的行为动词是英语记叙文的又一个明显的语言特征。

  下面这篇曾刊于上海学生英文报的学生作文就较好地表现出了英语记叙文的这一语言特点:

  Honesty

  When I was a  little child, I was very naughty and eager to know how the things around me worked.

  I would do something“bad” or surprising and often made others angry.  But I will never forget what I did once and what had been told then. One day, I found a little clock in my Grandpa's room. It had a red hand which kept running and running. I wondered who was there turning the clock. So I took the clock apart. And then I looked carefully and seriously into it with great interest. At last I was delighted that I knew how it worked. But I didn't know how to put the parts together correctly. I tried my best but still a few parts were left. I didn't know where to fit them. So I hid them.

  When Grandpa came back, he found the clock didn't work any more. He asked me who had touched it. I said I hadn't, but my heart was beating rapidly because I was lying. Grandpa began to repair the clock. Of course he couldn't make it work again without those missing parts. He was very angry when he realized that someone had once taken it apart. I became quite afraid and took out the parts to him, my face turning red. Then I heard his voice, “Good!That's right.But you should not  have told the lie. Remember: if you want to be a true man you must be honest first.”

  Up to now, I still remember Grandpa's words. And I have never told a lie, because I want to be a true man.

  河北  高岭军

  文章用简洁的语言描述了作者孩提时的一件令人难以忘怀的往事。文章最大的特点在于全文200多个词,动词近60个,因而文章生动活泼,很有动感。

  除了讲究时态、多用动词之外,英语记叙文的另一个语言特点是使用直接引语。这在我们开头时已经分析过的那篇英语短文中也得到了充分的反映。在十几个句子中,直接引语的句子占了一半左右。这些直接引语代替了间接的主观叙述,客观生动地表达出了老师和学生各自的心态。

  请读下面这篇短文,体会直接引语在英语记叙文中的重要作用:

  It must have been about two in the morning when I returned home. I tried to wake up my wife by ringing the door-bell, but she was fast asleep, so I got a ladder from the shed in the garden, put it against the wall, and began climbing towards the bedroom window. I was almost there when a sarcastic(挖苦的)voice below said, “I don't think the windows need cleaning at this time of the night.”I looked down and nearly fell off the ladder when I saw a policeman. I immediately regretted answering in the way I did, but I said, “I enjoy cleaning windows at night.”

  “So do I ”, answered the policeman in the same tone(口吻)。 “Excuse my interrupting(打搅) you. I hate to interrupt a man when he's busy working, but would you mind coming with me to the station?”

  “Well, I'd prefer to stay here,”I said. “You see, I've forgotten my key.”

  “Your what?” he called.

  “My key,”I shouted.

  Fortunately, the shouting woke up my wife who opened the window just as the policeman had started to climb towards me.

  想像一下,假如上面这篇短文没有了那些直接引语,而代之以间接叙述,那么,文章的生动幽默便会荡然无存。

  综上所述,英语记叙文的重要语言特点包括:

  1.以一般过去时为主,各种时态为辅,合理使用丰富多彩的谓语动词时态。

  2.多用动词,特别是动态强的行为动词。

  3.使用直接引语。

  要写好英语记叙文,就语言运用而言,应该在上述三方面多下功夫。

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