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美国人的家

2006-07-15 11:21

  Home. Few words in the English language have such a special meaning. Home is a place where you can relax, kick back and just be yourself. Just about everyone has a strong opinion of what makes a house a home. And for most people in America, home should be, above all, comfortable.

  家,在英文中没有几个字有这样特别的意义。家是一个你可以放松、只要做你自己的地方。大概每个人对于如何把一间屋子变成一个家都非常有主见。对大多数的美国人来说,家最重要的应该是舒适。

  Americans like their homes to reflect their personal tastes. Many do-it-yourselfers enjoy fixing up their house and making it more "livable." They often try to create a cozy atmosphere so that when they're at home, they'll really feel "at home." Sofas and lounge chairs may be heavily padded and arranged in groupings conducive to relaxed conversation. The bathroom even receives special attention. Carpeted floors, scented soaps, colorful wallpaper and decorative curtains adorn the "comfort room" in many homes. And on average, Americans have more bathrooms than any other people in the world.

  美国人喜欢让家反映出他们个人的品味。许多喜欢自己动手做的人沉醉于修补他们的房子并让它更「适于居住」。他们常试着营造一个温暖而舒适的气氛,这样当他们待在家时,会真的感觉到「毫无拘束」。沙发及安乐椅可能会被铺上厚厚的垫子,并运用不同空间组合的摆设,让坐的人可以轻松的谈话。甚至连浴室也颇费心思:铺有地毯的地板、香气四溢的肥皂、彩色的壁纸及装饰窗帘,如此就打扮出了许多家庭的「舒服之地」。平均来说,美国人拥有的浴室比世界上其它的人都多。

  Lisa Marie Odegard, an interior designer in Bozeman, Montana, comments that "a home is a haven. People want an open, easy feeling to make their homes comfortable." For that reason, many new homes now have big, open kitchens and vaulted ceilings.

  蒙大拿州柏斯曼的一位室内设计师丽莎?区迪嘉谈到:「家是一个避难所。人们想要一个开放、轻松的感觉来让他们的家变得很舒适。」因为这个原因,现在许多新房子都有大而开放的厨房以及拱形的屋顶。

  Americans try to make the most of their space, too. The majority of homes have built-in closets and shelves, and people spare no pains to add dressers, filing cabinets and closet organizers to maximize their storage space. Although keeping the house neat is often a constant battle, Americans feel it's a battle worth fighting.

  美国人也试着将空间做最佳的利用。大多数的家庭都有壁橱以及架子,人们也不辞辛劳的添加橱柜、文件柜以及壁柜分隔架来加大储藏空间。虽然让房子维持整洁像是一场永无止尽的长期战役,美国人觉得这是一个值得打下去的战役。

  People in America keep an eye on the latest trends in interior design. In the 80s, the "country" look dominated the home decorating scene. Rustic furniture and shelves full of old-fashioned knick-knacks created a homey atmosphere reminiscent of rural America several generations back. The 90s have brought in another longing for the past: the retro 50s and 60s look——plain and simple furniture with square backs and arms and block-style legs.

  美国人也会注意室内设计的最新时尚。八○年代,「乡村」风貌主导了家庭装潢;摆满旧式风格的小摆设的质朴家俱及架子,创造出一种会令人想起几世代以前以农业为主的美国之家庭气氛。九○年代又带入另一个怀旧情愫:回溯到五○及六○年代风貌——有四方形靠背、把手以及有方正桌脚的朴素、简单的家俱。

  Some parts of the country have their own regional preferences. In the western United States, homeowners favor the Navajo Indian style of the Southwest or the cowboy look. In contrast, Easterners prefer French Country or more "fussy" styles.

  国内某些地方的人们有他们自己地区性的偏好。在美国西部,屋主们喜欢西南部印地安拿佛和族或是牛仔式的风格。相对的,东部人喜欢法国乡村或是更漂亮的形式。

  With all this attention to their homes, you would think Americans place a high premium on housekeeping. In fact, however, keeping house doesn't receive as much attention as it used to. Why? The fast-paced lifestyles of the 90s allow little spare time for dusting, vacuuming and scrubbing the tub. Ironically, however, even though more and more women work outside the home, women still do twice as much house work as men. Modern conve-niences like the washing machine, the vacuum cleaner, and the dishwasher have taken some of the drudgery out of household chores. But in general, Americans these days take their cue from books like How to Avoid Housework.

  花了这么多心思在他们的家,你大概会认为美国人非常重视家庭的打理与清洁,但是事实上,整理家务已不像以前一样受重视。为什么?九○年代步调快速的生活方式几乎没有留什么时间撢灰尘、吸尘以及刷洗浴缸。然而,讽刺的是,即使越来越多的妇女在外工作,她们还是比男人多做两倍的家务。虽然像是洗衣机、吸尘器和洗碗机等现代家电已代为处理家事中一些乏味、辛苦的工作。但一般而言,美国人今天已会向「如何避免家务」这类的书来求救。

  As a result, you might think American homes of the 90s are less than spotless. Witness the fact that sales of household cleaning products have declined in recent years. Besides that, Americans seem to be less persnickety about their housecleaning——especially in areas that nobody sees. Vacuum under the sofa? Dust the baseboards? Are you kidding? Ironically, though, American women seem quite satisfied with their housekeeping, according to a national survey conducted in 1995-96. Besides that, people are designing their homes with low-maintenance features——tile in bathrooms and kitchens as well as marble on countertops——to cut down on the need for frequent cleaning. Even so, more and more people are hiring outside help to clean their houses. A Roper poll found that one in six Americans hired cleaning help last year, up from one in 10 in 1986. One professional housecleaning service, Merry Maids, has grown to over 800 franchises in recent years.

  因此,你可能会认为九○年代的美国家庭大概不是一尘不染。由家用清洁产品的销售量在近几年下降便可见一般。此外,美国人似乎对于家庭的清洁比较不那么吹毛求疵了——特别是对那些没有人看到的地方。吸沙发下的灰尘?撢踢脚板?你开玩笑?但可笑的是,根据一九九五/六年做的一项全国性调查,美国妇女似乎对他们的家务整理挺满意。除此之外,人们以较不需要时时清洁的材料来设计他们的家——在浴室及厨房贴磁砖以及做大理石的台面——减少打扫的次数。即使如此,越来越多的人雇用外人协助清理屋子。一项洛普民意调查发现,去年有六分之一的美国雇用清洁服务,较一九八六年的十分之一比率上升许多。一个专业性的家务清理服务「快乐女佣公司」在最近几年已成长到有八百多家的连锁店。

  In a pre-Revolutionary War speech in 1761, James Otis made the famous remark that "a man's home is his castle." Americans like their castle to be as comfortable as possible. They would like to have a home they can be proud of, a place they can call their own. Not everyone's home looks like a castle, but "be it ever so humble, there's no place like home."

  在一七六一年独立战争前的一次演说中,詹姆士。欧提斯留下了一句名言——「男人的家是他的城堡」。美国人喜欢他们的城堡能够尽可能的舒适,他们都想要有一个引以为荣的家,一个可以属于他们自己的地方。并不是每个人的家都看起来像是一座城堡,但是「即使是非常简陋,但没有一个地方可以比得上家。」

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