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听西方人解读12生肖

2008-02-13 11:1221世纪英文报

How the West views our party animals

  It's time to welcome the Year of Mouse. Or is it 'rat'?

  THE Chinese lunar new year is coming. But should we call it "The Year of the Rat" or "The Year of the Mouse"? And how does a westerner see each of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac? 21st Century staff Charlie Shifflett answers these questions and more.

  Rat: Chinese see rats as dirty, but they also think laoshu are smart and agile. Most people in the West, however, see little good in the creatures. Mice, on the other hand, are more likeable. To be "quiet as a mouse" means to be pleasantly quiet. No one in their right mind wants to be called "a rat". The insultsuggests that one is cunning, dishonest and selfish.

  Ox: Westerners respect the ox for its strength and hardworking spirit. However, bulls are generally viewed negatively, thanks to their aggressivenature. Cows are considered the "cutest" of the three. In fact, in the US, people often decorate their homes with pictures of cows. The animal is associated with the comfort and quiet of a country home.

  Tiger: Simply put, if you see a tiger, you'd better run. In the West, a tiger may be a beautiful woman, or it may be handsome man. Calling someone a tiger means you understand that they can be dangerous. "Tiger" is also used to describe naughty little children. They look cute, but they are often up to mischief.

  Rabbit: Many Chinese think the rabbit is cute and docile. However, few Americans can say the word rabbit without thinking of the clever cartoon character Bugs Bunny. Also, rabbits are known in the West as being extremely reproductive. They can produce three or four litters a year, with up to six rabbits in each.

  Dragon: The dragon has come to be a political symbol associated with China. Many people see China as a great dragon: ancient and beautiful, but also mysterious and potentially dangerous. The famous song Puff, the Magic Dragon, written by Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow, tells the story of one such creature.

  Snake: The snake is often seen as a dangerous or wicked creature, though serpent is more often used in contexts discussing evil. The Western image of an evil serpent calls up the Bible's depiction of Satan as a serpent. In Genesis the serpent tempts the first woman Eve into disobeying God.

  Horse: They are known for their beauty and strength. In the US, they may be kept as pets by people who can afford their upkeep and have enough land for them to graze.

  Sheep: Sheep are viewed docile and weak. They also carry the image of a "follower". In a church, a pastor is a "shepherd". The people in the church is his "flock". The word "sheep" has also been used to describe people who buy into the latest commercial fads. The words "goat" and "ram" are not often used and they have no special meaning.

  Monkey: Throughout the world, monkeys are known to be clever, agile and more than a little impatient. You might also call someone who likes to joke around a "monkey". Nothing wrong with that. However, in the US, the word has also been used as a racist term that refers to African-Americans.

  Rooster: To Chinese, a rooster is strong and proud. The chicken, on the other hand, is viewed as weak, or even stupid. These definitions also apply in the West. For instance, you might call someone who is afraid to dive into a pool a "chicken". The word "hen", on the other hand, carries a motherly image of protection and comfort.

  Dog: Dogs are called "man's best friend" in the West. That's why many Westerners refuse to eat them. In the US, an old TV show called Lassie reflect this respect for dogs. In every episode, Lassie, a white and brown collie, saves the day. However, as loved as dogs are, the word is sometimes used cruelly to refer to an ugly woman.

  Boar: The word "boar" usually refers to a wild pig. These animals are often difficult to capture and extremely ugly. The word "pig" most often refers to the farm-raised animal. These have the reputation of being lazy and dirty. In English, the word can also refer to someone who eats a lot. Also, playboys are sometimes called "pigs" by women who see them as selfish and shallow.

  生词:

  agile敏捷的
  boar公猪, 野猪
  Bugs Bunny 兔八哥,美国的卡通兔子人物
  bull 公牛
  collie牧羊狗
  cunning狡猾的
  docile温顺的
  fad一时流行的狂热
  follower 信徒,追随者
  Genesis (圣经中的) 《创世纪》
  litter (一)窝
  mischief 恶作剧
  olfactory bulbs 嗅球
  ox 公牛
  pastor牧师
  playboy 花花公子
  Ratatouille 《小鼠大厨》
  receptor感受器
  reproductive生殖的
  Satan 撒旦, 魔鬼
  serpent 毒蛇
  shepherd 牧羊人
  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 《忍者神龟》
  Tom and Jerry 《猫和老鼠》
  upkeep 维持

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