24 2008


Published by under Word by Word

Philip Howard 在《泰晤士报》上谈姓名后面各种缩写的正确次序时,提到了男人名字后面可以加的缩写 Esq。Esq 即 esquire,最早是用来指地位仅近低于“骑士”(knight),但高于“绅士”(gentleman)的男子,后来又有多种用法,现在基本上已经没有意义,是个男人都可以说是 esquire。不过在美国却专门用于律师,不论男女。如果非要用 Esq,最重要的是记得 Esq 是只能用于书面形式的对他人的尊称,而且用了这种过时的尊称对方也不见得高兴。

在《泰晤士报》上刊登的英格兰地区 Sheriff 任命名单上,每个男人的名字后面还是跟 Esq 的。

Philip Howard on the use of Esq:

Indeed there are rules. These are largely obsolescent. An esquire was at first “a young man of gentle birth, who, as an aspirant to knighthood, attended upon a knight, carried his shield, and rendered him other services”. It became also “a man belonging to the higher order of English gentry, ranking immediately below a knight”. Several classes of men became entitled to be called esquires — younger sons of peers, eldest sons of knights; judges, barristers-at-law, and many others. By now Esq has lost all sense of rank, and can be attached (in correspondence) to the name of any adult male. In the US, Esq is often used by lawyers, both male and female, when referring to or addressing one another in writing. The suffix is dying, let it die.

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22 2008

Soup of letters

Published by under Word by Word

上周《卫报》(Guardian)介绍英国一位因为给两位同性恋教士主持婚礼(civil partnership)而受到教会指责的牧师 Martin Dudley 时,开头第一句是这样的:

Until last Sunday few people had heard of the Reverend Dr Martin Dudley BD MSc MTh PhD FSA FRHistS AKC.


而且加缩写还是有规矩的。《泰晤士报》(Times)上的Philip Howard做了一个很有用的介绍,简单地说就是学历在先,从医资格(如果有的话)在后。但是如果还有御准非御准的头衔的话,就更复杂了。

The short answer is that university degrees precede medical qualifications in the position of letters after the name. The long answer is that Bt or Bart (for a baronet) and Esq, if applicable, precede all other letters. Then orders and decorations conferred by the Crown. Then appointments such as Privy Counsellor, Aide de Camp to Her Maj, Honorary Physician to the Queen. Then university degrees. Then religious orders. Then medical qualifications. Then fellowships of learned societies. Then secondary (ie non-royal) appointments, such as QC, JP, DL, MP. Finally membership of one of the armed forces, such as RN or RAF. Phew. I should take Occam’s Razor to all such alphabet soup of letters after names. Abbrevs and honorifics, like entia, non sunt multiplicanda.

回头看 Martin Dudley 的头衔,我知道 MSc = Master of Science,MTh = Master of Philosophy,PhD = Doctor of Philosophy,能猜出 FRHistS = Fellow of Royal Historic Society,其它就猜不出了。

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10 2008

Daily Quote: How to eat spaghetti with a fork

Published by under Daily Quote

Philip Howard of the Times answered the question:

Pasta pros (Italians) are adept at holding their forks in their right hands, and twirling spag into a nest. The safer British way is to use a spoon as a safety net beneath the nest. The boring British way is to cut the spag up into small gobbets. When eating à la Romana, do as the Romans do.

adept: very skilled; a highly skilled person.


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十一 22 2007


Published by under 咬文嚼字

当别人对你说“谢谢”时,如何恰当地回复?Philip Howard 在《泰晤士报》上作了回答

Q: I am never satisfied with the acknowledgements to “thank you” in English. “Y’a welcome” – too American. “It’s nothing” – too Spanish. “Don’t mention it” – too awful. “My pleasure”, “that’s all right”, “any time” – not always appropriate. Can you help?
–Ann Irving, Guildford

A: Interesting. The most common reply to “thank you” in England is “cheers”. And common it is. Indeed, Charlie. But it is not always necessary to return the shuttlecocok when somebody says “thank you”. Much can be done with a self-deprecating smile. I fear that I may somtimes say “okey dokey”. The form of words does not matter as much as the warmth of your reponse by gesture and meaning.

这里我唯一看不懂的,是 Indeed, Charlie 这一句。除了以上说法,回应别人的 thank you,还可以用 no problem, no bother 这样的说法。用 okey dokey 倒是比较少见。其中还是有些细微的差别。

说 thank you 还有其它说法,thanks 是明显的变化。要加强,可以说 thank you very much 或 thanks a lot, many thanks 等。我记得刚到英国时,很疑惑地发现很多人在该说 thank you 的场合说 cheers。这好像只有在英国澳大利亚这样的地方流行,来源不明。如果你在苏格兰,还可以说 ta 。两种都是比较随意的说法。

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