有骨氣﹗

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18/02/2013

有骨氣﹗ 毛孟靜

有骨氣, 有中國生意人以粵音「Yau Gwat Hei」做招牌,也有用頭兩字的普通話發音的諧音「UGood」作商業招徠。所謂有骨氣,隨口一點就是爭氣,文藝一點就是風骨錚錚,用英文可叫之做moralintegrity(道德誠信)、strength of character(堅強性格),聽上去都好「大單」。

骨氣這回事,英文不講「氣」,但就一樣講「骨」;backbone,腰骨。話人He has backbone,就是我們說的「他有腰骨」,即硬直之意。相反,He has no backbone 就等如這人沒骨氣。

留意上面一句的backbone,就像勇氣、courage 一類抽象名詞,不會說a courage, 所以亦不必說a backbone。

Backbone 亦叫脊椎骨,spine。美國總統奧巴馬施政,曾給批評說he lacks a titanium spine, 「缺乏一條鈦做的脊椎骨」;titanium,鈦,是幾乎不會斷(nearlyunbreakable)的名貴金屬。奥巴馬的副手護主,回應說,總統has a backbone like a ramrod,「有一條鐵棒似的腰骨」。

掉轉頭,美國舊時有個不出名的總統, 也曾給形容He has the backbone of a chocolate éclair。

Éclair?什麼傢伙?這原是個法文字,泛指長方形的cream puff,香港麵包店譯「忌廉芭芙」,軟綿綿的甜點,再淋上朱古力醬,更有易融之意。一個人的脊骨給用上這個做比喻,大家都心裏有數了。

讚人有骨氣, 淨講He hascharacter、他有性格, 顯然未到位,未去到講骨氣這個層次。不過呢,也不要一句話講到老,不要認定每講骨氣, 英文一定係backbone、spine。語文往往因時制宜、襲用習語,譬如說「窮得有骨氣」,會說be poor with honour,窮得有「尊嚴」。

有骨氣的人, 姿態自然理直氣壯,屬君子坦蕩蕩一派:they stand tall, walk tall,行得正企得正,頂天立地。

We must stand tall. 這個stand tall, 解be brave and proud, 勇敢而驕傲,不但有高高站立,而且有挺起胸膛之意。而walk tall 就更包含行動的意思了。

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