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英语特殊否定意义句的理解

     By toby chen
  toby_chen@yahoo.com  

   英语中否定的表达方式较多,也较复杂。本文从否定的范围、转移、否定的表达方式等方面分析了否定意义句的理解和翻译。
1   否定的范围
1.1 否定范围的确定
    否定范围通常从否定词开始,到分句的句尾,或到句尾附加语之前为止。主语和谓语部分前面的附加语通常不包括在其范围之内。
(1) I definitely didn't speak to him.
                   └───────┘
    =It is definite that I did not speak to him.
(2) I didn't definitely speak to him.
        └────────────┘
    =It is not definite that I spoke to him.
1.2 情态助动词的否定
    某些情态助动词(can和need)包括在否定范围之内,另外一些(will,shall,must)不包括在内。may作“允许”解时包括在内;作“可能”解时,不包括在否定之内。must作“必定”解时否定时根本不用mustn't,此时用can't来代替。
1.2.1  助动词包括在否定之内:
(3) You can't be serious.
         └────┘
    =It is not possible that you are serious.
(4) You may not go swimming.
         └──────┘
    =You are not allowed to go swimming.
1.2.2  助动词不包括在否定之内:
(5) They may not bother to come if it is wet.
              └─────────────┘
    =It is possible that they will not bother to come... (来源:www.EnglishCN.com)
1.3 状语的否定
    如果状语出现在句尾,它可以包括也可以不包括在否定范围之内。
(6) I wasn't listening all the time.
        └────┘
    =For the whole time,I wasn't listening.
(7) I wasn't listening all the time.          
        └───────────┘
    =It is not true that I was listening all the time.

2  否定的转移
    否定时,否定范围可能扩大,出现二义性:
(8) I didn't go because I was afraid.
    (a) 我怕所以我没有去。
    (b) 我不是因为怕才去的。
    根据语调、上下文或语言逻辑,我们可确定否定的范围,从而确定否定是否转移。
2.1 否定转移到状语(从句)或补语
(9) The craft did not crash because of engone failure.
    该飞行器并非由于引擎故障而坠毁。
    此句若译为“......由于引擎故障而没有坠毁”,则不合逻辑。
(10) Genetic engineering is not developing fast enough.
    基因工程发展得不够快。
2.2 否定转移到宾语从句
    一些表示看法或思想活动的动词如:think,consider,believe,suppose,expect,imagine,guess,reckon,anticipate,fancy等,一般不带否定式宾语从句,用来表达否定概念时,否定转移到宾语从句。
(11) They do not consider thatpure science is more important than applied science.
     他们认为理论科学并不比应用科学重要。
     但是,上述动词在下列情况下,否定不转移:
2.2.1 作“料想”、“想到”解时
(12) I'm not anticipating that such a simple experiment will go wrong.
     我没有想到这么简单的实验会出错。
2.2.2 用于祈使句或有副词修饰
(13) Don't think you've survived the earthquake.
     别以为你已经从地震中幸存下来。
(14) I simply don't think you'll tell me the truth.
     我根本没想到你会告诉我真相。
2.3 由all,both,every,any及其合成词等表示全体意义的词作主语时,一般否定转移到主语,这就是常说的部分否定。
(15) Every Chinese family is not able to afford a college student.
     不是所有中国家庭都能供养大学生。
2.4 由feel,seem,taste,appear,look等感官动词与形容词表语构成合成谓语时,否定转移到表语。
(16) I don't feel well these days.
     这几天我感觉不舒服。
2.5 由绝对否定词neither,none(of),no及其合成词充当或修饰主、宾、状语时,转移为对谓语的否定。
(17) She was aware of having done nothing wrong.
    她没有意识到做错了什么。
(18) She drew back no further than the door.
    她退到门边就不再退了。

3 否定的表达
    英语中不用否定词也可表达否定意义,可归纳如下:
3.1 语法结构引起的否定
3.1.1 反意疑问句
(19) Am I my brother's keeper?
    我(难道)是我兄弟的保护人吗?
3.1.2 条件从句
(20) I'll be hanged if I'll go.
    我要是去就被绞死。
3.1.3 虚拟语气句
(21) You might have come earlier.
    你本来可以早一点来。
3.1.4 感叹句
(22) To think that he has become a president!
    想不到他居然当了总裁。
3.1.5 肯定的比较句表示否定
(23) You ought to know better than to do that sort of thing.
    你不该做那种事。
3.2 修辞引起的否定
    在汉语中我们用“太阳从西边出来”、“海枯石烂”等比喻来表达否定意义,英语中也有这种表达方法。
(24) He will pay his debts when two Sundays come together.
    他永远不会还债。
3.3 习惯用法引起的否定
    (a) all Greek,double Dutch
(25) His talk was double Dutch (=all Greek) to me.
    他的话我一点也不懂。
    (b) far from,a far cry from
(26) It is far from true.
    这太离谱了。
    (c) the last
(27) He is the last man I wanted to see.
    他是我最不愿见的人。
    (d) above,beyond,superior
(28) He is above telling a lie.
    他不是一个肯说谎话的人。
(29) This problem is quite beyond me.
    这个问题我完全不懂。
(30) She was totally superior to flattery.
    她丝毫不受奉承的影响。
    (e) 与but有关的短语anything but,all but
(31) This bridge is anything but safe.
    这座桥极不安全。
(32) The boy all but fell into the well.
    那小孩几乎掉到井里去了。

4 否定应注意事项
    否定意义句子中有一些容易混淆的地方,稍不留心就会犯错。
4.1 由since引导的时间状语从句
    不论用的是非持续性动词还是持续性动词的一般过去时,通常表示动作或状态的完成或结束。
(33) He has written to me frequently since I was ill.
    自从我病愈以来,他经常给我写信。
    如果表示since分句中的动作或状态延续至今,那就得用现在完成时,不用一般过去时。
(34) We haven't had any trouble since we have lived here.
    但是,在特定的上下文或特定情景中,since分句中用持续性动词或状态动词的一般过去时,也可理解为某种动作或状态的开始。
(35) How long is it since you were in London?
    你在伦敦多久了?
4.2 与too有关的短语
    too...to短语一般表示否定,但前面如有only too...to和too ready...to中表示肯定。
    (a) too...to
(36) English is not too difficult to learn.
    英语并不太难学。
     (b) only too...+不定式   too ready+不定式
(37) I am only too glad to do so.
    我非常高兴去做。
(38) She is too ready to speak.
    她真是爱说话。

5 参考文献
[1] 钱歌川.  翻译的技巧.  商务印书馆. 1982.
[2] 伦道夫·夸克.  当代英语语法.  辽宁人民出版社.  1985.
[3] 章振邦.  新编英语语法.  上海译文出版社.  1983.
[4] 贾德江.  英语含蓄否定的表达方式及其翻译. 中国科技翻译.
    1997年第10卷第1期.
[5] 李鲁.  否定转移及其语义与语用翻译.  中国科技翻译.
    1997年第10卷第1期.
[6] 蒲华林.  试论转移否定的理解与翻译.  中国科技翻译.
    1997年第10卷第2期.


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