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轉彎抹角

2018.12.07


「道路是曲折的,前途是光明的。」這句常用來自勉和勉人的話,英文可說:


The road is tortuous, but there is light ahead.(有人譯做The road is tortuous but the future is bright. 但這說法前後不配襯:road穿過的是空間,future指的是時間。)


形容詞tortuous,即是曲折,可用來形容一條道路或河流,也可以形容行程、過程、經歷。


一、It's going to be a long and tortuous journey.(這將是漫長而曲折的旅程。)


二、The agreement was reached after months of tortuous negotiations.(經過歷時多月的一波三折的談判,才達成該協議。)


三、A full economic recovery will take a slow and tortuous process.(經濟全面復甦,要經過緩慢而曲折的過程。)


常用的近義詞有twisting、winding和sinuous,都表示彎彎曲曲的意思。


A tortuous road(或river)也可以叫做a twisting/winding/sinuous road(或river);不過,例二和例三裏用來形容negotiations和process的tortuous,就不能用twisting、winding或sinuous代替。


四、The twisting/winding/sinuous path leads up the mountain.(彎曲的小徑通往山上。)


五、The river wound its sinuous way across the plain.(河流彎彎曲曲地越過平原。)


六、Because the maze was especially sinuous with countless twists and turns, we were lost in it for hours.(由於那迷宮轉彎抹角特別多,我們在其中迷失了多個鐘頭。)


用來形容動作或姿態,sinuous是婀娜多姿、靈活優美:


七、He enjoyed watching the sinuous bodies of the dancers.(他很欣賞舞蹈員靈活優美的體態。)


動詞meander是彎彎曲曲地前進;形容詞meandering也是彎彎曲曲的意思。


八、The stream meanders slowing down to the sea.(河流彎彎曲曲地流進大海。)


九、We crossed a small bridge over a meandering stream.(我們走過彎曲溪澗上的一條小橋。)


有一字zigzag,可作名詞或動詞,當中有兩個z,而它表達的正是z的形象,即「之字路」。


十、The path descended the hill in a series of zigzags.(那條路沿山曲折地向下伸延。)


十一、The path zigzagged down the hill.(意思和上句相同。)


上面的tortuous,又可用來形容一段說話或一番道理,是轉彎抹角、不直接、不清楚。


十二、I can't follow your tortuous argument.(我聽不明你冗長艱澀的議論。)


十三、Never mind the tortuous explanation; tell me in plain English, are you coming or not?(不要繞圈子解釋了;用淺白的語言告訴我,你來還是不來?)


這樣用的tortuous,近義詞有convoluted、 complicated和complex;complicated和complex都是表示複雜的,而convoluted也是指錯綜複雜、艱澀難明的意思。


例十二的tortuous argument,也可以說convoluted argument;a book with a convoluted plot(一本情節錯綜複雜的書)。Convoluted也可以解作蜿蜒彎曲的,例如蜿蜒的海岸線,可說a convoluted coastline。


Tortuous和torturous本是兩個不同的字:前者指曲折的;後者(多了一個字母r)表示難受的、令人感到受折磨的,來自名詞和動詞torture,(施以)酷刑、折磨。


十四、They had to go through a torturous five days of fitness training.(他們要捱過難受的五天體能訓練。)


不過,tortuous不論解作曲折抑或艱澀,也是會令人難受的;所以tortuous和torturous兩字有時被交換使用,也不算錯。

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