又中又英——tongue-in-cheek

  US President Donald Trump often walks back what he tells the media. He will say he was joking or that the media had misquoted him. Last week he said at an election campaign rally he wanted to slow down coronavirus testing because if more people are tested, more confirmed coronavirus cases will be found. Trump said this makes the US look bad. White House officials tried to walk back Trump's comment, saying it was "tongue-in-cheek". To "walk back" used this way means to withdraw, retract, or change your opinion about something you had said. If you say you support the national security law and then tell everyone you don't support it, you have walked back what you said.

  The expression "tongue-in-cheek" means saying something as a joke even though it is said in a serious way. After White House officials tried to walk back Trump's comment, saying it was tongue-in-cheek, Trump told reporters his comment was not a joke. He said: "I don't kid". The word "kid" means a young goat. It can also mean a child or young person. But as a slang verb it means to joke. If I say "I'm just kidding", it means I am just joking. When Trump said "I don't kid" he meant he doesn't joke. But Dr Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told the US Congress Trump never ordered the task force to slow down testing. He said the US will in fact be doing more testing.

  He told Congress more testing and checking were needed to "get your arms around" the spread of the virus. The expression "get your arms around" something means to try to fully understand something that is confusing or hard to understand. Experts around the world are trying to get their arms around the coronavirus because it is a new virus. The expression "wrap your head around" something has a similar meaning. When I was in school I tried hard to wrap my head around mathematics because I was lousy at it.

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  美國總統唐納德‧特朗普常常收回(walks back)他對傳媒所說的話,他會說他只不過是開玩笑,又或是傳媒錯誤引用了他的話。上星期,他在一次競選活動的集會上說,他想放緩新冠肺炎病毒檢測,因為若有更多人得到檢測,就會有更多的新冠肺炎確診個案被發現。特朗普這樣說,令美國看起來很差勁。白宮官員嘗試walk back特朗普的言論,說那只是“tongue-in-cheek”。To“walk back”在這裏是指去撤回、收回你曾說過的話,又或改變主意。若你說你支持國家安全法,然後又跟所有人說你不支持,你便推翻了(walked back)你曾說過的話。

  習語“tongue-in-cheek”是指看來正經八百,卻是挖苦、嘲諷地說笑、說反話。在白宮官員嘗試收回(walk back)特朗普的言論,說那只是說笑,不可當真(tongue-in-cheek)之後,特朗普卻跟記者說,他的言論可不是開玩笑。他說“I don’t kid”。“Kid”是指小山羊,也可以解作小孩又或年輕人;但作為俚語動詞用,則是指去調侃、開玩笑。若我說“I’m just kidding”,意即我只是開玩笑罷了。當特朗普說“I don’t kid”,意即他並不會說笑。然而白宮新冠病毒工作組的成員安東尼‧佛奇醫生,就告訴美國國會,特朗普從來沒有命令工作組要放慢檢測進度。他說,美國實際上會做更多的檢測。

  他跟美國國會說,對於病毒的擴散,需要更多的檢測和檢驗去“get your arms around”。習語“get your arms around”意即嘗試徹底明白一樣令人很費解又或難於理解的事情。世界各地的專家都在嘗試理解(get their arms around)這新冠病毒,因為它是一種新的病毒。習語“wrap your head around”都有類近的意思。當我還在學時,我就很努力去理解(wrap my head around)數學,因為我很不擅長數學。

mickchug@gmail.com        中譯:七刻



Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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