又中又英——“work from home”

  Every year Oxford Dictionary chooses a “Word of the Year”. It’s a word that attracts the most attention and reflects the mood of the year. But Oxford Dictionary could not decide on one particular word that attracted the most attention in 2020. Instead, it decided on a list of “words of an unprecedented year”. The word “unprecedented” means something that had never happened or existed before. The year 2020, which is about to end, is indeed an unprecedented year. So many things happened that had never happened before. That’s why Oxford Dictionary could not decide on one particular word that attracted the most global attention.

  The list of words for 2020 that Oxford Dictionary chose includes “WFH”. This means “work from home”. Many people all over the world, including Hong Kong, worked at home to avoid the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19 is, of course, one of the words Oxford Dictionary chose. I agree with disease expert Professor Yuen Kwok-yung this word is meaningless to ordinary people. I prefer to use coronavirus instead. A word Oxford Dictionary chose that I like is “moonshot”. The ordinary meaning is sending a spacecraft to the moon. But Oxford Dictionary chose it as a popular word for 2020 because it refers to a plan by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to have mass coronavirus testing for people in England. The plan is called “Operation Moonshot”.

  Oxford Dictionary also listed the words “lockdown” and “social distancing” in its 2020 list of words. I have explained these words before. A word I have not explained is “superspreader”. This word was used during the SARS pandemic, which started in 2002. Oxford Dictionary used it as a 2020 word of the year because, unlike SARS, the coronavirus has become a global pandemic. It means an infected person who infects many more people with a disease than other infected people. Oxford Dictionary also included “BLM”, which means Black Lives Matter, to refer to the US protests after a policeman killed an African American by kneeling on his neck.

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  每一年,《牛津字典》都會選一個「年度代表字」——它是能吸引最多人注意,以及反映該年氣氛的一個字。但《牛津字典》未能選到一個在二○二○年吸引最多人注意的特定字詞,反而選了一列熱詞榜單,代表這「前所未有的(unprecedented)一年」。Unprecedented是指某事是空前的、從未發生過的。快將結束的二○二○年,確實是史無前例的(unprecedented)一年,發生了那麼多從未發生過的事。因此,《牛津》未能選到一個特定字詞,是最吸引全球注目的。

  《牛津》為二○二○年所選的那一列字詞中,就包括了“WFH”,意即“work from home”。世界各地包括香港的人,為了防範新冠肺炎疫情擴散,都要在家工作。Covid-19當然也是其中一個《牛津》選的字。我同意疾病專家袁國勇所說,這個字對一般人來說無甚意義,相反我情願用「coronavirus」(新冠病毒)。《牛津》選的字裏,我喜歡“moonshot”這個字。它的原意是發射月球探測器,但《牛津》選它為二○二○年的熱詞,因為它也是英國首相鮑里斯‧約翰遜推行給全英國人的新冠病毒普及檢測計劃,這個計劃就叫「登月行動」(“Operation Moonshot”)。

  《牛津》也在其二○二○年熱詞榜單中,包含了“lockdown”(封城)和“social distancing”(社交距離)這兩個字詞,我在此前已解釋過這些字詞。有一個我未解釋過的字,是“superspreader”。這個字曾於二○○二年開始爆發的沙士疫情期間使用過。《牛津》選它為二○二○年度代表字,因為新冠肺炎,不像沙士,已成為全球大流行的世紀疫症。這個字的意思是超級傳播者,即該名受感染的病人會比其他患者傳染給更多的人。《牛津》也包括了“BLM”,即Black Lives Matter,「黑人的命也是命」,指的是美國一名警員以膝跪在一名非裔美國人的頸上導致其窒息死亡後,所引發的抗議運動。[email protected] 中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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