又中又英——Brumation

  Last week, while watching a TV show, I came across an unfamiliar word. The word was "brumation". I am a fluent English speaker but have never heard of this word and didn't know its meaning. My research on the internet taught me several interesting things about brumation and other related words. The word "brumation" has similarities but also differences with the word "hibernation". Both these words have similarities but also differences with the word "estivation". Most people are familiar with the word "hibernation". Many creatures, such as bears, squirrels, and bats go into hibernation during the winter. This means they become far less active to preserve their energy or even sleep until spring when it is easier to find food.

  The word "brumation" also means creatures going into a state of sleep in the winter to preserve their energy. The difference is hibernation is used for warm-blooded creatures and brumation is used for cold-blooded creatures such as snakes, turtles, and crocodiles. Another difference is some warm-blooded creatures eat a lot before going into hibernation. But cold-blooded creatures do not eat before brumation because they can't digest so much food. Also, some warm-blooded creatures go into a deep sleep during the winter but some cold-blooded creatures come out of brumation during warm winter days to find food. The word "estivation" is related to hibernation and brumation but has a different meaning.

  Some warm-blooded and cold-blooded creatures go into estivation when the weather is very hot and dry. This means they become inactive and find places to keep cool. It is like hibernation and brumation but it happens in the summer instead of winter. They go into a state of "torpor" or "dormancy". The word "torpor" means not having enough energy or enthusiasm to be active. Very hot and dry weather can also make humans go into a state of torpor. The word "dormancy" comes from the word "dormant", which means being inactive for a while but can become active again. Volcanoes can be dormant but can erupt again.

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  上星期,我在看一個電視節目時,遇到一個陌生的字,那就是“brumation”。我是操流利英語的人,卻從未聽過這個字,也不知道它的意思。我上網研究,學會了幾樣有關brumation和其他相關字詞的有趣事兒。“Brumation”跟“hibernation”大同小異,而這兩個字都跟另一個字“estivation”有些相似之處,但亦有差異。大部份人會比較熟悉“hibernation”一字。許多生物,例如熊、松鼠和蝙蝠,在冬天都會冬眠(hibernation),即是說牠們不會那麼活躍甚至休眠,去保存能量,直到春天更易找食物時才出來活動。

  “Brumation”也是指生物在冬天進入休眠狀態以保存能量,分別是,hibernation是指恒溫動物,brumation則是用於冷血動物如蛇、龜和鱷魚。另一個分別是,一些恒溫動物進入冬眠(hibernation)前會吃很多,但冷血動物在冬眠(brumation)前則不會吃東西,因為牠們不能消化那麼多的食物。同樣,一些恒溫動物在整個冬天都會進入深度睡眠,但一些冷血動物會在冬季較溫暖的日子,從冬眠(brumation)中醒來去找食物。“Estivation”跟 hibernation和brumation相關,意思卻不盡相同。

  當天氣非常炎熱和乾燥,一些恒溫和冷血動物會夏蟄(estivation),意即牠們會較不活躍,找陰涼的地方休眠。它跟hibernation和brumation相似,但發生在夏季而非冬季。牠們會進入“torpor”或“dormancy”的狀態。“Torpor”是指沒有足夠的能量去活動,有點遲鈍或懶散;“dormancy”則來自“dormant”一字,意即暫時的靜止或休眠狀態,但可以重新活動的。睡火山便是休眠的(dormant),但又可能會再爆發的火山。中譯:七刻



Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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