又中又英——The ton

  There is an unusual drama series on Netflix called Bridgerton. It is about the London wealthy class in 1813 during the reign of Queen Charlotte. The drama series is named after a wealthy upper class family whose family name is Bridgerton. I watched all eight episodes of the first season last week. The first season of Bridgerton, an American-produced drama series, had a viewership of 82 million households, making it the most-watched Netflix series. The word "season" can be used in several ways. It usually describes the four seasons – spring, summer, autumn (fall in American English), and winter. But used this way it means one of several series of TV shows with the same name and same characters.

  Bridgerton is about the season when debutantes 

are presented to Queen Charlotte for her approval. The word "season" used this way means the time of year between late January and early July when the upper class had dinner parties, balls, and charity events. It is the season when debutantes make their first appearance in high-society social events. A debutante means a rich young woman, especially in Britain’s past, who went to social events to meet other rich young people and to attract future husbands. If you decide to watch Bridgerton, you will often hear the words "the ton" being used.

  The word "ton" normally means a measure of weight equal to about 1,000 kilograms. But used in Bridgerton the French expression "the ton" means Britain's high society during the 1800s. It has a French pronunciation and is pronounced differently from "ton", which means a measure of weight. You can hear the different pronunciations by listening to my audio on the online version of this column in Popnews. Bridgerton is unusual because Netflix used some black actors and actresses to play the parts of high society people, including the queen, even though London's high society during that time had no black people. Some people criticized Netflix for changing history but Netflix said it wanted the best actors and actresses regardless of race.

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  在Netflix上有一套與眾不同的劇集,名為《柏捷頓家族:名門韻事》。它是關於倫敦一八一三年,夏洛特王后在位期間的富裕階層。這套劇集是以一個富裕上流社會的柏捷頓家族命名。上星期,我看畢第一季(season)全部八集。這齣美國人製作的劇集《柏捷頓家族》的第一季(season),已有八千二百萬戶觀看,令它成為Netflix最多人收看的劇集。Season一字可以有幾個用法,通常用來形容四個季節(season):春、夏、秋、冬;但在這裏,它則是指電視節目同一系列、同樣角色的不同季度。

  《柏捷頓家族》是關於一群初進社交界的上流社會年輕女子(debutantes),在社交季節(season)時給呈現於夏洛特皇后面前,以取得她的認可。在此,season一字是指每年的一月尾至七月初,上流社會有晚宴、舞會和慈善活動的季節;這也是debutantes首次於上流社會社交場合中亮相的季節(season)。A debutante特別是指過往在英國社會,富裕的年輕名媛出席社交場合,以結識其他有錢年輕的公子哥兒,並吸引未來的夫婿。若你決定了要看《柏捷頓家族》,你會不時聽到他們用到“the ton”一語。

  “Ton”通常是指重量的單位噸,等於一千公斤;但在《柏捷頓家族》裏,法語“the ton”是指十九世紀時期的上流社會。它有着法語的發音,跟平常英文指公噸“ton”的發音不盡相同。你可以在《頭條 Popnews》這個專欄的網上版,從我所讀的語音檔中聽到不同的發音。《柏捷頓家族》與眾不同,是因為Netflix起用了一些黑人男女演員,去演繹上流社會人士,包括皇后,即使當時倫敦的上流社會並無黑人。一些人批評Netflix篡改歷史,但Netflix就說,不管是何膚色種族,只想起用最優秀的演員。

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Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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