又中又英——Greener pastures

  Now that so many people are leaving Hong Kong for Britain and other places to find greener pastures, there are some words I need to explain. I explained these words several years ago but many people are still confused or have forgotten. That's understandable because the words can be very confusing. Before I explain those words I will explain the expression "greener pastures". The expression means a new and more interesting place that offers better opportunities. Many people who leave Hong Kong for places like Britain, Canada, and Taiwan believe they are greener pastures. Tens of thousands have already left since Britain offered a new pathway to citizenship for BNO passport holders.

  Some people often use the word "immigrate" for "emigrate". To "emigrate" means to leave the place where you live to live permanently in another country. To "immigrate" means to come into the country where you have chosen to live permanently. Simply put, when you leave Hong Kong to settle in another country, you are emigrating. When you arrive in that country you have immigrated. It is confusing but the beauty of the English language is that it is simple, with an alphabet of only 26 letters, yet confusing, especially for people whose first language is not English. It can get even more confusing. Once you have emigrated from Hong Kong to immigrate to another country, you are an immigrant.

  An immigrant is a person who has come to a different country to live permanently. An emigrant is a person who has left the place the person lived in to become an immigrant in another country. The French word "emigre" describes a person who has left his or her country to settle in another country for political reasons. Are Hong Kong people leaving for other countries emigrants or emigres? It's for them to decide. Although these words are confusing, English is a beautiful language to learn. Don't be discouraged by the confusion.

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  既然現在有那麼多人離開香港,移居英國與其他地方,去尋找「更綠的牧場」(greener pastures),在此課題上我有幾個字需要解釋一下。我幾年前也有解釋過這些字詞,但許多人仍然分辨不清,又或已經忘卻了。那亦是可以理解的,因為這些字確可以令人相當費解。在解釋那些字詞前,讓我先解釋習語 "greener pastures"——此習語是指能夠提供更好發展機遇的新環境,一個更有趣、更美好的去處。許多人為了移居英國、加拿大、台灣等地而離港,他們是相信這些地方是更好的去處(greener pastures),可在當地有更美好的生活。自從英國為英國國民(海外)護照持有人提供一個新的入籍途徑以來,數以萬計的人已經離港。

  有些人說起移居外國(emigrate)時,常用上 "immigrate" 一字。To "emigrate" 意即離開你本來居住的地方,移民到另一個國家長居;to "immigrate" 即遷入你選擇長居的那個國家。簡單來說,當你離開香港去在另一個國家安頓下來,那你就是emigrating;當你已抵達那個國家,你便已immigrated。這或會令人很困惑,然而英語美麗之處,正正在於它本身很簡單,只有二十六個字母,卻又有時複雜難懂,尤其對於母語非英語的人而言。它還可以令人更混淆:當你已經離開原居(emigrated from)的香港去遷入(immigrate)另一個國家,你便成為一個immigrant。

  An immigrant就是外來的移民、僑民,來到此地長居;an emigrant則是移離原本居住地,去成為另一個國家的移民(immigrant)。法語字 "emigre" 是形容一個人因為政治原因,離開本地而移居外國的流亡者。香港人離開而前赴他國,是移民(emigrants)抑或流亡者(emigres)?那就由他們自己定奪了。雖然這些字詞頗令人困惑,英語仍是一個值得學習的美麗語言。莫要被這些混亂的字詞難倒而卻步啊!

中譯:七刻

mickchug@gmail.com

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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