Field of Dreams
Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.
On today's program we talk about the word "field." But which one? There are many different kinds of fields.
First, we will talk about fields in which you can work.
A common question when you first meet someone in the States is, "What field do you work in?" or simply "What is your field?" Work fields are usually general. For example, if you are a doctor you would answer that you work in the medical field. A lawyer is in the legal field. And a marketing specialist's field is business.
当你在美国跟人首次见面时一般会问：“What field do you work in？（你从事什么领域的工作啊？）或者直接问“What is your field？（你干哪行啊？）”工作领域通常是通用的。举例来说，如果你是医生，你会回答说，我在医疗领域工作。律师在法律领域工作，营销专家就在商业领域工作。
If you are a farmer, you might work in another kind of field --an area of open land planted with crops. Some farmers work in the fields from sunup to sundown.
Now, another kind of field is also outside but we use this one for sports activities. And this type of field has led to several common expressions.
Fair play is an issue in most sports. No one wants to watch or play a game in which one team has an unfair advantage over another. Everyone wants a level playing field -- but not just in sports.
We use this expression anytime fairness is important. A level playing field is when the conditions of competition are fair or even. Everyone has the same shot at winning.
This expression comes from the fact that for a sports field to be fair, it must be the same for both teams. It would be unfair if one team had to play on a rocky, uneven part of a field while the other team played on smooth ground.
In "level playing field," the word "level" is an adjective. But we can also use it as a verb. So, if you level the playing field, you have done a good thing! You have given everyone equal conditions for success.
在level playing field这句话中，level这个单词是形容词，但是我们也能把它用作动词。如果说你创造了公平的比赛环境（level the playing field），你就做得很棒，你给每个人提供了平等的获胜机会。
Now, let's go back to sports, in particular baseball.
When playing baseball, the infielders and outfielders are the ones who field the balls. They catch the balls hit or thrown in the field and then make the best play they can. So, we can say they are playing in the field.
在打棒球的时候，内野手和外野手都是接球手，他们要接住场上的球，然后拿出最好的表现。所以，我们称他们在场上比赛（playing in the field）。
However, they are not playing the field. That is something completely different!
然而，他们没有脚踏多只船（playing the field），这是完全不同的东西。
Playing the field has nothing to do with sports. We use it mostly to talk about dating. Someone who plays the field is romantically involved with more than one person.
Playing the field跟体育运动没有任何关系。我们主要用它来讨论约会。如果我们说某人“plays the field”是指他脚踏多只船（跟一个以上的人保持暧昧）
The expression comes from horse racing.
The horses in a race are "the field." And in that field of horses there are the favorites-- those considered most likely to win. And there are long shots -- those less likely to win. Long shots are riskier to bet on, but they pay more money if they win. So gamblers often bet on other horses other than the favorite. They would play the field -- or several horses in the race.
赛场的马匹被称之“the field（全部马匹）”。在这些马匹当中有些最被看好的，也就是那些被认为最有可能获胜的赛马。当然也有long shots，也就是无望获胜的赛马。Long shots的投注风险很高，但是如果获胜就会赢很多钱。所以赌徒经常投注最被看好的赛马之外的那些马匹。他们会多方下注，就是给比赛中的多匹马下注。
Maybe you have heard of this expression before or maybe it came out of left field. "To come out of left field" or simply "out of left field is another baseball term. It means something is a surprise to you. You were not expecting it at all! Other times it can describe something strange or odd.
也许你以前就听过这种表达，也许它是突然之间冒出来的（came out of left field）。To come out of left field或者直接是out of left field是另一个棒球术语，它是指让你惊奇的东西，你完全没料到。有时候它可以用于形容奇怪的东西。
Word experts dispute its exact origin. One possibility comes from how a baseball player scores. A runner on third base -- in position to score at home plate -- has his back to left field. As he runs home to score, he cannot see the ball thrown into home base by the left fielder. And then -- surprise! -- he's out at home plate!
I hope you have enjoyed today's show on field expressions. And, believe me, there are others. We could have a field day on this subject!
But, that will have to be another day!
Until next time ... I'm Anna Matteo!