羊年的羊到底是Goat还是Sheep?

中国农历新年即将到来,但今年的生肖却让西方人感到非常困惑: 到底是山羊还是绵羊?
The western countries and the media are getting confused with the zodiac animal sign of upcoming Chinese Lunar Year: goat or sheep ?

中国农历以十二年为周期,每年以一种动物作为象征。十二生肖中的第八个生肖是“羊”,而这个字在没有修饰限定语的情况下可指山羊或者绵羊。The Chinese lunar calendar assigns an animal symbol to each year in every 12-year cycle. Yet the Chinese character for the eighth zodiac animal is “Y á ng羊”, which can refer to either of the two animals.

查現存記述十二生肖的古籍,最古的是東漢王充《論衡.物勢》:「未禽,羊也。」沒有說是山羊還是綿羊。
The oldest book which describes the 12 zodiac signs has been written by Wang Chong from the Eastern Han Dynasty. Neither Goat or Sheep but “Y á ng羊” is mentioned.

宋朝朱熹《讀十二辰詩卷掇其餘作此聊奉一笑》詩提到羊的一句是「烹羊酤酒聊從容」,指的顯然是肉味甘美的綿羊。
In Song Dynasty, Zhuxi mentioned Yang in one of his poems, which refers obviously to the delicious Sheep.

中国生肖邮票和剪纸上羊的形象往往都是带胡须的山羊。而惨遭洗劫的圆明园生肖喷泉一部分的青铜羊首复制品,也是山羊头。
Images on China’s zodiac stamps and paper cuttings are often bearded goats. The replica of the Yang bronze statue that once formed part of a zodiac fountain in the looted Old Summer Palace also has a goat head.

中国民俗学家表示,羊年生肖的象征物既可能是绵羊,也可能是山羊,但山羊的可能性更大,因为在汉族地区山羊作为家畜更为常见。Chinese folklorists say the animal symbol can be either a sheep or a goat but more likely goat, given the latter’s popularity as a farm animal among Han Chinese.

我们到底该怎么叫?— 羊年!
What should we say? — The year of the“Y á ng”.

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