Sunday, October 24, 2010

From the mouth of a puppet.

One more bit that jumped out at me in The Adventure of Pinocchio.
Don't fear, it's not a complaint of the story structure.
Rather, it's an observation of how something I normally think of as contemporary had also been used as early as the late nineteenth century.

I'm sure you've heard someone say this before, if not having said it yourself.  Have a read:

Then Pinocchio, losing all patience, grabbed the knocker with both hands, fully determined to awaken the whole house and street with it. As soon as he touched the knocker, however, it became an eel and wiggled away into the darkness.

"Really?" cried Pinocchio, blind with rage. "If the knocker is gone, I can still use my feet."

See?  The inclination to say the word "really" in miffed sarcasm existed even back then.  I don't know about you, but in my mind that had been 'invented' by Amy Poehler on Saturday Night Live.  No, I don't really (ha!) believe that she'd been the source of it.  I just know that after I heard/saw her do it a few too many years back now, it seemed to be on everyone's lips.

Oh - and note the "What the...?" regarding that eel.  ;)

The Lies and No’s of "Pinocchio"

* The comments have a little more on the logic of this post.


Daisy said...

I'm not sure about this - could've been a bad translation, or just a recent translation.

Peter Von Brown said...

Don't think that didn't cross my mind. ;)

I just figured that the translation would be using a word similar enough to the sentiment.

SO... I looked it up in Italian. I then found that part (by chapter and then much more quickly than I would have thought possible) and put that into an online translator.
Fact is, I didn't really (ha!) need the translation because I could actually read the Italian for those two words. I just needed to check and see if I got the right bit.

What is written in Italian is:
Ah, sì?
Which, of course, translates into:
Ah, yes?

you ask me, that is the same sentiment. So sure, the translator had a little fun on Gutenberg, but the idea is there, no?

daisy said...

Sure, the idea is the same - and that idea has always been expressible in English. It's the specific word choice that appealed to you (and me - I agreed with your original post - that was an interesting "Really."). The Italian could have just as easily been translated as "Is that right?" or "You don't say?" I feel like, if "Really?" was translated back a hundred years ago or more, that it was just a bad translation that happens to have come full circle by today - which is delightful in its own right.

Anon said...

I've never taken Italian, but based on the actual Italian line plus the context, it looks to me like an accurate translation would be:

"Oh, yeah?"