affondare nella carne

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by annadifrancia, Aug 27, 2014.

  1. annadifrancia

    annadifrancia Senior Member

    Padova, Italy
    Italian, Slovenscina
    Hello,

    I am looking at this detail of Bernini's sculpture: http://thesecondachilles.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/bernini1.jpg
    and I want to say:

    "Guarda come la mano dell'uomo affonda nella carne di lei."

    I can't find a good translation of the verb "affondare" in this sense.

    "See how the man's hand ..... into her flesh."

    I don't think that sink or plunge would be appropriate here!
    Plus, "in her flesh" does not really reflect the Italian "nella carne di lei". It's not "nella sua carne", it's... more poetic? :) Can you help me express this?

    Thank you very much for making my EN better!!!
    --a
     
  2. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Montreal
    Canada, English
    Perhaps
    See how the man's hand sinks/digs into the flesh of the woman's/her thigh.
     
  3. annadifrancia

    annadifrancia Senior Member

    Padova, Italy
    Italian, Slovenscina
    Grazie... non pensavo che "sink" andasse bene. Mi dava l'idea di un'azione passiva, come affondare in un divano soffice, o una nave che affonda... Ma effettivamente anche in italiano usiamo lo stesso verbo... affondare la spada, affondare la mano...
    Grazie mille! :D
    --a
     
  4. MR1492

    MR1492 Senior Member

    Bowie, MD
    English -USA
    How about, "See how his hand is enveloped by her flesh." I know it is not a direct translation of affondare but I think it is a little more what the original might intend.

    Phil
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
  5. amatriciana Senior Member

    Venezia
    English - UK and US
    You could use "is buried in" (her flesh or her body).
     
  6. annadifrancia

    annadifrancia Senior Member

    Padova, Italy
    Italian, Slovenscina
    Thank you MR1492 and amatriciana. I'll keep both solutions in mind.

    A question for MR1492: does "enveloped" negate the action of the man... sinking his hand in the flesh, and rather expresses the fact that it is the flesh that "takes" the hand in?

    A question for amatriciana: does "buried in" express that the hand is "deeply" in her flesh? I mean, would you really use "buried in" referred to the sculpture I linked in my first post?

    I'm sorry to "spaccare il capello in quattro" :), but I am pretty fluent in EN and the main obstacle to feeling completely at ease when I speak is to perfect these subtle shades. I really appreciate your help.
    Best!
    --a
     
  7. Phil9 Senior Member

    London
    UK English
    I think rrose17 has the best version. Personally I would use 'digs into' but 'sinks' also works. No problem with those in this situation. :) Phil.
     
  8. amatriciana Senior Member

    Venezia
    English - UK and US
    You're exactly right. And so, having finally taken an actual look at the picture of the sculpture in question :), let me scratch "buried" and say instead that "sinks" is a good word here. It retains the passiveness of the original, and it has something of a poetic ring to it.

    So "See how his hand sinks into her flesh" (basically as rrose17 suggested).

    A related suggestion, replying to your remark on the difference between "nella carne di lei" and "nella sua carne", is

    "See how the man's hand sinks into the flesh of her body".

    As a phrase "the flesh of her body" is a bit redundant, but it's a poetic phrase with sensual/sexual overtones (in fact it's got biblical overtones, too). Whereas "sinking into her flesh" as a phrase has more violent overtones, e.g. a dog sinking its teeth into someone's flesh, or police handcuffs sinking into one's flesh.

    I think that words like "digs" or "presses into" are a) a bit too active for "affonda", and b) are not particularly lyrical.



     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
  9. annadifrancia

    annadifrancia Senior Member

    Padova, Italy
    Italian, Slovenscina
    I am impressed by your answer, amatriciana. Wow, thank you!
    Very clear and precise. I also appreciate what you say about "in the flesh of her body": I think I start getting the nuance there.
    Chapeau!
    --a
     
  10. MR1492

    MR1492 Senior Member

    Bowie, MD
    English -USA
    annadifrancia,

    I would have to agree with amatriciana's thoughts. They are very cogent and well presented. As to your question to me, I agree that "enveloped" is more her flesh "doing" something to his hand but I just like the sound and sense of it. :)

    Phil
     
  11. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Montreal
    Canada, English
    There is also the expression "folds of flesh" as in "See how the man's hand sinks into the folds of her flesh". The only negative here is that "Folds of flesh" is usually used to describe someone who's quite fat but with the picture in front of you I think it makes an apt and sensual description.

    edit: I see there's an old Italian film called "Nelle pieghe della carne" so it would appear the same expression exists in Italian.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
  12. Pietruzzo

    Pietruzzo Senior Member

    Salento
    Italiano
    Actually, when I read "le mani affondano nella carne di lei" I don't really think of any "passiveness". On the contrary "affondano" sounds here just like in "affondare il coltello nella carne". I think of a man who penetrates with her fingers the flesh of the woman. There's action, passion. Not passiveness. Does the word "sinks"say all of that?
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
  13. amatriciana Senior Member

    Venezia
    English - UK and US
    I think that "sinks" has basically the same range of senses as "affondare". It can be passive, like a sinking ship that doesn't have much choice but to sink, or active but with an action that encounters little resistance. No matter how actively or passionately you stab your sword into the stone it probably won't sink into it (unless you're proving that you're incredibly special and most likely fictional). :)
     
  14. CPA Senior Member

    Rome
    British English/Italian - bilingual
    "Sinks into her flesh". Absolutely. Forget "of her thigh/body". Short and sweet is far more eloquent. What a masterpiece of technique, at 23. I mean, that's not clay, that's marble.
     
  15. Pietruzzo

    Pietruzzo Senior Member

    Salento
    Italiano
    Thanks for the clarification. Nevertheless, I can't avoid thinking of sinks, which spoils the "poetic ring". Just a bit.
     
  16. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Montreal
    Canada, English
    Quote from Shakespeare


    “Under love's heavy burden do I sink.
    --Romeo”

    Can't get much more poetic than that, now can we?
    :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014
  17. Mary49

    Mary49 Senior Member

    Padova
    Italian
    Hi,
    I suppose it's "love's", isn't it?
     
  18. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Montreal
    Canada, English
    Indeed! Copied and pasted without proof reading...
     
  19. La Sonábula New Member

    English-USA
    As I looked at the picture, the woman was not fat enough for the man's hand to be enveloped. That would be Very fat!!
    I would say he was pressing into her flesh: Guarda come la mano di un uomo preme nella sua carne.

    Because I am assuming there was a sentence before that, talking about the man and woman.
     
  20. annadifrancia

    annadifrancia Senior Member

    Padova, Italy
    Italian, Slovenscina
    Thanks to everybody for the interesting discussion!
    I am pretty happy with 'sink': I had not realized that even in Italian it holds the double meaning of active action (affondare la spada) and passive (la nave affonda). In this case 'sink' is good. Envelope is nice, but definitely for a heavier woman than the one in the picture :)
    Great! Thanks!
    --a
     

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