preso a prestito

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Megancita, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. Megancita Senior Member

    UK, English
    Hi,

    I'd like help in translating this phrase please! The whole thing is,
    "Meglio una testa ben fatta che una testa ben piena" non e' un semplice modo di dire preso a prestito da Montesquiea.."

    Any suggestions? Has it something to do with borrowing Montesquiea's saying?

    Thanks!
     
  2. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US
    Better a head well made, than a head well full,
    it is not a simple saying borrowed (taken as a loan) from Montesquieu.

    But let's wait for more expert opinions.
     
  3. frangho Junior Member

    italy
    Hi
    It's a quote from the essay "Of Education of children" by Michel De Montaigne:

    "For a boy of quality then, who pretends to letters not upon the account of profit (for so mean an object as that is unworthy of the grace and favor of the Muses, and moreover, in it a man directs his service to and depends upon others), nor so much for outward ornament, as for his own proper and peculiar use, and to furnish and enrich himself within, having rather a desire to come out an accomplished cavalier than a mere scholar or learned man; for such a one, I say, I would, also, have his friends solicitous to find him out a tutor, who has rather a well-made than a well-filled head; seeking, indeed, both the one and the other, but rather of the two to prefer manners and judgment to mere learning, and that this man should exercise his charge after a new method."

    ...translated from french by the Oregon State University...

    Ciao
     
  4. Megancita Senior Member

    UK, English
    Thanks for your replies! And quotation!

    In breaking down the sentence, though, I still don't really understand the meaning of "preso a" - it seems that with the "prestito da" there's no need for it being there?

    Thanks.
     
  5. AlxGrim

    AlxGrim Senior Member

    Roma, Italy
    Italy, Italian
    It sounds to me as if the Italian sentence is not properly formed. It sounds much like

    . [...] non e' semplicemente un modo di dire preso a prestito di Montesquieu

    which translates into

    . [...] it's not just a saying
    borrowed from Montesquieu

    Does anyone else has this same feeling?
     
  6. ngmuipai Junior Member

    NYC
    USA, English
    I'm half in agreement with Alxgrim: "...non è semplicemente un modo di dire..." seems right, but in my understanding "to borrow" is "prendere in prestito," quindi, si dovrebbe dire, "un modo di dire preso in prestito da Montesquieu..."...but the end of the sentence might help clear it up.

    Native speakers?
     
  7. AlxGrim

    AlxGrim Senior Member

    Roma, Italy
    Italy, Italian
    Not sure what you mean... if your question is about "prendere A prestito" rather than "prendere IN prestito", well, they are completely equivalent. You can use either, without any problem whatsoever.
     
  8. ngmuipai Junior Member

    NYC
    USA, English
    I defer to your superior expertise...never heard "prendere A prestito."
    What about "di" vs. "da" Montesquieu?
     
  9. AlxGrim

    AlxGrim Senior Member

    Roma, Italy
    Italy, Italian
    Definitely "da". You borrow something "from" someone else.
     
  10. fredpox Senior Member

    Lecco, Italy
    Italy, Italian
    Ciao,
    "prendere in prestito qualcosa da qualcuno"

    "prendere a prestito ...." sarebbe come dire
    "prendere qualcosa ad uso prestito"
    ovvio che nel parlato certe formule decadono, come si è già discusso con AlxGrim ;)

    ciao
    P
     
  11. giovannino

    giovannino Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    I think the problem is that our "da" can mean both "by" and "from", which makes "preso in prestito da" ambiguous: it can mean "borrowed by" or "borrowed from", depending on context.
     
  12. AlxGrim

    AlxGrim Senior Member

    Roma, Italy
    Italy, Italian
    Wow. Absolutely right. I didn't think of that, thanks Giovannino.

    To avoid ambiguity, the sentence should be rephrased:

    . [...] preso in/a prestito da Montesquieu (from)
    . [...] che Montesquieu prese in/a prestito (by)

    But I supposed that if you say "preso in prestito da", everyone will perceive it as "from". What about it, fredpox?
     
  13. giovannino

    giovannino Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    I think it all depends on context. In the quote it almost certainly means "borrowed from Montesquieu". However in "il libro è stato preso in prestito da uno studente" it most likely means "borrowed by a student".
     
  14. ngmuipai Junior Member

    NYC
    USA, English
    Thanks Fredpox and Giovannino, both good points...and since, according to Frangho, the quote is from Montaigne and not Montesquieu, it's not clear what the preposition is supposed to mean...
     
  15. giovannino

    giovannino Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    Oh, I see! I had missed Frangho's post. So it might well be that the saying was borrowed from Montaigne by Montesquieu. But I think it's more likely that whoever wrote the sentence erroneously attributed the saying to Montesquieu.
     
  16. Necsus

    Necsus Senior Member

    Formello (Rome)
    Italian (Italy)
    It means 'from' Montaigne 'by' Morin (Wikipedia):
    Morin richiama una frase di Montaigne: "E’ meglio una testa ben fatta che una testa ben piena". Egli perciò distingue tra "una testa nel quale il sapere è accumulato e non dispone di un principio di selezione e di organizzazione che gli dia senso" e una "testa ben fatta", che comporta "un’attitudine generale a porre e a trattare i problemi; principi organizzatori che permettano di collegare i saperi e di dare loro senso".
     
  17. giovannino

    giovannino Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    But Montaigne and Morin are not mentioned in Megancita's original sentence:confused:
     
  18. fredpox Senior Member

    Lecco, Italy
    Italy, Italian
    I wholly agree with the first sentence.
    As to the second one I guess you're right, even though we don't know the context in deep. It might be an excerp from a self explaining paragraph that may lead us to the 'truth' as well..:rolleyes:

    ciao
    P

    PS:AlxGrim, sicuramente quel che salta alla mente per primo è il "da" (inteso come punto di partenza da cui attingere) nella frase che hai scritto, almeno per come la vedo io. ciao!
     
  19. Megancita Senior Member

    UK, English
    Wow, thanks everyone...I didn't even think of the "da" being a problem - maybe it *is* phrased weirdly.

    As far as "borrowing" goes, it's really useful to know that the phrase "prendere in prestito" means exactly that; I didn't understand why there seemed to be two verbs there.

    Thanks again!

    Megancita :)
     

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