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purse-mouthed

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Curandera, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. Curandera Senior Member

    Italian
    Hi WF,

    I have trouble finding the equivalent translation in italian.

    "She bore some resemblance to Papa, but was purse-mouthed where he was hearty".

    Lei assomigliava in qualche modo a suo padre ma la sua bocca era piccola/rotonda e rugosa? mentre lui l'aveva a forma di cuore/a cuoricino.

    Si dice di bocca rotonda? Esiste una parola sola in italiano che possa descriverla?

    Ho trovato:

    To purse one's lips = to pooch/gather or contract one's lips into wrinkles or into a rounded shape. (as about to kiss)

    Thank you.
     
  2. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Montreal
    Canada, English
    I think the more common term is tight-lipped meaning she was reticent.
    Si puo' dire reticente?
     
  3. Curandera Senior Member

    Italian
    I thought we were dealing with their facial features... purse-mouthed vs hearty. (heart-shaped mouth)
    So you believe it is referring to their personalities instead? I think I have messed it up then.
    If so, reticente would fit.

    Thanks.


    Thanks.
     
  4. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Montreal
    Canada, English
    Hearty doesn't mean heart shaped it refers to an warm personality. Like to have a hearty laugh means to have a wide open full laugh. Or a hearty meal is one that is big and warm and fills you up.
     
  5. IviItaly

    IviItaly Senior Member

    Milano
    Italian
    Hi!
    "Reticente" could be said, but not in order to indicate the form of mouth and lips.
    To purse one's lips in Italian means "arricciare/increspare le labbra", so maybe this mouth is a little one, but a bit prominent. What do you think?
    "Reticente" is used to indicate a person that refuse to speak as action, not as physical characteristic.. ;)
     
  6. Curandera Senior Member

    Italian
    Then it goes: 'She was more like her brother, they were both tall, imposing figures, whereas Papa was short, barrel-chested and lame'...

    That's confusing, isn't it?
     
  7. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    Certainly hearty describes the character, not the mouth.
    Purse-mouthed describes her mouth, but also also describes her character. As rrose says, also tight-lipped; it's the attitude of a person who looks at others with disapproval and doesn't laugh easily, in other words the opposite of hearty.
     
  8. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Montreal
    Canada, English
    A little, maybe. It's using the purse mouthed description which is in fact physical but is more often used to describe someone's character. So when you're reading it it makes sense to play between the two. But hearty is not a physical description, in that it doesn't refer to the shape of a heart.
     
  9. Curandera Senior Member

    Italian
    I get it. That really helps. Thank you.

    So I could say: 'Lei non sorrideva mai/era piuttosto restia a sorridere, rispetto al padre che invece era molto più affabile/aperto...'
    o
    'ma le sue labbra non accennavano mai un sorriso rispetto al padre che invece era sempre molto affabile'. ?
     
  10. IviItaly

    IviItaly Senior Member

    Milano
    Italian
    These two sentences express the contrast and the difference between the man and the woman. If these adjectives refer to both physical and attitudinal features, maybe we need to translate with some other adjectives which indicate both aspects.
    I try to propose my idea: purse-mouthed = bocca piccola e diffidente ;
    hearty = bocca grande e generosa
    So I'd translate the whole sentence in a kind of metaphorical way: "..ma la sua bocca era piccola e diffidente, mentre lui l'aveva grande e più generosa.."
    Could it fit?
     
  11. Curandera Senior Member

    Italian
    Thanks IviItaly,

    I guess the author is describing her mouth to say something about her personality as opposed to his. What do you think about my earlier post? Do you think I could describe her character by hinting at the way she smiles instead?
     
  12. IviItaly

    IviItaly Senior Member

    Milano
    Italian
    Of course! Your translation is good, but this way you loose the whole metaphor with the shape of mouth.. That's why I tried to maintain the concept of the text.. But it was just my try.. ;)
    Anyway I think that your second translation is perfect.. :D
     
  13. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    Yes, I agree with Curandera's translation.

    Note that there is no real metaphor with the shape of the mouth; the comparison is between their characters, not their mouths. We use purse-mouthed to describe one of these characters, but there is no obligation to mention the other person's mouth.
    Hearty doesn't mean heart-shaped.:)
     
  14. Curandera Senior Member

    Italian
    Grazie infinite a rrose17, IviItaly and Einstein for your precious suggestions!
     
  15. IviItaly

    IviItaly Senior Member

    Milano
    Italian
    Yes Einstein, you're right!
    I think that they are not real metaphors, but they are a kind of "indirect" metaphor which refer to mouth..
    In the translation we can also avoid the direct reference and use for example the second translation proposed by Curandera.. ;)

    PS: Thanks for your correction! :)
     
  16. IviItaly

    IviItaly Senior Member

    Milano
    Italian
    :D :thumbsup:
    You're welcome!
     
  17. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    The word 'resemblance' in that sentence gives me to believe the author is referring to their looks, not their personalities. According to Dictionary.com:
    Resemblance indicates primarily a likeness in appearance, either a striking one or one which merely serves as a reminder to the beholder.

    Purse-mouthed = image
    hearty = physically vigorous

    The following sentence continues to describes physical appearance.

     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  18. IviItaly

    IviItaly Senior Member

    Milano
    Italian
    Maybe this "resemblance" can indicate also the appearance of their face expressions, of their mouths, and therefore of their personalities (with an "indirect metaphor" as we told previously), linking this way the next sentence which refers directly to their physical characteristics.
    Physical features could represent some attitudinal or behavioural aspects..
     
  19. Curandera Senior Member

    Italian
    @Charles: That was my initial dilemma.

    I believe that the author is trying to describe two different people in a very peculiar way almost as if he wanted us to see his characters and let us draw our own conclusions.

    So I firmily believe that he's primarly describing their physical appearances whilst adding information about their personalities.

    In this case he says: She looks a bit like him, however she keeps her lips well tight (she's tough, she's reluctant, she never smiles) whereas he's more lively.

    Hearty = physically vigorous... how could I relate that to her pursed mouth?
     
  20. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    It is possible. I checked 'purse in 6 dictionaries and four of them made no reference to the personality usually connected to pursed lips, and just described them as puckered. I suppose only the author knows what he really meant. :)
     
  21. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    Exactly. The physical features are a reflection of personality anyway, in my opinion. The study of physiognomy is based entirely on that 'fact' (I've put 'fact' in inverted commas only because there are some people who think it's a load of rubbish ;)).

    Do the words 'labbra increspate' describe only the physical characteristics of the lips, or do they convey a hint of personality to the average person?
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  22. Curandera Senior Member

    Italian
    @Charles: Labbra increspate/rugose may convey a hint of personality.

    'Lei aveva le labbra increspate/rugose per essere stata tutta una vita a lavorare nei campi'.
    You are describing the physical characteristic of her lips to say that her life was not so easy.

    On the other hand you may just say:

    'aveva le labbra increspate per il freddo' and in this case you are just describing the particular features of her lips in a particular moment in time.

    Does it make sense?
     
  23. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    Thank you, Curandera.

    In English 'pursed lips' can convey a disapproving personality or a pensive mood; 'lined/wrinkled' generally don't. 'Lined/wrinkled lips' usually mean lips that have seen too much sun or have had an intimate relationship with a cigarette or two ;).
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  24. Curandera Senior Member

    Italian
    If I got it right, 'Pursued lips' do not describe how the lips are: wrinkled or not. You say pursued lips to describe the particular shape of her mouth in a particular posture that conveys a disapproving personality.

    You may say her lips were smooth, soft, wrinkled... and here you're just describing her lips.

    So if I were to translate it and not in this context I would say:

    'Le sue labbra erano sempre chiuse in una smorfia di disapprovazione...'
     
  25. byrne Senior Member

    Rome
    English - UK (Londoner)
    :tick:
    that's the sense but the smorfia is perenne...
    just a try...
    aveva una bocca misera /arida /scarno???
     
  26. Curandera Senior Member

    Italian
    'Le sue labbra erano sempre chiuse in una smorfia di disapprovazione' or

    'Le sue labbra erano chiuse in una smorfia perenne di disapprovazione'.

    Do you agree?
     
  27. byrne Senior Member

    Rome
    English - UK (Londoner)
    I surely do...:)

    let's see if others agree
     
  28. Beccaccia

    Beccaccia Senior Member

    Moon Alpha Base 1
    USA Vulcan
    a purse is small and has a small tight opening . . . .you might think of the English word . . gaunt. . . in appearance and so.

    The Italian : a gaunt face un viso smunto (hope I spelt it ok.)

    And the text could read : She bore some resemblance to Papa, but she was gaunt was purse-mouthed where he was hearty".

    Hope you find it useful


    Qua


    M
     
  29. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    Curandera, I said that 'pursed lips' can convey a disapproving personality or a pensive mood, but that's not the principal meaning of the word, which is puckered lips (its physical definition is all that can be found in most of the dictionaries I checked). The writer has probably deliberately used two expressions ('purse-mouthed' and 'hearty') that can describe both a physical and a personality trait. I still think the physical trait is more dominant because of his use of the word 'resemblance' (She bore some resemblance to Papa, was purse-mouthed where he was hearty), as I mentioned earlier.

    In my opinion it would be best to translate 'purse-mouthed' with a word/expression that describes its physical meaning (puckered) and one that has a secondary meaning describing a personality trait (disapproving /pensive). To translate that with Le sue labbra erano sempre chiuse in una smorfia di disapprovazione would be using only the secondary meaning. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  30. Akire72

    Akire72 Senior Member

    Florence, Italy
    Italian - Italy
    Spunto su cui riflettere:

    schiva/imbronciata vs. bonaccione/gioviale

    Secondo me l'autore dice che si assomigliavano, ma mentre lei era schiva, lui era una persona gioviale.

    Secondo il mio modesto parere qui le caratteristiche fisiche facciali non c'entrano affatto. Inoltre ci stiamo soffermando sulle labbra, mentre lui parla di "mouth". Appena ho letto la frase a me è venuta in mente una persona che ha la bocca "abbottonata" come una borsetta, ovvero che non parla molto. Mi sbaglierò...
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  31. IviItaly

    IviItaly Senior Member

    Milano
    Italian
    I totally agree with you.. E' un testo che mette a confronto le differenze di queste due persone.. Le caratteristiche estetiche della bocca corrispondono al loro carattere, alla loro personalità..
    Una bocca abbottonata, restia a parlare, ecc. è evidentemente in contrasto con una bocca sempre sorridente, più gioviale.. E di conseguenza, una persona più seria,schiva e meno affabile è l'opposto di una persona generosa, sorridente..
    Secondo me la traduzione richiede un paio di aggettivi per rendere il significato , ma la traduzione di Curandera secondo me andava benissimo: 'ma le sue labbra non accennavano mai un sorriso rispetto al padre che invece era sempre molto affabile' :)
     
  32. Akire72

    Akire72 Senior Member

    Florence, Italy
    Italian - Italy
    Ehi, che ne pensi di bocca serrata? (guarda qui)

    [...] però lei aveva sempre la bocca serrata/le labbra serrate, mentre lui era sorridente/gioviale
     
  33. IviItaly

    IviItaly Senior Member

    Milano
    Italian
    Si, bella proposta.. :)
    Direi: "..ma lei aveva sempre le labbra serrate, mentre lui era sorridente e affabile". Potrebbe andar bene?
     
  34. Curandera Senior Member

    Italian
    The writer has probably deliberately used two expressions ('purse-mouthed' and 'hearty') that can describe both a physical and a personality trait. I still think the physical trait is more dominant because of his use of the word 'resemblance' (She bore some resemblance to Papa, was purse-mouthed where he was hearty), as I mentioned earlier.

    To translate that withLe sue labbra erano sempre chiuse/abbottonate in una smorfia di disapprovazione would be using only the secondary meaning. :)[/QUOTE]

    In this translation I am actually describing how the lips were = sempre chiuse/abbottonate... in una smorfia di disapprovazione = personality trait.

    I agree. She was not talkative at all therefore she was tight-lipped vs his lively personality. However if I just said: lei era sempre schiva mentre lui era gioviale I wouldn't describe how her mouth was.

    That was my best shot.
    The difficult part was to link her physical description to his hearty personality. A lively, open, talkative person is more incline to smile and/or laugh. Hence the idea of the smile. My interpretation, of course.

    But I could also say:

    'Lei assomigliava in qualche modo a suo padre, ma le sue labbra erano sempre serrate/abbottonate come a dimostrare una perenne diffidenza mentre lui era molto aperto e gioviale.'

    Thank you all!
     
  35. Curandera Senior Member

    Italian
    :tick:
     
  36. IviItaly

    IviItaly Senior Member

    Milano
    Italian
    Great!! I think in fact that the Italian translation requires a wider number of words in order to grasp better the original meaning.. ;)
     
  37. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    Akire, when a mouth is pursed it is closed so all you can see are the lips, so I don't think there's any difference in meaning between a 'pursed mouth' and 'pursed lips'. If the mouth was open then it would be a completely different story. :)
     
  38. Akire72

    Akire72 Senior Member

    Florence, Italy
    Italian - Italy
    In fact, I translated it bocca serrata or labbra serrate; the latter is slightly more elegant but they mean the same thing: silent and austere.
     
  39. IviItaly

    IviItaly Senior Member

    Milano
    Italian
    :thumbsup:
     
  40. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    Curandera, the sentence is ambiguous and it is possible that the author just meant to convey the personality traits of 'purse-mouthed' and 'hearty' (which is what most seem to agree on). Since it's impossible to translate the meanings of both personality and physical traits into Italian it might be best to just go with the personality trait only, otherwise it might be a bit confusing. :)

    purse-mouthed = disapproving, uptight

    hearty = warm, friendly, enthusiastic
     
  41. Curandera Senior Member

    Italian
    @Charles: This makes sense! :)
     

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