Tit for tat

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Saoul, Jul 9, 2006.

  1. Saoul

    Saoul Senior Member

    Spain, Valencia
    Italian
    A fellow member in a previous post, used the expression: "Tit for tat".

    I checked in the dictionary and it is the English equivalent of the Italian "Pan per focaccia/occhio per occhio".

    I would like to know if it can be used in every sort of conversation (that tit thing, speaking with your boss, may result in being fired?), and if it has the same "revenge" nuance that "occhio per occhio" or "pan per focaccia" have in Italian.

    Thank you in advance for your help.
    Saoul
     
  2. Auno Banned

    Australia - English
    Tit for tat = measure for measure, like for like

    No it wouldn't result in your being fired. Unless your boss were female and you were being pointedly ironic.

    No it's not vengeful necessarily.
     
  3. marionuovoaccount Senior Member

    Italian
    Tit for tat e' un po' come....fa tanto se gli altri fanno tanto..
    E se volessi dire occhio per occhio dente per dente?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2011
  4. london calling Senior Member

    SALERNO, ITALY
    UK ENGLISH
    The Biblical expression is "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth".

    To give someone tit for tat means basically the same thing, as the others pointed out. I agree with auno, it's not rude or sexist and it doesn't necessarily imply serious vendetta!

    By the way, we also say: to get one's own back on someone (vendicarsi, ma di nuovo non necessariamente in maniera cruenta!)
     
  5. bis Senior Member

    Italy
    italian
    Hi LC :) I also heard to go tit for tat for example "I go tit for tat with anbody who's talkin this shit:warn: that shit:warn:" does the expression "tit for tat" require the verb to go? and how ca it be translated? my attempt: dò pan per focaccia/faccio occhio per occhio dente per dente con chiunque dice this shit:warn: that shit:warn::confused:
     
  6. london calling Senior Member

    SALERNO, ITALY
    UK ENGLISH
    Ciao Bis!:)

    Molto onestamente, non l'ho mai sentito usare così: credo sia AE. Però credo tu abbia centrato il significato (comunque vorrei sentire qualche americano).;)
     
  7. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    This might help make it a little clearer.
    tit for tat answering each insult with an equal reply talking this shit that shit saying those bad things
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
  8. london calling Senior Member

    SALERNO, ITALY
    UK ENGLISH
    Well found!:)
    Bis was right, then.;)
     
  9. bis Senior Member

    Italy
    italian
    how could I say talk this shit that shit talk on one's back or to speak evil of s.o.? and does tit for tat require the verb to go to say for example yesterday I gave tit for tat to that dude?
     
  10. Seainterpreter Senior Member

    Italy
    Italiano
    Scusate se intervengo adesso, ma tit for tat non corrisponde anche al nostro "do ut des"?
    L'espressione è latina ma il significato non è necessariamente negativo. Non vuol dire occhio per occhio, bensì che io ti faccio un favore in cambio di un altro da parte tua.

    Che ne pensate?
     
  11. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Italian
    No.
    Tit for tat ha un chiaro senso di vendetta e non ha niente a che vedere con "do ut des".
     
  12. Seainterpreter Senior Member

    Italy
    Italiano
    Lo chiedevo perchè mi sono imbattuta in questo articolo della BBC sull'amicizia:

    Most friendships develop between people who are not family members or sexual partners, so friendship can't be explained on the basis of genetic or reproductive interests. Instead, evolutionary biologists have typically relied on a tit-for-tat process known as reciprocal altruism to explain friendship: you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours.

    In questo contesto lo interpreterei come un do ut des e non come un occhio per occhio, perchè l'idea che sta alla base dell'articolo è che scegliamo le nostre amicizie non in base alle nostre affinità bensì alla capacità di essere utili gli uni agli altri.
    Grazie
     
  13. King Crimson

    King Crimson Modus in fabula

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
    Secondo me hai interpretato bene il senso del brano, l'autore effettivamente intende "do ut des" (oppure, "una mano lava l'altra"). Detto questo, penso che l'autore abbia usato in modo erroneo questa locuzione. Il senso di "tit for tat", come riportano tutti i dizionari che ho consultato e come sembra confermato anche dai madrelingua che hanno partecipato a questa discussione, è quello di "rappresaglia" o "vendetta" (come dice anche Paul).
    Per una conferma definitiva, comunque, aspettiamo anche altri, soprattutto madrelingua...
     
  14. Pat (√2)

    Pat (√2) Senior Member

    Italia
    Italiano
    Come dice tal John Young, "They call it a Tit for Tat process, but it is apparent that it is more complicated than simply Tit for Tat. [...] This provides a scientific foundation for systematic altruistic behavior". Il "tit-for-tat" nella teoria dei giochi.
     
  15. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Istanbul
    Canada, English
    I found this
    Reciprocal altrusim works in animal communities where the cost to the benefactor in any transaction of food, mating rights, nesting or territory is less than the gains to the beneficiary. The theory also holds that the act of altruism should be reciprocated if the balance of needs reverse. Mechanisms to identify and punish "cheaters" who fail to reciprocate, in effect a form of tit for tat, are important to regulate reciprocal altruism.
    To me, it's saying that there is a "do ut des" accord going on until one fails to reciprocate and then there is the vengeful "tit for tat". Tit for tat remains a you-hurt-me-I'll-hurt-you situation.
     
  16. Seainterpreter Senior Member

    Italy
    Italiano
    Thank you!
    You are always so kind and helpful :)
     
  17. Cavigliedasanto New Member

    Italiano
    Non avevi ragione.
     
  18. King Crimson

    King Crimson Modus in fabula

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
    E su cosa è basata questa tua affermazione perentoria, visto che in tutto il thread è stato confermato, anche dai madrelingua, che il senso è invece proprio quello?
     
  19. ohbice

    ohbice Senior Member

    italiano
    Altrove leggo che tit for tat può essere reso in italiano con pan per focaccia. Che il suo uso sia tutto e solo confinato nell'ambito della vendetta (e in generale della connotazione negativa) non lo direi, anche se certamente se tu mi dai una carezza rispondo con una carezza, ma se tu mi dai uno schiaffone non aspettarti che porga l'altra guancia.
    p
     
  20. King Crimson

    King Crimson Modus in fabula

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
    Per favore, rileggetevi il thread;). E comunque, anche in italiano, 'pan per focaccia' ha solo un significato di rappresaglia.
     
  21. Cavigliedasanto New Member

    Italiano
    Mi sembra, invece, che alcuni lo abbiano proprio inteso con un significato di scambio e non solo di semplice rappresaglia, tra l'altro basandosi su autorevoli fonti in inglese, come quella della BBC.
    Inoltre sto lavorando su un libro in cui l'espressione viene usata appunto nel senso di "do ut des" (vedi sotto):
    “Oh really?” I smile when I see the tension ease from his face and pain fade from
    his eyes. “Is the only way to get you to talk, a trade? Tit for tat so to speak?”

    (Si parla di una coppia in cui l'uomo vorrebbe "barattare" la condivisione del proprio passato col possesso del corpo della donna.)
     
  22. johngiovanni

    johngiovanni Senior Member

    But your example is not the usual meaning, just a play on the word "tit". :warning:: "tette"). There was a similar play on the expression in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. Certainly in the case of TBBT, and perhaps also in the context of your example, there is also a play on "tat" (robaccia).
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2016
  23. Cavigliedasanto New Member

    Italiano
    I get the play on the word "tit" (he wants to see her breasts), but it still has a meaning of trading in it. And what about the BBC example? And all of the examples you can find on Google when you enter "tit for tat do ut des"? You seem to overlook everything that goes against your interpretation and that just breaks my heart.
     
  24. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Istanbul
    Canada, English
    If I may, heartbreak aside not sure why you're discounting native speakers take on this. The other day my wife said, about someone, that she's always doing tit-for-tat. Like when my wife offers her a gift, the other woman thinks "Damn now I have to got get her one, too." It's not exactly vengeance but it is certainly not positive either. I can't imagine using it to mean "You wash my back and I'll wash yours." There's always a little something not nice involved.
     
  25. Cavigliedasanto New Member

    Italiano
    Well, as you can see it's halfway between my interpretation of the meaning and yours. The core of this figure of speech is that there's some kind of exchange involved.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2016
  26. Tegs

    Tegs Mód ar líne

    Wales
    English (Ireland), Welsh, Irish
    The meaning of this figure of speech, in all contexts, is that a negative action from one person/ animal will result in a negative counteraction from the other person/animal.

    Tit for tat exists as 1) an everyday phrase and also 2) a phrase used to describe a behaviour pattern in game theory and philosophy. The two meanings (technical and general) are connected.

    In every-day English =
    "The infliction of an injury or insult in return for one that one has suffered" tit - definition of tit in English from the Oxford dictionary
    "an equivalent given in return (as for an injury) : retaliation in kind" Definition of TIT FOR TAT
    "actions done intentionally to punish other people because they have done something unpleasant to you" tit for tat Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary

    In game theory =
    Tit for tat is "a very simple program that requires that one be nice to others initially and thereafter requires that one treat others as one has been treated. If A is benevolent to B, then B is benevolent to A, and if A is malicious to B, then B is malicious to A."

    In philosophy =
    Tit-for-tat "would promote and protect cooperative well-being and benevolent behavior amongst the participants while, at the same time, discouraging and threatening the selfish and malicious behavior of others. It promotes self-interested cooperation while punishing cheating. Presumably, in the long run, the good would thrive and the bad would not survive."

    The two pieces of text above are quoted from The Ascent of Man: A Philosophy of Human Nature by James F. Harris, which you can find on Google Books (both quotes are from page 234)

    So, the technical usage came from the everyday usage, and in both, there is a sense that doing something negative will result in a negative counteraction.

    In Italian books (all available on Google Books):

    "Si chiamava Tit for Tat (Strategia del 'colpo su colpo' o dell''occhio per occhio e dente per dente') "
    -da Problem Solving nelle organizzazioni scritto da Roberto Chiappi (pagina 160)

    "Tit for Tat, cioè colpo su colpo"
    -da Episkepsi - il villagio armonioso, scritto da Roberto Cipriani et al (pagina 167)

    "...quella che gli studiosi di teori dei giochi chiamano strategia occhio per occhio (tit-for-tat) "
    -da La regolazione nella strategia d'impresa scritto da Paolo di Betta (pagina 187)

    If you think about the context of the BBC article, the author says that friendship is based on tit-for-tat. A friendship only lasts as long as both people behave well, so this use of tit-for-tat makes sense. If one person were to behave badly, there would be a consequence, which is exactly what all those sources above say too.
     
  27. Tembo441 New Member

    London
    English - UK
    "Tit for tat" in UK English is nearly always used to mean a very small act of retaliation for a very small act of misbehaviour. It doesn't carry the same force as words like "revenge".
    It originates from the phrase "tip for tap", meaning a light blow in return for a light blow, and was in use at least as early as 1500 and probably much earlier in Middle English. It can mean verbal retaliation ("You call me a rude name, I'll call you a rude name"), or (light) physical blows, or damage to property.

    In American English, it is sometimes used to describe more serious acts of revenge - and that usage occasionally spreads to UK English (particularly the more sensational newspaper stories - e.g. "Tit-for-tat killings"), but this is really a corruption of its proper meaning and (in my opinion) should be avoided.
     
  28. johngiovanni

    johngiovanni Senior Member

    How do natives understand "rendere la pariglia"? Treccani says: "Contraccambio, nella locuz. rendere la p., ricambiare lo stesso trattamento avuto (soprattutto quando si siano ricevuti torti, offese e sim.).
    That sounds like our "tit for tat", but is it outdated?
     
  29. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Italian
    It's not a common expression. I think quite a few people wouldn't even know what it means.
     
  30. london calling Senior Member

    SALERNO, ITALY
    UK ENGLISH
    I know what it means!:D Seriously, I've only ever read it and I'm sure it's very uncommon in speech these days, but do you really think your fellow Italians wouldn't understand it? Or maybe I should ask our friends in Solo italiano...;)
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2016
  31. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Italian
    I think most youngsters wouldn't know what pariglia means.
    Bear in mind that WR users are not a representative sample as we're talking about people who have an interest in languages :)
     
  32. Cavigliedasanto New Member

    Italiano
    Well, Tegs, I get what you say, but you're the one highlighting only the negative value of the expression. It works the other way round, too, as you can read from your (very interesting, by the way) sources. You give/do me something good, I'll treat you well. Therefore its meaning can sometimes - just sometimes - be translated in Italian as "do ut des" when it doesn't involve a punishment or an act of retaliation.
     

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