che culo

theartichoke

Senior Member
English - Canada
Hi everyone,

A teenage brother and sister are playing ping-pong and enjoying themselves by using una specie di linguaggio privato e violento that they're not allowed to use at home: il mio appellativo preferito era, che stronzo :warning:, e credo che la cosa che lui mi dicesse con più frequenza fosse, che culo:warning:, insieme ad altre espressioni che non ricordo.

Is he simply using a vulgar expression to say "you got lucky" (e.g., when she earns a point)? As far as I know, culo :warning: isn't used in Italian as an insult on its own, the way, say, asshole:warning:is in English, but I thought I'd check. And if he is just saying "you got lucky," does anyone have better suggestions for a translation -- which has to be vulgar -- than "fucking:warning: lucky," which sounds slightly unlikely without the "you got..." but too long with it?
 
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  • theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    che culo! you jammy/lucky sod
    culo: traduzione in inglese - Dizionari

    Ci sarà di meglio per la traduzione, ma questo è il senso.
    Thanks for confirming.:) Translating into AE as I am, though, I'll have to rule out "jammy sod." :D "You lucky fucker:warning:"? You lucky shit:warning:"? He probably wouldn't call her a lucky little shit, which sounds more idiomatic, seeing as she's several years older than him.
     

    Starless74

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    che culo! you jammy/lucky sod
    It must be pointed out that while che stronzo!:warning: directly addresses or indirectly refers to the person
    i.e. implying: che stronzo (che) sei/sono/è ! etc. ≈ "What a jerk you are / he is ..." etc.)

    Che culo!:warning: does refer metaphorically to the body but in a milder fashion, at least in an informal context where such words are acceptable,
    implying: Che culo (che) hai! but also: Che culo:warning: hai avuto! (in the past) which I believe moves further away from the physical judgement towards the abstract metaphor.

    ...Hence Pietruzzo's suggestion: "what a f...ing stroke of luck!" which I like.
     
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    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Yes, I think it was the che.....che.... symmetry that had me wondering whether culo :warning: might be some kind of direct insult. But in the context, where the brother is a better and more aggressive player than the sister, it makes perfect sense that he's trash-talking her by claiming that it's luck, not skill, that lets her return his shots, while she's calling him a stronzo :warning:when he makes a particularly aggressive shot.

    By the way, "jerk" is pretty mild, so no need to :warning: it. It would be a mighty strict parent who wouldn't allow their kid to call someone a "jerk."
     

    Odysseus54

    Mod huc mod illuc
    Italian - Marche
    "Che culo"! is not *that* vulgar, though. Even girls say it all the time, in a way that they wouldn't use the F-word, I think.

    Something like "Your damn' luck (again)!". Or "You lucky jerk!", "Just your dumb luck!" etc. Not really much stronger.

    Also, a lot of previously questionable language 'cleared customs' around 1968 and became if not perfectly acceptable, almost so. When's the novel from?
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    "Che culo"! is not *that* vulgar, though. Even girls say it all the time, in a way that they wouldn't use the F-word, I think.

    Something like "Your damn' luck (again)!". Or "You lucky jerk!", "Just your dumb luck!" etc. Not really much stronger.

    Also, a lot of previously questionable language 'cleared customs' around 1968 and became if not perfectly acceptable, almost so. When's the novel from?
    The book's from 2007, but the story seems to be set in the 1970s. There's no sense that the teenagers' parents are terribly prim, or religious, or strict (the opposite, if anything), so the fact that the narrator calls the language they use violento and says they weren't allowed to use such expressions at home seems to call for a translation stronger than "damn" or "jerk." On the other hand, though, the F-word wasn't thrown around as casually in the 70s as it is now, so choosing a word that's strong enough for parents to object to today might not be ideal either. It's a tough one.
     

    Odysseus54

    Mod huc mod illuc
    Italian - Marche
    The book's from 2007, but the story seems to be set in the 1970s. There's no sense that the teenagers' parents are terribly prim, or religious, or strict (the opposite, if anything), so the fact that the narrator calls the language they use violento and says they weren't allowed to use such expressions at home seems to call for a translation stronger than "damn" or "jerk." On the other hand, though, the F-word wasn't thrown around as casually in the 70s as it is now, so choosing a word that's strong enough for parents to object to today might not be ideal either. It's a tough one.

    Maybe 'violento' = 'aggressive', in which case ':warning:asshole' and 'lucky jerk' could both work.
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    It's entirely possible that parents wouldn't allow their kids to use "aggressive" language towards each other, but reading violento as "aggressive" rather than "crude" or "strong" runs into a problem with, well, che culo, which is at least somewhat crude but not at all aggressive, unless we consider a taunt of "you got lucky" to be aggressive. I guess it could be. Hmmm.
     
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