ciondolandosi sulla sedia

theartichoke

Senior Member
English - Canada
Hi all,

Just two guys having a chat in a café, and one of them, who's probably feeling a bit uneasy about what he's planning to do (get involved with loan sharks), does whatever this might be on his chair. Is it clear to native speakers (or anyone else) whether he's rocking back and forth on his chair / rocking his chair back and forth -- the way one does when you get the chair balanced on its two back legs -- or if he's swaying back and forth on his chair -- i.e., moving his body back and forth, but not his chair? It's not terribly important, of course, but to me the former gesture implies (perhaps feigned) nonchalance, while the latter more clearly demonstrates nervousness.

Renato asks Clark where he's planning to get the money he needs:
"Ora non me va di dirtelo," fece Clark ciondolandosi sulla sedia. "Magari in un altro momento."
"Ti stai infilando in qualche pasticcio?"
"Nessun pasticcio."
 
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  • Fooler

    Senior Member
    Italian (Italy)
    Hi arti, according to our dictionary to sway is referred to someone on one’s feet. So, if he is sitting on a chair I wonder if this is correct.
    The way I read the sentence is in my opinion moving his body back and forth, but not his chair.
    The second meaning I can immagine the scene rocking his chair back and forth too.
    my suggestion
     
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    Starless74

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    I'd tend towards no.2: he's swaying back and forth or side to side, while the chair remains still; and - yes - the guy is much probably betraying nervousness.

    I think no.1 would've been: dondolando la sedia or dondolando(si) con la sedia. This may simply be my fastidiousness, though...
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Thanks, you two. It's occurred to me that if the Italian "ciondolandosi sulla sedia" is somewhat ambiguous, so is the English "rocking back and forth on his chair" (as opposed to "rocking his chair back and forth"), so I might as well go with that.

    Fooler, you don't have to be on your feet to "sway" -- I think it's possible to "sway" from the hips up while seated. But someone "swaying" on a chair, rather than "rocking," sounds like they're drunk, not nervous, so on second thoughts, I think I'll avoid that one. :D
     
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