Ho la sveglia al collo?

  • giannid

    Senior Member
    USA English
    A photographer takes a racy picture of a young lady on the side of the road and publishes it. The young lady's boyfriend finds the photographer and threatens to sue him for material and moral damages. They argue a bit and the photographer says:

    Ma mi avete guardato bene in faccia? Ho la sveglia al collo?
     

    trip54

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hi, I try, nevertheless I can't understand it
    I think the photographer is referring to the camera hanging down from his neck and saying "Do I have/do you see an alarm clock on my neck?" he means "I'm a photographer and I take pictures, this is my job?????? I'm not a.......":confused:
    Perhaps the Italian version could help
     

    giannid

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Yes, trip54, I think you figured it out. The man wants to sue the photographer, but the photographer is trying to persuade them that they shouldn't sue him and by him taking the young lady's photo, she might become a famous model like some of the other women he has photographed.

    I thought it may have been a colloquial expression, but now I think it is what you said, that is he is being sarcastic, asking if he has an alarm clock around his neck instead of a camera, although he didn't have a camera around his neck at that time.

    Thanks.
     

    trip54

    Senior Member
    Italian
    You are welcome, happy it helped.
    I thought it was a joke and I was searching for a pun.
     

    stella_maris_74

    Mod About Chocolate
    Italian - Italy
    "Avere/portare la sveglia al collo" is an idiom. Here's an Italian definition from Treccani:

    fig. e scherz., portare la s. al collo, essere un semplicione (dall’uso, attribuito in vignette satiriche o scherzose a notabili di popolazioni aborigene, di appendere grosse sveglie al collo come ornamento).
    The photographer is asking: Do you think I'm a dumbass? :)
     

    byrne

    Senior Member
    English - UK (Londoner)
    "Avere/portare la sveglia al collo" is an idiom. Here's an Italian definition from Treccani:



    The photographer is asking: Do you think I'm a dumbass? :)
    Thanks Stella! Molto pittoresco!

    maybe something similar to: Do I look like I just got off the boat /I'm fresh off the boat/ Iwas born yesterday?
     

    trip54

    Senior Member
    Italian
    @ stella maris Thanks a lot! I never heard it or perhaps simply I forgot it (getting older!).
    As far English is concerned I've a lot to learn , and some Italian, too. The alarm clock must be around my neck
     
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    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    In Australia we say, Do you think I came down in the last shower?

    I didn’t come down in the last shower

    I’m not stupid, don’t try and put one over me! This is a response to someone who is taking you for a fool. The phrase indicates that you have more experience or shrewdness than you have been given credit for—’A thousand bucks to paint the laundry? I didn’t come down in the last shower!’ It was first recorded in the early 1900s.
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    We also say, You must think I'm wet around the ears! Charles Costante
    The British version of that is "You must think I'm still wet behind the ears."

    I have heard "Do you think I've got sands in my brain?" Ste 72
    Never heard of this, but in any case it wouldn't have sand in the plural. The plural of sand is used only in expressions like on the sands = sulla spiaggia, and the sands of time are running out = la fine si avvicina
     

    sildem

    Member
    italian
    "Avere/portare la sveglia al collo" is an idiom. Here's an Italian definition from Treccani:



    The photographer is asking: Do you think I'm a dumbass? :)
    Mi è venuto in mente un altro modo di dire con lo stesso significato: "Mica c'è scritto Gioconda!" o, in italiano più ripulito, "non c'è scritto Gioconda!".
    Giusto un ricordo del lontano passato. (Non ne conosco l'origine...)
     

    sildem

    Member
    italian
    Grazie Fergbot!
    In effetti il ricordo era molto lontano, e dunque impreciso. La frase giusta fa giocondo, non Gioconda. E ora ho anche capito da dove viene.
     

    giannid

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I'm wondering to myself if this could be a reference to rap singer Flavor Flav, famous for wearing a ridiculous clock around his neck.
    Actually, my reference comes from a 1956 film starring Mastroianni and Sofia Loren.

    I think a good translation might be: Do I look like a fool?
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    Scusatemi, ma l'espressione «just got off the boat» non è per niente PC !
    Anzi, è abbastanza offensiva.
    I have never thought of this expression as being offensive. It is American and refers to the time when there was much immigration particularly from Europe, the newcomers being understandably unfamiliar with the customs and often the language of their new country. Since Americans proudly refer to themselves as Italian Americans, Irish Americans etc., I do not believe there is a slur on their ancestors here. The British reference to having "just come over on a banana boat" in connectiion with West Indians is, in contrast, offensive but to my knowledge no longer used.
     

    giannid

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I agree with Arrius, in that it's not offensive in American English. To have just got off the boat means that someone has just arrived in a new country and may be easily swindled because they are not familiar with their new surroundings.
     
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    alfajor

    Senior Member
    el castellano argentino, italiano, English
    Actually, it doesn't really matter what it sounds like to you, or me, or to any one person in particular. It is, in fact, an ethnic slur. I would suggest that you use this expression in polite company in a fine restaurant to refer to the busboys or the kitchen help and see what kind of reaction you get. Moreover, I encourage you to use your favorite search engine and plug in ethnic slur + off the boat.

    Ethnographers have recordered that Italians were indeed offended when others referred to them as off the boat --and this includes other Italians who were already incorporated into the fabric of mainstream North American culture.

    Among the more assimilated of any national or ethnic group, stating that someone of one's own country is off the boat would imply that he or she was of a lower status, not acculturated, and certainly not educated. It is disparaging, denigrating, and degrading.

    Whereas you might not use a term to offend, it still can and does.

    Again, I would check with the audience you wish to deliver your remarks to first before saying anything.
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    Obviously the remark can be offensive to the person you are addressing since you are implying that they think you are ignorant or stupid or are trying to swindle you, but any remark implying the same would be (intentionally) offensive. I meant it was not a slur on new immigrants any more than "Do you think I was born yesterday?" is a slur on new-born babies. Of course, it depends on whom you say it to and the tone you use. Naturally it would be tactless to say it to a person who has just got off the boat himself!
     
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