I didn't get coffee spilt on me

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by bis, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. bis Senior Member

    Ciao a tutti
    sto avendo delle difficoltà a tradurre questa frase, questo il contesto: una persona dice "so glad I was there for that" e quest'altra persona dice "at least I didn't get coffee split on me". Non sò come tradurlo perchè questa forma si utilizza quando qualcuno fà qualcosa per noi e di solito si traduce farsi fare qualcosa da qualcuno= I got my hair done. Se però provo a tradurre questa frase non ha senso: non mi sono fatta versare il caffè? Spero possiate aiutarmi grazie.
  2. usa_scott Senior Member

    Washington D.C.
    E' "spilt", non e' "split".

    Almeno non l'ho rovesciato il caffè addosso.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  3. CPA Senior Member

    British English/Italian - bilingual
    Non c'è sufficiente contesto per capire se vuole essere una battuta ironica, comunque:

    Io almeno non mi sono fatto rovesciare il caffè addosso.
  4. theartichoke Senior Member

    English -- Canada
    Di solito non provo di tradurre inglese in italiano (invece di vice versa), ma si può dire "Almeno nessuno mi ha rovesciato il caffè addosso"? "I didn't get coffee spilt on me" implies that someone else spilt the coffee on the speaker, through absolutely no fault of his own. Unless I'm misunderstanding something (very possible), both "non l'ho rovesciato il caffè" and "non mi sono fatto rovesciare il caffè" suggest that the speaker caused, or at last helped to cause, the spilling.
  5. CPA Senior Member

    British English/Italian - bilingual
    You can certainly say, "Almeno nessuno mi ha rovesciato il caffè addosso" as a straight line, but if you're implying that unlike the other guy, you didn't bump into the waiter and get coffee spilt on you, then I think "Io almeno non mi sono fatto rovesciare il caffè addosso" sounds better. We can't tell from the context.
  6. bis Senior Member

    Usually this structure is translated like so "farsi fare qualcosa da qualcuno" so when I say "I got my hair dyed" the translation flies "mi sono fatta tingere i capelli", but if I say "I didn't get the coffee spilt on me" it would sound bad in italian to say "non mi sono fatta versare il caffè addosso" so I assume there's another way to translate the "get something done" structure.
  7. theartichoke Senior Member

    English -- Canada
    Not sure this clarifies anything, but maybe the difference is that in English we use the same structure to describe getting something done for one (which one seeks out), and getting something done to one (which one doesn't seek out and doesn't want). You can say "I got my roof fixed" or "I got my butt kicked," and the context makes it clear that you sought out and asked someone to do the former, but not the latter. Same with "I got my hair dyed" vs. "I got coffee spilt on me."

    I'm guessing the "farsi fare qualcosa da qualcuno" only applies to things you voluntarily ask or cause someone else to do?
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  8. joanvillafane Senior Member

    U.S., New Jersey
    U.S. English
    Yes, that's it exactly. The two sentences have the same surface structure (good examples!) but the deep structure is different. I've been thinking about it and I don't think I can explain it fully, but here's the way native English speakers understand these sentences.
    1. I got my roof fixed or I had my roof fixed.
    I had someone fix my roof.
    2. I got my butt kicked.
    My butt got kicked.
    Someone kicked my butt.
    #2 is the same as
    I got coffee spilled on me.
    Coffee got spilled on me.
    Someone spilled coffee on me.
    Now exactly what the transformation is that puts "I" in the subject position for type #2 I can't say.
  9. stella_maris_74

    stella_maris_74 Mod About Chocolate

    Italian - Italy
    Just so people who are learning Italian don't get misled: this doesn't sound bad at all, on the contrary it's perfectly correct, and it's exactly how theartichoke interprets it here (bolded part):

    We can definitely say "mi sono fatto rovesciare il caffè addosso" just as we would say for example (1) "mi sono fatto rubare il portafoglio in metropolitana" or (2) "mi sono fatto buttare fuori da scuola", and tons of other similar examples, which all suggest that something I did, whether on purpose or not (e.g. I wasn't paying enough attention in example (1), I did something very bad in class in example (2)) helped to cause the fact to happen.

    On a side note: bis please pay attention:
    "So" and "fa" don't take the accent. "Perché" takes the acute accent.
  10. theartichoke Senior Member

    English -- Canada
    This brings up another angle to the English "got..." constructions that Joan and I were musing about above: sentences where "I got" becomes "I got myself."
    "Mi sono fatto buttare fuori da scuola" = "I got myself kicked out of school" (I did something that caused them to kick me out). "I got kicked out of school," on the other hand, implies nothing about what caused the speaker to get kicked out of school, merely that it happened. Same goes for "He got himself mugged" (he was wandering around a bad part of town late at night with a wallet full of money), versus "he got mugged," which only states the fact that someone mugged him.

    I'm glad to learn about the "mi sono fatto +infinitive" construction, which I wasn't familiar with in Italian. I probably would have expressed such a concept by resorting to a circumlocution starting "Ho fatto una cosa stupidissima...."!

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