Knucklebones

lulu66

New Member
italian
Salve a tutti. Nel testo che sto traducendo, l'autore racconta di aver lasciato molti lavori, nella sua vita: «This is not a responsaible behaviour. After a few monthes I ended up on my feet, again, just, but this had to be the last time. I have tried revolution. The knucklebones are just knucklebones, in the end, and the pattern are always familiar".
Traduco: "Questo non è un comportamento responsabile. Dopo qualche mese, ero di nuovo in piedi, basta, ma questa doveva essere l'ultima volta. Alla fin fine..."
E poi? Esiste una frase idiomatica con le nocche? Chi mi può dare una mano? Grazie!
 
  • Mary49

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Suppongo di sì, ma potrei essere fuori strada. Per me il senso è che si prova qualsiasi variante di un gioco, ma alla fine è sempre quello e gli schemi sono ormai familiari.
    Qualche osservazione: "months", non "monthes". "the pattern are always familiar": o manca la S a pattern o ci vuole IS al posto di ARE. :)
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Quindi diciamo che il senso è: "alla fine ci si stufa dei passatempi", una cosa del genere?
    Suppongo di sì, ma potrei essere fuori strada. Per me il senso è che si prova qualsiasi variante di un gioco, ma alla fine è sempre quello e gli schemi sono ormai familiari.
    It's possible that you're right, but that line "I have tried revolution" gives me a nagging sense that "knucklebones" is here standing metaphorically for something other than generic fun and games, or i passatempi. Could we get some more information about the text itself? Is it set in a time and place where knucklebones is a common pastime? Are there other references to knucklebones? Is there any potentially useful information in the line that follows this quotation?
     

    lulu66

    New Member
    italian
    It's possible that you're right, but that line "I have tried revolution" gives me a nagging sense that "knucklebones" is here standing metaphorically for something other than generic fun and games, or i passatempi. Could we get some more information about the text itself? Is it set in a time and place where knucklebones is a common pastime? Are there other references to knucklebones? Is there any potentially useful information in the line that follows this quotation?
    Il racconto è contemporaneo. L'autore parla di sé, della propria tendenza a licenziarsi quando un lavoro lo annoia. Mai citato prima knucklebones.
    Queste le righe successive: "Perhaps I did not burn deep enough, early enough; perhaps I should also have salted the black fields of my existence" (e anche qui... problemi.) "But the suspicion remains: there might be other ways to model your life".

    Che ne dite?
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Well, it's enough to show me that your author is fond of using metaphors in extraordinarily obscure ways! :D Just like I know what knucklebones are, but can't figure out what he means by "the knucklebones are just knucklebones," I know the implications of "salting a field," but can't tell if he's trying to say "I should have never looked back" or "I should have killed myself"!

    I found more information on the ancient uses of knucklebones, to do with fortune-telling and gambling, which might shed more light on this metaphor than the version that's a children's game: Knucklebones | Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum

    That said, I'm starting to think your only option is to translate these metaphors literally. They aren't known English idioms (at least, not known by me, and I analyze literature for a living :)), so trying to guess at what the author means and translating the guess rather than the words seems like a risky venture. Since gli astragali exist in Italian--and were even used by the ancient Romans--it would make as much sense as the original to translate it to something like Alla fine, gli astragali non sono che astragali, e gli schemi sono sempre familiari. (Revision needed, I'm sure--I don't translate into Italian!)
     

    lulu66

    New Member
    italian
    Well, it's enough to show me that your author is fond of using metaphors in extraordinarily obscure ways! :D Just like I know what knucklebones are, but can't figure out what he means by "the knucklebones are just knucklebones," I know the implications of "salting a field," but can't tell if he's trying to say "I should have never looked back" or "I should have killed myself"!

    I found more information on the ancient uses of knucklebones, to do with fortune-telling and gambling, which might shed more light on this metaphor than the version that's a children's game: Knucklebones | Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum

    That said, I'm starting to think your only option is to translate these metaphors literally. They aren't known English idioms (at least, not known by me, and I analyze literature for a living :)), so trying to guess at what the author means and translating the guess rather than the words seems like a risky venture. Since gli astragali exist in Italian--and were even used by the ancient Romans--it would make as much sense as the original to translate it to something like Alla fine, gli astragali non sono che astragali, e gli schemi sono sempre familiari. (Revision needed, I'm sure--I don't translate into Italian!)

    Thank you very much, your considerations are really useful. Il problema è che temo che in italiano "gli astragali non sono che astragali" al lettore medio non dica molto. Forse meglio a questo punto "tradurre" con un gioco che gli italiani conoscono: che so, la morra cinese... altrimenti devo fare una nota a pie' di pagina lunga come la quarantena... ops! quaresima...
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    For what it's worth, I don't think the average English-speaking reader would know what "knucklebones" are either. It's hardly a common game. I recognized the game when Mary posted it in #2, but otherwise I would have needed to look it up to be sure. I suspect most people would read "knucklebones" as meaning literally le nocche, as you first did!
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Yup. No idea what the writer is referring to. Extraordinarily obscure as you wrote.
    Yes, I just read the line to my very well-read partner, and got the same reply. Never heard of the game. My guess, having read up on knucklebones now, is that the author's referring to the kind used in ancient times for divination (the "salting the fields" thing has the same kind of ancient ring to it), and the line might mean something like "I've tried to see into the future, but it's futile, and anyway, I just repeat the same patterns over and over again." But there's no way to know if this is even close, so I'm still for leaving it as obscure in the translation as it is in the original. If readers really want to know, Italian readers can go look up astragali and what you do with them in the same way English readers would have to look up knucklebones.
     

    lulu66

    New Member
    italian
    Yes, I just read the line to my very well-read partner, and got the same reply. Never heard of the game. My guess, having read up on knucklebones now, is that the author's referring to the kind used in ancient times for divination (the "salting the fields" thing has the same kind of ancient ring to it), and the line might mean something like "I've tried to see into the future, but it's futile, and anyway, I just repeat the same patterns over and over again." But there's no way to know if this is even close, so I'm still for leaving it as obscure in the translation as it is in the original. If readers really want to know, Italian readers can go look up astragali and what you do with them in the same way English readers would have to look up knucklebones.
    Pensavo che forse, se come dici il gioco degli astragali è sconosciuto anche agli inglesi, il significato potrebbe essere proprio questo. Per quanto "esotico" e inusuale, e poco conosciuto, un passatempo piacevole e divertente dopo un po' ti stufa perché anche il gioco più strano alla fine risulta ripetitivo . Non so se abbia un senso, ma direi che mi arrendo...
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Pensavo che forse, se come dici il gioco degli astragali è sconosciuto anche agli inglesi, il significato potrebbe essere proprio questo. Per quanto "esotico" e inusuale, e poco conosciuto, un passatempo piacevole e divertente dopo un po' ti stufa perché anche il gioco più strano alla fine risulta ripetitivo . Non so se abbia un senso, ma direi che mi arrendo...
    Non è sconosciuto, è che quando ero ragazza a Londra si chiamava 'Jacks'. ** Li avevo sempre in tasca.:) Non l'ho mai sentito chiamare 'knucklebones' e non avevo assolutamente capito a cosa si riferisse l'autore.


    ** Io avevo questi, ma c'erano anche altri fatti di plastica a forma di ossa.
    1585260902760.png
     

    lulu66

    New Member
    italian
    Non è sconosciuto, è che quando ero ragazza a Londra si chiamava 'Jacks'. ** Li avevo sempre in tasca.:) Non l'ho mai sentito chiamare 'knucklebones' e non avevo assolutamente capito a cosa si riferisse l'autore.


    ** Io avevo questi, ma c'erano anche altri fatti di plastica a forma di ossa.
    View attachment 39578

    Grazie! Non sapevo proprio niente di questo gioco. Mi verrà voglia di provare :) E però continua a sfuggirmi, nel testo, il senso di questa citazione... Grazie mille!
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    I don’t know how familiar young people in Australia are of the game ‘knucklebones’, but it was very popular in my day (the sixties). The modern-day versions look a little different to the ones I played with:

    1585392363378.jpeg
     
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