perdio

eliz88

Member
English
I came across this word in the following sentence:

Finché sto io in piedi, perdio, sta' pur sicura che non crolla nulla!

I understand the sentence to mean something like: as long as I'm standing, you can rest assured that nothing is collapsing!

But I'm not sure about "perdio".

Can anyone help?
 
  • Curandera

    Senior Member
    Italian
    It's an interjection.

    I believe there are different ways of saying this but the only thing that comes to my mind is:

    I'll be damned, but as long as...
     

    champagne3

    Senior Member
    English -- American
    I have a related question. I translated an exclamation of "perdio" as goddamn it. The context is Pirandello's Henry IV, and the exclamation is made by Enrico. It's the scene where he forces his retainers down on their knees. "By god!" seems too innocuous, given the context and the stage direction that he has become "terribile." An editor disagrees. Che ne pensate?
     

    Benzene

    Senior Member
    Italian from Italy
    Hello champagne3!

    If I wanted to use a strong exclamation that fits your context, I would choose "god damn you" with the meaning of "siate voi maledetti".

    Bye,
    Benzene
     
    Last edited:

    Benzene

    Senior Member
    Italian from Italy
    Surprisingly, no one has mentioned For God's sake, which is almost a literal translation...
    Hello Alessandrino!

    I always knew that the expression "For God's sake!" meant in Italian "Per amor di Dio/del cielo".
    So the exclamation above, in my opinion, is too soft/innocuous for the context of the OP.

    Bye,
    Benzene
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    "For God's sake" tends to imply exasperation: "Get down on your knees, for God's sake!" implies that the addressee is resisting getting down on his knees and the speaker is getting frustrated, whereas "Get down on your knees, by God!" simply intensifies the command with an oath.

    I wish I could answer your question, champagne3, as to whether "perdio" can ever be strong enough to be translated as "goddamn it," but I think that's best left to the natives. (And then there's the question of how strong "perdio" was as an oath back when Pirandello wrote the play, as what's innocuous today may not have been in 1922.) I looked up the passage in the play (the 1920s English translation of it on Project Gutenberg, which uses "By God"), and "goddamn it" does seem to fit, if you're going for a more modern tone--the difference to my ear between "by God" and "goddamn it" in this context has less to do with the strength of the oath and more to do with 1920s vs. modern diction. But for that very reason, "by God" has a formality and dignity to it that "goddamn it" lacks, so it's back to what you're doing with the tone. Not sure that any of this will help with your editor.... :)
     

    elfa

    Senior Member
    English
    I have a related question. I translated an exclamation of "perdio" as goddamn it. The context is Pirandello's Henry IV, and the exclamation is made by Enrico. It's the scene where he forces his retainers down on their knees. "By god!" seems too innocuous, given the context and the stage direction that he has become "terribile." An editor disagrees. Che ne pensate?
    I suspect this is more about register than about accuracy of translation. The historical tone isn't accurately reflected to my mind by "Goddamn it" (as the artichoke has already suggested) - I much prefer "By God". I like Benzene's suggestion of "God damn you" too but I would have to see the exact sentence to see whether this would fit in the context. I agree with arti that "For God's sake!" doesnt' work here. :)
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    I suspect this is more about register than about accuracy of translation. The historical tone isn't accurately reflected to my mind by "Goddamn it"
    Part of the trouble is that I can't tell whether the dialogue is supposed to have an historical tone or not: it's set in the early 20th century (i.e., a contemporary setting at the time it was written), and "Henry IV" is a modern guy who's gone mad and thinks he's the Holy Roman Emperor. (I had to look this up--I'd assumed it was about Henry IV of England! :D ) It's hard to tell from the translation I found whether his delusion comes complete with archaic language patterns or not, and my Italian probably isn't good enough to tell if the original (were I to check it, which I haven't) makes a distinction between how "Henry IV" talks and how everyone else talks.
     

    elfa

    Senior Member
    English
    Calling yourself Henry lV when you're not the real Henry lV strikes me as the height of pretension. If it fits, why not go with Benzene's suggestion of "God dam you" which is stronger than "By God" and avoids the complications of "Goddamn it" - which is slang after all?
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    If it fits, why not go with Benzene's suggestion of "God dam you" which is stronger than "By God" and avoids the complications of "Goddamn it" - which is slang after all?
    One last thing came to mind, which is that "God damn you" seems more actively hostile toward the addressees than "perdio" or "by God." It's a small nuance, but there is a minor difference between intensifying your command with an oath, and directly swearing at the people you're commanding.
     

    daraya

    New Member
    Italian
    Maybe...
    as long as I'm standing, in the name of God, you can rest assured that nothing is collapsing!
     

    champagne3

    Senior Member
    English -- American
    One last thing came to mind, which is that "God damn you" seems more actively hostile toward the addressees than "perdio" or "by God." It's a small nuance, but there is a minor difference between intensifying your command with an oath, and directly swearing at the people you're commanding.
    Yes, that was my thinking, too.

    I am going with something not suggested here: for Christ’s sake. While not literal, it seems to serve its purpose.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    'By God' sounds fine to me. The register is right too, as it's vaguely old-fashioned and the sort of interjection which would I believe have been fairly common among Pirandello's contemporaries. If the director is going for a more modern rendering in English then it won't work, of course.
     
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