scattered referring to a person

oakleaf

Senior Member
english - united states
How do you say that a person is "scattered" - that is, unable to concentrate, not focused, out of it, jumping from one topic to another, but implying that the person himself is in many "places" at once, psychologically?

thanks
 
  • oakleaf

    Senior Member
    english - united states
    The use of this is not quite the same as scatterbrained, Paul. Scatterbrained means you can't remember things, you're absent minded etc. Scattered is more psychological, refers to a person who is not able to BE there, in his entirety.
     

    oakleaf

    Senior Member
    english - united states
    Thanks, Nunou, but aprosessia is too much of a technical term. And not quite the same thing, too specific. If i described a patient as "scattered" it would mean he can't tell a story without branching off into several other stories, perhaps has conflicting feelings about things, maybe forgets things, but mainly because he'd be thinking about different things, without much continuity.
     

    Nunou

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    Allora forse discontinuo/incoerente...poco coerente o semplicemente distratto.
    Per ora non mi viene in mente altro...ci penso su! :)
    Ciao.

    Buongiorno,
    stamattina mi è finalmente venuto in mente "dispersivo" ...
    Persona dispersiva, dovrebbe essere questa la definizione giusta.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    oakleaf

    Senior Member
    english - united states
    Maybe it would work, and I should not try to find a word but a phrase, and this might be part of that phrase
    Thanks
     
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    luway

    Senior Member
    The use of this is not quite the same as scatterbrained, Paul. Scatterbrained means you can't remember things, you're absent minded etc. Scattered is more psychological, refers to a person who is not able to BE there, in his entirety.
    Questa descrizione e quella data in apertura mi han fatta pensare a un'altra espressione che sento spesso usare in circostanze analoghe e colloquiali: "I'm all over the place", da persone che stanno parlando di qualcosa, ma poi si ritrovano a saltare ad un altro argomento e magari a un altro ancora che prende la loro attenzione. Così, ho provato a vedere se ci fossero thread in cui questo modo di dirlo (sempre che io non stia fraintendendo l'uso di 'scattered' come proposto qui) era stato trattato, e ho trovato questo, nel caso i suggerimenti dati lì per rendere l'idea in italiano possano essere d'utilità => http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1829918
     

    TimLA

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Ciao,

    In AE "I'm all over the place" si usa per indicare confusione, disorganizzazione mentale.

    Ti do qualche esempio

    I'm tired, I was up studying all night. I'm afraid I'll be all over the place during the test.
    Com'on John, you've got it all wrong. I don't understand you. You're all over the place.
    Sally, you need to focus on the goals of this project, not five unrelated ideas. You're all over the place.
    John! Stop! Those things aren't in the business plan! You're all over the place!
     

    luway

    Senior Member
    Ciao,

    In AE "I'm all over the place" si usa per indicare confusione, disorganizzazione mentale.
    Ciao TimLA :)

    Quindi ti sembra sia assimilabile a "scattered" come da OP? Anche i tuoi esempi a me sembrano proprio equivalenti a quello che veniva descritto da Oakleaf.

    (e, sì, ho scordato di dirlo prima: l'ho sentito usare da americani)
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Mi viene in mente "confusionario".



    Hallo YLR: in Italian you cannot use this adjective referring to a human being.;)
    I don't even know why I posted that link - I meant to post one to the Babylon online translator which included the word 'confused' amongst many others. Now I can't even find that! I think I'll go back to bed! :rolleyes:
     

    oakleaf

    Senior Member
    english - united states
    I hadn't followed the developments on this thread and just got an email now saying there were other posts. It was so long ago, i don;t even remember what i did use to translate it (I guess I'm scattered myself!).
    But while disorganizzazione mentale is a good explanation for the term, it lacks the immediacy and colloquial quality of "scattered" as in the examples given above by Timla for "all over the place".
    The nice thing about "scattered" is its colloquial nature, the fact that it's immediately understandable, and is something people would actually say and not scientific sounding like "disorganizzazione mentale" - you can say "He's so scattered he can't even keep track of what we're talking about" but you wouldn't say in conversation "E' cosi' disorganizzato mentalmente che non riesce a ..."
    Luway's "confusionario" could be used, though it doesn't have the same implications of "scattered" - while the effect is the same, a scattered person is confused, it's not the cause. The scattered person is actually in many "places" (mentally) at once, and in each place he is perfectly aware of where he is and what he's thinking but he jumps from one to the other.

    In fact, I think that while "sparpagliato" is not a word you use for a person, as Luway points out, neither is "scattered", strictly speaking, a word that could be used for a person. But if i had to redo that translation I would have used sparpagliato, maybe in quotes. They both imply multiplicity, because they refer to a plural (objects are scattered, an object is not scattered) but that's precisely the point, the person is fragmented and each part is in its own world, or looking out into the same world from a different perspective.

    Thanks for the discussion, i will probably have to translate "scattered" again, and will use sparpagliato. So thanks, Sofisia7 - there are times that the simplest answer is best.
     

    oakleaf

    Senior Member
    english - united states
    I think scompigliato is the closest to the meaning I want but is not the same as "scattered" - "scattered" strictly speaking, doesn't make sense referred to a person either, but it has a metaphoric meaning - it is as if you were in front of many people all doing different things at the same time. Maybe my understanding of Italian is not subtle enough, but "scompigliato" sounds like someone all twisted up, messy, untidy, maybe even mentally, but that, like confusionario refers to a "one" rather than a fragmented group.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    If I can suggest, I would use "scompigliato" as "sparpagliato" doesn't make sense in italian if referred to a person.
    I liked you previous suggestion too, Lo: confusionario.:)

    I have a question for Lo and the other natives: while sparpagliato doesn't mean "confusionario" , can't we say Ho parenti sparpagliati/sparsi per tutto il paese - I've got relatives scattered all over the country (?). We're not talking about scattered (confusionari) relatives, of course!:D
     

    Lorena1970

    Banned
    Italy, Italiano
    I have a question for Lo and the other natives: while sparpagliato doesn't mean "confusionario" , can't we say Ho parenti sparpagliati/sparsi per tutto il paese - I've got relatives scattered all over the country (?). :tick:
    You can say that, but "sparpagliati" here is an "avverbio di luogo" and not an adjective referred to people.;)
     

    Mary49

    Senior Member
    Italian
    but "sparpagliati" here is an "avverbio di luogo"
    Ma non mi pare proprio! "Sparpagliato/i" non può essere un avverbio di luogo! L'avverbio è una parte invariabile del discorso, gli avverbi di luogo sono"qui, qua, lì, là, ecc" ma sicuramente non vi rientra l'aggettivo "sparpagliati"!
     

    Lorena1970

    Banned
    Italy, Italiano
    Ma non mi pare proprio! "Sparpagliato/i" non può essere un avverbio di luogo! L'avverbio è una parte invariabile del discorso, gli avverbi di luogo sono"qui, qua, lì, là, ecc" ma sicuramente non vi rientra l'aggettivo "sparpagliati"!
    Non obietto...le definizioni grammaticali non sono il mio forte! L'avverbio è "sparpagliatamente" :eek::D
     
    The use of this is not quite the same as scatterbrained, Paul. Scatterbrained means you can't remember things, you're absent minded etc. Scattered is more psychological, refers to a person who is not able to BE there, in his entirety.
    Hi Oak, if the term scattered has to be understood as a psychological term, then the adjective scisso, could work here, though it is a term that only an educated person is likely to use.

    E.g.

    Non so cosa fare sono sempre scisso tra lavoro, famiglia e divertimento.
    I am always scattered. Work, family, fun... I don't know!

    Si vede che sei scisso tra senso del dovere e voglia di cambiare vita.
    I can see that you are scattered. You know your duties but you'd really like to change your life.

    What do you think about it?
     

    oakleaf

    Senior Member
    english - united states
    You can say that, but "sparpagliati" here is an "avverbio di luogo" and not an adjective referred to people.;)
    yeah, but then so is (or was) "scattered" - people can be scattered all over the place, but not a person. But then if we use terms poetically or metaphorically we can play around with the word's original meaning.
     

    Lorena1970

    Banned
    Italy, Italiano
    yeah, but then so is (or was) "scattered" - people can be scattered all over the place, but not a person. But then if we use terms poetically or metaphorically we can play around with the word's original meaning.
    Sorry to insist, but I still think that the Italian word that you can use in this way is "scompigliato". :)
     

    TimLA

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Ciao TimLA :)

    Quindi ti sembra sia assimilabile a "scattered" come da OP? Anche i tuoi esempi a me sembrano proprio equivalenti a quello che veniva descritto da Oakleaf.

    (e, sì, ho scordato di dirlo prima: l'ho sentito usare da americani)
    Ciao di nuovo.

    Qualche esempio:

    John! Stop! Those things aren't in the business plan! You're all over the place!
    ..........................................................................You're scattered!
    ..........................................................................You're being scatterbrained!
    ..........................................................................You're a scatterbrain today!

    Sono quasi uguali..."scatter brained" e' forse più intensa.
     

    solasola

    Member
    Italian - Italy
    If I can suggest, I would use "scompigliato" as "sparpagliato" doesn't make sense in italian if referred to a person.
    I would say that scompigliato connot really be applied to a mind as well as sparpagliato, maybe dissociato could be used even if it might be a technical word it is also often unproprietely used in common language to mean really confused and not present but it also has the meaning of different parts cohexisting
     

    Lorena1970

    Banned
    Italy, Italiano
    Maybe "sconclusionato". I have the feeling I wanted to mean this but got diverted by Tuscan jargon. In Tuscany we say "scompigliato" ("te tu sei di mol(r)to scompigliato!") but again it may be a regionalism or, better, a Tuscanism.
     
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