Se fosse stato in me

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by orca, Oct 4, 2018.

  1. orca

    orca Senior Member

    Israel, Hebrew
    Hi guys,

    probably last question about Divorare il cielo di Paolo Giordano.

    The father in law is talking to the husband, who is drunk and irresponsible. He wants him to move out of the house to a flat he (the father in law) will pay for, but he wants his daughter to think her husband decided it himself.

    "Se fosse stato in me avrebbe lasciato passare il Capodanno, ma non di piú, perché dopo sarebbe stato piú complicato per tutti. Se fosse stato in me…"
    E io lo lasciai essere in me.

    (the last sentence is said by the husband, who tells about all this to a friend)

    is it: "If I were you"? And then, "I let him be me?"
    or is it: "if I were in your place"? and then "I let him be in my place".
    Or is it something else?

    Thanks!!
     
  2. Pietruzzo Senior Member

    Salento (Italy)
    Italian
    So the husband is saying what his father in law wanted him to do, isn't he?
    If he (the father in law) had been in my shoes he would have [...]. And I allowed him to be in my shoes (i.e. I did what he told me to do).
     
  3. anglomania1

    anglomania1 Senior Member

    Piacenza, Italy
    UK English
    Is this the father talking first and then the husband (who says the last sentence not in speech marks)?? It's not very clear!
    I don't understand what the father means by "se fosse stato in me" - is he talking directly to the husband? Using the lei form I presume?
    "If you had been me" - maybe???
    And then the husband says, "and I let him be me"?
    What on earth does that mean anyway?

    I think you're right Pietruzzo, but "to be in somebody's shoes" means to be sympathetic and get an idea of what it's like to be that person, NOT to let them tell you what to do. Is it differnet in the Italian?
     
  4. orca

    orca Senior Member

    Israel, Hebrew
    we have: Father-in-law, Husband, Listener.
    Husband
    is telling Listener about his conversation with Father-in-law.
    Father-in-law to Husband: (Please leave my daughter alone; I have found you an apartment, go. But don't tell my daughter it was my idea. Leave soon.) Se fosse stato in me avrebbe lasciato passare il Capodanno, ma non di piú, perché dopo sarebbe stato piú complicato per tutti. Se fosse stato in me...

    Husband to Listener:
    E io lo lasciai essere in me.
    (in fact he leaves the house, goes to live alone in the apartment the father-in-law found for him, and sees his daughter once a week).

    My guess was it meant either "if I were you, I'd do this and this" or "if it was up to me (to decide), I'd do this and this." Basically they are the same, but I wanted to make sure I was on the right track.

    Grazie.
     
  5. Pietruzzo Senior Member

    Salento (Italy)
    Italian
    Sorry if I have used the English idiom improperly. The father in law had said "Se fossi in te (If I were You)" in direct speech. In reported speech this becomes "(He told me that) if he had been me (se fosse stato in me) he would have [...]. So I let him be me.( E io lo lasciai essere me)" It sounds odd both in Italian and in English (I guess it's supposed to sound humorous)
     
  6. lentulax

    lentulax Senior Member

    Cumbria , England
    UK English
    Yes and no ; 'if I were in your shoes' does simply means 'if I were you', 'if I were in your place' ['If I were in your shoes I'd hand myself in to the police immediately' doesn't express any particular sympathy for the person you're speaking to who's just run someone over and not stopped], but reversing this doesn't work : 'I allowed him to be in my shoes' does indeed sound odd, because it suggests another idiom, 'to put yourself in someone else's shoes' (or 'to walk in someone else's shoes'), where the key idea is indeed empathy , experiencing what the other person experiences. ' 'He told me that if he were me he would do x', 'so I let him be me' , works perfectly well, and , as you say, sounds no odder in English than Italian.
    'If I were in your shoes' means '... in the position you are in', and you're about to tell them what you would do (and therefore think they should do), whereas if you put yourself in someone else's shoes you're attempting to see a situation from the other person's perspective.
     

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