Stop a bit! or Watch it now!

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onitamo

Senior Member
Serbo-Croatian
Please tell me which of 2 phrases written with bold letters, suits more?

Stop a bit!
If you don't bring that money along, sure enough I'll skin you, blessed if I don't.
or
Watch it now! If you don't bring that money along, sure enough I'll skin you, blessed if I don't.
 
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Both highlighted expressions seem extremely unnatural to me (AE).

    .... as does the rest of the sentence. :eek:
     
    Last edited:

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    "...I'll skin you, blessed if I don't" sounds British (or possibly Irish as e2efour says). I am not an expert on British English, but I have heard "Watch it!" "Watch out!" and many variations of this all my life. I've never heard "Stop a bit!"
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    There are elements in here which are all perfectly OK, in an appropriate context, but if you put them all together, they don't make sense. The whole is less than the sum of its parts. Normally, in language, we want it to be more. :(
     

    onitamo

    Senior Member
    Serbo-Croatian
    Thank you, I see it is not only for me uncommon.:)
    I found it in this translation of story of Leo Tolstoy
    http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/6373/
    and trusted that the story is properly English translated.(better then I could do it)
    I am using it as base to write English subtitles on Russian film of the same story.
    A man is just remembering what wife could say ..

    (and this expression "I'll skin you" is little to sharp for my understanding..for such situation..wife telling to husband..) Is there some alternative phrase for such case?

    here is more text of his thoughts :(He didn't get money from people who were in debt to him, and could not bye sheepskin coat)
    "My wife will fret, to be sure. And, true enough, it is a shame; one works all day long, and then does not get paid. Stop a bit! If you don't bring that money along, sure enough I'll skin you, blessed if I don't. How's that? He pays twenty kopeks at a time! What can I do with twenty kopeks? Drink it-that's all one can do!
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Hello, onitamo.

    I am confused. Are you translating this from Russian? If so, you may get a better answer by asking in the Russian forum. In that forum, people will be able to discuss what the Russian means and how it could be best translated into English.
     

    onitamo

    Senior Member
    Serbo-Croatian
    :) Now I see how is even for English speaking people difficult to understand English as it was used 1906.This is from here http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/What_Men_Live_By .


    This translation first published in 1906. :) Russian forum definitely cannot help here. I was asking about English expression which was little strange to me, but it is strange to you too. And probably it was OK 100 years ago..I think this was reason why it sounds now unnatural, unfamiliar. And women is expressing a kind of threat to the man..it could be said: watch out! if you don't...I'll beat you, or ..something else what women can do when she is angry..but "I'll skin you..." It is for me little to cruel..
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Stop a bit!" and "watch it now!" are perfectly understandable expressions, given the right context. The trouble for us is that they don't have the same meaning. These expressions sound a little unnatural; translators who try to keep closely to the original text sometimes come up with this sort of thing.

    "Watch out" or "You'd better be careful" might be what is meant here. "I'll skin you" is a separate question, but again it sounds like "translationese".


    On a side note, most of the translations of Tolstoy (and others) currently available online for free sound very dated or stilted to us now.
     

    onitamo

    Senior Member
    Serbo-Croatian
    Thank you Velisarius. You understood my question and helped me with answer. I am sorry if I put it so that it was confusing for some of you, but every answer is help for me..I am learning even more then I asked. :)
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    For the one phrase "Watch it now" I'd prefer "You'd better watch it."

    That may have been around back at that time. It's still used in my family in American English.

    "I'll skin you alive" isn't meant literally. It's said it parts of the USA to this day.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    'Stop a bit!' means 'Hang on a bit' where 'a bit' means 'a short while'. I think you can still use it today in the context of BrE. The tone is usually friendly - at least that is my association with the phrase 'a bit' - so for it to work in the Tolstoy extract, you have to see it as ironic and menacing. This seems to be where the difficulty lies.
     
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