Tag Archives: Abruzzo

Proverbi Abruzzesi – 3 – Power struggles

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Scottish Enlightenment

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve had time to think about this blog. My head’s been full of all sorts of other stuff, like Scotland nearly becoming independent and the reawakening of a nation to claim its identity and voice within the United Kindgom. Oh and work too.  There’s been quite a lot of that too.

For anyone following me on Facebook, you might have noticed a slight surge in the number of political posts I’ve been tacking up on my timeline. Yes, I’m one of those people who were energized by the referendum campaign, one of the sleeping electorate who finally woke up to smell the (burnt) coffee of national and international politics.

Happily, my  own personal Scottish enlightenment has involved a lot of reading too, both online and in books. When I don’t understand something, I go straight to a book in search of answers, or when I’m reading for pleasure, I constantly come across things that tie into real-life experience, shedding light on it or expressing it perfectly in words.  Nothing really changes in human nature.  We just keep doing the same old things, and since many great writers of the past saw it all before us, we just have to look to their words for help in understanding what we’re still seeing today.

Books are always the answer

Like last night, flicking through Michael Rosen’s version of Aesop’s Fables, I picked the story of the wolf and the lamb to read to my little person. As we got to the moral of the story, I couldn’t help thinking how well it described the abuse slung at the Yes campaign during the Scottish referendum and the ability of the other side (the No people) to come up with all sorts of excuses to  deny their own behaviour and still bring the other side down. Fast forward to the current UK general election and press repeat.  Each side pedalling dreams and ridiculing the other side’s vision as lies.

aesopsfablesint

But since this blog is supposed to be about Italian literature, I’d better stay on topic and get back to the lingo of my adopted land: Italiano/Abruzzese.

There’s nothing better than an Italian proverb for hitting the nail on the head.

Local Abruzzo dialect: 

Non créde a suònne, ca le suònne ‘nganne

Italian: Non credete ai sogni, perché ingannano. 

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Proverbi Abruzzesi – 2 – Weather

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In keeping with the kind of day I’ve had in lovely, wintery-for-once Abruzzo, this week’s proverb is going to be about the weather. But not the one pictured.

Passo Lanciano - Mammarosa

Passo Lanciano – Mammarosa

Our Maiella mountain does look like that sometimes, and I can highly recommend taking a trip up there for some downhill skiing, snowshoeing, sledging, snowmobiling, ski-mountaineering, or wait for it, even ice-running (which I discovered in Abruzzo).  Oh, and you don’t have to be sporty to enjoy it, you can even just spend a few hours in front of the log fire in the ski chalet, with a hot chocolate – rum punch – red wine – coffee (delete as appropriate) in hand, chatting to the wee old man from the soccorso alpino  who I don’t think actually does much Alpine life-saving, more like chin-wagging and grappa-supping. But he’s happy to fill the wait for your polenta, sausages, pasta or arrosticini lamb skewers with action-packed stories of life on the wrong side of snowdrifts, avalanches, blizzards, blackouts… you name it, he’s been through it.

Well, back to my stories about the weather. Read the rest of this entry

Abruzzo Proverbs – 1

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This is the first in my new series of off-the-cuff, having-a-break, flash translations.

Since I’m pretty busy at the moment and can’t really take too much time away from what I should be doing, I was looking for something short, sharp and snippety… something that’ll take me 10 minutes to write and you no more than 10 seconds to read. But still something literary about life in Italy…

Peppino Di Battista

Peppino Di Battista

Rooting around on my bookshelves, I found this.  PROVERBI ABRUZZESI. I IERI E OGGI. 2000. by Peppe Di Battista, published by Rocco Carabba.

Proverbs, well you can’t get shorter or pithier than that, I thought.

Peppe Di Battista gathered them from the Abruzzo towns of Castelfrentano, Lanciano, Fossacesia, Orsogna, Roia Del Sangro, Archi (where we are!), Pizzoferrato, Buonanotte, Casoli, Mozzagrogna, Rocca San Giovanni and presented them in groups:

behaviour – morals – popular sayings, -weather and the seasons – mottoes – luck – villages – vices and virtues – superstitions and customs – animals – life lessons – curses 

So here goes.  Since I like literature with a lesson, today’s proverb comes from the morals section:

Local dialect: Cent’anne de malencunije, nen cacce ‘na lire de debbéte

Italian: Cent’anni di malinconia non toglie una lira del debito 

EN translation: 100 years of sadness won’t reduce the debt by a lira

Meaning: there’s nothing to be gained by living a life of poverty

I like it this a lot, and might even think about learning the Abruzzo dialect to use it as my excuse-du-jour when OT asks how the savings fund is coming (or not) along. 

homework

Well, better go and help the LL with her homework… although hopefully not coming to “blows” like they would have you do in Lanciano:

Bòtte e panèlle, fa le fije bbèlle.

Percosse e pane, fanno i figli belli.

Blows and bread make for beautiful children.

(A strict upbringing with the necessary support from the family will bring good results)

Which is quite similar to:

Pane e mazzate, fije aducate.

Pane e bastonate fanno i figli educati.

Bread and blows make for well-behaved children. 

Back soon with some more.

Multilingual Blogging Day 2013 – Secret Language Series 3

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Thanks for checking back in for Episode 3.

This post is going to discuss one of the secrets of translated fiction, the “to foreword or not to foreword” question; well, for two Pescara authors anyway: Paolo Di Vincenzo, who I’ve been chatting to in previous posts, and a new entry on this blog post, Marcello Nicodemo.   Marcello has already published four novels: Nel Fuoco (alla fine del sogno), Di li’ a poco sarebbe piovuto, Ferragosto in Famiglia, e Voci del Purgatorio which I’ll be covering in more detail in coming weeks.

But before I ask Paolo and Marcello how they feel about literature in translation, what about you?

I’ve just finished a webinar with Oliver Lawrence on how to translate for the travel and tourism industry, and the distinction he drew between the types of reader her translates for – travellers and tourists – made me think of the to foreword or not to foreword debate in translated fiction. When you read a book translated from another language and cultural context, are you looking for the authentic experience and want to find your way around the new context by yourself – so no foreword- or are you one of those people who gets the guidebook and studies it from cover to cover before setting off, like you would with a foreword?

In translated literature, as in world travel, some people prefer to go off the map, while others go for the risk reduction option, safe in the knowledge that there won’t be any surprises.

Tourist or traveller?

Tourist or traveller?

So, are you a tourist or a traveller when it comes to translated fiction?  Should cultural context be served up on a plate, or should the reader be allowed to explore it, completely off the map??

I asked both authors,  …in Italian.

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2013 Multilingual Blogging – Secret Language Series – 1

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Segreti, in un’altra lingua 

C’e’ un segreto da scoprire.. ed e’ grande, molto grande.  E con la mia seconda lingua, Italiano, vorrei cercare di entrare dove di solito non posso andare con l’inglese…in un  libro in italiano. Scritto da un autore di Pescara che ho conosciusto al recente Festival delle Letterature di Pescara.  Un libro che ha a che fare con un personaggio altrettanto grande della storia d’Italia… anzi due,  il fondatore del fascismo e dittatore italiano Benito Mussolino e Gabriele D’Annunzio, poeta e scrittore  Pescarese, nonche’ politico e giornalista.

Che c’entra l’uno con l’altro? E’ perche’ sono i personaggi principali di un romanzo giallo che porta il lettore in un viaggio alla conoscenza del Mistero dell’Oro di Dongo?

Andiamo a scoprire.  

Detective Denise Secret language series Looking at literature

Detective Denise
Secret language series
Looking at literature

Myth and mystery.. in another language

Well, this mystery that I’m going to try and solve with my super second language at the ready is so big,  it could change the course of European history as we know it.

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2013 Multilingual Blogging Day

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Speaking a second language… what’s that all about?

Today it’s about Multilingual Blogging, Internet Week Europe and highlighting the multilingual dimension of the web.

The rest of the time it’s normally just work for me, but for my 8-year old… it’s much, more more ……..

Compiti d'Italiano Testo Narrativo.  M. Di Nella, 8 anni

Compiti d’Italiano
Testo Narrativo.
M. Di Nella, 8 anni

Ooh, speaking English, my daughter’s first-second-first language (not sure, she’s bilingual) is like a secret language for her. That makes it sound quite magical (or cloak and dagger, depending on your point of view), but however you see it, the sense is definitely one of getting special entry to a world and to information that would otherwise be inaccessible. 

Speaking a second language, or reading a book in a translated language, opens up new worlds and makes you feel at home in strange lands. And it can set a child’s imagination on fire, as Philip Pullman states in the foreword to Outside In’sChildren’s Books in Translation” publication and as my daughter told her teacher in last night’s homework. She feels like she has special powers, she feels special, that’s certainly got to rate high on the what-to-give-your-child for Christmas list! A second language.

Chiedere …. sempre in incognito

Allora, cogliendo lo spirito da detective di mia figlia, usero’ la mia seconda lingua,  italiano, per indagare un po’ sulla letteratura e vedere quello che scopro.

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Like history? No. Well the Mussolini mystery’s for you.

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Who likes history? Not me. 

I must admit.. I’ve always found history a bit of a mystery. It’s not that I haven’t tried. I once bought one of those ” History of Everything For Dummies” books in an attempt to get some big dates and important people into my head. But nothing. It just doesn’t work, books full of facts aren’t for me.  Nothing sticks. I was beginning to wonder if I was going about it the wrong way.
I was.
A few years later I stumbled on the historical novel and the penny dropped.   Real places and real people, all knitted together into a made-up story. That was the glue I needed to make it all stick. Maybe there was hope after all.

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A touching tale about a boy, his grandfather and a cherry tree

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In my previous  post, I wrote about Il Baffo del Diavolo by Sergio Marciani, a story of hidden forces – the devil in disguise – pulling the strings of society and the administration of local government in a small corner of Abruzzo. From a light-hearted opening featuring children’s games and storytelling around an old oak tree, the tree itself becomes a symbol of something more sinister. Chopped down to serve the wily workings of political minds, or perhaps as the author suggests, the evil intentions of darker forces, the fate of the tree reflects the illness affecting society at large.

mio_nonno_era_un_ciliegioBut in keeping with the yin and yang approach to life and literature that I love so much, I like to think that for every dark force we encounter, if you keep looking there’ll be happier times just round the corner. So after I read about Sergio Marciani’s tree falling prey to the Prince of Darkness in Il Baffo Del Diavolo, I immediately thought about another story – Angela Nanetti’s Il Mio Nonno era Un Ciliegio – a children’s story by the Pescara-based author in which a tree brings joy and light into a little boy’s life.
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