Piu che di minuti?

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macossay
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Piu che di minuti?

Post by macossay »

This is from Contro tutte le bandiere by Sebastiano Mignone. The narrator is speculating how long the young boy will last in a duel with a master swordsman. "Piu che di minuti si sarebbe trattato di secondi."

Sorry, but I just can't get the sense of that sentence. Would someone please translate?

Grazie.
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Quintus
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Re: Piu che di minuti?

Post by Quintus »

macossay wrote:This is from Contro tutte le bandiere by Sebastiano Mignone. The narrator is speculating how long the young boy will last in a duel with a master swordsman. "Piu che di minuti si sarebbe trattato di secondi."

Sorry, but I just can't get the sense of that sentence. Would someone please translate?

Grazie.
It's about how long the young boy would have been able to last in that duel, "More than minutes, it would have been a question of seconds". The impersonal form "trattarsi" has many meanings. One of them is "to be a question of", which can be used as a valid alternative to "trattarsi" in Italian too. The sentence would be then "Piu che di minuti sarebbe stata una questione di secondi."
macossay
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Pui che di minuti

Post by macossay »

It's that literal translation that confuses me -- if it's a question of seconds, why say it is more than minutes? Which is why I'm wondering is piu che di minuti is an idiom, perhaps meaning "rather than minutes, it is a question of seconds", or "instead of minutes, it is a question of seconds." But my dictionaries don't give those as an alternative.
Geoff
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Re: Pui che di minuti

Post by Geoff »

macossay wrote:It's that literal translation that confuses me -- if it's a question of seconds, why say it is more than minutes? Which is why I'm wondering is piu che di minuti is an idiom, perhaps meaning "rather than minutes, it is a question of seconds", or "instead of minutes, it is a question of seconds." But my dictionaries don't give those as an alternative.
The author is not saying that it will be more than minutes. He is saying that "More so [i.e rather] than being [a matter of] minutes, it is likely to be [just] a matter of seconds."
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Quintus
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Re: Pui che di minuti

Post by Quintus »

macossay wrote:It's that literal translation that confuses me -- if it's a question of seconds, why say it is more than minutes? Which is why I'm wondering is piu che di minuti is an idiom, perhaps meaning "rather than minutes, it is a question of seconds", or "instead of minutes, it is a question of seconds." But my dictionaries don't give those as an alternative.
Sorry. I mistakenly wrote "More than minutes" instead of "More than of minutes". The literal translation of "più che di" is "more (più) than (che) di (of)". Geoff rendered the sense in a perfect way.
"Più che di" is not an idiom in Italian. It is interchangeable with "piuttosto (rather) che (than) di (of)". "Piuttosto che di minuti sarebbe stata una questione di secondi": there's no difference, but "piuttosto" would be unnecessarily longer there. "Piuttosto" is generally used when one wants or needs to outline the contrast, because, in so far longer, it sounds more "important" (three dental consonants "t" and a sibilant "s"). But nothing more than that. The contrast between "minutes" and "seconds" would seem to me not so essential in a sentence like that. I feel it as a bit pleonastic, perhaps ironic too.

Here's some English sentences I've found on the net:
"Music is intelligent use of emotions more than of science", "La musica fa un uso intelligente di emozioni più (or piuttosto) che di scienza". The contrast is stronger here, so "piuttosto" sounds appropriate.
"It reveals patterns of rhythm more than of melody or something else", "Rivela schemi di ritmo più (or piuttosto) che di melodia o di qualcosa d'altro". In Italian, anyway, the difference between "più che di" (more than of) and "piuttosto che di" (rather than of) is to be considered a matter of personal taste.
macossay
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Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:21 am

Piu che di minuti

Post by macossay »

Got it! Grazie.

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