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The Weekly Blague

My Favorite Footnote

A belated happy new year to one and all!

Yesterday I received a couple of copies of the Italian edition of Nowhere Man: Gli ultimi giorni di John Lennon (back cover, right, front cover here).

What most struck me about the book were the extensive footnotes, which are unlike anything that's appeared in any other foreign language edition. The translator, Paolo Palmieri, took pains to explain words and phrases that were impossible to render in Italian without losing some of the meaning. Lennon’s puns and wordplay, Liverpudlian English, and words that rhymed in English but not in Italian were all obsessively annotated.

Here’s an excerpt from my favorite footnote, which appears in the chapter called “Il Lennon Dei Rimpianti” (“Lennon’s Complaint”):

«What did you do to ME fuckin’ cock?»; raro caso cui è possible rendere perfettamente il senso della traduzione operando tra gerghi di lingue diverse: il “me” di Liverpool sta infatti per l’inglese “my”, ovvero viene usata in forma gergale la particella pronominal “me” in sostituzione del possessivo “my”.

What he’s saying, briefly, is that in Liverpudlian slang, sometimes people say “me” instead of “my.” Though I’m sure the Latin mavens among you figured that out on your own.

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