18 ago. 2011

Piglia's Collocations

Here are some I found in the first 80 pages of Ricardo Piglia's Plata quemada:

en mangas de camisa [in shirt sleeves]
amigo de la infancia [childhood friend]
medidas de seguridad [security measures]
pegarle a alguien un tiro [to shoot someone]
en el acto [right then and there]
paralizados de terror [paralyzed with fear]
estado de ánimo [mood, state of mind]
a toda velocidad [at full speed]
en sentido contrario [in the opposite direction]
hacer caso [to notice]
no servir para nada [to not do any good, to be be of no use]
delincuentes comunes [common criminals]
“algo de eso había” [that was partially true]
confirmar la sospecha [to confirm the suspicion]
el Gran Buenos Aires [greater Buenos Aires, the metropolitan area]
descartar la posibilidad [rule out the possibility]
por puro instinto [by sheer instinct]
todo bien [everything's ok]
a esta altura (a estas alturas) [by now]
“no le daba importancia...” [he didn't think twice about it]
hacer planes [to make plans]
con cara de aburrido [with a bored expression on his face]
de todos modos [anyway]
su mayor orgullo [his greatest pride]
“se hacían los machitos” [acted really macho]
está bien por hoy [that's enough for today, we've done enough for today]
sus horas están contadas [his hours are numbered]
conferencia de prensa [press conference]
asesinos a sueldo [hired killers, hitmen]
el predilecto de su padre [favorite son, his father's pride and joy]

In almost all these cases, there is a corresponding idiom (or two) in English that matches up pretty well. In Spain they might say "rueda de prensa" rather than "conferencia."

There is some slang in this novel I don't understand too well, but the expressions on my list are used in other Latin American countries and in Spain as well.

This is not a complete list by any means. They are just expressions that caught my attention as I read. I still don't know where a collocation ends and just a normal combination of words begins, so I chose ones that I had seen many times before.

5 comentarios:

Andrew Shields dijo...

To me, one test of "collocation" is whether you can vary the phrase at all.

Take "common criminals": one would not say "frequent criminals" (or a synonym of any other sense of "common"), so it's a collocation.

Many of the expressions you've noted seem more like "normal combinations of words" rather than collocations as I understand them.

Jonathan dijo...

Many of these are invariable. "en mangas de camisa," for example, or "medidas de seguridad." You could say "de todas maneras" or "de cualquier modo," so "de todos modos can be varied.. I would say, though, that all three expressions are collocations meaning "anyway" because they have an idiomatic meaning and are statistically frequent.

Jonathan dijo...

and even if you can also say "satisfy his thirst" I think "quench his thirst" is still a collocation, don't you think? Even formulaic expressions, "frases fijas," are not wholly invariable.

I am going to have to think a little more about this.

Vance Maverick dijo...

So how's the book? The English translation just turned up at the library, and it's flat, dull and awkward. During the narration of the initial robbery (I haven't gotten very far), the shifts of temporal perspective from the action to the aftermath are clunky. One wouldn't be surprised at such things in a garden-variety true-crime book, but this is a name author. Faults of translation?

Jonathan dijo...

It's well-written in Spanish but I imagine it would be a bear to translate. The movie plays up the gay angle more than the book does (so far).