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|English to English translations [PRO]|
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature / Spanish Civil War
|English term or phrase: hammer the nerve|
|I am translating a book about the role of the United States in the Spanish Civil War. This letter was sent to Roosevelt by a pro-Franco American ambassador in Madrid in 1940 (so, just after the end of the war, when repression was at its crudest). |
My problem is the expression "to hammer the nerve". I am thinking something in the lines of "I don't want to insist", or "I don't want to be tiresome", but I am not sure. How do you understand it?
I am still pursuing this matter and am still unable to confirm these stories [repression of loyalists]. Furthermore that sort of thing would appear to be contrary to all the political ideals and declarations of the present government. I can assure you that no death sentence is carried out without prior reference to the legal advisor of the Caudillo. In the Embassy itself there have been three or four cases of Spanish employees whose relatives were in danger of death sentence. In each of these cases there has been either exoneration or commutation of the death sentence and in the case of the latter, the father of one of the men concerned told me that his son had been adequately defended by a counsel appointed by the Court and that the trial seemed to him eminently fair one.
I have no wish to ***hammer the nerve***, but I think you can be fairly sure that these execution stories are an aftermath of the extensive propaganda carried on up to the time of the fall of the Republican Government.
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Local time: 14:56
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6 mins confidence:
I don't want to be insensitive
or, I don't want to step on anybody's toes
I believe it is more about sensitivity of the issue than the writer's insistence.
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cause undue pain/distress about a sensitive subject which is worrying you
Imagine you have a toothache because the nerve is inflamed. Somebody hits it with a hammer or any object or just hits the painful area - then it going to make everything all that much worse.
So basically, he doesn't want to make the whole situation worse or to inflame the situation so he is attempting to reassure the person.
This expression is not in my book of 6000 idioms so I think it is somewhat invented thus open to interpretation, and slightly abstract.
Note added at 1 hr (2006-11-18 00:21:19 GMT)
The book of idioms gives:
Touch/hit/strike a raw nerve.
To upset someone by mentioning a subject that upsets them.
So perhaps, he means he doesn't want to upset the person.
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overly rejoice you, make your nerve pounded with (good) news
My answer is basically contextual. My humble understanding is that the writer tried to calm the recipient of the letter that the situation was not as bad as the recipient might have thought.
All the letter says are positive things:
= no death sentence was carried out w/o reference
= death cases had been exonerated/commutated
= a fair trial with a well-defending lawyer.
In the end, the writer culminated the letter with the most positive thing, i.e. the execution stories were only propaganda. In introducing this great positive, the writer somewhat wanted to be low profile by using "do not wish, but" construction.
"I have NO WISH to hammer the nerve, BUT the stories are only propaganda" seems like to be:
"I do NOT WANT to overly rejoice you, BUT these stories are only propaganda".
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