Somaro

English translation: Dunce

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Italian term or phrase:Somaro
English translation:Dunce
Entered by: sara viscardi
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10:26 May 21, 2018
Italian to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature
Italian term or phrase: Somaro
Dear colleagues,

I am translating a book review where I need to translate the term Somaro (or Asino), with the specific meaning of a boy (or girl) being lazy at school and generally not making any effort in school.

Here is the context:

“Anche se oggi ci sono tanti acronimi per definirli (DSA, BES, ADHD ecc.), il pensiero comune li considera dei somari, cioè alunni (Treccani, definizione di )” (p.7).

I've found these entries:
somaro nm figurato (scolaro non brillante) (not a bright person) ass, dunce, moron, idiot n

I'm thinking to go with ass, as it seems to me the most fitting one, still retaining a link with the original Italian figure of speech - also, given the context of a book review, alternatives as moron or idiot don't seem fit to me.

Could anyone UK EN native speaker confirm me if this is the best choice, please?

Many thanks!
Sara
sara viscardi
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:11
Dunce
Explanation:
Naturally, as Tom points out, it is considered offensive and not politically correct nowadays but this term was used in the past.
Selected response from:

Lisa Jane
Italy
Local time: 11:11
Grading comment
very useful and accurate. many thanks for your quick help!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +4Dunce
Lisa Jane
4 +1donkey
BdiL
4pupils with learning difficulties
Tom in London
3loafer
Posted via ProZ.com Mobile
Maria Pat Scarpetta


Discussion entries: 3





  

Answers


11 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
pupils with learning difficulties


Explanation:
The literal translation of the term Somaro is offensive in modern pedagogy and is factually incorrect. I would not use it.


Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:11
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 147
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28 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +4
Dunce


Explanation:
Naturally, as Tom points out, it is considered offensive and not politically correct nowadays but this term was used in the past.

Lisa Jane
Italy
Local time: 11:11
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in ItalianItalian
PRO pts in category: 76
Grading comment
very useful and accurate. many thanks for your quick help!
Notes to answerer
Asker: thanks Lisa, I think that "dunce" is exactly what I was looking for https://www.google.com/search?q=the+boy+is+a+dunce&client=firefox-b-ab&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiSvYSJ05bbAhUNKuwKHcZqBI0QsAR6BAgBEDQ&biw=1408&bih=688 I take it it would be understood by a British audience in the old-fashioned way and not offensive as such. Also: If you say that someone is a dunce, you think they are rather stupid because they find it difficult or impossible to learn what someone is trying to teach them. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/dunce


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Fiona Grace Peterson
1 hr
  -> Thanks Fiona Grace!

agree  Daniela Zambrini
1 hr
  -> Thanks Daniela!

agree  philgoddard
1 hr
  -> Thanks Phil!

agree  SYLVY75
20 hrs
  -> Thanks Sylvy!
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32 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
loafer


Explanation:
this means "scansafatiche" which could work, since it is not offensive in itself. since if I am not mistaken the issue is that these pupils are blamed rather than helped, shifting the meaning on being lazy rather than active could work

Maria Pat Scarpetta
Italy
Local time: 11:11
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in ItalianItalian
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thanks Maria, this is a really good suggestion. I am still finding "dunce" more appropriate though, as (I think) the authors' point is to oppose an old-fashioned and not up-to-date vision of these pupils to a more informed view on the subject.

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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
donkey


Explanation:
I would refrain from "ass" as it would appear equivocal in US EN.
I think that the use of the simple word "donkey" (as in Italian "someone stubbornly refraining from studying") expresses the idea the common people have in their imagination about such pupils, not the psychologists, of course.

In the modern usage (and I mean in the recent centuries) "dunce" (and the dunce cap) have been used to set apart (by the "pensiero comune") such pupils. However, its etimology can be traced back to philosopher Duns (whence "dunce") Scotus. At some point in history, opposers of Duns Scotus' ideas started using dunce to tag his supporters giving "dunce" a negative and abusive connotation. This happened towards a man who had previously been highly esteemed, thus reverting the sentiment to a wholly negative one.
This is why I would prefer a simpler word like donkey. By doing so we are not commending the idea that such pupils are "seen" like donkeys; we are describing how it goes in the common people's minds.
Maurizio

BdiL
Italy
Local time: 11:11
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Italian
PRO pts in category: 8
Notes to answerer
Asker: thanks Maurizio, very useful


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Daniela Albanese
6 hrs
  -> Grazie!
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