Friday, 23 January 2009

Divided by a common language

It feels a bit strange to be once again in a country where Portuguese is spoken. A slightly different Portuguese than in Brazil. Everyday polite words pop up, and I rediscover my ability to read signs in the streets and short picturebooks. Otherwise, it is the same hopeless sense of not understanding what is going on. Especially when, alongside Portuguese, Spanish and Catalan is used, and they seem to understand each other. This must be what the Spanish and the Portuguese feel when they come to conferences in Scandinavia.

There are four of us aliens here, and while our talks are interpreted into a variety of languages, there is no translation into English. I am trying to figure out whether it makes sense to listen to French. A colleague who came to the conference direct from a Transatlantic flight is snoring next to me. I wish I had as good an excuse.

No comments: