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This is Juan Julián Merelo Guervós English-language blog. He teaches computer science at the University of Granada, in southern Spain. Come back here to read about politics, technology, with a new twist

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    Inicio > Historias > Exercise 4: Getting lost

    Exercise 4: Getting lost

    The outskirts of Paris, at 2 AM, are probably not the best place and time to get lost. But I did. Mind you, not really lost. I knew where I was, only I didn't find the place where I was going to sleep. A friend of mine allowed me to crash in some other friends' home, and I tried to find it. It was on some back alley, I remembered, with low houses, with a garden. Only when I tried to find it there were more back alleys, more gardens, and more low-rise houses than I had cared to get references for. I didn't have the house number, or the street name, just a vague remembrance of how it looked like. I went back to my friends' house to ask directions, but they were asleep.
    I initiated an exhaustive search of back alleys and low-rise condos and garden-studded driveways, to no avail. I was a little bit in despair. And what do you do in Paris, at 3 AM in the morning (did I mention I had to catch a plane at around 6 the next morning?) when you're lost? Ask somebody.
    I found a couple descending from a car, and in my weary French, I asked for help. Surprisingly, they didn't call the police (remember, banlieu, where car burning is a competitive sport, disheveled unknown guy asking for help in broken French) but they actually helped. Don't you believe what they say about parisiens. Even less what they say about parisiennes, Paris girls. There must be something great about France when a girl accompanies somebody else so late at night to help him find his place.
    Happy story ending rules would dictate she really found the place, but the real thing is that it was impossible with the indications I had. So she left, and I went ahead, trying the alleys one by one, until a particular combination of garden, condo silhouette, and divine providence, all clicked together and I found, or rather recognized, the house. I took a nap rather than slept, and went to my friend house a while later, where he received me with freshly-baked croissants.
    These French have something going on. Which coming from a Spaniard, is something.
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    2008-05-12 17:27 | 2 Comment(s) | Filed in Homework

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    De: Marcelo Fecha: 2008-05-13 18:40

    Hi, JJ!

    Very nice story, JJ!!

    I think that, since Portuguese is just a "small" variation from Spanish and every Portuguese speaking person could - up to some extent - communicate via a broken Spanish, then a Portuguese speaking person could speak, let's say, almost the same broken French you did! :)

    For example, the proposition:

    What did you think about the show?

    It would be in broken French:

    Quès que vous penseè sur le shôw?

    In Portunhol:

    Qué pensas sobre lo show?

    We Brazilians play some language pranks upon our Spanish speaking neighbours. Such as asking them to pronounce "vovô" (abuelo) and "vovó" (abuela). They can't pronounce the slight sounding difference between those two Portuguese words.

    Your language is very nice! See, for instance, all the beautiful names that Californian cities have - Cupertino, Salinas, Santa Clarita, Simi Valley, Escondido, and so on!

    What about Portuguese, JJ? Are you well skilled on the "Última Flor do Láscio"? :)

    Hasta La Vista!


    De: JJ Fecha: 2008-05-14 09:14

    I couldn't in my life pronounce it. I know a few words in Portuguese, and I guess I can read it and understand it if spoken slowlky, but not more than the average Spanish.

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