Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Lost for words

This morning Landlady appeared well, early. When I answered the door she demanded to know why I wasn't wearing any shoes. The fact that I was in my dressing gown and brushing my teeth would have been a giveaway for some people...

Anyhoo, so began a whirlwind adventure of a day.

At some point I asked if 'orla' meant edge here (I didn't even start on flaaaange). It doesn't; Landlady said it might mean something in Lisbon, but not here.

It struck me how uncurious people are about words here. One night I was out for dinner and when the waiter brought over the pepper mill I asked him what it was called in portuguese. He had no idea.

How does that work? How do you spend your days in a room with objects and not have words for them. Even makey-uppy words, like 'the wooden pepper thingeydoobewhatzit'.



Don Amaro said...

Peper mill?? That should be simple .... moinho de pimenta.

Strange that he did not knew that ... are you sure he was a waiter and not a politician trying to get some votes from you? ;-)

Orlaith said...

My phrase book says the same but the guy was stumped. He said he could go next door and ask the guys in the Italian restaurant.

There's huge variation in dialect here. Yesterday I was ordering coffee and said queria... and a Madeiran told me that was the wrong verb tense, and another Madeiran disagreed and said it was fine.

I may revert to pointing...