context can get you places. even if your brain takes the long route. take lago and lado for example. the first means lake, the latter, side. this morning i asked a staff member who was sharing an elevator with me:
why are there no 2nd or 3rd floors for this elevator?
because they're on the other lake.
about halfway through breakfast i realized she'd said side. about that time, i caught a preview for the new batman movie on the cafeteria television. it flashed the title:
batman: horse of the night.
that seemed odd. so i asked vicki:
cc: caballero means horse, right?
v: gentlemen. caballero means gentlemen, more or less. like on the bathroom doors.
v: caballo is horse.
v: what made you think of that?
cc: oh, nothing really. just...batman: the dark knight...makes. more. sense.
i should have learned this lesson weeks ago in araçatuba. i couldn't figure out why dad kept starting sentences with:
a building because...
so i asked márcio:
cc: um edificio is a building, right?
cc: then why does dad start every sentence with edificio?
m: (puzzled look. pause. laughter erupts.) edificio! edificio!
(the group conversation stops. inquiries begin. another round of laughter.)
cc: what? edificio? what's so funny? what did i say?
m: é difícil and edificio.
m: they're two different things. (speaking slowly). edificio is a buliding. but he's saying é difícil. "It's difficult."
cc: (laughing despite myself). well...é difícil to hear the difference.
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