Legends from our own lunchtimes

Friday, September 22, 2017

Wires crossed. - Saturday 16th September

I should have suspected something when I called out in French enquiring if there was any room for us for the night, and the Port Captain understood what I was saying.  To compound our astonishment we understood him. 

Here, just a few metres from the French-German border French is spoken with a particular accent which I suspect has evolved from the Alsatian language.  Since most people speak all three of the local tongues, our mono-lingual heritage puts us at a clear disadvantage in the communication stakes. 

It’s not normally a simple matter for us to understand or be understood.  For instance there are at least four ways to correctly pronounce “Wittring”  ranging from the “wit-ring” to something like “vit-rung” and everything in between.   That means there’s a one in four chance that the person one is addressing will actually catch a hint of what the message actually is.   None the less, buoyed by our introductory success, the Captain and we seemed to be getting along quite well until he asked if we’d like him to pick up some bread for us in the morning. 

“About ten o’clock on Monday", I replied, "but we’ll only be going as far as Sarreguemines”.

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