Posted in English

Picklist Perplexity

I found this exercise very, very hard. Even when I got the results back, I still couldn’t make sense of why the right answers were the right answers. I asked about it and got an answer but before I read it I’m going to write out a translation and try to sort it out in my own head… OK, what have we got?

She liked figs, the old woman. And he’d always feel himself accompanied from time to time. Not that she made a big ________ in that friendship. Far from it. The Apple of her eye was the only daughter, the child who had patted him when she was little.

And options for that space are “lufa-lufa” (being busy with lots of tasks), “finca-pé” (a firm stance) and bate-papo (chit-chat)

And then…

The old lady, all her life, had kept him at a distance. She gave him a loaf of bread (honor indeed!) but she _______ straight afterwards: – get away! And he took himself away cerimoniously to his bed.

And options for that one are “engolia sapos” (swallowed frogs – meaning did something she really didn’t want to do), “borrava a pintura” (smudged the painting) or… Something else, i can’t remember.

Uyth, in the Portuguese subreddit, explained that this is from a book called Bichos by Miguel Torga, which is embarrassing because I’ve read that and I still didn’t get it! It’s a very difficult book though, so it’s no wonder it was chosen for an advanced course like this. When I read it I felt all at sea and I only really managed to follow two or three stories.

Anyway, in the first case, finca-pé was the right answer because taking a firm stance on friendship means making an effort to keep it going. And in the second case, borrava a pintura – smudged the painting – means she undid the effects of something good she’d done. So after giving the animal (a donkey, if I remember rightly) the lump of bread, she chases him away.

OK, I can see that. Wow, so hard though! Some of the exercises were super-easy, so this one came as a real shock!