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Dieulefit! … Distant young heathen … A diferencia de Inglaterra 10th of April, 2006 ANTE·MERIDIEM 12:19

One of my idle plans (together with moving to some Arabian city-state without income tax, or to Tajikistan to get the language fluent to my satisfaction) is to spend a summer wandering around France. I’ve spent a weekend in Paris, but that’s the extent of my experience there, despite working with and getting to know lots of French people over the years—this is a shame, because at least St. Malo and Carcassonne look spectacular, and I’m sure there’s a lot more to it.

And it occurs to me that one amusing thing to do during that would be to visit Dieulefit and, when asked, say that I was there purely on the grounds of the Jacques Brel song, and watch how people react. He mentions it only in the context of

« Meme si on m’appelle Dieu le Père
« Celui qui est dans l’annuaire
« Entre Dieulefit et Dieu vous garde … »

so I can well imagine it fazing them.

In contrast to France (well, to big parts of it, Dieulefit excepted, perhaps) and to Ireland, in (local) historical times Berlin has only been settled by people speaking what is (or what developed into) the current everyday language. This means that the place names are in large part understandable German; and they can be striking in their meaning (especially without further investigation!).

I change trains every day at Jungfernheide; “distant young heathen (!?!)” (okay, it’s actually named for some heathland that was owned by a convent, (full of »Jungfern«)), another station is Gleisdreieck “triangular rail lines, platform,” another Holzhauser Straße “wooden house street” , another Hohenzollernplatz “high tolls square” (okay, with this one, the family name of the kings of Prussia occurred to me long before the detailed translation), another Feuerbachstraße “fire brook street” and so on. It’s nice to have one more source of a few minutes’ amusement in your day, I find.

Word of the day: El Reino Unido is Spanish for the UK; they use Gran Bretaña for it quite a bit, and tangentally Bretaña means “Brittany,” as you would expect.

Get a touring bike and go! what fun!

(I like to imagine that where you currently live you can throw a rock and hit someone playing a German style boardgame. Please don’t aim at that punk if you test this.)

Unhappily, no, it’s not that easy—you saw on the Wikipedia page that there were 1,000,000 of Carcassonne sold? There are eighty million Germans. I do have at least one colleague into that sort of gaming, though.

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