Voyage de Siam par l’Abbé de Choisy 1685-1686 III

Esteemed Readers, we have reached the Canary Islands! Hurrah! We are sailing Northeast. It is too far from Siam yet, however the spirit of a true journey is with us:

Aboard the Oiseau, 13 March 1685

“…We are going to discover La Palma (Isle) belonging to the Canary Islands. They say there are good confitures there. Local mountains are covered with snow. The given altitude is 28 degrees 50 minutes.

Finally our heads are clearing up, vapours are being dissolved & we get used to the sea. We have begun learning Portuguese &, as I have noticed,  in eight days nobody on board speaks French any more. Evenings will be dedicated to Astronomy. We do not need the Sun to contemplate the Moon & the stars. We already know the way of Saint Ja(s)ques,  & the King David’s cart. We are going to sail by the other side of the star route neither you nor I even seen before. The Astronomic Maps by Father Pardies, which Father Fontenei uses so much, are a true delight for us: it is he who revised, corrected, extended them  & had them printed; so it is always a joy for him to behold him brainchildren again. Our Jesuits are the best people in the world. All six of them keep the spirit alive. They possess consummate wisdom: it is swift, catching a thought instantly when they utter (something): from time to time they must ponder before speaking…& when they do they say good things & there is always something to learn from them.

We are sailing pretty well & tonight we can see la Palma yet…”

Aboard the Oiseau, 15 March 1685

“…We have reached the Northeast.Today we are at 25 degrees 49 minutes. It is not hot any more & the best thing is that we are sailing fast so in two days I will tell you a few words about the Tropics. We usually baptise all what we see around, but for us, those who have too many great views, to baptise (means to do that) just along the waterline.

The Portuguese runs rather well. We begin telling tambien/too.  But listen to a sad adventure (of mine): I went to the rue de Saint Ja(c)ques seeking for Portuguese books. A good friend of mine introduced me Fernand Mendés Pinto & assured in this good intentions so I trusted most of the information he had given. I paid him eighteen livres (a good sum of money that epoch) believing that I would learn Portuguese by reading a pleasant book. The book was in folio, covered with the Morocco leather. I fetched it to him. Then I opened it & found out that it was translated into Spanish. That’s what happens in haste!…”

Dieu Vous Ait en Sa Sainte Garde,

Vostre l’Abbé de Choisy ”

Voyage, part I:

Voyage, part II:

Image: Beauvais, “Chinoiserie”, tapestry.

Maria KethuProfumo

About kethuprofumo

Reconstructing the Past for the glorious Future
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35 Responses to Voyage de Siam par l’Abbé de Choisy 1685-1686 III

  1. Having a Spanish book does not help to learn Portuguese. A funny tale, Maria. Thank you.

  2. fulvialuna1 says:

    Cerco di immaginare mentre leggo…che bel viaggio!

  3. Lots of British people go to the Canary Islands for their holidays because of the weather. Even in the winter it is around 21 degrees C. They say Portuguese and Spanish languages are similar, I keep promising myself to learn more songs from these regions but I’m working hard on German, Italian and French so my brain is a bit fried, especially now that I am trying to learn Romanian ready for our wedding. I hope you are well Maria. It is nice to come here and read your history research.

    • kethuprofumo says:

      Thank you, dear Charlotte! What interesting facts! Indeed, you, British, are very practical. I will keep your notes in mind. 🙂 Romanian? Mon Dieu? Why so? Is a half of your new family Romanian? My congratulations, then! They are great people. As the one who has had four-year course of Spanish in the University & who is learning the Brazilian Portuguese now, I will dissapoint you: they are terrible different! Even now my Italian helps me much more with the Portuguese than Spanish. Good luck with languages! Looking forwards to read more posts about the Romanian & your linguistic challenge. It is very exciting! Keep in touch! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • If more British people have UK holidays this year the big fear is being rained off each day and having bad weather even in the middle of summer. Yes, George is Romanian, fortunately his Mum speaks Italian so we can get by in that but I’m trying to get my head around the Romanian for conversation purposes. Interesting that your Italian helps you out with the Portuguese, perhaps I’ll try the Portuguese songs first. I don’t have a natural flair for languages as you do. I sometimes dream that I could just learn the languages in my sleep 😂.

      • kethuprofumo says:

        😁😁😁 Your language is singing, dear Charlotte & it helps you to be tuned internationally. Indeed, try the Portuguese songs & see if this language is your cup of tea. Read more in Romanian. At least something simple. It does a world of good. In fact, reading in a new language allows you to begin thinking in it faster. And thank you for the compliment 🙂 🙂 🙂 Do my best!

      • Thank you for the tip Maria, I read mainly music scores and books and references around the operas and music I am learning but reading for me is a chore because of my dyslexia. I like to read blogs to because people are concise and I learn so much in bite size portions.

        I started learning Romanian with Duolingo but that doesn’t work as well for me so I now have an online tutor from Romania to start me off properly then I practice with George.
        Best wishes Charlotte x

  4. bernard25 says:

    Par ce message positif et amical je te souhaite une bonne semaine mon ami(e). Quoi que tu vives, quoi que tu fasses, dans chaque moment il se cache une raison d’être heureux ? MERCI DE TON PASSAGE pour te dire un léger mieux dans ma maladie de LIME Bisous à plu tard

  5. theburningheart says:

    Well, as with all romance languages, Latin it’s their root, but they all differ by region, Spanish, it’s my mother tongue, but I can read most of them to a  degree, some more than others, but it’s very different to listen, or speak them.
    Like everything, in learning languages you need practice, studying with Italian priest missionaries who taught us in Spanish, but used to hear them speak Italian between them frequently, for twelve years, did not speak it, or read Italian fluently, but I can get by, to a lesser degree the rest like Galician Portuguese, Catalan, French, in Los Angeles I met a few Rumanian immigrants, couldn’t understand a word, but I was surprised to be able to put together what they wrote, on their  newspapers, and catching at least 60% of the words.
    If I had chosen to take Latin in my last two years of High School rather than go for Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, I probably would be better off now. I do not use, or care for Biology, Anatomy, or Physiology today. 😒🤦‍♂️

    • kethuprofumo says:

      So true, dear Mr. Brigido! The Roman branch of languages is very tricky. I used to have a four year course of Spanish in my university…but it didn’t help much with Italian. Now I’m learning the Brazilian Portuguese & the Italian helps little. 😁😁😁 Any language is a mystery & you must start from the beginning! Good luck with your Latin course!

      • theburningheart says:

        Well, as polyglot, you enjoy an advantage with your native language, it come to reason that learning a language with similar roots should be easier, the problem is that cognate words, are tricky. They are terms with the same etymological origin, but with different phonetic evolution. These words share similar meaning, spelling, and pronunciation across languages. However they may change slightly in uses, and pronunciation, each language may have it’s morphology, and it’s easy to switch as for example a word of your native language for one that it’s not used in another one, neither many phrases are constructed equally, just because at some point on time they were abandoned or took a different name for it like in Latin Butyrum, English Butter, Italian Burro, French Beurre, but when it come to Spanish is Mantequilla, Portuguese Manteiga Catalan Mantega Romanian Unt, that come from Untar, to spread Italian Propagazione wich in Spanish is propagar Romanian răspândire! like Expander in Spanish!
        So its tricky, because when you analyze the roots you can understand, but if you say you want untar or propagar in Spanish they will ask you what you want to spread!! They will not realize you are asking for butter and if you are Italian and ask for Burro, well that’s a donkey in Spanish!!.🤦‍♂️🤣

  6. theburningheart says:

    I know I should buy myself a Latin course book.😊

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