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Capturing the essence of intercomprehension on a plane (Flaminia Paternoster)

Mis à jour : 13 Fév 2017

October 24, 2016 10:32 am
I have been looking for the perfect intercomprehension definition for a long time, and I unexpectedly found it on my plane to Strasbourg seven months after my graduation. It was a sunny September day in Rome, and a new linguistic adventure was waiting for me somewhere else. Although I had never spoken French and my mother tongue was Italian, I had attended an optional French course during my studies, and an intercomprehension laboratory coordinated by Elisabetta Bonvino and Diego Cortés Velásquez, both members of the Eurom5 team. Would all this have helped to face my first month in France? As soon as I stepped inside the plane, I had the answer that I was looking for: a huge YES.

The hostess greeted me very kindly: “Bonjour et bienvenue sur notre vol“. I looked for my seat and I was surprised to see that it was already busy. “Scusi, signore, credo che questo sia il mio posto”, I said. “Não há nenhum problema“, he answered. I finally took a seat and had a look at the in-flight magazine while sipping my morning coffee. At the end of the lecture, I realized that I could easily understand articles about food, travel and business in another language. But I wanted to go deeper, so I gave a quick and discrete look to the Portuguese novel of the woman by the window seat. Again, I could understand everything. During the intermediate stop, I met a Spanish guy who told me that he was very surprised to understand everything I was saying on the phone, even If he couldn’t speak Italian. For the first time, I was seeing with my own eyes what intercomprehension concretely was. For the first time I could figure out what “united in diversity” really meant. I felt that I was part of something bigger. I realized the power of speaking multiple languages, the power of diversity.
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