caatinga, canto, urubu

swiss_senorita

Member
English - UK
I'm reading 'Vidas Secas' by Graciliano Ramos, and there seems to be quite a lot of regional vocabulary, so I'm struggling to understand some things.

'Trepou-se no mourão do canto, examinou a catinga, onde avultavam as ossadas e o negrume dos urubus'.

If someone could translate that whole sentence for me, that would be excellent!
If not, could you suggest what 'catinga' and 'canto' mean in this context?
Also what are 'ossadas' and 'urubus'?

Thanks!
 
  • Vanda

    Moderesa de Beagá
    Português/ Brasil
    Bem-vinda Senhorita Suiça, :)

    A lot of single words you'll find in our dictionary here:
    urubu = http://www.wordreference.com/pten/urubu
    catinga - http://www.wordreference.com/pten/catinga
    ossada = a bunch of bone
    Mourão do canto is the mourão of the corner

    mourão is a thick stake -
    Those stakes (vertical) in this fence are mourões.

    I am almost sure it is not catinga, but caatinga, typical of the region where the novel is situaded.
    Yes, I am right, caatinga not catinga.

    caatinga (English)

    Trepou-se no mourão do canto, examinou a caatinga, onde avultavam as ossadas e o negrume dos urubus'.

    He climbed the corner stake, observed the caatinga where the bones and the blackness of the vultures loomed.
     
    Last edited:

    Benvindo

    Senior Member
    Brazil, Portuguese
    'Trepou-se no mourão do canto, examinou a catinga, onde avultavam as ossadas e o negrume dos urubus'.

    - - -

    What an interesting play with the concepts of blackness and whiteness we have in this phrase: the implied whiteness of the "ossadas" and the blackness of "negrume", plus:
    caatinga - tupi ka'a (wood) + tinga (white)
    urubu - uru (bird) + (b') u (black) (though I'm not sure of this one, could someone confirm?) - a large, black, carrion-eating bird of the Americas, akin to the condor.
     
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