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This is an extract from 'The Sheltering Sky' by Paul Bowles:

One day a Targui comes, he is tall and handsome, on a beautiful mehari. He talks to Outka, Minouna, and Aicha, he tells them about the desert, down there where he lives, his bled, and they listen, and their eyes are big. Then he says: ' Dance for me' , and they danced.

What's the meaning of 'his bled' here?

(Pag 33 e-book version)

  • Are you sure you copied the extract into your question correctly? "down their he lives" seems incredibly wrong. Anyway, given that "The Sheltering Sky" is set in North Africa, it's probably this definition: "(in parts of French North Africa) Hinterland, field." – senshin May 4 '14 at 11:08
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    There is this (sense 2), meaning a hinterland or veld, particularly in parts of Africa; that seems to fit your context here. “Down their he lives” is not a sentence that makes sense. Does the original perhaps say “Down where he lives”? (Edit: Beaten to it by senshin!) – Janus Bahs Jacquet May 4 '14 at 11:10
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The original states

"There are three girls from the mountains, from a place near Marhnia's bled, and they are called Outka, Mimouna and Aïcha." "...One day a Targui comes, he is tall and handsome, on a beautiful mehari; he talks to Outka, Mimouna and Aïcha, he tells them about the desert, down there where he lives, his bled, and they listen, and their eyes are big. Then he says: 'Dance for me,' and they dance."

"Bled" seems, in context, to mean the place where one dwells. In Morrocan, "bled" means "town".

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Bled is a current word in French, a derogative word for village, taken from Arabic in the north-west of Africa.

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