Language of Sports
We usually think of business and travel as being the primary reasons why most people learn a foreign language. Those really are great motivations to learn a second language because motivation is what you need to stay focused. However there are others reasons to learn another language. There is the language of sports that is spoken around the world.
Sports, particularly international sports, which could fall under travel because athletes travel from country to country, gives athletes the opportunity to learn other languages. Both the Summer and Winter Olympics are among the largest gathering of athletes from all over the world. These events give them a chance to interact with one another in their sport and during down times.
Sports on the Olympic Games level is only one aspect of international sports. There are professional and amateur sports teams that travel all over the world to play teams in other countries. When those players go to other countries to play, they not only become acquainted with the other team but tend to soak up the local culture . Having been exposed to these different languages it is only natural they pick up a few words and phrases here and there. The language of sports crosses all boundaries.
Professional players in particular sometimes learn two or three languages, after all, they may want to play for a team in another country. That would help with a transition and it makes them able to get up to speed faster with the other team.
What are some of the major international sports? Here is a short list:
- Weight Lifting
- Ice Skating
- Table Tennis
Many of these sports are governed by international sports federations like the IOC, (International Olympic Committee), FITA, (International Archery Federation) or the ITF, (International Tennis Federation). These organizations are all non-governmental they implement the rules and regulations for both athletes and their supporters.
The exchange of languages and cultures through sports has gone a long way in helping diplomacy between countries. Do you remember how table tennis helped the China – United States relationship begin to thaw out? There is a concept that one day, instead of meeting on a battle ground disputes between countries can be solved in the sports arena.
Amateur sports which are played internationally also gives those athletes opportunities to learn languages. Some sports such as boxing and golf clearly separate the professional player status from the amateur. While there is ongoing debate about that, amateur sports it is still up close competition which allows for the exchange of cultures and languages.
Learning a new language can be challenging but for athletes who play in competition with other countries it can be fun and may also be the beginning of friendship through the language of sports that may last a lifetime.
As Nelson Mandela said, “Sports can create hope where there was only despair“
Filed under: Foreign Languages
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