What language(s) do they use??
Replies: 24 - Last Post: Jul 10, 2012 8:15 AM Last Post By: VinnyD
Jun 26, 2012 9:55 PM
What language(s) do they use??If a country has 2 or more official languages, what language(s) do the players and coaches in their national sports teams use?
For example, do all the players representing Switzerland have to be able to speak German?
Is Flemish - the majority language - required of all Belgian players, even though many Francophone Belgians speak little or no Flemish?
Jun 27, 2012 8:10 AM
Jun 27, 2012 11:31 AM
2In Canada, I would expect them to speak English. Majority rules I guess.
Jun 28, 2012 12:26 AM
3Yeah, however I assume in such countries they normally choose the best players available, with their ethnicity and language being secondary considerations. But if you imagine a Belgian team where there are 9 Flemish speakers and 2 French speakers on the field of play, and the French speakers have little or no command of Flemish, then language suddenly becomes a key issue. And, mutatis mutandis - you can imagine a similar situation with a Swiss national team.
I would've predicted francophone Canadian players on a national team would be expected to have a good grasp of English, and the same would be expected of Afrikaans-speaking South African players representing their country in team sports. It's the countries like Switzerland and Belgium, where the language divide is more substantial, that got me wondering about this question.
Jun 28, 2012 12:53 AM
4I see there are a people with French and Italian names in the latest Switzerland squad reported on Wikipedia, but they are outnumbered by the people with names that are not in any Swiss language: two are Albanian for starters. Swiss people tend to use high German (ie as opposed to the Swiss-German that Swiss-Germans might speak among themselves) in mixed language situations, which they would all be expected to have some command of.
Jun 28, 2012 4:08 AM
5I imagine you'd generally have more problems on Premier League teams and equivalents in other countries, where players and coaches can come from anywhere. They manage.
I met a young guy in Saudi Arabia who had come there with his father, a Lebanese Brazilian, not having much of a clue about what kind of work he'd be able to find, who had landed a job as interpreter for a Saudi club when they hired a Portuguese coach.
Jun 28, 2012 12:42 PM
6Most Flemish Belgians know at least some French, while most Walloons know zero Flemish.
Most German-speaking Swiss know fairly good French (and possibly some Italian), French-speaking Swiss tend to refuse to speak anything other than French.
Not sure about Italian (or Romansch) speaking Swiss, never met any.
Jun 28, 2012 12:45 PM
Flemish describes a people, like Walloon does. The Walloon speak French and the Flemish speak Dutch.
Much like Australians speak English and Austrians German.
Jun 28, 2012 4:14 PM
8#7, so French is most likely the language the Swiss team would use, by the look of it. Thank you.
Jun 29, 2012 8:12 AM
9MTL - All the Belgians I've ever met called their language Flemish and insisted that it was (somewhat) different from Dutch.
Mel - Except that almost all of the Swiss players would be German speakers, at least on all the Swiss national teams I've ever seen play.........
Jun 29, 2012 1:47 PM
10#10, maybe- but none of the Belgians I speak to (in Dutch) do that.
you must have been limited in your understanding
Belgians and Dutch read many of the same books and watch the some of the same TV programmes.
The Dutch and Flemish governments jointly manage the Dutch language through the Nederlandse Taalunie http://taalunieversum.org/taalunie/ because it's one language.
If you type in Google 'Belgium languages' Google will give you a very clear answer:
And the official portal of the Belgian Government gives the following options in terms of language choice:
(top left) : NL FR EN DE
Guess what NL stands for?
You may have heard whatever you have heard but OP's question is as nonsensical as asking whether a trade delegation from Mexico to the US would speak Mexican or American in meetings.
I never understand why this is so hard for Anglophones to grasp- everybody knows the Swiss speak German and French, the Walloons speak French, Canadians speak English and French, Australians speak English but suddenly the Flemish have their own language?
Jun 30, 2012 5:42 AM
Jul 2, 2012 1:41 AM
There are several Romansch dialects (5 spoken and one literary form are dignified with names according to Wikipedia), which is quite a lot for just 35,000 first-language users. One day I spotted 4 substantially different Romansch words for "welcome" written up on boards within about 10km, so it all seems very confusing. These dialects can be considered to be equally related to a wider group of dialects called Rhaeto-Romance, which overall is much more spoken in Italy than in Switzerland. Many of the speakers in Italy would call their language Ladin or Friulan. The last is the most common: there are about 800,000 speakers of Friulan.
Jul 2, 2012 2:56 AM
Jul 2, 2012 3:09 AM
14#13 & #14:
Interesting. It must be a sign of the times that Belgians and Swiss are often more comfortable speaking a foreign language than one of their "own" languages.
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