It’s official: Sport is BACK, and we’re here for it. We love the playful rivalry between people, teams and countries; we love the camaraderie and the excitement that’s tinged onto each match and race. Plus, this year there’s been something for everyone. If football isn’t your thing, you can watch Federer and Djokovic smash their sets at Wimbledon, and if you prefer to see some variety with a healthy serving of globality, then you’re in luck as the Olympics has just begun.
But what does this have to do with language and connection? Well, more than you might think. There are very few things that bring people together quite like sports (especially international tournaments). When countries take part in international sports events, people all over the world are united through recognising when athletes achieve something amazing. Sport (and its dichotomy of heroes, villains, victories and losses) unite countries under a common language that can be understood by all. It can start a real conversation between people who otherwise may not have much in common.
Sport can also help people acquire a language and connect with others, because it puts language into a real-world context. You might find it useful to immerse yourself in real-life language by listening to sports commentators, or if you’re living abroad and join a local team, you’ll learn to communicate with your teammates and truly get to know them. In other words, when you find a shared interest with someone else, you can understand them and their culture on a deeper level.
Not only that, sport has actually affected change in language itself. Over the last few Olympic games, the nouns ‘medal’ and ‘podium’ were used as verbs when talking about successful athletes, and the latter is also often used in F1 Racing commentary. If you identify as somewhat of a language purist and you feel kinda sceptical about this, you’re not alone.
So, whether you’re a football fanatic or couldn’t think of anything more boring than watching people kick a ball around a field, it’s clear that sport is a part of our shared culture that needs no translation.
(Chido means 'cool' in Mexican Spanish, by the way 😎)
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