19 April 2007

Communication Between Players (or, it isn't "Hello Llama!")

I've been struggling with a post for most of the day, and I abandoned it when I read this Washington Post article on bilingual soccer instruction. I should confess that I don't speak Spanish. For over a month I was confused why Telefutura advertisements kept saying (I thought) "Hello Llama!" whenever a phone number appeared. So I'm pleased to see how bilingual soccer is not just a way of coaches communicating with high-school students in a tongue that makes them comfortable, but also helps facilitate English assimilation:

Washington-Lee's passing drill last week was already under way when Morotaya, who arrived late, finished stretching. He approached Carrasquillo to ask for permission to join one of the teams in the drill.

"Estoy listo," Morotaya said.

"Okay," Carrasquillo responded. "Now tell me in English."

Morotaya paused, took a breath and said, "I'm ready."

"When I'm talking to Luis . . . I'll ask him something and he'll start to say it in Spanish," Carrasquillo said. "I'll say, 'I don't speak Spanish.' And he knows when I do that, I want it in English. I do it to counterbalance."

And I'm very pleased to see that this works both ways:

Stephen Dunlap, the captain, says it helps the team come together. He takes advanced Spanish classes in school, so when he goes out to eat with Latino teammates, he orders in Spanish. And the Latino players enjoy a few laughs at Dunlap's expense when he makes mistakes in their tongue.

This entire article is just a fascinating read. As I've said before, I love the atmosphere within soccer for its diversity of culture, language, and expression. That such things are taking root within the area at all levels should please everyone. This seems like a great win-win situation for all of us.

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2 Comments:

At 19 April, 2007 18:25, Blogger Kinney said...

Glad you posted on this. I thought about it, but wasn't sure if it was appropriate and was bogged down in work. It really is a great read, and it talks about my alma mater.

 
At 20 April, 2007 09:14, Anonymous haveyouseenlucky said...

I had always wondered if this is ever an issue at the professional level.

 

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