Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Power of Languages


          ----- THE POWER OF LANGUAGES !!!!----

By Andre E Baptiste

There are several languages  at these London Olympics and some of them are a version of English , which even Trinidad and Tobago citizens have trouble understanding despite the fact that we can speak fast . Several of the workers in London, are not from london , so there are some Geordie accents , that would leave you still guessing , at what was said , much less to understand , what directional route they are advising you on .

The Scottish though have to be the worst, they seem to speak so that only Scotsmen can understand , even the Englishmen are struggling to understand what was being said by them, but then the Scots and the English do not seem generally to be the best of friends.

As we talk best of friends , the Jamaicans are not making too many friends with their boastful nature,before , during and after the mens and women's 100 metres finals . It is sad that the journalists from Jamaica can make themselves so disliked by not only many from Europe and Africa , but also from some in the Caribbean , with their constant taunting , while most of us , may accept it as a joke . I am not very certain, that in particular proud Barbadians are too happy with all the suggestions , about what has happened to most of their Olympic athletes since Obadele Thompson married Marion Jones. Just the inference , can cause a conflict in most cases.

What was particularly interesting was the fact , that whatever the language spoken, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Russian, German  or Dutch , there was a general sense of competitiveness among the journalists , in particular , the Eastern Block of Europe , were very much against the Westerners , and while one may not understand their spoken word ( language) , it was their body language , that many times exposed their true feelings and thoughts.

I understand a little Spanish, French and some Japanese words, so it was much more clear cut in dealing with them, but it does lead to the question of people stigmatizing you , just as is done in the Olympics , with the Swimming events , there was a belief , that preference was given to white coloured skin media as not many black persons are involved in swimming and while this might be in the minority , it is certainly another aspect of the games that the London Organizing Committee , needs to address

For the most parts , it has been extremely interesting sharing discussions on sports with journalists from all over the world . In particularly , once you are revealed as a West Indian and especially a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, a number of the Indian media gravitate to you , to talk cricket . It is they say , India’s greatest passion, and they cannot wait for its introduction into the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee , have already given its approval to the ICC , to introduce cricket most likely from 2020 Olympics and that should be rather interesting .

These olympics have certainly been able as well to draw spectators from all over the world and that is why young La Londe Gordon’s bronze medal on Monday night in the 400 metres, was very significant , as it allowed the world to hear , another Caribbean island name besides Jamaica . And for this , we have to thank sports for providing the powerful backdrop to this sort of promotion.

As , we looked at the many persons from around the world , it was rather interesting , that a lot of the journalists thought , I was either from Turkey , Spain or Morocco . Similarly , when I examined the looks of the public , it was hard to positively tell their country of birth . The one thing was certain, that a lot of Pakistan / Indian persons ran most of the small shops/ groceries in London , and they employed mainly their families in the said business.

This sort of stereotyping , while not always  good is what may have caused many of the Americans journalists during the interviewing of La Londe Gordon , Kirani James ( Grenada) and Luguelin Santos ( Dominican Republic), to wonder if “ All of you guys are friends being from the Caribbean, and is this is a plan to take over 400 metres running from the United States ,”

What he did not say , was - That the USA had won the last seven 400 metres and this was the first time an American had not qualified for a 400 metres  final since 1896 ( except for 1980 when they boycotted the Olympics).

It is this sort of paranoid , that is not good in life and sports, but unfortunately it still exists , and if the USA want to be afraid of the Caribbean now in the 400 metres after the fear the region has imposed in the 100 and 200 metres , so be it.

:: AB

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