Neymar’s lionized arrival in Paris, which was likely impossible for you to miss, demonstrated France’s ability to welcome foreign athletes.
While they are not all accompanied by such enthusiastic media coverage and fan excitement, many athletes from different parts of the world arrive every month to play for various French clubs. Whether it is football, basketball, or even handball, these athletes must benefit from the best conditions to integrate and to adapt to our “French way of life” in order to balance their professional commitments and their personal lives.
Understanding the French goes beyond learning the French language. Those athletes and their families have to grasp and decode our habits in order to experience a successful expatriation on all levels.
Linguistic and cultural coaching is often necessary to facilitate their integration and boost their confidence. What does this mean ?
The end of the Globish tyranny
Wikipedia states that ‘Globish’ is the result of the contraction of the words ‘global’ and ‘English’ and refers to a simplified version of the English language, using only its most common words and expressions. This impoverished Esperanto is the favorite dialect of people from different nationalities when they want to communicate in English.
Globish is particularly widespread in the sports world. It cannot be denied that it is practical and used during practice on the floor/pitch/court.
Nevertheless, it is still very limited as far as vocabulary and structures are concerned which can appear to diminish the athletes’ intellectual capabilities. So why not provide them with linguistic and cultural support ?
A recent survey carried by a language learning application declared the French language as being “the sexiest language in the world”. Our customs, habits (and quirks) are famous throughout the world, why not share and explain them to the athletes in order for them to really feel at home in France? They will perform better if they are more adapted to their environment.
Language coaching also contributes to reinforcing the everlasting Latin proverb “Mens sana in corpore sano”, together with the physical practices.
It helps athletes improve daily interpersonal exchanges and in a certain way, can remove possible complexes. They will be better equipped to understand the local people but also to surprise and please them. Who doesn’t appreciate a foreigner who attempts to communicate with you in your own language ? The French are (sometimes) chauvinistic and appreciate when visitors are interested in their culture and their language. Their welcome will be even warmer when athletes take a step towards them !
Acculturation … and Strategy
Learning a new language brings about more elements to understand people’s mindsets and structure. These types of insights will allow athletes to understand how their foreign hosts operate. It will also enable them to interpret their counterparts’ reactions, to anticipate or to emphasize them.
It is not only a question of becoming bilingual. Although, why not ? It is also a question of interpreting the cultural codes.
This acculturation will bring an additional advantage to the athletes by suppressing the distance brought about by “Globish” or the English that is spoken among players and foster deeper exchanges.
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