Olympics


Olympics

Brazilians Speak Portuguese, but the Olympics Must Use French

9 August 2016 (NY Times)

Rio de Janeiro - Michaëlle Jean, secretary general of the International Organization of la Francophonie, spent a recent morning at the sultry Lagoa Olympic venue, where the world’s most exciting rowing was taking place. She was not so interested in what was happening on the water.

“You will notice that the commentators are not speaking French,” she said, indignantly. “In the venue, none of the signs are in French.”

Monitoring the use of French at the Olympics is a frustrating and quixotic job, particularly when the Games are being held in a non-French-speaking country preoccupied with non-French-related matters like street crime, economic chaos and how to cram thousands of excitable spectators into the beach volleyball venue. But Rule 23 of the Olympic charter states that the Games have two official languages, and Ms. Jean’s organization, which represents 80 Francophone countries, is determined to make sure nobody forgets that one of them is French (the other is English).

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Related Links

Is English the Lingua Franca of International Sports? (Transparent Language blog, 10 August 2016)

Olympic Games 2012: Legacy — Motion to Take Note

25 January 2013 (They Work For You)

Baroness Coussins raises the question in the Lords as to whether we took seriously enough the commitment to deliver a multilingual Games, and consequently whether we have short-changed ourselves on this aspect of the Olympic legacy.

Visit the website to read the full transcript.

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