Tuesday 12 December 2017

Sorry Trap, but not learning English speaks volumes about your priorities

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni still uses an interpreter here
Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni still uses an interpreter here

'DO you know what I think is terrible about Trapattoni?" said the big Donegal man sitting across the cafeteria table. "After all this time in the job, he still can't speak English! There he is with his translator at his side. All this time in the country and he still doesn't speak English! Sure, how could he do the job at all?"

On the Friday, I had just travelled in a aircraft full of Swedish football fans, all of whom spoke flawless English. Then, English is easy for Scandinavians – Swedish itself has been described as a cross between German and English, and when the Nordic countries get together in their Scandinavian unions they often communicate in Swenglish (a mixture of Swedish and English) – this being a lingua franca for Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, Finns and Icelanders.

It's different for an Italian. English is more difficult for the Latin-speaking peoples: English with its idiosyncratic spellings, lack of regular grammar, and general eccentricities (consider the number of ways we use the auxiliary verb "to get").

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