What should be the International Olympic Committee's official language policy?


View Poll Results: What should be the IOC's official language policy?
French, English, and the local or national language, as is now the case. 16 39.02%
The local or national language only. 5 12.20%
The national and local indigenous languages. 0 0%
The six official languages of the UN plus the local or national language if different. 1 2.44%
An international auxiliary language like Esperanto plus the dominant local language. 14 34.15%
Other answer. 5 12.20%
Voters: 41. You may not vote on this poll

talloola
#61
Vancouver's olympics is successful as well, I have heard so
many good comments coming from those attending the event
in vancouver.
I have no negative thoughts about french/english, both are
our national languages, so use both of them at the extravaganza, that is the olympics.
It amazes me how this is translated into something political, and also how many have negative thoughts
towards french canada.
I loved it in Montreal when I was there for a short time,
wished I could speak french so much, it was nice hearing
it everywhere, but they also changed to english immediately
as soon as they realized we are not bi-lingual. We would
learn it in the blink of any eye if we needed it here, but
we don't, and that's too bad, it is valuable to know more
than one language.
I love all kinds of sports, so watching the athletes participate in the olympics,
for me is great.
Politically, I would not have voted to spend that much money to have it here,
let someone else spend the money, and watch it on TV, I can't go anyway, wish
I could.

The french canadian people were very gracious to us.

I voted french/english and local language.
 
L Gilbert
#62
Hey, I know. The OIC should have used katajjaq as the official language at these Olys.
 
YukonJack
#63
For future Olympic Games, the official language should be:

1. English, wherever the Games are held.

2. The official language of any unilingual country.

3. The dominant and prevaling language of the region, where the Games are held, in a multilingual country. (i.e. French when - and ONLY WHEN - the Games are held in Quebec).
 
JLM
#64
Quote: Originally Posted by L Gilbert View Post

Hey, I know. The OIC should have used katajjaq as the official language at these Olys.

I think you are getting close. Maybe ALL languages should be scrapped. When people open their mouths they generally create more problems than they solve.
 
countryboy
#65
Quote: Originally Posted by JLM View Post

I think you are getting close. Maybe ALL languages should be scrapped. When people open their mouths they generally create more problems than they solve.

Perhaps we should consider eliminating language altogether. Just show the games with those little digital score things on the screen. Then we wouldn't have to listen to the non-stop yammering of Brian Williams and his colleagues, filling otherwise dead air space with drivel and "analysis." We could also do without the tear-jerking interviews of the hopefuls who missed getting a medal. Who cares? You lost - get over it. If you have a field of 25 athletes competing for one gold medal, there are going to be 24 "losers", so if you lost, you're at least in the majority. Sheesh.

The opening and closing ceremonies would be without any controversy at all...just give us the show and never mind the talking. Ahh, wouldn't it be great?
 
Machjo
#66
Quote: Originally Posted by YukonJack View Post

For future Olympic Games, the official language should be:

1. English, wherever the Games are held.

2. The official language of any unilingual country.

3. The dominant and prevaling language of the region, where the Games are held, in a multilingual country. (i.e. French when - and ONLY WHEN - the Games are held in Quebec).

Oh I love this. If the Olympics in Beijing had had no English even though it's not even one of the nation's official languages, you would have bitched. But God forbid there should be French in Vancouver when it's one of the nation's official languages?

No double standard there
 
YukonJack
#67
Machjo, I think you misread my post.

I meant - and I thought my post was clear about it - that English, since it is THE acknowledged international language of commerce, art, industry etc. should be one of the official languages of any Olympic Games, regardless where it was held.

Points 2. and 3. were after that.

And YES, if Beijing had had the ignorance of NOT designating English as one of the official languages, I would have complained, and justifiably so.

French in Vancouver is just about as foreign as Urdu or Sanskriit.

No double stardard.
 
Machjo
#68
Quote: Originally Posted by YukonJack View Post

Machjo, I think you misread my post.

I meant - and I thought my post was clear about it - that English, since it is THE acknowledged international language of commerce, art, industry etc. should be one of the official languages of any Olympic Games, regardless where it was held.

Points 2. and 3. were after that.

And YES, if Beijing had had the ignorance of NOT designating English as one of the official languages, I would have complained, and justifiably so.

French in Vancouver is just about as foreign as Urdu or Sanskriit.

No double stardard.

So show me where it says that English is the official world language. Though about 25% of the world's population studies it, only about 10% (and this includes native speakers) really speak it well. You obviously haven't traveled much or if you have, you've stuck around the tourist traps. Travel off the beaten tourist paths, and you'll find English is nowhere to be found but on vulgar T-shirts with words you wouldn't wear yourself and which the wearer doesn't know the meaning of.

Except for most aeronautical and maritime communications, or for major multinational corporations (the vast majority of smaller businesses, even international and global ones) simply cannot afford the interpretation ad translation staff necessary. I'd worked for a few such businesses before, and they usually rely on either a neighbouring language or expect their guests to know the local language.

The idea of English being the 'Latin of the people' is ludicrous. With only 105 of the world's population knowing the language, and with English being among the more difficult world languages requiring much time and money to learn, it's about as elitist as you can get.

Looking at it that way, perhaps simply limiting the Olympic events to the local language would be a little more fair and equal, or are you worried about looking out for your privileged world status?
 
Machjo
#69
I certainly could agree in principle with not having French at the Vancouver games. But the rule must be fair and consistent across the board if we believe in justice. So if that's the case, then no English in Beijing either, unless of course you think to be civilized, one needs to know the language of Britannia?
 
Machjo
#70
The way I see it, the only just options are either:

1. Local language only,

2. local language followed by an international auxiliary language designed to be easy for all to learn,

3. Same as 2 above, but the order of precedence reversed,

4. an international auxiliary language designed for all to learn, and no other language, or

5. All languages.

5 above could be a little unmanageable mind you, but it would apply to all equally none-the-less.

As for all the other options, as diverse as they are, at least they put all on a relatively equal footing while applying the rule universally.

To insist on one ethnic language dominating all Olympics worldwide ought to belong to a bygone era of imperialism.
 
YukonJack
#71
Hey, why not resort to the language promoted by some well-meaning, but blind to the world scene, European do-gooders: ESPERANTO.

Now here is an artificial language that died on the drawing board.
 
JLM
#72
Quote: Originally Posted by YukonJack View Post

Machjo, I think you misread my post.

I meant - and I thought my post was clear about it - that English, since it is THE acknowledged international language of commerce, art, industry etc. should be one of the official languages of any Olympic Games, regardless where it was held.

Points 2. and 3. were after that.

And YES, if Beijing had had the ignorance of NOT designating English as one of the official languages, I would have complained, and justifiably so.

French in Vancouver is just about as foreign as Urdu or Sanskriit.

No double stardard.

Don't the fifty thousand residents of Maillardville count?
 
Machjo
#73
Quote: Originally Posted by YukonJack View Post

Hey, why not resort to the language promoted by some well-meaning, but blind to the world scene, European do-gooders: ESPERANTO.

Now here is an artificial language that died on the drawing board.

Ah, ignorance is bliss. This 'dead' language has established a profitable publishing industry in books, CD's, etc. It might not be quit as big as the English one, but it still stands on its own two feet without government assistance. The following is just one distributer:

UEA.ORG: Katalogo

Then we have public education. The Italian Ministry of Public Instruction added Esperanto to the list of languages students could choose from for high school graduation in 1993:

http://www.internacialingvo.org/public/study.pdf

Poland, Croatia, and Hungary in 2000; and Britain in 2000 too:

Springboard... to Languages

The Australian state of Victoria has been teaching it experimentally in some elementary schools since 1997, and a school in Halifax has stated teaching it since this past September as part of an experiment to test its propaedeutic value in language learning. Some schools in the US teach it too. For more on its propaedeutic value and research related to it, see:

http://www.springboard2languages.org..._rationale.pdf

I'd also met a few businessmen relying on Esperanto for international commerce. One man takes Polish tourists across China every year. Another relies on it for small-scale import-export. Add to that that a few radio stations around the world broadcast in Esperanto too and there are plenty of organizations, scientific, cultural, religious, political, and other that rely on Esperanto. Even Google is in Esperanto:

Google

Now as for being well-intentioned, well, God forbid that should be the case. Good intentions always lead to folly. Looking out for number one always brings about more peace between nations and peoples.
 
talloola
#74
B Cers are being very snobby by saying french should not
be part of the vancouver games, it is one of canada's
'official' languages, and when games were in montreal,
both languages were spoken, that is only right, quebec
is part of canada, lets remember that, and I want it to
remain, as part of canada, and I welcome the french language into our
vancouver games, are we really that snobby and snitty.

what's the problem anyway, is everything so good with
us bc ers, that we have to invent this political silliness.
 
Machjo
#75
Quote: Originally Posted by JLM View Post

Don't the fifty thousand residents of Maillardville count?

That depends? If the Olympics are funded by the BC or Federal government, then yes, since they're taxpayers too. Otherwise, no. As far as I'm concerned, the Olympics should have gotten no government funding, and then they could have been done in the local language, English in this case, and that could have sufficed. Though granted it would mean changing the Olympic rules.
 
YukonJack
#76
So, Machjo, do YOU speak this great language of ESPERANTO?

And how many people do you know who do?
 
Avro
#77
Until this changes the games in this country should reflect it.
 
Machjo
#78
Quote: Originally Posted by YukonJack View Post

So, Machjo, do YOU speak this great language of ESPERANTO?

And how many people do you know who do?

I speak 3 languages fluently, and that includes Esperanto. I'm also functional in spoken Mandarin Chinese, and can read some Arabic and Persian. From my experience, Esperanto is far easier to learn than either English or French.

As for my acquaintances with Esperanto speakers, I don't have many Esperanto speaking Friends in Canada, though I have a few, mostly in Quebec; but I do keep in touch with my friends abroad via the internet.

In China, however, I'd actually found Esperanto to be more useful than French or English, with only Chinese surpassing it in usefulness. As for French, most Chinese are busy learning English. And as for English, few learn it well. In most cases, they learn English in a specialized manner according to their trade or profession. As a result, beyond professional conversations, making friends in English was usually very tedious, and usually ended up more like a teacher-student relationship rather than a friendship. In fact in some cases, I ended up feeling like they were trying to use me for free English lessons.

With Esperanto I never had that problem. Sure more people spoke English than Esperanto in China, but those who knew Esperanto could actually hold an interesting non-work-related conversation. In fact, the vast majority of Esperanto speakers I'd met in China spoke it with native-like fluency, so much so that I felt like we were actually chatting in a common mother tongue. We could easily discuss literature, religion, politics, culture, etc. etc. etc. without hindrance. With English, I always felt mentally exhausted after a few hours of a 'friendly conversation', which usually degenerated into a grammar lesson.

In the end, it was much more pleasant to leave English in the office where it belonged, except when out with native English speakers or the rare case of an actually fluent English speaking Chinese who possessed the necessary vocabulary do discuss topics outside of work.

Of course as my Chinese developed, I came to find Chinese to be far more useful than Esperanto, leaving even Esperanto in the dust as far as usefulness went. But still, English was useful only for the most professionally-related of tasks, with Esperanto, though a distant second to Chinese, leaving English in the dust as far as its usefulness went in terms of actually holding a human conversation and not talking like a working robot.
 
L Gilbert
#79
Quote: Originally Posted by countryboy View Post

Perhaps we should consider eliminating language altogether. Just show the games with those little digital score things on the screen. Then we wouldn't have to listen to the non-stop yammering of Brian Williams and his colleagues, filling otherwise dead air space with drivel and "analysis." We could also do without the tear-jerking interviews of the hopefuls who missed getting a medal. Who cares? You lost - get over it. If you have a field of 25 athletes competing for one gold medal, there are going to be 24 "losers", so if you lost, you're at least in the majority. Sheesh.

The opening and closing ceremonies would be without any controversy at all...just give us the show and never mind the talking. Ahh, wouldn't it be great?

...... unless you want to catch the news over the radio.
 
L Gilbert
#80
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

I speak 3 languages fluently, and that includes Esperanto. I'm also functional in spoken Mandarin Chinese, and can read some Arabic and Persian. From my experience, Esperanto is far easier to learn than either English or French.

As for my acquaintances with Esperanto speakers, I don't have many Esperanto speaking Friends in Canada, though I have a few, mostly in Quebec; but I do keep in touch with my friends abroad via the internet.

In China, however, I'd actually found Esperanto to be more useful than French or English, with only Chinese surpassing it in usefulness. As for French, most Chinese are busy learning English. And as for English, few learn it well. In most cases, they learn English in a specialized manner according to their trade or profession. As a result, beyond professional conversations, making friends in English was usually very tedious, and usually ended up more like a teacher-student relationship rather than a friendship. In fact in some cases, I ended up feeling like they were trying to use me for free English lessons.

With Esperanto I never had that problem. Sure more people spoke English than Esperanto in China, but those who knew Esperanto could actually hold an interesting non-work-related conversation. In fact, the vast majority of Esperanto speakers I'd met in China spoke it with native-like fluency, so much so that I felt like we were actually chatting in a common mother tongue. We could easily discuss literature, religion, politics, culture, etc. etc. etc. without hindrance. With English, I always felt mentally exhausted after a few hours of a 'friendly conversation', which usually degenerated into a grammar lesson.

In the end, it was much more pleasant to leave English in the office where it belonged, except when out with native English speakers or the rare case of an actually fluent English speaking Chinese who possessed the necessary vocabulary do discuss topics outside of work.

Of course as my Chinese developed, I came to find Chinese to be far more useful than Esperanto, leaving even Esperanto in the dust as far as usefulness went. But still, English was useful only for the most professionally-related of tasks, with Esperanto, though a distant second to Chinese, leaving English in the dust as far as its usefulness went in terms of actually holding a human conversation and not talking like a working robot.

Yeah, I pretty much agree with this. I don't know Esperanto, but I do know a little Chinese and in a general sense it is immensely more descriptive than English and I'll have to take your word for it concerning Esperanto.
 
countryboy
#81
Quote: Originally Posted by L Gilbert View Post

...... unless you want to catch the news over the radio.

Charts of standings, etc. are pretty handy things to see on a TV screen. Numbers are pretty easy to read in any language!
 
YukonJack
#82
Machjo, I am not one to refuse to say sorry, if and when I am wrong.

Seems I may have been wrong here.
 
L Gilbert
#83
Quote: Originally Posted by countryboy View Post

Charts of standings, etc. are pretty handy things to see on a TV screen. Numbers are pretty easy to read in any language!

Looking at my radio doesn't tell me much. Neither does reading it. lol
 
countryboy
#84
Quote: Originally Posted by L Gilbert View Post

Looking at my radio doesn't tell me much. Neither does reading it. lol

How about a website?
 
Machjo
#85
Quote: Originally Posted by L Gilbert View Post

Yeah, I pretty much agree with this. I don't know Esperanto, but I do know a little Chinese and in a general sense it is immensely more descriptive than English and I'll have to take your word for it concerning Esperanto.

I'm not sure what you mean about Chinese being more descriptive. If you mean precise, I actually find Chinese grammar to be even more vague than that of English, and English itself is known as a grammatically imprecise language!

As for Esperanto, it is precise, though I suppose we'd expect that from a planned language. Yet its precision does not come at the expense of ease of learning in the least. I'd learnt it on my own with a self-instruction grammar and a dictionary within no more than about 100 hours. Compare that to the hundreds of hours children spend in school learning English or French as a second language and still can't speak it.
 
Machjo
#86
Quote: Originally Posted by YukonJack View Post

Machjo, I am not one to refuse to say sorry, if and when I am wrong.

Seems I may have been wrong here.


No problem. We can all be wrong at times. There is actually some really good original literature available in Esperanto too, from poetry books to novels, many of them profitably published and distributed worldwide.

For me, it just bewilders the imagination that governments in both English and French Canada spend so much money on teaching English and French as a second language with most children failing to learn it just because it's too difficult, and then having to become politically involved to get everything translated into their language because that's the only way they can access it. All of this while we have a language like Esperanto that any Canadian could learn to fluency at a fraction of the cost (in both time, money, and frustration) that it takes to learn English or French (a number of studies put Esperanto at five to ten times easier to learn than either of our official languages!). And since people could actually learn it successfully, we could all easily accept Esperanto as a compromise. Yet, since it would be a common second language to all, Esperanto interpretors would be a dime a dozen, along with Esperanto teachers.

In fact, since all Canadians would know it as a second language anyway, interpretation would not even be needed at any pan-Canadian event. Everyone could just use their common second language, with English and French being reserved for provincial-level events. And an added bonus is that neither side would feel inferior to the other.

This could save much money at the UN level too, and save lives when we consider that an estimated 15% of plane crashes in the world are cause by simple linguistic miscommunication. 15% might not seem like much bu when lives are at stake, even 1% is a lot.
 
L Gilbert
#87
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

I'm not sure what you mean about Chinese being more descriptive. If you mean precise, I actually find Chinese grammar to be even more vague than that of English, and English itself is known as a grammatically imprecise language!

As for Esperanto, it is precise, though I suppose we'd expect that from a planned language. Yet its precision does not come at the expense of ease of learning in the least. I'd learnt it on my own with a self-instruction grammar and a dictionary within no more than about 100 hours. Compare that to the hundreds of hours children spend in school learning English or French as a second language and still can't speak it.

One Chinese character for an apple, for instance, is very much more descriptive than saying "apple". The couple I know mean red apple and ripe apple, as opposed to just apple. (or something like that. It's been a while since I used them)
 
Spade
#88
An apple a day, keeps "le docteur" away? Mind you, after a while that get a little pommy!
 
Machjo
#89
Quote: Originally Posted by L Gilbert View Post

One Chinese character for an apple, for instance, is very much more descriptive than saying "apple". The couple I know mean red apple and ripe apple, as opposed to just apple. (or something like that. It's been a while since I used them)

Yes, Chinese, like English, is an excellent language for puns and word plays. However, that's also precisely what makes it more vague than many other languages. Just as a native English speaker can sometimes misinterpret the meaning of another native English speaker when punning, so the same can occur with Chinese. Also, you don't want a language full of possible double meanings for aeronautical communication!

This is a well-written article on the subject from someone working in the industry:

Misfunctional FAA phraseology
 
L Gilbert
#90
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

Yes, Chinese, like English, is an excellent language for puns and word plays. However, that's also precisely what makes it more vague than many other languages. Just as a native English speaker can sometimes misinterpret the meaning of another native English speaker when punning, so the same can occur with Chinese. Also, you don't want a language full of possible double meanings for aeronautical communication!

This is a well-written article on the subject from someone working in the industry:

Misfunctional FAA phraseology

I did say generally. lol Specifically, well, it depends upon the discipline. I find Latin to be more descriptive than other languages when it comes to the classification of forms of life, for instance. Inuits have a variety of terms for "snow" whereas we have only a modest few.
 

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