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Old 07-25-04, 08:34 PM   #1
only-haley
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communication in multi-lingual teams

Hey, here's something I've always wanted to know. How is the communication handled in teams with riders of different nationalities/languages? Like, you know, there's Sergei Ivanov and Vinokourov on T-Mobile but everyone else speaks German (including, I assume, the sportif). And there's a couple of Russian riders on Illes-Balears who probably (?) don't speak Spanish. What languages are the team meetings in? Do they just re-state everything in English, or do they have translators? Bjarne Riis's team has Spanish and Italian riders so I can't imagine they communicate in Danish. Credit Agricole has a Russian and Norwegian riders. I love the diversity of teams and I've always been curious...thanks.

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Old 07-25-04, 08:42 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by only-haley
Hey, here's something I've always wanted to know. How is the communication handled in teams with riders of different nationalities/languages? Like, you know, there's Sergei Ivanov and Vinokourov on T-Mobile but everyone else speaks German (including, I assume, the sportif). And there's a couple of Russian riders on Illes-Balears who probably (?) don't speak Spanish. What languages are the team meetings in? Do they just re-state everything in English, or do they have translators? Bjarne Riis's team has Spanish and Italian riders so I can't imagine they communicate in Danish. Credit Agricole has a Russian and Norwegian riders. I love the diversity of teams and I've always been curious...thanks.

xHaley

French teams all speak French....and only French.
Spanish teams pretty much the same, but those Russians have been racing in Spain a long time, so they should have no probs with the lingo. Remember also that language is intesively taught in European schools right through high school.

Everyone else is pretty much a mixture of whatever gets you by....the longer you are a pro, the more proficient you become.
Look at guys like Marcel Wust and Johan Bruyneel....there's no-one on Tour they couldn't communicate with!!
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Old 07-25-04, 10:24 PM   #3
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I've wondered what language Lance and Jan speak on the rare occasions they do speak. Lance doesn't speak German and Jan apparently speaks little English. I wonder if they speak in French.
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Old 07-25-04, 10:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by hollow
I've wondered what language Lance and Jan speak on the rare occasions they do speak. Lance doesn't speak German and Jan apparently speaks little English. I wonder if they speak in French.
Jan speaks decent English from what I've heard. There was a segment on NPR a while ago that played a brief clip of Jan describing his ITT stage win last year. Something like "I'm incredibly lucky to have won this stage, and I'm back". Thick accent but very understandable.
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Old 07-25-04, 10:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by only-haley
Jan speaks decent English from what I've heard. There was a segment on NPR a while ago that played a brief clip of Jan describing his ITT stage win last year. Something like "I'm incredibly lucky to have won this stage, and I'm back". Thick accent but very understandable.

Kind of like The Terimator?
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Old 07-26-04, 12:35 AM   #6
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A lot of them speak "bike racer french", you only need a dozen or so phrases to get your point across.
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Old 07-26-04, 12:45 AM   #7
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A lot of them speak "bike racer french", you only need a dozen or so phrases to get your point across.

^^

......true.
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Old 07-26-04, 03:12 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by hollow
I've wondered what language Lance and Jan speak on the rare occasions they do speak. Lance doesn't speak German and Jan apparently speaks little English. I wonder if they speak in French.

I think they most likely they spoke in English. Lance had said previously (last year before le tour started while Ullrich was still in Bianchi in pre-tour preraces) that they had chatted on the bike for a little bit and basically said something in the nature that Jan's english is better than his german - so they conversed in english.

Jan's english isn't perfect - but for a former east german it is pretty good.
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Old 07-26-04, 06:01 AM   #9
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Lance said that with all the Spanish riders on Postal, they speak Spanglish.
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Old 07-26-04, 09:31 AM   #10
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USPS/Discover Channel spoke 6 languages during the TdF: Engish, Spanish, Cezch, Russian, Portuguese, and Flemish between the riders and directer sportif.
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Old 07-27-04, 10:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by only-haley
Jan speaks decent English from what I've heard. There was a segment on NPR a while ago that played a brief clip of Jan describing his ITT stage win last year. Something like "I'm incredibly lucky to have won this stage, and I'm back". Thick accent but very understandable.
Must be a fairly recent thing, then. Just a few years ago he really didn't speak any English. But I now seem to remember that he's been to the US recently, so he probably does speak at least passable English. Probably about as good as my French is when I travel over there. But I seem to get along alright in the UK. They all seem to speak pretty good American.
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Old 07-27-04, 10:57 AM   #12
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I think there was a mention on the Lance Chronicles about the conversation around the team table. I thought that LA said they mostly spoke Spanish but that Eki, a native Russian speaker, is better in English than Spanish so he was an honorary Am.Eng. speaker.

Did anyone see the Wachovia USPro race earlier in the year? The winner was a Spaniard on an Italian team. The American interviewer asked him about the race in Italian, the racer answered in Spanish, and the interviewer translated his answer back into English.

Interesting topic.
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Old 07-27-04, 10:56 PM   #13
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I have an Argentine born coworker married to an Italian born wife. He has never learned Portuguese but says he can understand it-if they speak it slowly enough he can understand every single word. He says Italian and Portuguese are extremely similar.

I would suspect that most Romance languages are similar enough and still primarily reflect their Latin base such that one listener from that group can understand another speaking in a different language from that group-particularly if you exclude French and Romanian which have seen more outside influence in their language.

Mongolian and Turkish are in the same language group. A coworker had a Turkish neighbor traveling in Mongolia that was able to converse comfortably in Turkish with his Mongolian taxi drive who was speaking Mongolian.
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Old 07-28-04, 11:44 AM   #14
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Pro cyclists get to be pretty cosmopolitan. Lance lived in Nice before moving to Girona so he picked up some French and now, I'm sure, some Spanish. Others live in Italy and pick up Italian. Bob Roll did and is fluent. You would be surprised at the number of Europeans who speak several languages. There is almost always someone on a team who can help interpret when needed.
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