HIL, the English pri­mary

The Hockey Paper - - HOCKEY INDIA LEAGUE -

SMATTERINGS of English can be heard in most con­ver­sa­tions in the locker rooms of In­dian sport­ing teams, which bring to­gether ath­letes from dif­fer­ent re­gions of the coun­try speak­ing di­verse lan­guages.

Be­sides Hindi, the coun­try’s most widely spo­ken lan­guage, sports stars speak more than a dozen other prom­i­nent lan­guages and di­verse di­alects.

In­ter­mit­tent English and Hindi are of­ten the tools of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, but not all are com­fort­able con­vers­ing in English, while for­eign ac­cents com­pli­cate things fur­ther.

Watch­ing sig­nals from team­mates has helped the In­dian play­ers, es­pe­cially young­sters, over­come the hes­i­tancy of us­ing English.

“Con­vers­ing with the English-speak­ing team-mates in the HIL has im­proved our lan­guage skills. Ear­lier, we couldn’t com­mu­ni­cate to in­ter­na­tional um­pires when ask­ing for a video re­fer­ral,” In­dian striker Man­deep Singh said.

“We had to rely on some­one who knew English in the team or who could ex­plain it to our cap­tain. [Now] the hes­i­tancy in try­ing to con­verse in Eng­land has gone.”

Man­deep re­called an in­ci­dent a few sea­sons ago when his room­mate Floris Evers asked him to set the alarm for 7.30am as the team had a morn­ing flight. “I could barely man­age bro­ken English and it made things dif­fi­cult for us,” he said.

“I as­sumed that Floris was in­form­ing me he had set the alarm and will wake me up. In this con­fu­sion, both of us kept sleep­ing while the en­tire team sat in the bus wait­ing for us.”

Ap­par­ently, the man­ager’s phone call to the room was not mu­sic to their ears, but the team-mates un­der­stood the com­edy of er­rors.

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