Multilingualism in a Football Team: The Case of IFK Mariehamn
Until recently multilingualism in sports has not been much investigated. This paper deals with multilingualism in a football club, IFK Mariehamn, in the monolingually Swedish Åland Islands between Finland and Sweden. In a questionnaire distributed to the team, special emphasis was placed on language problems encountered by the players, who have eight different L1s representing eight different nationalities. The main languages of communication within the team are Swedish and English, while Finnish, the dominant language used in the Finnish league is hardly used at all, except between the Finnish members of the team. The language used in training sessions was Swedish, while the main language of communication off the field was English. During matches and training sessions, the main language problem for the team was that there were two players who did not know Swedish and had very little knowledge of English. These linguistic shortcomings were at least partly due to players arriving late in the season, when they had not had the time to learn the restricted football vocabulary in Swedish. As their English, too, was scrappy, misunderstandings due to language problems could occur on the field.
KeywordsTraining Session Target Language Language Problem Football Club Dominant Language
Many thanks to Thomas Fonsell and all the IFK players for fruitful collaboration.
- There is a lot of research on multilingualism and there is a lot of multilingualism in sport today. Yet research combining sports and multilingualism is quite scarce, though some work on multilingualism and football has appeared recently. I have found the following studies relevant:Google Scholar
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