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Talking the lingo in Rio: Chatting with your new French speaking friends about athletics

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This article is a series of language learning posts by ParaSport News.  The goal is to provide sport fans some very basic sport and Paralympic vocabulary so you can talk with the world about disability sport at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio.


France is a traditional Paralympic power, ranking fourth all time in total medals.  Canada, which has its own sizable French speaking population, ranks right behind them at fifth.  Having a few words of French will serve you well in Rio as a sport fan.  In addition, there are 77 million native speakers world wide, and an additional 140 million people have some degree of fluency with the language. French speakers are everywhere, including Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Gabon, Finland, Guinea, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Italy, Luxembourg, Lebanon, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Netherlands, Niger, Romania, Switzerland, Togo, Vanuatu.  If you want to practice your French, you should easily be able to find some one to speak with in Rio.


Sport specific words:

  • entraîneurs – Coaches
  • Disqualifié – disqualified
  • Coupe d’Europe – European Cup
  • match – Game
  • l’or – Gold
  • blessées – Injured
  • Photo-finish – Photo finish
  • résultats  – Results
  • Équipe – Team

General useful phrases:

  • félicitations – Congraulations
  • Fréquence cardiaque – heart rate

Country specific words:

  • Danemark – Denmark
  • Italie – Italy
  • Mexico – Mexico
  • Portugal – Portugal
  • Espagne – Spain

Athletics specific words:

  • Athlétisme – Athletics
  • Athlète  – athlete
  • disque -discus
  • Disqualifié – disqualified
  • Hurdleur – hurdler
  • Semi-marathon – half marathon
  • Indoor – Indoor
  • javelot – javelin
  • Saut en longueur – long jump
  • Marathon – marathon
  • Cage – protective net around field throwing events
  • Club – athletic club
  • Décathlon – decathlon
  • Demi-fond – middle distance
  • Photo-finish – Photo finish
  • Relais – relay
  • Vitesse – speed
  • Sprint – sprint
  • Bloc de départ – starting block
  • Starting-block – starting block
  • Pistolet – starting gun
  • Piste – track
  • Vent – wind



Laura Hale
About Laura Hale (2569 Articles)
Laura Hale is a sport journalist, specializing in Paralympic and disability sport news. Prior to helping found ParaSport-News, she spent two and a half years working as a journalist on Wikinews, a citizen journalism site. As a journalist, she has covered the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in La Molina, the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, and a number of other sporting events. She has additional experience with Paralympic sport having worked as a Wikipedian in Residence for the Australian and Spanish Paralympic Committees. She has a PhD in Communications from the University of Canberra.

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