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Talking the lingo in Rio: Chatting with your new Galacian speaking friends about wheelchair basketball

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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.


Like Euskara, Argonese and Catalan, the number of speakers is limited and you’ll mostly find Spaniards speaking it.  The region the language is local to has produced some fantastic Spanish Paralympians and if you’re going to athletes from the region, a few words in the language might be helpful.

General disability words:

  • abdominal – abdominal
  • Amputados – amputees
  • brazo – arm
  • Ataxia – Ataxia
  • equilibrio – balance
  • Ananos – dwarves
  • cóbados – elbows
  • Esclerose múltiple – Multiple sclerosis
  • ombros – shoulders
  • Espasticidade – Spasticity
  • espiñal – spine
  • Tríceps braquial – Triceps brachii muscle
  • tronco – trunk
  • Cadeira de rodas – wheelchair
  • pulsos – wrists
  • agudeza visual – visual acuity
  • Deficientes visuais – visual impairment
  • Cegueira – Blindness

Sport specific words:

  • Clasificación – classification
  • Nutrición – nutrition
  • Paralímpicos – Paralympics
  • Xogos Paralímpicos – Paralympic Games
  • Adestramento – training

Country specific words:

  • Australia – Australia
  • China – China
  • Cuba – Cuba
  • Grecia – Greece
  • Nixeria – Nigeria
  • Panamá – Panama
  • Rusia – Russia
  • Arabia Saudita – Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal – Senegal

Wheelchair basketball specific words:

  • Pelota – Ball
  • Prórroga – Overtime
  • Árbitro – Referee
  • Baloncesto – Basketball
  • Base – Point guard
  • Escolta – Shooting guard
  • Pivote – Center
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.

1 Comment on Talking the lingo in Rio: Chatting with your new Galacian speaking friends about wheelchair basketball

  1. I love these articles, Laura, as much as I like those about the “2020 Paralympic Games vs Parasailing” saga.
    Just a few notes, as I sailed one year along the galician coast and spent 9 months in the Ria de Vigo.
    The country’s name is Galicia, the language is gallego (in spanish) or galego (in galego 😉 ). There still are 3 000 000 galician speakers, and some linguists say there’s a “common” language – in the Middle Age they called it galaico-portuguese – now in Galicia, Portugal and Brazil they technically speak “luso-galego-brasileiro”, with quite little differences (and I saw Galician friends from Vigo talking to Portuguese from Porto or Viana de Castelo without an translation problems). So they will probably have no problems in Rio, ordering a sparkling water at the hotel bar. Great sailing little nation (basically all the sailors on Columbus fleet were gallegos) and very fond of various types of sports, kayak, rowing, basketball or handball are very popular (and of course, soccer, like everywhere in Spain). They also seem to have a quite open-minded point of view on disabilities, and families take in charge children with problems, they’re not “locked” at home as sometimes they are in other countries, you can see them on the “paseo maritimo” or sometimes practicing open-air sports.
    Quite a long comment, sorry. Thanks for your articles – Moitas Grazas (as they say in Vigo or A Coruña).

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