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Talking the lingo in Rio: Chatting with your new Italian speaking friends about table tennis

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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.


There are 64 million native speakers of Italian.  While the vast majority are found in Italy, you can also find them in Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, Slovenia, Croatia, Somalia, Eritrea and Libya.  Italy is no stranger to the Paralympic Games, ranking thirteenth all time in total medals, right behind Norway and ahead of Russia.  You should find more than a few Italian speakers in Rio.  And if you’re armed with a few words, you should be able to use them with Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Galacian and French speakers who should be able to understand them as the languages are close enough that when you speak slowly, they can understand them.

General disability words:

  • Atassia – Ataxia
  • Atetosi – Athetosis
  • disabilità – Disability
  • non vedenti – Blind
  • Cecità – Blindness
  • Paralisi cerebrale infantile – Cerebral palsy
  • Ipovisione – low vision
  • Sclerosi multipla – Multiple sclerosis
  • Distrofia muscolare – Muscular dystrophy

Sport specific words:

  • atleta – Athlete
  • tecnici – coach
  • dimostrativi – Demonstration
  • Diametro – Diameter
  • Sport per disabili – Disability sport
  • l’equipaggiamento  – Equipment
  • International Blind Sports Federation – International Blind Sports Federation
  • Coppa Italia – Italian Cup
  •  Finale – Final
  • Campionato dell’Oceania – Oceania Championships
  • Qualifiche – Qualifiers
  • Quarti finale – Quarter final
  • Giochi paralimpici – Paralympic Games
  • movimento paralimpico – Paralympic movement
  • Profilo – Profile
  • Marcatori – The scorers were
  • Semifinale – Semifinal
  • Periodizzazione – Sports periodization
  • Muscolo tricipite brachiale – Triceps brachii muscle
  • Massa – Weight

Country specific words:

  • Ungheria – Hungary
  • Austria – Austria
  • Germania – Germany
  • Nuova Zelanda – New Zealand
  • Islanda – Iceland
  • Italia – Italy

Sport related adjectives and phrases words:

  • Fa caldo. – It’s warm.
  • Fa freddo. – It’s cold.
  • È ventoso. – It’s windy
  • È burrascoso. – It’s stormy.
  • Fa caldo. – It’s hot.
  • È soleggiato. – It’s sunny.
  • È nuvoloso. – It’s cloudy.
  • E’ umido. – It’s humid.


Table tennis specific words:

  • Sport della racchetta – Racket sports
  • Continental – Continental grip
  • Effetto Magnus – Magnus effect
  • Tennistavolo – Table tennis
  • Campionati mondiali di tennistavolo – World Table Tennis Championships


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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