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Talking the lingo in Rio: Chatting with your new Spanish speaking friends about triathlon

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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.


Spanish is spoken 470 million native speakers world-wide.  As an official or default language in 20 different countries, you are almost certain to run across people who speak it.  The language is almost completely phonetic and easier for English speakers to learn than Portuguese.  If you speak it slowly, most Portuguese speakers will be able to understand you.  Spoken in  Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela, United States, Puerto Rico,  Andorra, Belize, Gibraltar, Philippines, United States, and Western Sahara, some of these countries also have deep Paralympic traditions and knowing it will help you keep up with a lot of medalists.  Spain is 8th all time on the Paralympic medal table.  Mexico is 24th.  Argentina is 29th.

General disability words:

    • Atetosis – Athetosis
    • Ceguera – Blindness
    • parálisis cerebral – Cerebral palsy
    • sordo – Deaf
    • discapacidades – Disabilities
    • Parche para el ojo – Eyepatch
    • pies – Feet
    • manos – Hands
    • Baja visión – low vision
    • Esclerosis múltiple – Multiple sclerosis
    • Distrofia muscular – Muscular dystrophy
    • Síndrome de Rett – Rett Syndrome
    • silla de ruedas – Wheelchair

Sport specific words:

  • Campana  – Bell
  • deportistas de alto rendimiento – High performance athlete
  • Federación Internacional de Deportes para Ciegos – International Blind Sports Federation
  • Paralímpica – Paralympic (feminine)
  •  deporte paralímpico – Paralympic sport
  • Músculo tríceps braquial – Triceps brachii muscle

Weather specific words and phrases:

  • La lluvia – rain
  • La llovizna – drizzle
  • La nieve – snow
  • El viento – wind
  • La nubosidad – cloudy weather
  • La tormenta – storm
  • El trueno – thunder
  • El relampago – lightening
  • La helada – frost
  • La niebla – mist
  • Hace sol. – It’s sunny.
  • Hace calor. – It’s hot.
  • Hace frío. – It’s cold.
  • Hace viento. – It’s windy.
  • Está ventoso. – It’s windy.
  • Está abochornado. – It’s muggy.
  • Hay neblina. – It’s misty.
  • Hace nubes. – It’s cloudy.
  • Está nublado. – It’s cloudy.
  • Cae aguanieve. – It’s sleeting.
  • Hay niebla. – It’s foggy.
  • Hay humedad. – It’s humid.




Triathlon specific words:

This sport makes its debut at the 2016 Summer Paralympics.  With words from swimming, athletics and cycling, knowing a few terms here can take you a long way with other sports.

  • Ciclismo – Cycling
  • Maratón – Marathon
  • Correr – Running
  • Carrera a pie – Running
  • Triatlón – Triathlon
  • Unión Internacional de Triatlón – International Triathlon Union
  • Natación – Swimming
  • Ironman – Ironman
  • Campeonato Mundial de Triatlón – ITU World Triathlon Series
  • Gorro de natación – Swim cap
  • Boya – Buoy
  • Calzado deportivo – Athletic shoe
  • Manillar – Bicycle handlebar
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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