Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Learning Spanish: a three-month course

Grahame Jones of the LA Times was another English-speaking reporter out at Tuesday's presser. Jones talked about Eriksson's Spanish-speaking ability and started his story about a bit of a misunderstanding between Eriksson and a reporter, who asked Eriksson if he now eats chiles. As an aside, it's sort of a badge of honor for a foreigner to eat a heaping pile of jalapenos or drizzle of some spicy salsa over a plate of food.

It was a bit unfair, of course, since the opponent is Chile and he was asked several times about Chile earlier. I'm sure he picked up on the word "chile" and thought of the opponent so he began talking about the country.

Everyone laughed it off, of course. But that just shows that he's been accepted by the media and possibly the public at large.

After all, the man speaks Spanish. He knew no Spanish, had never even been to Mexico, before he was hired. But now he does all of his pressers in Spanish and has taken an interest in learning about the Mexican culture and history. He said he's visited the Museo Nacional de Antropología often and learned about the Mayans, for instance.

He's shown not only a desire to acclimate himself with the country beyond the sport and his job but a true interest in learning about his new country.

And while people may criticize his player choices, they can't say he has not done well to pick up on the Spanish language and Mexican culture.


Martin said...

After only 3 months Eriksson's ability to speak Spanish is quickly approaching Bora's who has been in the country, off and on, for 20+ years!

Anonymous said...

It has definitely been amazing to see this man go from needing interpreters to handling questions on his own at pressers... all in a space of two months.

HOWEVER, I would not say that Sven has been accepted in Mexico, he's still a foreigner, un extranjero, and as such, the bar remains pretty high.

Truth be told, a lot of folks are waiting to see how Sven does in the qualifiers -- beyond the easy games in Mexico -- before passing judgment.

Should we trip, lose games we feel we should have won, or not play how we feel Mexico should play... well, let me just say, Sven will be nothing than un pinche extranjero, and he will be out of the country before you can count to five.

Let's not forget we've been down this road before... Bora (he does speak Spanish, he just has a thick accent), Menotti...

Time will tell.

Saludos, d

Anonymous said...

both great, insightful write-ups... gracias por las ligas, luis.

saludos, d

brucio said...

i found it ironic that jones ripped bruce arena and bob bradley for not being spanish speakers, when jones himself is not a spanish speaker

Anonymous said...

The comment "...I would not say that Sven has been accepted in Mexico" is wide of the mark?
My own much reported reception (as Sven's double) in Mexico City was amazing and indicated that S-G E IS widely admired and approved of by both soccer officials, players and the wider public.
I am glad that the lies (reported by a rival to the media group who engaged me) regarding my activities were quickly contradicted and thank all who extended such abundant hospitality during my short stay.
Viva El Tri, Viva Sven-Goran!
Proud to "be" Sven