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You No Speak English? You No Play Golf.

Per ESPN, the LGPA Tour has a new policy:

The reportedly new rule that will force foreign members who have been on tour for two years to pass an English oral evaluation test or face a suspension is harsh. And it certainly does not send a very positive message when the game continues to grow to all parts of the globe.

English conversation in two years? Are you kidding me?

It takes a lot of time and effort to learn a new language and be able to speak it proficiently. Certain people master English faster than the others, not just because of their linguistic talent or lack thereof, but because of their mother tongue. A person who speaks European language may find English easier to learn than…say, a Japanese or Chinese person. (BTW — it’s much easier to go from Korean to Japanese or vice versa because their grammar, etc. is so similar.)

So instead of hiring an interpreter, which may be easier, all foreign golfers must pass an English conversation test in two years or else. Hmm. Not sure when they are supposed to practice their swing and have some sort of life and study English.

P.S. Yes, I know a talented foreign golfer can study English before doing the tour. But the foreign golfer probably lives in her own non-English-speaking country, which means it’s going to be much harder to learn English.


6 comments to “You No Speak English? You No Play Golf.”

  1. Susan
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    1
    · August 27th, 2008 at 3:25 am · Link

    This rule is more than likely being made by people who only speak English – and may even travel to a variety of non-English speaking countries.

    I am stymied. I speak German with reasonable fluency and it shocks most people I encounter there – that I am an American and can speak German at all – let alone follow a complicated conversation and laugh at jokes – while it speaks to my ability it certainly I think speaks to the fact that many American visitors and certainly service people – living in German seldom make an effort to learn much beyond the very very basics.

    Learning a language is hard and only those who have never really tried would think conversational fluency is that easy.



  2. Hero Material
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    2
    · August 27th, 2008 at 3:03 pm · Link

    I suppose it depends on what the actual requirements are for the English test – do the golfers need to be able to score their sheets correctly, or does the PGA want them to be able to discuss nuclear physics – but on the face of it, this seems to be a fairly arbitrary and egotistical requirement.

    It will be interesting in another few years, once America is no longer the dominant economy in the world, to watch Americans being forced to learn Chinese (and perhaps Hindi) in order to do things abroad. Interesting, and perversely enjoyable.

    One hopes that PGA officials will be required to do so in two years or less.



  3. Nadia Lee
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    3
    · August 27th, 2008 at 3:31 pm · Link

    This rule is more than likely being made by people who only speak English

    Exactly. It’s extremely ridiculous. If communication is so important, why don’t they pick up another language, instead of threatening an athlete’s livelihood over something as inconsequential as their ability to speak English. (Besides, if they spoke multiple languages fluently, they might not have become pro athletes.) It’s not like MBA and NBA players from non-English speaking countries are forced to pass an English test before they’re allowed to play for American teams.



  4. Nadia Lee
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    4
    · August 27th, 2008 at 3:31 pm · Link

    Hero Material — I think they want the golfers to speak well enough to discuss finer points of swing techniques, etc. with other people.



  5. Fionn J.
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    5
    · August 28th, 2008 at 2:25 am · Link

    >_> They’re just saying it because Korean golfers beat the pants off the US ones.



  6. Nadia Lee
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    · August 28th, 2008 at 2:38 am · Link

    I heard that too. If that’s true, it’s just unbelievably racist. They should be ashamed of themselves.



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