during the 2014 world cup there were several articles around the internet speculating that belgium’s status as a nation was at risk. at the time, several weeks after national elections, belgium still had not established a government.
joshua keating explained on slate.com that
the underlying issue [in belgium] is the division between the country’s dutch-speaking flemish majority and the french-speaking walloons. the flemish, in particular, largely favor further devolution of power to regional governments and resent their tax dollars going to support the less prosperous french-speaking south. belgians, more or less, live in separate areas, watch separate TV, read separate newspapers, and vote for separate politicians.
underlying means principal. dutch is the nationality and the language of people from the netherlands. flemish refers to people from flanders. walloons are people from wallonia, the southern region of belgium. further means more. resent means be offended by. politicians are government officials.
flemish folks are from flanders. flanders is also homer simpson’s neighbor.
keating observed that belgium’s national football team was
a rare source of national pride for what’s generally ranked as one of the least patriotic populations in europe.
belgian fans showing pride in their national team
pundits (experts) were quiet about any potential political disintegration at this world cup. but belgiuim’s extremely talented players and intense style of play made them one of the most exciting teams at the tournament. their ethnic and linguistic diversity were still a point of interest as well. ellis palmer at bbc.com asked…
how, one may wonder, does belgium’s multilingual team communicate?
wonder means think about. the answer to palmer’s question is
the players speak neither dutch nor french but english in the changing room [and on the pitch], to avoid the perception of favouring one language over another.
neither,nor is used to present two negative options. changing room is where players change clothes. in american english, it’s more typical to use locker room. pitch is thefootball field. avoid is stay away from. favour is written with a u in british and canadian english.
donald trump defended his famous “i grab them by the pussy” comment as “locker room talk”
nikhil sonnad shares a similar assessment on quartz.com
french might seem like a better option as the team’s common language. most belgian players speak french well enough; it’s widely spoken in belgium, and would be less likely than english to be understood by the team’s world cup opponents. moreover, some of the belgian team’s players have rather poor english skills. one british commentator called marouane fellaini, a belgian midfielder, the worst english speaker he’d ever come across.
might is possibly, maybe. seem is appear. as is used to refer to the potential function french could serve for the belgian national team. widely means in many places. be understood is passive voice—be is an auxiliary and understood is the irregular past participle of understand. moreover is additionally. rather, like quite and pretty, can be understood to emphasize, or to indicate a relative level of the adjective it is used with, poor in this case. come across is encounter, meet. he’d come across is past perfect. it refers to a moment in the past and the time leading up to it.
— Marouane Fellaini (@Fellaini) July 11, 2018
do u think marouane fellaini actually wrote this tweet?
but, as mentioned before, english is the least controversial choice for belgian football, and in fact for all of europe politically:
the case of the belgian team highlights another aspect of english that has allowed it to thrive in europe: Its political neutrality.
in the movie 13 going on 30, the main character jenna wishes to be 30, flirty and thriving.
belgium thrived again this summer at russia 2018 playing their way to the semifinal before being eliminated by eventual champion france 1-0. this report from bbc channel 4 shows that belgium again united around its national football team, inspired in part by patriotic world cup songs. and while…
belgians concede their songs lack a certain quality
belgian songwriter daan stuyven perceives (recognizes) that belgium’s national football squad is more effective at the goal of uniting the nation than politicians (government offiicals).
i think the solution would be to sorta stop listening to politics and just play football for 4 years in a row.
belgium’s world cup songs are sorta corny, but they reflect the unity that the national football team has created.
does your country unite around its national football team or another national team that represents your nation in international competitions? what do u think about this phenomenon? share your feelings under leave a reply
have fun, amigos.