Stutter in ‘native tongue’ at Lord’s

[TamilNet, Friday, 12 May 2006, 13:47 GMT]
As Sri Lanka’s cricketers took to the pitch at Lord’s this week with the Sinhala Lion emblazoned on their uniforms, any notion that sport bridges the island’s ethnic divide is being unwittingly challenged, ironically, by a British effort at recognizing diversity: public announcements at the famous grounds are being made in English – and Sinhala.

British press reports describe the move as a step towards “English cricket's attempts to reach beyond its white middle-class core.”

“The move to address visiting supporters in their own language follows discussions with the Bangladeshi community last summer, which revealed that non-white fans largely felt excluded from England's Test grounds,” The Guardian newspaper reported Thursday.

And before the match, the paper reported, “with concerns lingering about pitch invasions this summer the captains Andrew Flintoff and Mahela Jayawardene will address the crowd in their native tongues before play starts.”

“The hope,” the paper said “is that the gesture will break down barriers.”

But there was an unexpected snag.

Plans for Jayawardene to address the Lord's crowd in Sinhalese had to be scrapped Thursday when the Sri Lanka captain was unable to translate the English message into his own tongue, The Guardian reported.

“After two failed efforts he opted to record a message in English instead. A translation should be ready for him to read Friday.”

 

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