A Question for my Bilingual Colleagues

Rachel Schott said: Jul 10, 2011
Rachel SchottViolin
Harrogate, TN
127 posts

Do other languages utilize the same word for ‘play’ in reference to an instrument, a board game, and a sport? Or is there a differentiation made between the act of playing for recreation, and playing for musical performance?

Coutier said: Jul 10, 2011
Coutier RademakerViolin
58 posts

In Dutch (Holland) we have the same word for both.
Rachel, what kind of sport does one play in the english language, excepting chess?

coutier

Rachel Schott said: Jul 10, 2011
Rachel SchottViolin
Harrogate, TN
127 posts

Ik begrijp niet…?

(love that google translator!)

Coutier said: Jul 10, 2011
Coutier RademakerViolin
58 posts

(In je eerste zin gebruik je het woord “sport” als een van de woorden die ook met “spelen” gebruikt worden. Vandaar mijn vraag.) :-)

In your first sentence you use the word “sport” as one of the words that is used with the word “play”. Hence my question.

coutier

Rachel Schott said: Jul 11, 2011
Rachel SchottViolin
Harrogate, TN
127 posts

Okay! In English we “play” soccer, basketball, football…all of the sports. We also “play” Monopoly, chess, Solitaire, Poker. And, of course, we play music. :lol:

I’ve always been fascinated that the same word is used to represent the doing of all these activities.

Jennifer Visick said: Jul 11, 2011
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

Sometimes, but not always!

In Portuguese (and Spanish would be similar but not exactly the same):

To play (a musical instrument or a recording):
Tocar (which also encompasses some, but not all—of what we mean when we say in English “to touch, meet, come in contact with” and “to move” and “to ring (a bell)” and “to blow (a trumpet or a whistle, etc). Occasionally it’s also used in phrases to mean something like “it just so happened that…” or “it’s time to”)

To play a physical sport or a board game:
Jogar (but also encompasses to throw, to wager or gamble, to bluff)

To play is also:
Brincar (which is like: to joke, to fool someone, to kid around, to play with toys, or also romping or jumping or having fun)

To play is also:
folgar (which is like: merrymaking, and sometimes it means “to flirt”, but folga is also a noun which means “rest” or “vacation” and a dia de folga is a day off.)

To play could also be:
divertir (which is like: to amuse, to have fun, to enjoy, to dilly-dally, to have a good time, etc.)

To play could also be
desempenhar (also means to make, to interpret, to perform, to carry, and occasionally to redeem)

Oh… and “a play” (as in Shakespeare wrote a lot of plays) is peça de teatro but peça by itself merely means a piece or a part of something (or a room).

Coutier said: Jul 11, 2011
Coutier RademakerViolin
58 posts

Rachel, I wasn’t 100% aware yesterday. Due indeed to a big and successful Suzuki concert with violins and flutes we did in the afternoon; very nice, very tiring.
The Dutch situation is as follows:
In the past, say up to 30 years back we did use the word ‘play’ in relation to sports: “I play hockey” for instance. Nowadays however that is considered out of date and rather pompous. We Dutch have transformed the nouns into verbs, litterally: “do you tennis?”, “yes, I football” etc.

coutier

Laurel said: Jul 13, 2011
Laurel MacCullochViolin
Langley, BC
120 posts

I believe French is the same: “jouer” for sports, music etc.

Although there is a difference between “jouer au [activity]” and “jouer de [activity]”… but I forget if there’s a clear delineation (i.e., one for sports and one for music) or if it’s just one of those weird language things that’s different for no reason.

My kids are in French Immersion but I just know they will conveniently “forget” the rule if I ask them. :lol:

Laurel

Coutier said: Jul 13, 2011
Coutier RademakerViolin
58 posts

There is yet another weird Dutch thing connected to sports. Children say “ik zit op tennis”, meaning “I am member of a tennis club”: literally they say :”I sit on tennis”.
Some small children say “I sit on violin”. Strange isn’t it?

coutier

Rachel Schott said: Jul 13, 2011
Rachel SchottViolin
Harrogate, TN
127 posts

Oh wow this stuff is fascinating! My curiousity is only piqued, not satisfied so keep them coming…

@ Coutier: one little student came to me because he told his mom he wanted to be on a Violin Team. Isn’t that adorable?!

Thank you all!

Coutier said: Jul 13, 2011
Coutier RademakerViolin
58 posts

Isn’t that Suzuki!

coutier

said: Aug 9, 2011
 145 posts

In Icelandic its different

Eg spila fidlu—I play the violin
Eg leika fotbolti—I play football

but you’d understand it if they were used incorrectly

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