Roland Garros 2018- Useful Vocab!

The French open 2018

Roland Garros is almost here!



On the 21st May, some of the best will take to the clay courts to compete for the French Grand Slam title. Now, when it comes to clay, we’re always going to think it will be Rafael Nadal, but this year, who knows! Could it be the comeback year for Novak, will Roger take the title to add to this years Aussie open, or will Andy be fit enough to try and win his first French open title?Serena Williams is back from having a baby, and will be looking to get her title back! She has shown that her time away from the sport hasn’t slowed her down as she’s been on fire since returning.

So, how many of the players would have been familiar with French tennis vocabulary?

All should by now be familiar with the scoring system as it is called out after every point. But what about other vocabulary, such as the type of shots they were playing, or even the type of court they were playing on?

I thought it would be good to include a list of some important vocabulary related to the sport as, who knows, maybe one of the games stars will read this and find it useful! Or, perhaps more likely, it could come in handy to those studying the language, or could maybe be interesting to those who enjoy a game of tennis, or maybe a mixture of the two.

So here goes:

  • le court de terre battue clay court
  • le court en dur hard court
  • le court en gazon grass court
  • le filet net
  • la ligne de fond baseline
  • la ligne de service service line
  • la balle de tennis tennis ball
  • le carré de service service box
  • le couloir alley, tramlines
  • la raquette tennis racket
  • un ace ace
  • un amorti drop shot
  • le coup droit forehand
  • la deuxième balle second serve
  • une double faute double fault
  • un effet spin
  • une faute fault, error, out
  • un let let
  • le lift topspin
  • un lob lob
  • le revers backhand
  • le revers à deux mains two-handed backhand
  • le service service, serve
  • le slice slice
  • un smash smash
  • la volée volley
  • la balle de break break point
  • la balle de jeu game point
  • la balle de match match point
  • la balle de set set point
  • un jeu décisif tie-breaker


and finally, a few verbs for you:

  • donner de l’effet (à une balle) to put spin (on a ball)
  • être au service to have the service, to be serving
  • frapper to hit
  • jouer to play
  • prendre le service de quelqu’un to break someone’s serve
  • servir to serve
  • tenir le score to keep the score


Roland Garros women’s final is on June 9th, with the men’s final on June 10th- more than enough time to learn some helpful phrases to understand the umpire!


International Mother Language Day!

Wednesday 21st February, the world celebrates International Mother Language Day. Originating from protests to promote multilingualism in Bangladesh in 1952, the day is celebrated annually on this date.

Bengali-Monument-300x225Language Movement Day is already a national day in Bangladesh which remembers the protests and sacrifices made by Students to protect the Bengali (also known as Bangla) language, when the government announced that Urdu would become the official language of East Bengal (now Bangladesh). Fighting broke out between students and police in the University of Dhaka – initially the police used tear gas and batons, while the students used bricks and shoes to throw at the police. However, as the day and the protests wore on, the police eventually opened fire, killing some members of the protest, and injuring many more. The next day thousands of people went to the cemetery to pay tribute to those who had died to protect their native language. This protest was just part of a whole Language Movement to protect the status of the Bengali language.

In 1999, UNESCO announced that the 21st February would become the International Mother Language Day. The IMLD 290 × 174
first celebration of this day took place in 2000 and there is a separate theme for each year. This year the theme is “Quality education, language(s) of instruction and learning outcomes”, which according to the UN website “emphasizes the importance of appropriate languages of instruction, usually mother tongues, in the early years of schooling. It facilitates access to education – while promoting fairness – for population groups that speak minority and indigenous languages, in particular girls and women; it raises the quality of education and learning achievement by laying emphasis on understanding and creativity, rather than on rote and memorisation.”

96% of the world’s languages are spoken by just 4% of the population. While some may argue that global communication becomes easier the fewer languages there are, language is more than just a way of communication. Not only is no one language better than another, and therefore people have the right to speak their own language, it also promotes culture and diversity across the world – wouldn’t the world be a boring place if we were all the same!

Globe_of_language-300x158You can find out more about International Mother Language Day at





Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! It’s Christmas! Here’s how to say “Merry Christmas” in 10 languages…

English Merry Christmas
French Joyeux Noël
German Frohe Weihnachten
Welsh Nadolig Llawen
Italian Buon Natale
Spanish Feliz Navidad
Danish Glædelig Jul
Russian Schastlivogo Rozhdestva
Polish Wesołych Świąt
Swedish God Jul
Portuguese Feliz Natal


From all of us here at Lingua Translations we hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Bring on 2018!

6900 languages across the world; is Father Christmas a hyperpolyglot?

Saint Nick seemed to form part of the remaining quarter of the inhabitants who don’t speak Welsh. Some parents, whose children speak Welsh as their first language, complained to the local council because this Father Christmas was unable to speak to their children in their mother tongue.

Their argument is that their children should be able to speak to the jolly old man in Welsh because they are not as confident or comfortable speaking in English.

In recent years the Welsh assembly has plunged money into Welsh language resources in an effort to promote its usage. A nation fiercely proud of its heritage and culture is also keen to ensure that Cymraeg does not fade away. Not just that though, the aim is to give this minority language equal importance in all areas possible. According to the Welsh Language Act 1993 and the Government of Wales Act 1998, the Welsh and English languages should be treated equally in the public sector. However, although many shops employ bilingual signage, Welsh still rarely appears on product packaging or instructions. Does this show that the Welsh language still has a way to go before it can be considered equal? Can it ever be on an equal footing in a country where so many do not speak it?

So can Father Christmas speak other languages? He is a man of many names in different languages world-wide so we can only assume that he is able to speak to the children of the world in their native tongues! Perhaps this has so far only extended to some of the minority languages though. In a world where around 6900 languages are spoken, is it any surprise that Santa struggles to speak them all? In his modern attire, Kris Kringle is over 144 years old and counting. Perhaps he has been learning languages as he goes along but whilst he is clearly a hyperpolyglot already, with so many places to visit and languages to speak it is perhaps just that he got confused as to where this grotto, from which he was stumbling after too many sherries and mince pies, was located and immediately reverted to English. At least this experience may encourage Santa to brush up on his Welsh for future visits!
What are your thoughts; is it necessary to be able to speak Welsh if you are working with the public in Wales?

We hope you are all having a lovely Christmas Day! For more information on our services and the languages we work in (including Welsh) please do not hesitate to visit our languages

Christmas around the world: Ten Bizarre Christmas Customs

Different Countries have their own traditions – and some of them are truly bizarre

Some Festive Food to begin with:

Japan: Demonstrating the power of advertising, KFC has become a traditional destination on Christmas Eve. Since 1974 KFC has been promoting it’s fried chicken as a Christmas meal and is now a widely practised Christmas tradition




…but perhaps festive fried chicken holds more appeal for you than ‘Mattak’ a delicacy of raw whale skin served with blubber in Greenland ? Or ‘Kiviak’ which is 500 dead auk birds, stuffed into a seal skin, and left to ferment for 7 months.


Children live in fear of ‘Krampus’ a Christmas devil (half goat, half demon) who is said to beat naughty children with branches. Krampus is one of the companions of St Nicholas for several countries including Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and part of Italy.


In South Africa the Christmas delicacy is the deep fried caterpillars of the Emperor Moth


‘Mari Lwyd’ is still performed in some villages in Wales on Christmas Eve : a villager is chosen to parade through the streets bearing the skull of a mare on the end of a stick


In Italy children await the arrival of ‘Befana’ a friendly witch who delivers sweets and toys on the fifth of January


In Iceland the Yule Cat is said to stalk the Icelandic hills. Those who don’t receive new clothes before Christmas Eve are said to be devoured by this mythical beast.


Instead of tinsel and baubles, in Ukraine people decorate their homes with an artificial spider and web. Legend says that a magic spider once visited a poor family at Christmas and turned the webs in their home into gold and silver.




Next to Catalonia and two festive rituals both on a scatalogical theme, the ‘Caganer’ – a small figurine of a defecating man is included in their nativity scenes –

The ‘Tio de Nadal’ is a ‘pooping log’, decorated with a face and a blanket – and on Christmas Eve it is placed halfway into a fire and beaten with sticks.


A cheering note to finish in Canada: Canada Post recognises the address of Santa Claus, The North Pole, Canada HO HO HO – Any letters received bearing this address are opened and and replied to…

Christmas in Spain

Christmas in Spain starts with the traditional Christmas lottery draw on 22nd December.

Two days later, the night of the 24th, is “Noche Buena”, when the whole family get together at home and usually eat lamb or stuffed turkey, and for dessert, a scoop of ice cream with pineapple. After the meal the host places a tray full of turrones (nougat), chocolates and polvorones (shortbread) in the centre of the table, and while the adults toast with a glass of cider or champagne, the children sing carols to their grandparents in return for being allowed to eat nougat, chocolates and shortbread. Later, Santa Claus knocks on the door and leaves the children’s presents under the tree and the children run like crazy to get them.

The following morning, the 25th, the family come together again to eat and celebrate Christmas Day (the birth of Jesus).

The 28th is known as el día de los santos inocentes (Holy Innocents day), and typical pranks are played such as knocking on doors and running away, sticking paper dolls on people’s backs, etc….

On 31st December, Noche vieja (new year’s eve), family and friends come together to have dinner. We have fireworks and parties, and when the twelve chimes sound at midnight we eat a grape with each chime. If you manage to eat all twelve grapes by the end of the chimes you will have good luck throughout the year.

In the afternoon of the 5th January, los Reyes Magos (the three kings) pass through the streets of the city greeting children, picking up cards and handing out sweets. When the parade finishes, children run home to bed early to get ready for the three kings who will leave presents under the Christmas tree. On the 6th January, children wake up and go to the tree to see if the three kings have visited them, if they’ve been good there will be gifts, but if not there will just be a lump of coal. The rest of the day is spent visiting relatives and playing with new toys.