Cultural Ritual Protocol

I was dismayed to see that the French rugby team were fined for their response to the Haka at the World Cup Grand Final. Apparently there is a 10 meter exclusion zone for the 'cultural ritual.' This isn't the first time that a team opposing the Kiwis has been challenged for responding inappropriately. I can understand that the Haka has become a significant identifier for both the All Blacks and Rugby Union as a whole, but it should be seen as it really is. The Haka is a war dance, performed before a battle to intimidate the enemy. Sport plays a role in replacing war in modern societies by providing an outlet for aggression and national pride. Reenacting the war dance is then appropriate before a major sporting event, but it must give the All Blacks a major psychological advantage. I know I'd be intimidated by a group of large men screaming at me with muscles bulging aggressively. Interestingly, the All Blacks web site describes the Haka as a dance of welcome. If that's true, the welcome is one given as a warning that the host is not to be trifled with. Why must the opposing teams quietly allow themselves to be intimidated? In a real war, the opposition would be performing their own war dance. The French don't have a war dance so they tried to show that they weren't intimidated by forming a wall and walking towards the All Blacks. Rather than recognising the response, the International Rugby Board fined the French team. In 1996, the Wallabies decided to show they were not cowed by turning their backs on the Haka and warming up. The English also turned their backs on the Haka

Found In Translation

Language has always fascinated me. I love the way we can get the same message across with entirely different combinations of sounds and/or gestures. I love that I can have a conversation with a Japanese person that no one around me can understand (though that's less likely these days). I guess it was this 'secret code' idea that excited me when I was young because my parents used it against us. If my parents wanted to discuss the idea of buying ice creams without getting us kids all worked up, they had their own code. They'd add a nonsense syllable before every vowel so that a conversation might go: 'DELLo yELLou thELLink thELLat wELLe shELLould bELLuy ELLice crELLeam nELLow?' 'WELLe'll bELLe hELLome sELLoon. ThELLey cELLan hELLave ELLone thELLen.' This is where I'd jump in, simultaneously pointing out the ice cream shop to my siblings and complaining about the heat. 'ELLit wELLon't bELLe ELLas nELLice.' 'ELLokELLay. ELLif yELLou ELLinsELList.' I learnt to understand the code long before I could reproduce it, which is the way I learn languages. First I understand bits, then I try to use them and make lots of mistakes, then finally, I pick up the pattern. Real languages are made more interesting by the culture and different thinking behind them. A literal translation of 'good luck' to Japanese might work as a description ('It was good luck that found your wallet again') but not as a directive ('Good luck in the exam'). Instead, Japanese people say 'Do your best.' My French lessons and conversations covered many aspects of courting including, 'What's your name?', 'What's your phone number?' and 'Are you married?', but wedding protocol was never covered. I guess it was assumed

By |August 16th, 2011|Categories: Language|Tags: , , |0 Comments