Whining about the sports module. Disregard if you like sports.

I get it, sports are important for lots of people, I can see why this module needs to be here.

But I'm more than a little annoyed by the specialized crap that assumes I have any more than a passing interest in sports. I have no idea what an "own goal" is, and I'm not even certain what sport "hat trick" belongs to.

I would love, if in the future the module ever gets an overhaul, the course creators would step back and realize that we don't all share their love of soccer.

I'm continuously missing stuff in this lesson, but that's fine as I've decided I don't care about it anymore.

Unless we get a craft module that forces uninterested people to learn knitting, sewing, and embroidery words, at which point I'll consider it a fair trade >:D

August 8, 2017


One of the things I really appreciated about the Sports module in the Esperanto course was that, IIRC, 1) it covered a lot more activities than many of the sports modules here do (saying I'm gonna be thirsty after the long walk = much more useful to me), and had some really funny/silly sentences that were often only loosely connected to sport but were good practice with things like imperatives and tenses in general.

In general, in my experience, there's a heavy bias in the sports modules towards team sports, and especially football (usually not American football, surprisingly). Most of the time when I get to a sports skill, I just grit my teeth and get through it. The EO one is the only one I really remember enjoying. Swimming, running and horse riding definitely featured, along with the usual suspects, as well as someone having eaten the ball ;) and someone sitting on the edge of his chair, etc, all things with much broader applicability.

I think some things linked to particular sports can be very useful if they have a broader application. For example, own goal and hat trick are both phrases that, at least in Britain, are used metaphorically, so if that's also true in Hebrew, those are potentially useful to have under one's belt.

But yeah. The sports skills are usually my least favourite, so I deeply empathise ;-p

August 8, 2017

The bias towards non-American football isn't terribly surprising to me. AF (too long to type) is a fairly full contact sport, and needs a good bit of equipment to play safely. Soccer (or NAF) is fairly no-contact (supposedly) and just needs a ball and somewhere to kick it.

I can fully understand why soccer took off to such a high degree world-wide. It's not terribly different than many other kick-the-ball games that kids play. We didn't really know of soccer as a thing in my farming town of 400 when I was growing up, but we played a few games similar to it.

As far as some of those... reactive sentences? A fan on the edge of his seat, thirst as the after effect of a long walk... those are definitely more useful in a broad application than the hat trick thing (which I'm guessing is some kind of tricky thing that gets you marked MVP).

August 9, 2017

With the disclaimer I'm not a football fan (American or otherwise - the only one I like is rugby ;)), in soccer, a hat trick is a player scoring three goals in one game. It also can be applied in other sports; in rugby it would be three tries in one game, in cricket it's three wickets in three balls.

In Britain at least, it's also used for consecutive successes outside sporting contexts, so if that is the case in Hebrew also, I can see it being useful.

This also applies to "own goal" - in sporting terms, it refers to scoring a goal in one's own net, which is counted for the opposite team, an embarrassing and potentially costly error. In a metaphorical sense, it's usually used to talk about an action that backfires on the person doing it, in the sense of poetic justice. So again, potentially useful, but...

... this does very much depend on whether these wider/metaphorical meanings are the same in Hebrew outside of a sporting context. (I can't confirm either way - I think I forgot the terms the moment I finished the skill, so I have never asked a native speaker.)

If they're not, and especially if their usage is mostly confined to one sport, it's definitely annoying and arguably a waste of time to include so much detail.

In fairness to team Hebrew, there are skills dealing with arts and music that include words I dare say some people find irrelevant. It's always going to be a YMMV situation.

Personally, I find it more useful to have general vocabulary (sport names, names of equipment) and stuff that has obvious applicability outside the immediate topic of sports. I think team EO did an excellent job at balancing this.

August 9, 2017

What's a wicket?

June 29, 2019

I don't think it's a bias. First, soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Second, they can't teach Hebrew American Football vocabulary because it doesn't exist. We have some football teams, most players are American and there's not much interest in American Football here. So there's no need for vocabulary.

I understand why it's annoying, honestly... I'm not a sports fan myself. Although sports can have a pretty important role in culture and for many people here Soccer is a big deal.

August 9, 2017

Technically it is a bias (lean towards something). Of course, it's only a bias because it IS the most popular sport. My first two paragraphs kind of explained why I think that is.

Though you may have meant to respond to Floot.

The point wasn't the AF/NAF vocabulary, it's that they could have included a lot of really useful stuff, without making us learn specialized vocabulary from ANY sport.

A dedicated fan could pick up the vocab they want easily enough. (I picked up a whole mess of knitting/sewing/craft vocabulary in a few hours.) The same goes for most interests, it really would have been cool to have some of the stuff Floot mentioned the Esperanto course having. Fan reactions or maybe discussions of sore muscles. Would apply to any sport or exercise thing.

August 9, 2017

We should have a thread for crafty vocabulary, to be honest!

August 9, 2017

Start with "thread"

ugh, sorry

August 9, 2017

The problem is that if soccer is a big deal to an individual, it's not that hard to find out the relevant vocabulary, but even if I talked to someone for whom soccer was a passion... well honestly, we'd either find something else to talk about, or we just wouldn't become friends! So beyond the basics of what given sports are called, etc, unless there are applications to other sports and preferably also more figurative meanings, the chance of me using the phrases hat trick or own goal in Hebrew are vanishingly small, which is why I share Jessika's frustration here.

(My surprise about American football is that it seems to be one of the few areas where there's not a significant American bias on Duolingo. Definitely not a complaint - I find American football even less interesting than soccer ;))

August 9, 2017

I totally get that. Though sometimes the basics can be... basic. I'm not interested in American Footbal or any other sport, but in order to have at least some understanding of the culture in the USA I have to have some basic vocabulary. I have to know what's a quarterback and what's a kicker. Same with some very basic Baseball and Golf. In the USA they use SO many sports metaphors in day to day speech. It's like I have to know what's The Tea Party and what's Thanksgiving. When we learn a language we have to learn the culture.

Honestly I've never been to the States. But having at least some knowledge of these things allows for much smoother communication, and isn't that what we want. BTW we have many soccer metaphors in Hebrew ;)

August 9, 2017

I would love to know what soccer metaphors are in frequent use! If you've any examples... please share! :D

Yeah, there is an extent to which it's a cultural thing, I definitely agree, but I think those things are not necessarily best learned on Duolingo where there's little context. For example, you need to have an idea what a quarterback does, much more so than the translation of the word, no? Sure, you need the translation as well, but if you were learning English and just got told the word... it's not that useful to you. Quarterback or kicker aren't useful to you unless you have a concept for what those things mean. "Thanksgiving" in a general sense of giving thanks for something is not going to help you that much in regards to understanding that particular American holiday! It's a good thing to know what it's called, but it's barely scratching the surface of the cultural significance, which you're going to learn best from context.

(I think the culture specific sentences in the Hebrew course are a mixed bag in that respect. For example, talking about independence day = good practice for the adjective as well as the holiday, and the concept is not hard to grasp. In fact, the context of an independence day actively helps me remember the adjective!

Doughnuts have more significance in Judaism than just a snack food, because of the link with Hanukkah, but the basic concept is familiar, so I don't need to understand the entire concept in order to pick up סופגניה as a word, and then I have something the cultural significance can be attached to.

Asking someone if they've ever played matkot? I know the word (though mostly, I think, because it's the same in both languages!), but I have absolutely no cultural understanding of it that would actually help me in Israel! It's not a bad thing to have that word be relatively familiar, but I don't know that it's enormously beneficial, either.

Similarly, knowing how to spell various Jewish holidays = good (and it's handy that there is some basic information in the tips and notes), but I still have to dig around in my brain (often not very successfully) to remember what the sentence "My Mishloach Manot has two sevivonim" even means in English , let alone to translate it into Hebrew. It would be much more useful to say "At Hanukkah, we play with sevivonim" and "I sent a Mishloach Manot to my cousin for Purim."

If I was actually able to spend time with an Israeli family during Purim and was helping prepare gift baskets, and someone said hey look, this is a sevivon, we play with them on Hanukkah, you might know them as dreidels, and we thought it would be a fun addition to the gift basket, then the sentence as it stands in the course makes sense, because of context.

In the context of this course, it's mostly mysterious and a little confusing, and I have nothing to hold on to. (And although putting a dreidel in a gift basket seems like a pretty good idea, in this context it's extra confusing to learn two items that are linked with two different Jewish holidays in one sentence.)

... of course, talking about it here might help me remember it better, we can but hope, right?? ;))

If I'm taught that a hat trick or an own goal is used in a non-sports related sense in Hebrew, then that's useful to me. I'll make the effort to learn it properly, it's much more likely to stick in my memory (as I understand it, humans are predisposed to forget things that don't seem useful), I will know how to use it, and in the event I have to make nice with an Israeli soccer fan, it'll come in handy there too.

If I'm only taught it in a sports context, then honestly, by the time I ever have to make nice with that soccer fan... I've long since forgotten the word, or at best, it's been buried beneath all the other words I've learned and used in the meantime! ;)

... does this make sense?

Basically yes, absolutely, there's cultural stuff that comes along with learning the language, but as it's currently taught, the words for hat trick and own goal aren't likely to stay in my head long enough for me to use them in the rare event I actually want to talk about soccer!

August 9, 2017

Soccer stinks on ice.

June 29, 2019

If you've decided that you "don't care about it anymore" then why are you making the effort to write this post? I'm am also not at all into sports. For years I've scheduled myself to work on Super Bowl Sunday because I have no interest in basketball grin but I certainly don't mind a module or two on the subject of sports, particularly if it emphasizes sports that may not be popular in my own country. Learning about new cultures goes hand in hand with learning a new language.

BTW--I LOVE your answer as to why you're learning Hebrew!

August 8, 2017

Why whine? Because I want to. :-)

My issue with the module is that it requires specialized vocabulary that not everyone has in their native language.

Now, more general vocab, etc about different sport names, that would have been better. I have to deal with all the soccer crap, but I don't know how to say: I like track and field, or I want to learn to surf or He is learning to ski.

There were a lot of things they could have done with this module to make it more accessible to different people. Now, if soccer was purely an Israeli thing, I could see it, but it's not.

As far as why I'm learning Hebrew, it's the perfect answer to learning any language :D

August 8, 2017

Well, we may not agree on the merits of the sports module, but I suspect we may be like-minded on some more important linguistic matters.

Happy learning! : )

August 8, 2017

You too!

August 8, 2017

I also very much agree with your answer to that question. I get asked all the time why my computer and phone are in Dutch and I get looked at like I'm a psycho, hehe. They don't have to understand. ;)

August 8, 2017

Ooo, Dutch is actually on my someday list! Are you enjoying it so far?

Plus, setting random things to odd languages can be looked at as a security move as well :D So if all else fails, use that as an excuse!

August 9, 2017

@JessikaMorgan There's a reason it's my favourite language, hehe ;)

August 9, 2017

I gave you five lingots for your comment. Soccer stinks on ice in the arctic.

June 29, 2019
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