Adama Diakhaby found himself at the centre of a news story in the Daily Mirror today following an interview that he gave to Kayla Buffonge on Instagram. The Mirror and Kayla claim that Diakhaby is unhappy about his lack of playing time and has no relationship with head coach David Wagner.
The interview has been sensationalised and as such has led to heavy criticism for Diakhaby
from some Town fans. But it’s nothing more than a storm in a teacup and here’s why.
Speaking in a foreign language isn’t easy
Adama Diakhaby and Isaac Mbenza are currently learning English from a personal friend of mine, according to whom they are nowhere near fluent. They can get by in general conversations but their vocabulary and use of tenses are still quite basic.
That’s no surprise really as it’s very, very hard to learn a new language never mind English, one of the most complex in the world. This should be borne in mind by anyone that watches Diakhaby’s interview with Kayla Buffonge.
The young Town winger does not have a good enough grasp of English to offer coherent answers to complex questions. His responses to Buffonge are brief and there is an obvious overuse of basic connectives, a clear sign of a new language beginner.
Any answers that Diakhaby has given can be explained by his lack of English, it really is as simple as that. It’s unlikely that his answers would have been as blunt in his native tongue.
If you need any persuading that it’s tough to convey yourself in a foreign language, then take this personal experience as the perfect example.
I consider myself to be fluent in Spanish, I write in Spanish, converse in Spanish and read in Spanish, I can hold a conversation with most people in Spanish.
Yet I still fell afoul of the language barrier last year in Guatemala. On a visit to a church I was speaking to the Priest, he was telling me all about the history of the church, we were having a great time. Then he asked me how I got there, I responded ‘he cogido un coche’ which means ‘I took a car’ in European Spanish.
Fairly straight forward right? Wrong, the Priest at first looked bewildered before shouting at me and storming off. As it transpires that phrase has a much, much different meaning in Guatemala.
'Coger' which is the verb to take means 'to f*ck' in Guatemala, and 'coche' which means 'car' in Spain, is a slang word for a pig in Latin America. So I had just inadvertently told a Priest that I’d interfered with a pig, much like former Prime Minister David Cameron.
My level of Spanish is much more advanced than Diakhaby’s English, yet I still told a Priest I’d had sex with a pig.
Line of questioning
Kayla Buffonge by her own admission, is just starting out as a football journalist and as such isn’t the finished article in regards to interviews. We all have our misgivings at first, my personal weak point is asking a question and not following it up.
Kayla’s was asking Adama a question and rushing in to finish his answer when he couldn’t articulate what he wanted to say. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, it’s just a shortcoming that Kayla will no doubt eradicate.
It does however put a different slant on Adama’s answers, did he really mean to say what he did or was he led to the answer the journalist was looking for? I’ll leave that one for you to decide.
This is a storm in a tea cup, nothing more. A young player with Basic English was misconstrued in an interview with a burgeoning journalist. If you look back at the interview with that in mind, he doesn’t really say anything worth printing or indeed reading.
But that’s not what sells newspapers and it’s not what gets interactions on social media, its controversy that does that. So let’s see it for what it is and give Adama a break.