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Why doesn't Germany produce more great cyclists?(16 posts)

Why doesn't Germany produce more great cyclists?Gator
Jul 23, 2002 12:48 PM
In looking at the nature of this sport, especially now in the Lance Era, it occurs to me that it is, on paper anyway, the PERFECT sport for the Germans -- strategy-oriented, machinery-based, utilizes cutting-edge engineering, rewards meticulous training. To me, it has Germany written all over it. Yet, even with all of this and as a European country, they seem somewhat indifferent toward cycling. What gives?
re: Why doesn't Germany produce more great cyclists?eschelon
Jul 23, 2002 12:59 PM
Don't take my response in any way as some flame...but your (understandable) deductions are prejudicial based on assumed stereotypes of Germans in general. I could go into a million tangents on other ethnicities and why and how they "should" be great or not great cyclists and what types of food "they love" to eat...we are all one race of beings in different color skins and culture...but the love of cycling and being great at it is a gift only God can bestow on us and for us to develop and grow to love...no matter what side of the border we may live on.
blame it on the language?...AllisonHayes
Jul 23, 2002 2:42 PM
The language you speak affects how you think and in some way governs your ability to think in different ways. Bear with me here...

- German is a highly abstract language. It is a perfect language for theoretical constructs. Hence, why there is so much cutting edge engineering. This is why there are so many long words in German - when they want to construct a new concept, they simply combine words and it takes on a whole new meaning.

- German is not a "romantic" language. Cycling is about passion, the heart, the spirit. Hence, this may be why so many cyclists are from Italy, France and Spain.

- So where does English (American) fit? A utilitarian language. It borrows from other languages and melds it into English. And how does this explain Lance or LeMond? Does American English enable the "can do" attitude of Americans? Perhaps.

i (Hey, before you guys flame me, maybe there is something to this after all.)
blame it on the language?...Wise
Jul 23, 2002 2:59 PM
"romantic" isn't meant in the sense of passion or spirit. It simply refers to the fact that the romance languages are based on latin, spoken way back by romans.

Maybe you are just saying "romance languages" are more romantic in general than German. Maybe to you, but intrinsically? no

However, I don't think you are totally wrong, you're just using a bad place to start. Thinking of language as a cultural determinant is often a useful point of analysis. I myself have presented on the topic from the standpoint of how the standardization of computer programming languages has come to dictate the style and direction of software development.

Your first point seems grounded in fact -- the recursive sentence structure of german and the common usage of complex nouns probably combine to make it a useful language for theoretical constructs.

I'm not sure though on how you would take the next step and relate that to cycling
Aber nein, gnaedige Frau...seyboro
Jul 23, 2002 6:24 PM
...so ist das wohl kaum. Mit der Sprache hat das eigentlich nichts zu tun. Nun gut, wir haben in der Tour de France in letzter Zeit nicht mehr die groessten Wellen geschlagen, hatten aber doch mit Ullrich und Zabel eine Reihe recht ordentlicher Erfolge. Auf der Bahn sind wir allerdings kaum zu schlagen, vielfaches olympisches Gold spricht dafuer.
Anyways, (for those needing a little brush up on their German)) I'm thinking the homeboys are doing quite well, strong on the track, Olympic giants, solid DI teams, Telekom, Coast, Gerolsteiner, second best Tour rider these days (spare me the suspension and food jokes, please; he'll be back; go Jan, just not in a Porsche...)), Mr. Green, strong riders on other teams, Jaksche, Voigt etc. Not too shabby. Beats Liechtenstein, anyways...
Aber nein, gnaedige Frau...Andreas_Illesch
Jul 24, 2002 5:47 AM
ja, da hast du vollkommen recht.
You are nut.R600DuraAce
Jul 23, 2002 7:21 PM
You want to start a flame war? Romanticism???? Try Geothe. Beethovan. Wagner. There, case closed. Since every one speaks English, why aren't you winning the Tour de France????? What a .........
Interest or Incentive....maybejagiger
Jul 23, 2002 4:07 PM
The TDF will be celebrating 100 years soon, so when you think about beyond the last decade, we are actually pretty much late comers....
Interest or Incentive....maybeR600DuraAce
Jul 23, 2002 7:30 PM
The original poster is a moron. Just because Lance is about to be the 4th time Tour champ he thinks ALL Americans can ride like him. What kind of racial/ethnical theory is that? The worst is that cycling in America will probably never be embraced by the Americans as a mainstream sport. Lance is about to win his 4th time and in the US we still can't watch the Tour on you public TV broadcast stations!!!!!
Drugs aren't good for you.R600DuraAce
Jul 23, 2002 7:23 PM
Erik Zabel is still ranked number one. You better put down whatever you are smoking.........
Ah. That was fun.Gator
Jul 24, 2002 6:24 AM
I figured that would stir the pot a bit. Sorry, it was getting pretty boring around here. Although Allison, really, open the blinds and slowly back away from the keyboard -- that post was SCARY. I think it might be time to get out of the house for a while.
Bilingual speakers think differently as they shift languages...AllisonHayes
Jul 24, 2002 8:54 AM
Gator, I am disappointed in your post as well as some of the others. Maybe you didn't intend to pose a "mind stretcher" and so you weren't ready for an orthogonal response. The whole issue of language affecting thinking has been debated for decades. How would you explain that different groups (Germans, Italians, etc.) seem to do certain things better than others? Sorry you guys thought my response was mundane or SCAREY.

Language can be a powerful tool for shaping thought. Many bilingual speakers believe they engage in different forms of thinking when they shift languages.

Cognitive psychologists believe that language may influence thought processes. The idea that languages excert an influence on the thought and behavior of their speakers has fascinated many linguists, but few would claim that the hypothesis is easy to test, and some might even consider it beyond the reach of empirical approach. Slobin states, "one cannot escape the influences of language while in the process of formulating or interpreting verbal messages."

Linguistic Relativity

Linguistic relativity refers to "the assertion that the speakers of different languages have differing cognitive systems," and that these different systems have an influence on the ways in which the speakers, of the worlds many languages, think about the world (Sternberg, 1999). More simply, language shapes thought. Often referred to as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of linguistic determinism, it states that people's thoughts are determined by the categories made available by their language. Ocke-Schwen Bohn states, "For a speech scientist, linguistic relativity is not a hypothesis, it's a fact."

Gábor Györi's argument in his essay "Semantic Change as Linguistic Interpretation of the World" (pp. 71-89) is that semantic change is prompted by the need to express new ideas and represents a transformation of linguistic expressions for familiar experience to forms that capture the new ideas. Since, according to Györi, the linguistic expressions from which the transformations depart set certain limits on the outcome, semantic change proves the validity of the linguistic relativity hypothesis.

Associatively, Sternberg (1999) suggests that a milder form of linguistic relativism is that language may not determine thought, but there is certainly an influence. There is a clear interaction between the two. Language "facilitates" thoughts, and in turn, affects perception and memory; it also simulates encoding, storage, and retrieval of information within memory (1999). In summary, the view of linguistic relativity suggests that cognitive differences result from using different languages and thus causes people who speak varying languages to perceive the world differently (1999).

Culture: A key to the puzzle?

Though different linguistic cultures have specific language for certain ideas and concepts, the culture they are raised in most likely produce their differentiated ways of thinking. In the United States of America, where English is the predominate language, school systems have a specific method of teaching their curriculum to students. Though not all students are able to grasp this teaching process, most are; this method, taught to them by their teachers, becomes a large part of their thought processes. If one takes into account the idea of society and its impact on thought processes, then both the linguistic universalism and linguistic relativity theories are applicable.
Bilingual speakers think differently as they shift languages...seyboro
Jul 24, 2002 9:16 AM
"I'm still thinking the Germans are pretty good on bikes."
"Ich denke, die Deutschen sind immer noch recht ordentliche Radfahrer."
Hmmm, doesn't seem to work with that thought switching thingie for me. Let's try Andorran (?!)...oh-never mind...
Oh, for the love of...Gator
Jul 24, 2002 9:50 AM
Actually, I found it scary, not scarey, but no mind. Look, it's obvious you have either an advanced degree in English or a degree in speech pathology or some related field and want to share. Fine. And I'm very impressed, sourced and everything.

But I still find it scary, and this latest post isn't helping. But, hey, that's just me. I'm sure you're a nice person. So I say, war: What is it good for? Absolutely nuthin'. Say it again, HUH!

Rock on.
what happened to that fun lovin' Gator I thought I knew?AllisonHayes
Jul 24, 2002 1:30 PM
remember?

i ". Rode out to a remote inlet where a bunch or shrimpers and n'er-do-wells hang out. Well, I get there and there must be 20 of these critters sitting around drinking tall-boys, staring at me. Realizing I'm a thin man on a bike wearing skin-tight neon Lycra, I try to be cool by keeping solid, manly eye contact with said critters. However, while maintaining eye contact with them, I drove into a two-foot-deep pothole and launched. As I was trying to unclip, a pack of their mongrel dogs sensed my weakness and charged. I took off, half-crawling in my cleats, squealing like a nine-year old girl, as 20 drunken rednecks laughed their asses off. Then I had to go back for my bike. A banner day."

LMFAO on that one--sorry to have burned your pottawatomie on this one. (huh?)

i (I guess I am just speaking a different language; no worry, mate - you'll still be good 'ol gator. just watch being in those backwoods wearing that flashy lycra - them good 'ol boys only know one language and they'll teach it to ya mighty fast. )
scary or scarey?AllisonHayes
Jul 25, 2002 4:24 AM
scarey

i adj : so scary as to cause chills and shudders; "the most terrible and shuddery...tales of murder and revenge" [syn: chilling, scary, shivery, shuddery]
Source: WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University

scary

i adj : so scary as to cause chills and shudders; "the most terrible and shuddery...tales of murder and revenge" [syn: chilling, scarey, shivery, shuddery]
Source: WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University

so we'll both just chill on this one :)