The Linguistic “Fairness” of the Olympic Charter: Sociolinguistic Analysis of the Solutions Adopted in the Official International Document for Global Sport
“The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind (…)” (Olympic Charter, 2011, p. 10) is an extralinguistic presentation of sport in the Olympic Charter. Ahead of sport rivalry, as well as in social life, all people should be equal: this is the main message of the official, international document for global sport. Pure sport should recognize no differences concerning color of the skin, age, nationality, ethnicity, or gender. The aim of this paper is to show a different perspective: the focus of the paper goes to the language of the Olympic Charter, which should be brought into question. There is a need to investigate the purely linguistic solutions adopted to describe the principles and rules in sport. Additionally, the language, which characterizes participation in the Olympic Games, should be “fair”, meaning free from favoritism and prejudice. People’s dignity must be protected and no offense or discrimination is to be accepted, neither on the extralinguistic nor the linguistic level. Currently, different linguistic issues are being discussed and political correctness policy is being applied. The claims of feminists and purists are being considered. The language of the Olympic Charter seems to be resistant to any kind of criticism, as the document has already been modified a number of times. It is regularly updated. However, the question of whether the Olympic Charter is among the “fairest” documents ever written can only partially be answered. Several linguistic changes will be probably necessary in a very near future.
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