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More with Ticha Penicheiro

On Friday our latest celebrity lesson–and first with a female athlete–goes live on the home page on Friday (peek at it here). What an honor to get to interview one of the biggest names in the WNBA, Ticha Penicheiro of the Sacramento Monarchs (who was also named Sacramento’s most eligible bachelorette by Forbes).

Ticha studied communications in college and may go into broadcasting following her professional career, so the Portuguese athlete seems pretty much like a native speaker. The lesson is sort of a three-parter with explanations of the terms, “steal,” “assist,” and the phrase “the sky’s the limit.” There were some bits about learning English that got cut, so here’s the rest of the interview.


Jason: Your brother plays basketball, your dad’s a coach. Basketball runs in the family. Does English run in the family?

Ticha: My brother always had American players on his team, and they would always come over to my house, so at a very young age, I was very familiar with the English language. Just like here you take foreign languages in school, a lot of people take Spanish, in Portugal, the majority of the people take English. So it’s something that you learn in school. My mom speaks English and my dad understands more than he speaks, he’s a little shy, and my brother speaks fluently.

Jason: Was a time when you first got here and you were going to Old Dominion that you had to struggle to speak English?

Ticha: In classes it was going too fast at first and I was trying to write everything the professor would say and I quickly realized I couldn’t do that because I couldn’t catch up. A lot of times I would just use a dictionary if there were some words that I didn’t know. We always had tutors and people we could ask questions when we weren’t sure what was going on, but I was just paying a lot of attention in class. I would really focus on everything that the professor would say, I would try to write it down. It wasn’t as easy because, you know, my English was OK but, to be in class with somebody who spoke that fast, it was kind of tough.

And finally, a picture of me with Ticha.

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