Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Delivering on a Wednesday night in Rochdale

Well, actually I'm still just about in Eastbourne ahead of my move to the Fens tomorrow, but were I writing a football blog it'd be just about compulsory for me to use the name of a Northern industrial town to talk about the discipline of performing well every time. Why football this week? Two reasons.

The first is that I went to my first professional football match last week, free ticket courtesy of the company which sponsors Brentford. They lost, the match was a bit rubbish, but I learned a lot about the language of the terraces. Or, more accurately, how often the 11 year old boy behind me could use the f-word in one 90 minute period. What was also rather curious was the way that racist language was used. The depths of West London is really not somewhere you want to spend a lot of time unless you have to, trust me... Yes, there was offensively racist language, but the words "black cunt" were not actually directed at black players. Indeed, there was much pride and admiration expressed of black players on both sides, and this phrase was reserved specifically for the white male referee who made some distinctly unpopular decisions. Go figure the linguistic logic there...

The second reason is that the linkyloved article below explores the contents of a new book out, which identifies the - sometimes efficient, sometimes rather cliched - language of the beautiful game. The analysis is much more than a list of words and phrases, exploring other interesting language issues such as the representation of international players and particular collocations of words that have become established. Check it out.

And finally, if you are working on language change at the moment, try checking out football reporting from earlier parts of the 20th century. Click on the Online Newspaper archive link; click to enter as directed; then type "football" into the search box on the right hand side; click "go" and you will get 241 examples form 1918 onwards. Browse away and see what you discover about changes in language and style.

"Football lexicon" lays bare beautiful game speak

British Library Online Newspaper Archive


Post a Comment

<< Home