As the FIFA World Cup 2014 approaches, the excitement of soccer fans (and not so fans like me) is increasingly evident. And I say that I’m not a fanatic because, first, I’m a woman who does not follow any sports at all; and second, I come from a country (Puerto Rico) where there is no soccer/football “culture.” However, I really enjoy when world sporting events like the Olympics and the World Cup are held.
I remember that watching the games of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was the perfect excuse to get together with friends. If Spain played we went to a tapas place, if the Argentinians played we enjoyed a good parrillada in a restaurant, if it was Mexico playing we had plenty of Mexican restaurant options to eat tacos. Honestly, the part I liked most was seeing all the expatriates flock to these places to support their team, wearing their colors, the shirts of their players, their country flag and filling with emotion any hang out spot.
It is precisely that Latin excitement and emotion that means “soccer matches sound better in Spanish.” Narrating sports games requires talent and with football it happens on a large scale.
Football / soccer is so huge and important in many Spanish-speaking countries that:
1. There are books dedicated to football culture that include poems, stories, kids’ books and dictionaries. Here are some examples:
2. The Fundéu (Fundación de Español Urgente) created the Liga BBVA del Español Urgente a website that specializes in recommendations of the correct usage of the Spanish language in the football chronicles in the media.
3. Everyday colloquial Spanish expressions that are football related. This video commercial from Samsung Argentina includes 9 expressions:
Soccer Football and the Language
This is a quick summary of what I just learned about football and the language:
1. Football soccer expressions are used outside of the game: In the previous video commercial from Samsung you noticed the use of soccer football expressions that are part of the everyday language in Argentina. For example:
• hago la roja directa: when a player is shown a red card without passing by two yellow cards. When a player makes a send-off offense right away in the game
• embarrar la cancha: to play dirty
• me la dejó picando: literally “He/she left it “bouncing” on you”
2. Spanish proverbs are used in soccer game narrations: This is the opposite of the previous point, when language proverbs are used in the soccer world. Here are a some examples from Spain:
• Mal de muchos, mal de tontos
• Tanto va el cántaro a la fuente que al final se rompe
• A buen “entrenador” pocas palabras bastan
3. Metaphors and concepts from other disciplines: In the soccer football world the use of metaphors is extremely common. Many times concepts from other disciplines are used to create those metaphors. The paper La metáfora en el léxico futbolístico by Francisco Medina give us plenty of examples that use culinary, war, anatomy, hunting, construction, music, and more.
4. Anglicisms: Football / soccer loans many words from the English language. The reasons are obvious, the game originated in England.
Soccer Terms in Spanish and English: Document
And now the vocabulary. Next you will find the “Football Vocabulary” created by Español Extra. It is a document that you can use as a reference source for common soccer terms in Spanish and English. If for any reason you can not see the embedded document below, you can download it here.
Check out these other English Spanish articles.