From the special football language

Be it "the side of the banana" or the "bomber of the nation". If you do not understand the language, you will soon be put away.

Dresden (dpa) | A retrospective on a football game reads like the description of a battle. A team flaps the visor, offers flanks open or lets the opponent run in the uncovered knife. The red card for Phrasendreschen is rare. But without football, the German language would be much poorer. Scientists have talked a lot about special language.






German-born Armin Burkhardt of the Magdeburg University writes that football was designed from the very beginning based on the pattern of attack and defense, victory and defeat. He is the author of a "Dictionary of the Language of Football". A small sample of his collection: "The country's bomber can fire a grenade in the upper left corner or create a torpedo head."






The language of football is not always so martial. Sometimes it's downright lyrical. At the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, journalist Gottfried Blumenstein testified to his contributions to the radio to the hosts with the Japanese meter Haiku his respect. "The German elf laughs / the dark day is always over, / because the drones are coming," he dampened the euphoria before a tournament. "A football game usually lasts 90 minutes, with the haiku, everything is said in ten seconds," said Blumenstein in the form he had chosen.






Hit, beat or shake the ball

You do not always need to hammer, beat, or clear the ball when the "game machine" is carried on the lawn. You can also pet it with your foot, let it run or stay silky in front of your opponent. The already very important inventory of verbs, with commentators describing the shooting of a bullet, is constantly expanding, observes linguist Simon Meier-Vieracker of the University of Dresden. The ball could also be sweet in the door, twitter or ring.





"More than 180 different verbs for shooting alone have been found in live football tickers, and others have been added," says the researcher. No sport is written and spoken so extensively. It has long since become a football language in its own right. In addition to specialized terminology, this also includes expressions that have their own meaning in the context of football, for example the swallow – in other words, an attempt to falsify.






But above all, there are many metaphors and phrases that are not exclusive to football, but still produce the typical sound of live commentary and match reports: If the defense looks like a stack of surprise hens, lead it or the teams play with a handbrake. "It's not for nothing that football journalists are considered particularly hardworking Phrasendrescher," Meier-Vieracker said.






Football expressions as metaphors

The language of football includes many other expressions and expressions from other fields. "But the influences can also be shown in the opposite direction, and many expressions from football have spread as metaphors in other areas," Meier-Vieracker added. "If we keep the ball flat, let's show the red card to someone or if a university of excellence such as TU Dresden plays in the Champions League, so to speak."






Legendary phrases such as Sepp Herberger's slogan "After the match is before the game" have also entered the collective memory and are available as customizable templates for all types of contexts, for example for political parties.






Meier-Vieracker has identified qualitative differences in football coverage. The supra-regional media would incorporate more backgrounds and also thematize the social role of football, placing the regional result at the center of the debate. Basically, football is a special language that is understood in all social classes – but sometimes only by football insiders. The researchers refer to the Spielverlagerung.de blog: "Since you have to be a knowledgeable connoisseur to understand everything."