English football lexis and its influence on Russian

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Иностранные языки и языкознание


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Министерство образования и науки УР


Самарский государственный университет

Институт иностранных языков и литературы

Кафедра перевода и стилистики английского языка

Курсовая работа



Удина И.Д., гр. 2829


ст. преп. Дакакина Е. Л

Москва, 2011



Chapter 1. The history of football

Chapter 2. Specific features of English football lexis and its influence on Russian

2.1 The peculiarities of Russian loan-words

2.2 The origin of the Russian football positions' names

2.3 The formation of the English football clubs' nicknames

2.4 The phraseology of goal-scoring and its reflection on Russian




In today’s world everybody is trying to slow down their lives. As a matter of fact, there are several ways how to do it. One of the possible activities that helps us in this sphere is doing sports, for example playing football.

Obviously, football, association football, soccer is a beautiful game, loved by millions of people across the globe regardless of religion, caste or gender. Football is one of the world’s most popular games. It is played in nearly every country, by everyone from kids in vacant lots and back streets to professional players in giant stadiums. Professional football is watched by billions of people all over the world, and is probably the world’s most popular spectator sport.

Due to its great popularity, football has become an area with a special terminology known all over the world; this is one of the reasons why it can be difficult to draw a clear line between words belonging to the general language, on the one hand, and special football terms, on the other.

It is estimated that journalism gave football a launching pad that continued for the last fifty years of the game as we know it today. News, commentaries, the headlines and photo captions all led to the popularisation of the game. Newspapers plays a vital role in making football the sport of the masses. That is why the problem of studyng football lexis seems to be very serious and urgent.

It is important to note that nowadays the language of football offers many rewarding topics for linguistic research. One such topic is an analysis of football vocabulary. Since, on the one hand, a football match is made up of a relatively small number of ever-recuring events (shots, passes, referee interventions, etc.), but, on the other hand, myriads of texts (written reports, spoken commentary, etc.) are produced every day which describe these events, the vocabulary has been developed in many languages which abounds with synonims, with fine-grained semantic distinctions and with subtle stylistic variation.

In this respect, the object of the research is English football terminilogy.

The subject of the research is an analysis of its influence on Russian football terminilogy.

The aim of this work is to learn the pecularities of football terminology, its specificity, and influence English language on Russian in this particular sphere.

This aim determines the following tasks:

1) To study history of football to know the background of forming of the football lexis.

2) To explore and describe football terminology to distinguish its pecularities as linguistic phenomenon.

3) To investigate the influence of English language on Russian by the example of club nicknames, the origin of some football positions.

4) To examine and analize English football phraseology.

5) To compare Russian and English footbal lexis and to trace its connection.

For the data of the study such resources as Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English by Hornby A. S., The linguistics of Football by Eva Lavric. Gerhard Pisek. Andrew Skinner and some others were used. They provide the information on specific features of English terms and their defenitions.

Speaking about the structure of the paper, it consists of two chapters.

The first chapter provides the information about the history of football. It describes the conditions of its formation.

The second chapter is dedicated to the specificity of the English football terms and their reflection in Russian. It’s well-known that they were originated in England so that’s why the research is based on English vocabulary. It shows that the question of football terminology is very important like the question of the loan words and loan translationsfrom English. Besides, it attends to English idioms and the nicknames of football clubs.

During the research were used linguistic analysis of football lexis, comparison of Russian and English concepts, etymological research of English and Russian football vocabulary.

Concerning the practical use of the paper it can find its application at the lessons of PE, English, during the culturological surveys. Moreover, the information of the paper can be developed in further researches connecting with the football lexis or with the lexis in general.

Finally, it is common knowledge that sport language is one of the most important sources of an enrichment of vocabulary. In this case studying of English football lexis gives the opportunity to extend knowledge about language in the whole.

Chapter 1. The history of football

Football is a well-established worldwide phenomenon, whose vocabulary is now to be found in most cultures. Undoubtidly, the history of this kind of sport influenced on its vocabulary greatly. So, it is very important to trace it from its origins to its codification in the middle of the 16th century in England when it was finally formed.

Although it may be impossible to accurately state when and where the game of football originated, history has shown us glimpses of a game similar to our present day version being played for over 3000 years.

Around the 2nd or 3rd Century BC, it was documented that the Chinese military during the Han Dynasty played a game involving kicking a ball into a small net.

A game similar to football was played by the ancient Greeks and Romans but their game could include up to 27 players on a side compared to the modern day game of 11 players to a side.

Football became one of the most popular sports of the masses due to its popularity as a war game. A game of «football» which the British called it was played in the east of England during the 8th Century where the head of a defeated Danish Prince was used as the ball.

During medieval times, villages and towns were pitted against each other in game battles that could take all day. There were no structured rules to abide by and kicking, biting, gouging and punching turned the game into a virtual battle of survival. These matches became so violent that the English authorities made many attempts to have football banned.

King Edward III from England passed laws in 1331 to abolish the game and Queen Elizabeth I had a law passed that provided a one week jail sentence for anyone caught playing football. [19]

Despite these efforts, the game of football became so popular in England over the next few centuries that it evolved as the most popular sport of its time.

At this point, the only shortcoming of the sport was its lack of rules or standards. In 1815, Eton College, a famous English school, established a set of rules to be implemented by other schools, colleges and universities.

A standardized version of these rules was later adopted in 1848 by most of England’s colleges and universities that were known as the Cambridge Rules.

Unfortunately, at this point, there were still two different sets of rules being used. Some colleges favored the Rugby Rules which allowed carrying the ball with your hands, tripping and kicking to the shins which were contrary to the Cambridge Rules.

In 1863, The Football Association was created by eleven English football clubs and schools to establish a single set of rules to be enforced when they played against each other.

The supporters of the Rugby School rules objected to the changes and the two groups split apart. The Football Association later changed the rules in 1869 where they forbade the use of hands, except by the goalkeeper, which led us to the game of football as we know it today. [17, 185]

The English still called it a game of «football» because the ball was played primarily with the feet but in the late 18th Century, the word, «soccer», was first used by a student of Oxford University by the name of Charles Wreford Brown. The students at Oxford were known for using slang where they added «er» to the end of words that they intentionally shortened. The game of Rugby was called «rugger». Brown shortened the word «association» and added «er» and the term «soccer» was born.

Since the 19th Century the game has evolved to where it is today. It is the World’s Game that is played by more people than any other sport and is universally recognized as the most popular game in sports history.

The World Cup which is held every four years to crown a World Champion draws millions of spectators to the 32 games played and is watched by billions of fans from around the globe thanks to modern day satellite television technology.

The popularity of football continues to grow as organized youth soccer programs are getting a young fan base involved at an early age which will fuel its growth for years to come. England was the first country to organize sport as a national activity.

The full official name of «soccer» (as it is called in the USA and sometimes in Britain) is «association football». This distinguishes it from other kinds such as rugby football (almost always called simply «rugby»), Gaelic football, Australian football and American football. However, most people in Britain call it simply «football». This is indicative of its dominant role. Everywhere in the country it is easily the most popular spectator sport, the most played sport in the country’s state schools and one of the most popular participatory sports for adults. In terms of numbers, football is the national sport, just as everywhere in Europe. [18, 191]

To sum up, the way of football was not easy, it had to survive abolition, undergo many changes that had a great influence on its lexis that is now characterized by variety and richness.

football english russian lexis

Chapter 2. Specific features of football lexis and its influence on Russian

Football is a well-established worldwide phenomenon, whose vocabulary is now to be found in most cultures. In many contries its status as «king» of sports has continued since its beginning. Vocabulary from English has been borrowed by many languages ever since. The borrowings have different influence on different languages. The borrowings of sport terminlogy allows to enrich vocabulary and to extend the number of internatonal words. Football and sports, in general, has come to occupy a central place in contemporary society and culture.

In borrowing, the most widly borrowed lexical category is that of nouns, as these stand for the notion or an object, easily transferable from one language to another, whereas adjectives do not have this autonomy to the same degree.

This chapter aims to introduce Russian football lexis in comparison with English one and the types of terms available in language. It represents the information connected with Russian loan-words from English, introduces the homonymic aspect of football clubs nicknames, focuses on lexical specificity of its idioms.

2.1 The peculiarities of Russian loan-words

Lexical loan words from English are the most characteristic way of providing football-specific lexis. Most of the football vocabulary in Russian is borrowed from English, which is also the case in most European languages. The borrowing of lexical elements is a completely natural and regular occurrence in language development and one of the most important sources for the completion and enlargement of lexical composition. The thesis in linguistics that a language without loan words does not exist was confirmed a long time ago. In this respect all languages have a compound character. Clear evidence of this statement is football vocabulary. They come with the mediation of English as part of the football terminology.

Speaking about the rules of the game in Russian, all of them are expressed with loan words from English: аут/out, outside, гол/goal, матч/match, рефери/referee, фол/faul, футбол/football.

Lexical loan translations are a special kind of loan words, by which the morphological structure of a foreign word is filled with material from the native language or the semantic structure of a home word is added with a new meaning under the influence of a foreign language.

Автогол/ own goal — a goal scored by a player against his own team. Полузащитник is a loan translation of halfback. In addition to word-forming patterns, some phraseological ones are characteristic of football vocabulary: «золотой гол» (sudden death), дополнительное время (overtime), свободный удар (free kick), центральный круг (centre circle). With reference to phrasal loan translations, the words in the word group are translated separately from the components and are joined according to the pattern of the foreign word group.

As regards abbreviations, all abbreviations of proper names of international institutions related to football are also borrowed.

ФИФА/FIFA — Federation International Football Association

КОНКАКАФ/ CONCACAF — Confederation of North, Central American and Caribben Association Football

КАФ/CAF — Confederation of African Football

УЕФА/UEFA — Union of European Associations

The forming of new derivatives is one of the main ways of providing the necessary vocabulary in everyday life. They are made when the name of a new object or phenomenon through its relation to another object or phenomenon is needed, and this is how they are formed from units already existing in language — root, stem, affixes. Trough derivation the number of new words constantly arise. We will look at some examples with the stem being borrowed from English. For example, the word футболист (footballer) itself is formed from the derivative stem футбол/football and the suffix -ист/-ist. The words with such suffix have a main meaning and denomination for a person according to their profession or occupation. [15, 93]

Sometimes the borrowed words from English have homonyms in Russian — words which are pronounced in the same way, but have nothing in common in terms of definition. Such words are mostly a result of borrowing vocabulary from foreign languages and the fact that words with such a sound structure already exist in the language. For example, with the word goal we observe partial homonymy. In the concrete example we talk about homonymy between the basis word form a noun and an adjective. The words belong to different world classes. In dictionaries for the different definitions of the homonym, single entries have been written.

гол /naked/ adj. with uncovered body, without clothes, undressed

гол (goal) m in football and other sport games point gained, result achieved. Score a goal. [7, 196]

At the basis of lexical synonymy are the relations of identity and closeness between the synonyms of the different words. The traditional definition of synonyms is the following: «words close or identical in meaning, which designate in different ways one and the same concept but different distributions along a number of parameters». A playmaker/плеймейкер, for example, means a footballer who «coordinates a team’s offensive strategies» and operates in the centre, mostly with a free role, and a halfback/хавбек — a footballer who also plays in the centre field, but on the left. The synonymous relations and connections unify the words in groups which are called synonym rows or groups of synonyms (clusters).

Every centered cluster has its own dominant synonym. It is neutral and covers semantically in full the semantic basis of the cluster. In the cluster полузащитник (calque half-defender) — плеймейкер (playmaker) — хавбек (halfback) the core is the полузащитник (half-defender). [13, 217]

The problem is the use of foreign loan words for which there are Russian equivalents (synonyms) raised linguistic interest some time ago. At the same time, a serious ambition on one part of football journalists to use a growing number of newly borrowed lexical units can be observed; these terms have their Russian equivalents: хавбек/ halfback/ полузащитник, голкипер/ goalkeeper/ вратарь. Linguistic research in this area recommends limiting the use of borrowed vocabulary in cases where Russian vocabulary already exists.

2.2 The origin of the Russian football positions' names

Due to England is a Motherland of football, as it was said above, many football terms were borrowed from it. It can be concerned even to football positions.

To begin with, the word вратарь. As a matter of fact this word can be regarded as the most mysterious. For the first time for description of this position was used only the word голкипер. However, вратарь is more common nowadays. Moreover, this word is used in the official documents. It’s important to note that the Russian word вратарь does not have any connection to the English word goalkeeper. This English concept was created from two words: «goal» — «a wooden frame with net into which players must kick or hit the ball in order to score a point» (and «the point that is scored») and «keeper» that means «a person whose job is to take care of something». In German for the name of this position is used calque from English language «Torwart», where «Tor» — «goal» and «Wart» is a reduction from the word «warter» — «keeper». Probably, word-formative peculiarities don’t allow to create Russian analog of this word. It should be something like «воротостраж» or «воротохран». But it doesn’t sound naturally. In this case there was a necessity of creation a new word. Actually, the word вратарь that was formed from the word врата and siffix -арь is an archaism. Besides, the word вратарь had appeared in Russian before the game and meant a monk. In the beginning of the 17th century it was cutout by the word привратник and became an archaism. [2]

The origin of the word защитник is quite simple. It’s a calque from the word defender.

Then the word полузащитник. In English this position is called as a midfielder from the words «middle» — «the part of something that is at an equal distance from all its edges or sides» and «field» — «an area of land». German has a full calque from this word «mittelfeld (spieler)». Presumably, Russian language didn’t create any calques according to the same reason as with вратарь. However Russian variant was hardly created in Russia. It seems that it appeared from the word the slang halfback.

The last main position is нападающий. There is a well-known barbarism форвард. This word is used more often and it has fewer meanings than the others. In English forward means «towards a place or position that is in front». It’s very likely that this word is an element of calque from German where instead of forward the word «Stunner» was created. It can be translated as «storming», or «the person who storm». This fact makes the origin of this position clearer.

To conclude, as we see according to these examples many of Russian words that used for describing of the football positions are loan-words from the English. However, they can have Russian analogs of the words.

2.3 The formation of the English football clubs' nicknames

Most of the football clubs in the English League have nicknames. These are sometimes used in a derisory fashion, but are often used by the fans to confirm their collective identity as followers of the club.

These informal names can reveal information about the clubs themselves, but also help to show how the sport itself was funded and developed in its infancy. They can range from the exotic to the mundane.

According to its origin football nicknames can be divided on several groups.

The club nicknames of the first group are based on the dominant colour of the football kit.

The colour of the football strip can lead to a name, such as Watford being known as The Hornets/Шершни or Weymouth being called The Terras/Террарс due to their terracotta coloured shirts.

Some other examples:

Birmingham City — Blues/Синие

When the club was formed as Small Heath Alliance they decided the club would play in a dark blue shirt. The club would stick with these colors and the nickname Blues was born.

Blackpool -Tangerines/Мандарины

Tangerines relates to the colour of the clubs home kit. The club picked up the colours after been impressed when a club official saw a Netherlands side play.

Liverpool — The Reds/Красные

Another nickname which doesn’t take two much explanation. When Liverpool adopted the city’s colour of red as the colour of their strip, the nickname of the Reds simply followed on.

Manchester City -The Blues/Голубые

The Blues has obvious connections with the clubs home colours.

Tottenham Hotspur — Lilywhites/Лилово-белые

Lilywhites simply comes from the colour of Tottenham’s home shirt.

Birmingham City -Blues/Cиние

Colour of home football kit

Animal nicknames

In some cases the nickname refers to the animal that is colored as the football kit.

Newcastle United — Magpies/Сороки

The name Magpies originates from the clubs iconic black and white striped kit.

Barnet — Bees/Пчелы

Based on the striped home kit.

Hull City -Tigers/ Тигры

Colour of the amber and black home strip

Norwich City— Canaries/ Канарейки

Rearing canaries was a popular pastime in the area during the early 20th century. The club adopted it’s yellow strip because of the nickname.

However, animal nicknames were given not only due to the coincidence of the colour. Sometimes there is no any connection with it. The origin of nicknames is based on local legends or some other facts.

Sunderland — The Black Cats/ Черные коты

In 1997 when Sunderland moved to the Stadium of Light the clubs supporters were also given the opportunity to vote on the clubs official nickname. With 11,000 votes the club announced their official nickname as `The Black Cats'. The historical link with black cats goes way back to the 1800's with a River Weir artillery base named «Black Cat Battery». This name reportedly developed after a member of the local militia who was manning the station fled after thinking a black cat was a devil incarnate because of the howling wind and full moon at the time.

Fast-track to 1905 and a black cat was pictured sitting on a football next to the club chairman at the time, and three years later a black cat would appear in the clubs team photo. The fans believed that the animal brought them good luck and in 1937 Sunderland fan Billy Morris took a black cat to Wembley in his pocket, Sunderland would win their first FA Cup trophy that year. The connection grew even further in the 1960s when a black cat lived at Sunderland’s Roker Park ground and was cared for by the club. [10, 155]

Wolverhampton Wanderers — Wolves/ Волки

Probably the most unimaginative nickname out of the bunch, but the most commonly used. Most football fans will know the Midlands club as Wolves, and there is no prize guessing why.

Millwall — Lions/ Львы

Adopted the nickname after being referred to as lions, due to their FA Cup giant killing exploits in 1900.

Leicester City — Foxes/ Лисы

Reference to Leicestershire’s hunting tradition.

Sheffield Wednesday — Owls/ Совы

Based on the name of the area in which the club is based (Owlerton).

Work-Related Nicknames

Many English football clubs were founded in the end of the XIX century at the factories. It’s turned out that football wasn’t an expensive activity. So, that’s why the majority of workers played it in their spare time. The names of football clubs that were formed on the factory floor were directly connected with the professional sphere.

Arsenal's official name comes from the same source as its nickname The Gunners/Каннониры. The club was formed in 1886 by workers at the Woolwich Arsenal Armament Factory, originally under the name «Dial Square». However, they soon changed their name to «Royal Arsenal» and to «Woolwich Arsenal» when the club turned professional in 1891. [4, 3]

West Ham — Hammers/ Молотобойцы

West Ham’s nickname originates from the Thames Ironwork Football Club, a team from which they developed. The West Ham crest features two crossed rivet hammers and the club has been known has the Hammers ever since

Stoke City — Potters/Гончары

A fairly straightforward nickname that originates from the large connection with the pottery industry in North Staffordshire

Yeovil Town — Glovers/Гловерс

Yeovil was a centre of the glove making industry during the 1800's.

Scunthorpe United -Iron/Айрон

Scunthorpe is the UK’s largest steel processing centre.

Sheffield United -Blades/Клинки

Sheffield has been a major centre for steel production and cutlery manufacture since the 18th century.


As with many clubs, there is more than one story suggesting the origin of AFC Bournemouth's nickname The Cherries/Черриз. The side wore cherry red striped shirts, and they would not be the only team in the league to have their nickname taken from their team strip (such as Manchester City being known as the «Sky Blues»).

Perhaps more likely, however, is the theory that the nickname comes from a source of power and money early in the twentieth century. The club’s first ground, Dean Court, was named after Mr J E Cooper-Dean who was the club’s benefactor. The ground was built next to Mr Cooper-Dean's estate on which grew a number of cherry orchards.

The tradition of giving a name related to patronage has continued to recent times, as illustrated by Chelsea's nickname of «Chelski» following its purchase by Roman Abramovich.

Manchester United — The Red Devils/ Красные дьяволы

A few conflicting stories describe the Red Devils nickname. One rumor suggests that «during a tour of France in the 1960s the club were branded the Red Devils due to their red kit and Sir Matt Busby liked the name so much he asked for the club to incorporate a devil in the badge. Another story suggests it stems from local rugby Salford. The rugby club were nicknamed the Red Devils and with United formally training in Salford the nickname transferred over. [5, 123]

Sometimes a person’s comments or actions can be responsible for a club’s name. For example, Peterborough United is known as The Posh/Пош. Before the club was formed, there was another local team, Fletton United, who used the ground at London Road. The player manager, Pat Tyrell, said that he wanted «posh players for a posh team» and the name stuck.

Local Quirks

Many clubs take their names from local historical emblems, such as Derby County (The Rams/Бараны) or Leicester City (The Foxes/Лисы). Others gained their nickname from their location, such as Reading (The Royals/Роялс, Придворные) being situated in the Royal County of Berkshire.

With Everton, the club’s informal name of the The Toffees/Ириски appears to have uniquely local connections, but again history has blurred the origins of the story and three popular versions of events survive.

Liverpool was a city with a large population of Irish immigrants at the beginning of the twentieth century, and «toffee» was a local term for Irishmen.

There was a property near the ground called «Ye Ancient Everton Toffee House» which may have lead to the nickname.

A local seller of sweets and toffees sold her wares on match days near Goodison Park.

Fulham — Cottagers/Дачники

This nickname originates from the famous cottage which is an iconic part of Fulham’s Craven Cottage ground.

Charlton Athletic — Addicks/Эддикс

Corruption of the word 'haddocks', named after a local fishmonger.

Blackpool — Seasiders/Приморцы

The term Seasiders relates to the popularity of the town as a tourist resort on the North West coast.

Manchester City — Citizens/Горожане

Again not the most fascinating story behind this nickname, the name Citizens has simply evolved from the term City.

Newcastle United — Toon/Горожане

Local pronunciation of 'Town', meaning City Centre where the ground is situated

Other Origins

Blackburn Rovers — Rovers/Бродяги

Again not the most imaginable nickname. Rovers is a common team name for a side which is willing to travel distances for victory. Logically fans shortened the clubs name to Rovers.

Aston Villa — Villans/Вилланы

Not the most fascinating story behind this one. Formed when a local cricket team Villa Cross needed something to occupy themselves during the winter months, the name Villa inevitably evolved to Villans.

Chelsea — Pensioners/Пенсионеры

The nickname comes from the well known Chelsea Pensioners — war veterans living in a nearby hospital. In 1905 the club adopted the crest of the Chelsea pensioners, and the nickname followed on.

Tottenham Hotspur — Spurs/ Шпоры

Spurs is obviously a shortened version of Hotspur which comes from the clubs connection with Shakespeare character Harry Hotspur.

West Bromwich Albion — Baggies/Мешки

One of the most debated nicknames around is West Brom’s. The popular belief is that the name originated from the baggie shorts that the players wore around in the early 1900s. But club historian Toby Matthews claims: «In its early days The Hawthorns had only two entrances, one behind each goal. On match days the goalkeepers would gather up the takings at each end and be escorted by policemen along the sides of the pitch to the centre line where there was a small office under the stand.

«The gate money, mostly in pennies, amounted to a considerable sum and was carried in large cloth bags. It wasn’t long before some wag in the crowd started shouting «Here come the bag men!» at their appearance in front of the main stand, and this developed into a chant of «Here come the Baggies,» giving the team its nickname.

Wigan Athletic — Latics/Латикс

Wigan are not on their own with this nickname with League 1 side Oldham Athletic also claiming it. Latics is simply a corruption of the world Athletic.

Bolton — Trotters/Рысаки, Wanderers/Cтранники

An interesting legend is in the nickname Bolton. She says that at the dawn of existence of the club field located near the pigsty, where players are often at a trot to run after the ball flown away. Also, «Bolton» in ancient times very often changed stadiums, he chose his nickname — «Wanderers», ie «wanderers».

Whether a club gets its informal name from its ground (such as Southampton being The Saints/Святые, after St Mary’s Road) or a comment made back in its history, the fans of the team will gather under the umbrella of that nickname to show their loyalty to the club of their choice.

So you can find football nicknames based on team colours, local industry, name of the team or their home ground, or a feature of the team crest (often an animal incorporated in the badge).

Some are based on local legend while others derive from self-mockery.

Analyzing Russian equivalents of nicknames we can conclude that most of them appeared as a result of literal translation. However, in some cases they transliterated.

Moreover, the formation of English football clubs' nicknames found its reflection in Russian too. For instance:

Colour originated nicknames: FC Zenit? Sine-Belo-Golubye (Blue-White-Light blue, FC Spartak Moscow? Krasno-belye (The Red-Whites, FC Dinamo — White Blues.

Others: PFC CSKA Moscow? Koni (Horses), Armeytsy (Army men), Armeytsy Moskvy (Army men of Moscow), FC Spartak Moscow? Myaso (The Meat), FC Saturn Moscow Region? Inoplanetyane (Aliens)/, FC Lokomotiv Moscow? Loko (Steam Locomotive), Parovozy (Steam Locomotives), Zheleznodorozhniki (Railroaders) etc.

To sum up, club nicknames enrich the vocabulary by creating homonyms not only English but also in other languages as they also are used in speeches of football commentators.

2.4 The phraseology of goal-scoring and its reflection on Russian

Not surprisingly, the language of football is characterised by a great variety of idioms and metaphors, which can be found in live football commentary.

Most of the football idioms refer to specific lexis. It can be explained due to most of them are associated with the particular situation in sport competitions and there meanings are connected with them.

As the main act in footbal is goal scoring, it seems quite important to study phraseology concerned with it.

In view of the focus on phrases with net, most of the phrases connected with goal scoring are based on metonymy. It should, nevertheless, be stressed that one of the most frequent verbs related to goal-scoring, namely shoot («kick the ball») is based on a metaphor. However, although shoot is very frequent itself there are very few types of goal-scoring metaphors in English, while there are quite a few metonymies.

The high frequency of a word such as «net» is caused by it occurring in phrases expressing a frequent concept (in the case, goal scoring). The net is metonymically linked with the goal in, e.g. hit/find the back of the net and (the ball) into the corner /roof of the net, where one aspect of scoring is highlighted, namely that the ball (usually) reaches the goal net when a goal is scored (e.g. Craig Hignett fired a hard shot into the roof of the net). Another phrase, (the ball) over the line, illustrates that the ball does not need to hit the net in order for there to be a goal (e.g. Chapman eventually forced the ball over the line). [13, 147]

The goal-scoring phrases in this section are the most frequent ones with net: the back/corner/roof of the net, (the ball) in the net/мяч в сетке, empty net/пустые ворота and (into his) own net/в собственных воротах. It should be stressed that, although these phrases are metonymic in that they highlight a silent aspect of an event, they are also literal (the ball really ends up in the net).

The most frequent goal scoring phrases with net consists of the (recurring strings of words that may or may not have linguistic integrity) the back/ roof/ corner of the net. These occurred mostly in the constructions hit/find the back of the net and [Verb] the ball/cross (etc.) into the roof/corner of the net. While the former is usually used simply as a synonym to score a goal, as in an example below, the later construction is a neat way of describing how and by whom a goal was scored, and where the ball went in.

Sooner or later we had to start hitting the back of the net.

The verb slot for the back of the net is mostly filled by the verbs hit and find, whereas the roof/corner of the net occurs with a wide variety of transitive and intransitive verbs. Curl (закрутить в ворота), hammer (заколотить в ворота), poke (затолкать в ворота) and sidefoot only constitute a handful of the more than 50 types found. Some of these verbs, like hammer, are metaphorical, while others like sidefoot can be argued to be metonymic.

But Scunthorpe withstood the pressure and scored in injury time with the very last kick of the match, Jan Helliwell curling a free kick into the corner of the net. [13, 147]

The «roof/corner of the net construction» is similar to empty net and own net below in that there is a core in the constructions, which is hard to specify, with slots allowing almost limitless variation. For the roof/corner of the net there is a real-world limitation to the number of specifiable places where a ball can hit the net, while no such limitations appear to apply to the number of ways a ball can be conveyed into it.

The next phrase, (the ball) in the net, occurs with a restricted set of verbs, normally only have, put and get. Like the metonymic constructions above, the ball reaching the net is highlighted as a salient feature of scoring. Two distinct meanings are expressed with this phrase, the first of which refers to the superficially simple task of scoring the goals (usually with put or get).

Bobby told me he needs somebody to put the ball in the net.

The second meaning (usually with the verb have) relates to cases where the goal is disallowed.

Peackok had the ball in the net after 65 minutes but the effort was disallowed.

Paul Snarrock’s men had the ball in the net in injury time but only after Alex Mathie had bundled Leighton over the time.

Usually, it is mentioned explicitly that the goal did not count, with phrases like was ruled offside or was disallowed but sometimes more implicit means are used, where readers have to infer that that a free-kick was awarded to the defending side.

Paul Snarrock’s men had the ball in the net in injury time but only after Alex Mathie had bundled Leighton over the time.

Although phrases are motivated by metonymy, their meanings are not always predictable. Similarity, some knowledge of the conversations of football reporting for readers to be able to interpret phrases such as the ball in the net expressing meanings particular to the field. [13, 148]

Another goal-scoring phrase with net is based on empty net (пустые ворота). An/the empty net is the metonymic expression used when there are no defending players obstructing the passage to the goal. The net is empty net does not, as in the previously discussed phrases, refer to the meshed fabric at the back of the goal, but rather to the goalmouth.

But Voyley sealed Stoke’s fate when he rounded keeper Runnie Sinclair to stroke the ball into an empty net with a minute to go.

This phrase is another illustration of both the fixedness and variability of language. In the material similar to the back/roof/corner of the net above, it can be argued that there is a SPACE, but it presupposes familiarity of the length of a football match.

In the dying/closing minutes/на последних минутах and in the opening minutes/на первых минутах, referring to, respectively, to the final and the initial minutes of the match, are similar to the nth minutes in their origin in the conceptual metaphor TIME IS SPACE. The dying minutes also involves personification, since a sporting event is conceptualized as a living entity.

Slaven put the ball in the net in the dying minutes but the goal was disallowed for offside.

The phrases in the dying/closing/opening minutes are virtually limited to sports, and to football in particular. These phrases could conceivably be used outside sport relating to events with fixed beginnings or ends, and where time is measured in minutes, but there were only few instances of this (referring to e.g. concerts)

The preposition from occurs in phrases expressing the number of minutes remaining in a game, as in minute (s) from time and minute (s) from the end.

Pat Nevin scored the third five minutes from time.

Marc Bowen’s goal two minutes from the end brought some consultations to Wales.

These phrases are based on the conceptual metaphor «time is stationary and we move through it».

Minute (s) from time and minute (s) from the end are almost entirely restricted to sports reporting, and mostly to football. Like the time phrases discussed above the findings for minute (s) from time and minute (s) from the end indicate that football (to some extent together with other sports) has developed its own register-specific phraseology to express time. [13, 160]

In contrast to the phrases discussed so far, the final whistle/финальный свисток is mostly used to place events after a football match rather than within it. The metonymic link here between full time and the official signal that the game is over, namely the referee blowing for the whistle. A large majority of instances found occur in football reporting in prepositional phrases, such as after a football whistle, at the final whistle, before the final whistle and on the final whistle. Phrases like as/when…blew/went are used to place events taking place immediately after the game, rather than during the game. At usually occurs with expressions of emotions or reactions to the result.

The boys ringing round the Morumby Stadium at the final whistle must have sounded sweet to the visitors.

After the final whistle, which sometimes includes further specification of time, such as just/soon/long after, also typically occurs with reactions to the result, but the use of this phrase is slightly more varied in that it co-occurs with descriptions of other post-match events such as crowd trouble and violent incidents on and off the field.

This game was played in a sporting manner until moments after the final whistle when Middlesbrough’s Marc Proctor was apparently elbowed in the face by the Sunderland full-back Paul Hardyman.

The final whistle can be compared with another metonymic phrase also referring to the end of the match, namely the (very) last kick/последний удар (of the match/ first half). This is similar to the final whistle in that it refers t the last important events of match, but in contrast to the final whistle, the last kick evidently relates to events during the match rather than after it. It is noteworthy that in material analyzed, this phrase is more commonly associated with rugby than with football.

Leeds also had the ball in the net with the last kick of the first half but it was disallowed for no apparent reason. [13, 161]

The exploration of the phraseology of football time has shown that there are some highly conventionalized ways of expressing time in football reporting, some of which are used with exact time (minutes from time), while others are vaguer (in the dying minutes). The use of such phrases follows naturally from the fact that we know when a game is supposed to end, the time usually being measured in minutes. In contrast to goal-scoring phrases, which are generally metonymic in nature, phrases related to football time were found mostly metaphoric in nature (with some exceptions). This is in line with non-corpus based findings that time is conceptualized as space and motion.

In summary, special phraseology is thus necessary to express certain recurrent meanings and is expected by those who follow football, but in may also serve to exclude others. As regards to their translation it’s necessary to admit that they aren’t always translated from English into Russian literally.

This paper has only investigated a limited set of typical football phrases. Future studies are not only valuable for the study of football language, but also for the investigation of fundamental properties of human language in general.


This study proves that English language significantly contributed to terms' development of sport and of football in particular. In view of the above said it’s possible to make the following conclusions.

Firstly, the modern game of football originated in Great Britain in the middle of the nineteenth century and shortly after spread to the European continent. Along with the spread of football to the European continent, English football terminology penetrated in several languages. For example, words such as football, goal and shoot are commonly used in many languages in today’s football broadcasts.

What matters here is that according to the facts of history the establishing of football terminology was not easy. It almost finished its existence when King Edward III from England in 1331 banned football because of its violence. Nevertheless, nowadays we can not even imagine our life without it. It’s not surprising that borrowings of sport concepts from other languages is a neccesary and inescapable process.

Secondly, due to the fact that England is the Motherland of football its terminology was developed there. Subsequently, football terms were borrowed from English in those countries where it appeared. Lately its own terminology was formed. The ways of its formation were different from the calques from English words to inventing of new words.

Thirdly, borrowings take place in the Russian language. Nowadays it can not seem strange, but most of the terms were torn out English, for example, referee, goalkeeper etc. so, that is why Russian language is filled with many English loan-words that describe football positions, some rules and abbreviations.

An important point is that English football lexis as linguistic phenomenon can be characterized with all the processes existing in it. For example, homonymy and synonymy can be proved on the basis of football club’s nicknames. Its great variety enriched and extended English vocabulary and due to the borrowings it enriches Russian too.

Fourthly, judging from the goal-scoring idioms represented in the paper it is vital to note that they are mostly based on metaphors and metonymy. Because of it they can be used only in particular situations, that is why they can be related to specific lexis not commonly used in spoken speach.

Fifthly, the fact that most of the football clubs' names and nicknames in international kinds of sport have English origin shows prevailing influence of this language.

Finaly, it is imposible to say that by this paper the study of football terminology is compelet as this topic attracts a great sientific interest and requires more detailed study by investigating other linguistics aspects of it and extending knowledge of the represented information.


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