Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Are Australians clearer?

For a few weeks now, I have noticed the following discussion where it is hard to tell which speaker the writer actually is:
“Did you watch the game anon?”
“What game?”
“The football game, Pats vs Saints.”
“I’m sorry my friend, I don’t know of any football teams that have that name.”
“Dude of course there are, do you not watch football?”
“Do you mean handegg?”
“What the (expletive) is handegg?”
“The American sport, handegg, where you use your hands and throw an egg-shaped ball around?”
“What? No it’s called football.”
“No. It’s handegg.”
What looking at this makes me think is that Australians, who refer to various codes of football by names like “soccer” and “US gridiron” are actually much clearer than Europeans or Americans saying “football” without even a simple qualifier like “American”.

Whilst some English people laud that “soccer” is translatable only by a word related to football in most foreign languages, they overlook that there are no languages where a word derived from translating “hand” and “egg” or adapting “handegg” is used for gridiron (American football). The same is even true for the non-pejorative “gridiron” which accurately described the shape of the field and its intensely collision-based nature.

So, perhaps people should think of a way to describe these different forms of “football” without resorting to pejorative terms?? It would be so clear if people said “the gridiron game” or “soccer teams” or “Australian rules game”.

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