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  • Let's get stuck in early doors.

  • Why is football so full of clichés?

  • Broadly speaking, there are two types of football clichés.

  • Firstly, there are the hypertruths -

  • phrases that are so obvious that they're not even worth repeating.

  • or...

  • These hypertruths have persisted

  • because they are comforting, reliable filler.

  • The footballing equivalent of say,

  • talking about the weather with your in-laws.

  • Then there is the received wisdom -

  • football phrases that have become accepted as true

  • despite having almost no basis in logic.

  • When a fan repeats such myths as, "Some people say..."

  • or that...

  • it taps into their most primal fear -

  • that their team will suddenly and spectacularly let them down.

  • Paranoia and pessimism are, after all,

  • central to the enjoyment of football.

  • For all that the English language of football has evolved

  • into something rather ornate over the last 150 years,

  • other countries have embraced their more poetic side.

  • What we might describe as...

  • that is the extreme top corner of the goal,

  • the Brazilians might call 'onde a dorme coruja', literally -

  • where the owl sleeps.

  • While English has countless ways

  • to describe the fundamental act of scoring a goal,

  • none are quite as evocative as the French -

  • 'faire trembler les filets' -

  • make the nets quiver.

  • Suddenly...

  • doesn't quite sound so impressive.

  • Football commentary is awash with bizarre words and phrases

  • borrowed from other walks of life, often from decades ago.

  • When else in their day to day life

  • would the average football fan use the words...

  • ...that is a goal scored tidily but with a flourish.

  • Or...

  • ...once used for 18th century pirates

  • but now for a defender who has a habit of suddenly bursting upfield

  • to join the attack.

  • The development of the football lexicon

  • has largely been a one-way street

  • but it has given the occasional word or phrase back

  • to the wider English language.

  • some claim originates from the BBC's radio coverage in the 1920s,

  • when a commentator would refer to a grid system,

  • printed in the Radio Times,

  • to indicate where the ball was on the pitch at that moment.

  • Despite the negative connotation,

  • clichés do have a useful function.

  • They exist to fill gaps, to lubricate debate

  • and to act as a conversational leveller between a novice

  • ...and an expert.

  • So with the saturation of football coverage

  • spare a thought for the much maligned cliché

  • because...

  • where would we be without them?

  • Thanks for watching! :)

  • Don't forget to subscribe and click the bell to receive notifications for new videos. See you!

Let's get stuck in early doors.

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B1 INT football english language suddenly english goal radio

Why is football so full of cliches? | BBC Ideas

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    Summer   posted on 2020/10/15
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