The language of football: a cultural analysis on selected world cup nations

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The language of football: A cultural analysis of selected World Cup nations.
This essay describes how actions on the football field relate to the nations’ different cultural understanding of football and how these actions become spoken dialects within a language of football.
Saussure reasoned language to have two components: a language system and language users (Danesi, 2003). Consequently, football can be characterized as a language containing a system with specific rules of the game and users with actual choices and actions within the game. All football players can be considered language users embedded in different collective social institutions such as national cultures that affect their choices in game-playing situations. Thus, the actions of Italian, English and Brazilian players become different dialects within the same language system. These dialects are expressed in actions such as the shifting tempo, centre of mass and directions in space.
For instance, English footballers are characterized by their persistent high tempo while Brazilian footballers change tempo. These distinctions are all inherited from national football cultures that have evolved differently. A culture contains three levels (Schein, 2004) in which each player and his actions can be considered an artefact - a concrete symbol in motion embedded in espoused
values and basic assumptions. Therefore, the actions of each dialect are strongly connected to the underlying understanding of football. By document and video analysis the World Cup nations Brazil, Netherlands, Italy and England are analysed to illustrate different dialects within football.
Danesi, M. (2003). Second Language Teaching: A View From the Right Side of the Brain. Berlin: Springer
Schein, E. (2004). Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on FIFA World Cup and the Nation: Culture, Politics, Identity, 23-24 July 2014, Oxford, UK
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventInternational Conference on FIFA World Cup and the Nation: Culture, Politics, Identity - Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Jul 201424 Jul 2014


ConferenceInternational Conference on FIFA World Cup and the Nation
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

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