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Preparing for the World Cup

June 01, 2006

Football fever is intensifying: what opportunities does this offer for the classroom?

Hello again,

I wonder how schools are gearing up the World Cup. It strikes me as a language teaching opportunity. I am not sure how far the technical terms of football need teaching. I’m no expert on the game but I suspect the English involved is now fairly international. The French of course...

...have tried to stop Anglicisms infiltrating their sports’ commentaries but with limited success. No, I was thinking more of the inanities used by aging ex-footballers to analyse in infinite detail what is happening or happened in a game. Structurally it’s a great situation for practice of impossible conditions: yes, he should/could have but, alas, he didn’t. But the parade of platitudes and clichés used in game analysis is unparalleled: football’s all about scoring goals; it was a game of two halves; we needed a result, we lost because we didn't win; that would have been a goal if the goalkeeper hadn't saved it; either side could win it, or it could be a draw.

Then there is the cryptic and ungrammatical world of the newspaper headline; The Sun, I believe, coined the famous one: “we was robbed”. Perhaps learners could enjoy making up their own headlines and insisting on their right to massacre English grammar! Enjoy the event. Whatever happened to tennis?

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  1. Pachey Says:

    Your post is really interesting, and I think it's a great idea! Football is such a universal theme, and it's a great topic to help people learn in a fun way.

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