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The 5 Different Linguistic Styles of Exciting Goal Calls

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I’ve got a soccer crazy kid, and in these days leading to the start of the World Cup, we’ve been watching a lot of old highlight videos. Hearing hundreds of goals called, one right after the other, by excited announcers from various countries, can really make you notice the international differences in goal announcing style. After a few weeks of passive linguistic analysis of goal after goal, I have come to the conclusion that there are five basic linguistic styles to the goal call.

1. Latin American

Long, loud, and steady of pitch, perhaps the most recognizable goal call is the super-extended vowel version used throughout Latin America. It apparently began in Brazil in the 1940s with radio announcer Rebello Junior, known as “the man of the unmistakable ‘goal.’” One of the best-known practitioners today is Telemundo announcer Andrés Cantor. Here he bellows the unmistakable, Latin American "gooooooooooooal!"

2. Italian

In tone, it is operatic and emotional. Tears may be shed. Linguistically, it is characterized by punctuated repetition. Not so much a long, expansive yell, as a series of staccato cries. This is an excellent example. Tears and all.

3. British

The British style is wordy and poetic, a performed thesaurus of flabbergastedness. Not satisfied to simply invest vowels and syllables with emotional weight, as the Latin Americans and Italians do, the British announcer must explain all the feels he is feeling with words, metaphors, and similes. Here is Ray Hudson in fine form: “Aaaaaaaaaare you kidding me!? Astonishing!! This is not just a dream it’s a wet dream of orgasmic proportions….more curves to it than Jessica Rabbit—on steroids.”

4. Continental European

Other European countries, and as far as I can tell this is true for the Middle East as well, seem to focus more on the name of the goal-scorer in their goal calls. Depending on the phonological characteristics of the name, they will either draw out syllables, Latin American style, or repeat them with a punctuated rhythm, Italian style. Here’s a Dutch announcer on a goal by Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp!

5. Spanish

Spain stands in a unique position in the world of soccer announcing. It shares a language with most of Latin America and certain elements of its goal-announcing style. But it shares other features with its European neighbors. What’s a Spanish announcer to do? Use every single vowel, consonant, and syllable for effect! These examples from calls for Barcelona run the gamut, using vowel extension (gooooooool!), punctuated repetition (gol! gol! gol! gol!), scorer’s name with both techniques (Puyol! Puuuuuuyol! Pu-yol! Pu-yol!), even consonant extension (golllllllllllllllllll!) and a unique move that almost turns into ululation (golololololololololol!).

Any regional style features I’ve missed? What’s your favorite kind of goal call?

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How Do You Stress the Word: THANKSgiving or ThanksGIVing?
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Here’s something else to stress about for Thanksgiving: where to put the stress in the word Thanksgiving.

If you’re from California, Iowa, or Delaware, you probably say ThanksGIVing, with the primary stress on the second syllable. If you’re from Georgia, Tennessee, or the Texas Panhandle, you probably say THANKSgiving, with the primary stress on the first syllable.

This north-south divide on syllable stress is found for other words like umbrella, guitar, insurance, and pecan. However, those words are borrowed from other languages (Italian, Spanish, French). Sometimes, in the borrowing process, competing stress patterns settle into regional differences. Just as some borrowed words get first syllable stress in the South and second syllable stress in the North, French words like garage and ballet get first syllable stress in the UK and second syllable stress in the U.S.

Thanksgiving, however, is an English word through and through. And if it behaved like a normal English word, it would have stress on the first syllable. Consider other words with the same noun-gerund structure just like it: SEAfaring, BAbysitting, HANDwriting, BULLfighting, BIRDwatching, HOMEcoming, ALMSgiving. The stress is always up front, on the noun. Why, in Thanksgiving alone, would stress shift to the GIVE?

The shift to the ThanksGIVing pronunciation is a bit of a mystery. Linguist John McWhorter has suggested that the loss of the stress on thanks has to do with a change in our concept of the holiday, that we “don’t truly think about Thanksgiving as being about thankfulness anymore.” This kind of thing can happen when a word takes on a new, more abstract sense. When we use outgoing for mail that is literally going out, we are likely to stress the OUT. When we use it as a description of someone’s personality ("She's so outgoing!"), the stress might show up on the GO. Stress can shift with meaning.

But the stress shift might not be solely connected to the entrenchment of our turkey-eating rituals. The thanksGIVing stress pattern seems to have pre-dated the institution of the American holiday, according to an analysis of the meter of English poems by Mark Liberman at Language Log. ThanksGIVing has been around at least since the 17th century. However you say it, there is precedent to back you up. And room enough to focus on both the thanks and the giving.

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Designer Reimagines the Spanish Alphabet With Only 19 Letters
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According to designer José de la O, the Spanish alphabet is too crowded. Letters like B and V and S and Z are hard to tell apart when spoken out loud, which makes for a language that's "confusing, complicated, and unpractical," per his design agency's website. His solution is Nueva Qwerty. As Co.Design reports, the "speculative alphabet" combines redundant letters into single characters, leaving 19 letters total.

In place of the letters missing from the original 27-letter Spanish alphabet are five new symbols. The S slot, for example, is occupied by one letter that does the job of C, Z, and S. Q, K, and C have been merged into a single character, as have I and Y. The design of each glyph borrows elements from each of the letters it represents, making the new alphabet easy for Spanish-speakers to learn, its designer says.

Speculative Spanish alphabet.
José de la O

By streamlining the Spanish alphabet, de la O claims he's made it easier to read, write, and type. But the convenience factor may not be enough to win over some Spanish scholars: When the Royal Spanish Academy cut just two letters (CH and LL) from the Spanish alphabet in 2010, their decision was met with outrage.

José de la O has already envisioned how his alphabet might function in the real world, Photoshopping it onto storefronts and newspapers. He also showcased the letters in two new fonts. You can install New Times New Roman and Futurysma onto your computer after downloading it here.

[h/t Co.Design]

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