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June 7, 2006

Linguistics: Suck It Up Football Fans

This month in Germany, a series of nations will be playing for the in soccer.

So, how should the game be called: football or soccer?

Soccer Ball Well, the proper name of the game is... soccer, not football. Football is a game that requires touchdowns. Soccer is a game where you kick the ball and try to score goals. The soccer name was originally coined in England from the term “Association Football” and an added suffix –er.

The football name was then picked up by people around the world, except for us, Americans, who continue to call the game by its true name – soccer.

As you may know, today the game is the most popular sport on the planet played in every country... and called by the wrong name.

To read more about the history of the name change, click .

For some interesting information about the 2006 World Cup, visit the following blogs:

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Posted by Katya Miller at June 7, 2006 11:02 AM
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Hmmm.. so US is right and everybody else is wrong? Figures :) If it was first called football as in "Association Football" and then slang term "soccer" emerged then football is wrong?

Ok, maybe this is how it works in English :) but many other countries have it in their languages as foot + ball. Jalgpall for instance.

I don't think it matters that football was originally called "soccer." I'm sure everyone who writes for this blog would accept that language is a living, changing thing. If the whole world calls a game "football," (including most anglophone countries), then that's what it is.

The game played by NFL teams is generally referred to as "American football," and I'm fine with that, but I'd prefer it if they were to come up with a new name for it. Why should it be called "football" anyway? Apart from the occasional kick-off, punt or field goal attempt, the foot isn't used in the game any more than it is in baseball. Why not call it something like "gridball"?

Real football, on the other hand, is played almost exclusively with one's foot. Hence the name.

The fact is most people I know call it football, and that's just an example of democracy at work. The word is also logical.

It's funny to read a German article that can accept 'fussball' as the right German word for the sport, but not 'football' as the Saxon one.

I don't understand the logic in writing "The soccer name was originally coined in England from the term “Association Football” and an added suffix –er." and then writing that soccer was first. That just doesn't make sense.

I don't really care what you call it anyway, just let me watch some more of it!

ummm, so "soccer" was takin' from "association." now what exactly what is this association associating? FOOTBALL. americans, can never admit they're wrong. jerks.

Think of it this way -- at least they got their comeuppance. If the country is going to refuse to call the game by its proper name, its team deserves to be shamed at the World Cup.


My source for this post was the Oxford Dictionary.

If you wish, you can contact OED. Americans got nothing to do with the word's etymology.

Thank you.

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