soccer usages

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Fri Oct 25 00:22:09 UTC 2002

My earlier point exactly. And what you call the
hole/basket,net/whatever you score into (mine, yours,
Hussenpfeffer's) is interesting only by variable usage. In basketball
you make points at "your end of the court," but I cannot defend this
on logical grounds (nor could I defend the other label).


>Kathleen E. Miller said:
>>At 12:40 PM 10/24/02 -0400, you wrote:
>>>A goal is something that you are trying to attain.  You don't
>>>guard your own goal.  Your goalie stands in front of the other team's goal.
>>This is semantically interesting, I think. I'm not sure if I am missing the
>>original point. But common usage seems to sway the exact opposite
>>direction. Just to make sure I wasn't "misunderstanding" I asked one of our
>>editors at the magazine who used to edit the sports page (And has written a
>>book titled "The Death of Hockey") and this is what he had to say. Calling
>>me on many things but backing me up on the "our goal" thing.
>>"First off, "goalie" is really hockey only ("goaler", if you're a Canadian
>>of 60 or older, is also acceptable). It really has to be "goalkeeper" or
>>"keeper" if you're talking about soccer, even if you're an American,
>>although if you say "goalie" you're not wrong. But the first choice, and
>>the term that should appear more often, should always be "goalkeeper" or
>>Next, you would ask not "Who's on goal" but "Who's IN goal." Right? That's
>>just a typo in the original message, no? And the person in goal for your
>>team, or in the nets for your team, is your goalkeeper. He or she is
>>standing inside YOUR goal. I don't know where this basketball thing is
>>coming from, but there are no two sports more diametrically opposed in
>>philosophy than basketball and socccer, unless it's basketball and hockey.
>>So a good rule of thumb is if some principle applies in basketball, it most
>>certainly does NOT apply in soccer.
>Well, it's obvious that this wasn't written by a linguist! It's long
>been clear to me that hockey, basketball, soccer, and, for all I
>know, lacrosse and a bunch of other games all have the same "deep
>structure". There are a few basic parameters that have to be set (the
>length of a game, the surface you play on, the number of players on a
>team, and the relative size of goal and ball) and the more obvious
>differences, notably the relative difficulty of scoring a point (from
>which follows a typical final score) follow from the settings of
>these more abstract paramaters.
>Alice Faber                                             faber at
>Haskins Laboratories                                  tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
>New Haven, CT 06511 USA                                     fax (203) 865-8963

Dennis R. Preston
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics and Languages
740 Wells Hall A
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027 USA
Office - (517) 353-0740
Fax - (517) 432-2736

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