Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Jun 23 13:57:40 UTC 2006

Referee, you're a *%?*&! Fans find a common lingo
Fri Jun 23, 2006 3:16 AM ET

By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) - To be a real Kaiser, you need a Rono Baguette as Harrypotter.

Punish the Fliegenfanger, banish the Rustico, curse the Baggio and
pray for a Fantasista.

With millions around the globe sharing a passion for the beautiful
game, the World Cup offers the perfect chance to concoct a common
language that every fan can understand.

Enter Socceranto.

English schoolboy Ted Freedman, 16, has combined with
Argentinian-Dutch-American student Ignacio van Gelderen, 21, to
publish an instant linguistic guide on how to "speak soccer".

They have invented a shared international tongue that combines six
core languages -- Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French, German and

Absorbing football slang and jargon from around the world, they
published "Socceranto: Birth Of A Language" (
on the Lulu website that allows anyone to publish their own book.


"Football has become the most international game in the world and the
most globalized industry," van Gelderen said.

"Things are all very well when, say, Ecuador plays Costa Rica or Ghana
meets the U.S.," said Freedman. "But what about when Japan plays
Brazil or Ukraine meets Saudi Arabia?"

Helped by friends and relatives around the world, they developed the
magpie language by e-mail collaboration and now want fans to join the forum to hone it to linguistic perfection.

For fans who may be struggling to understand a single word of
Socceranto, they offer a quick and easy guide to some of their
favorite terms:

-- Kaiser: a player who dominates a game. Named after "Der Kaiser,"
the German player turned coach Franz Beckenbauer

-- Rono: a player talented enough to be an honorary Brazilian

-- Baguette: a tall, lanky player like England's Peter Crouch or
France's Patrick Vieira because they resemble long, thin French

-- Harrypotter: a midfield wizard

-- Flieganfanger: a useless goalkeeper from the German word for flycatcher

-- Rustico: player with little skills, a real donkey from the Spanish
word meaning Rustic

-- Baggio: a missed penalty named after Roberto Baggio's crucial
missed spot-kick in the 1994 World Cup final penalty shootout

-- Fantasista: a creative maestro or genius.

And, in memory of his famous clash with England at the 1986 World Cup
in Mexico, Maradona wins Sooceranto immortality as the noun for "a
goal scored with illegal use of the hand".


The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list