another touchstone

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Thu Dec 20 18:25:48 UTC 2001

Here is a dictionary to be found in better libraries everywhere.  If
your library of choice does not have it, you may be sure that you are
patronizing an inferior institution.

Patrick Labriola & Jurgen Schiffer.  American Sports: Baseball –
Football – Basketball: Worterbuch grosser amerikanischer Sportarten.
Dictionary of Major American Sports.  Englisch – Deutsch, mit einem
deutschsprachigen Index.  Aachen: Meyer & Meyer Verlag, 1997.  423 pp.
The vocabulary or each sport is given separately.

I have never studied German, but have been handling German books for 30
years or so, and have as a result attained a sort of "hum a few bars
and I will fake it" mastery of the tongue.  On this basis, I will say
that this seems to be a pretty capable piece of work.  I notice the
entry "to get a runner over" = einer Laufer mit einem Bunt oder
Sacrifice Bunt vorrucken lassen.  There isn't an entry under "to move
the runner over" and the definition doesn't consider moving the runner
over by hitting a grounder to a fielder on the right side of the
infield.  (When this is accomplished, it is obligitory to say of the
batter: "He did his job.")
On the other hand, "to get all of the ball" = alles aus dem Ball
herausholen (siehe "to slam the ball") and "to get good wood on the
ball" = dem Ball gutes Holz geben (siehe "to slam the ball") seem
neatly phrased.  From the same page I find "to get under the ball =
unter den Ball kommen (1. beim Schlag den unteren Teil des Balls
treffen und dadurch einem Flugball verursachen; 2. sich in eine
Position bringen, um einem hohen Flugball su fangen) very properly
makes a distinction between the two senses of that phrase.  "Shoestring
catch" is listed as both a baseball and a football term.  As a baseball
term it is defined as: Schnursenkelfang (geschlagener Ball, der
unmittelbar vor der Bodenberuhrung gefangen wird).  As a football
term: "Ballannahme in Schnursenkelfang (Pass, der unmittelbar vor der
Bodenberuhrung gefangen wird).  "Trash talking" is given as exclusively
a basketball term: "den Gegner provozieren, indem man ihn verbal

If this had come into the library here a few weeks earlier, I could
have posted this announcement in time for your holiday shopping.  Sorry
about that.

Larry Horn, I believe it was, has commented upon my very strict
standards for judging whether a library should be considered a "better"
library or an inferior one.  I accept this criticism, but if we do not
have high standards, how can we have progress?


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998.

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