Follow by Email

Inspirational Reads

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol. LXXIV

June 25, 2010

Salvete, Omnes! How the bloody hell are you this fine morning? Or whatever time it is when you finally read this.

Anyway, this should have probably run last week, but like I said, I was too busy avoiding honest work and laying around like a lout, watching soccer.

What's that you say, you imperialistic European? Why is it that we Americans call it soccer? Well, I'll tell you, Jimmy. Even if you don't want to know, mostly because I'm sick of your arrogance, plus my team is in the round of 16 and you're too busy throwing yourself on the ground or refusing to practice or whatever it is that caused your team to self-destruct this time around.

The irony here, of course, is that is that I have very few readers from Italy or France, and the English also made it to the next round. So...*shrugs helplessly*

Anyway, the origins of the word soccer are, actually, British. Talk about your unexpected outcomes! (That's an irony joke right there, because of the preceding paragraph and then I...whatever, it's too early for cerebral grammar jokes).

It's true. You might not want to believe it, especially you who like to think you're cozying up to the Europeans by insisting to call it "football", because, ha ha, funny joke, you pick the ball up and throw it in American football! What a silly concept!

The origin of the word comes from the late nineteenth century. It popped up around the universities in London, who had sort of a conference of soccer teams that would play each other. It was called "Association Football", and the abbreviation for this was "Assoc." There was another sport that was popular at the time, as well, called "rugby". The slang for a person who played rugby was "a rugger", made by taking the first syllable of "rugby" and hanging "-er" on the end of it.

If you don't see where this is going, you might need your prescription checked, Mario. Anyway, when it came time to slangify a person who played football (as opposed to rugby football...which is how we in America came to call our game football), for some strange reason they chose the second syllable of "Assoc." to put the "-er" suffix on. Because "Asoccer" is kind of awkward to say, the leading "a" was dropped and we were left with soccer. The term caught on in America, and that's what we called the sport itself, not just the players.

However...think of the possibilities here for a moment. We were within a hairsbreadth of calling the sport "Asser".

Though the first attestations of the word are in the form of "socca", it did change gradually to "socker" and then the form we see today.

So, the next time you get asked, as an American, why it is that you call it soccer, just blame those jocular British and their university slang.

In the meantime, practice this little phrase. Given the number of Romance languages that are prevalent in the European countries where half the strategy of the game involves "throwing yourself upon the turf and crying like a schoolgirl with a skinned knee", it should prove quite utile:

Surge, tu globulus capilli uncti! Non doles!

Pronounced: "Soor-gay, too gloh-byoo-looss cah-pee-lee oonk-tee! Noan doh-layss!"

Translation in the hovertext.

And in case you find yourself enjoying a pint down at the pub this weekend and feel the need to chat up someone about the games, you can always hit them with this beauty:

Batavi visi sunt...

Pronounced: "Bah-tah-wee wee-see soont..."

Translation in the hovertext.

And with that, my friends, I'm off. I hope you all have a great weekend. I don't know about you, but around here it's supposed to be hot as bawls. So, stay cool, too!


Scope said...

A "Dutch Treat" in deed.

That's all I got. Getting married in 8 days. Forming complete sentences is almost beyong my

Have a great


Del-V said...

I've been brushing up on my Italian... I'm starting to see more and more in these Latin lessons without going to the hovertext. Either I'm getting smarter or you are making your Latin insults too easy.

Either way, thanks!

kate said...

Asser would've been a WAY cooler sports name.

Bev said...

What, a post about socca and no pics of David Beckham?! Well, I never!

Love that first phrase! I will be using that on my kids all weekend long. ;)

Eric said...

Is the Italian use of 'Calcio' to describe the sport derived from any Latin roots?

MJenks said...

@ Scope: I'd split the bill with her...if you know what I'm sayin'.

@ Del-V: Of all the Romance languages, the Sicillian form of Italian is supposed to be the closest to Latin. So, it stands to reason that, the more Italian you know, the better you are able to recognize the Latin.

@ kate: I know. And we'd probably be a lot more into here, too, if only for the comedic possibilities. "Going to the Asser match today?" "You bet your sweet Asser I am!"

@ Bev: Wait...are you implying Beckham is a filthy hairball or a Dutchman?

@ Eric: "Calcio" comes from calx, calcis which means "heel" (when it doesn't mean calcium) and, by extension, "a kick, especially with the heel".

It's also where we get the word "calcaneus", which is the bone in the heel of the foot.

SkylersDad said...

I believe we should start calling baseball players ballers, just because it sounds so nice and nasty!