One Nation, Two Preferred Languages

"Emotion is expressed by the words as well as the tone. Commentators have to transform soccer into art — not everyone can do that. You have to have a talent to put these words together."

Football commentating has always been trailed by associations related to culture and nationality. British announcers? Scholarly and sparse. Spanish and Italian announcers? Passionate and lyrical. American announcers? Well, let’s push that one to the side… That said, while language might act as a barrier to fans who yearn for an emotionally profuse team in the booth, there are those who prefer Spanish-language broadcasts, even if they don’t exactly understand what’s being said.

It’s often claimed that football is a language unto itself, a fact that becomes perfectly apparent in a piece recently published by NPR that details the impact Spanish soccer broadcasts have had on the soccer community in the United States. From Andres Cantor attracting English-speaking fans to the sport with his calls during the 1994 World Cup, to ESPN creating English-language commentary teams with a Spanish flair, to journalists and athletes alike who point towards Spanish-broadcasts as their first steps into the sport, the story is one worth reading, and one that illustrates the multicultural and multilingual perspective that underlines American soccer. [Posted by Maxi

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