why do we call soccer soccer and not football
While calling the world's most popular sport "soccer" is typically depicted as a symbol of American ignorance, the reason we don't call it "football" like the rest of the world is Britain's fault. The word "soccer" is a British invention that British people stopped using only about 30 years ago, according to
by University of Michigan professor Stefan Szymanski. The word "soccer" comes from the use of the term "association football" in Britain and goes back 200 years. In the early 1800s, a bunch of British universities took "football" a medieval game and started playing their own versions of it, all under different rules. To standardize things across the country, these games were categorized under different organizations with different names. One variant of the game you played with your hands became "rugby football. " Another variant came to be known as "association football" after the Football Association formed to promote the game in 1863, 15 years after the rules were made at Cambridge. "Rugby football" became "rugger" for short. "Association football" became "soccer. " After these two sports spread across the Atlantic, Americans invented their own variant of the game that they simply called "football" in the early 1900s. "Association football" became "soccer" in America, and what was called "gridiron" in Britain became simply "football" in America.
The interesting thing here is that Brits still used "soccer" regularly for a huge chunk of the 20th century. Between 1960 and 1980, "soccer" and "football" were "almost interchangeable" in Britain, Szymanski found. Then everything changed ( "Since 1980 the usage of the word 'soccer' has declined in British publications, and where it is used, it usually refers to an American context. This decline seems to be a reaction against the increased usage in the US which seems to be associated with the highpoint of the NASL around 1980. " British people stopped saying "soccer" because of its American connotations.
So, no, it's not wrong to call it "soccer" if you're American. The most popular sport in the world is one in which people chase after a ball and kick it with their feet (and give it an occasional head-butt). In most places where this sport is enjoyed it is referred to in a straightforward fashion: football. No matter whether the language is Spanish ( fцtbol ), French ( football ), German ( fuцball ), Icelandic ( fцtbolta ), Albanian ( futboll ), or Dutch ( voetbal ), you are likely to find some combination of foot and ball used to describe the game. Some countries are directly translating the word football, whereas others are using their languageБs word for the two components (such as Malay and Indonesian, which use bola sepak and sepak bola, respectively).
However, in a few renegade countries this game is referred to by names having nothing to do with balls. For instance, in the United States (and a handful of other places) it is referred to as soccer. Why do American English speakers do this? The quick and dirty answer is that soccer is a variant of an abbreviation. One common name for the sport in question is Association Football, and the earliest spelling of soccer on record is socca (presumably since it was considered most euphonious to abbreviate association in this fashion, rather than to call it assoc ). For a short while socca and socker were used interchangeably with soccer, but by the early 20th century, the form we use today had become the dominant one. By the time the sport had caught on in the US, the word was tethered to It should be noted that we in the US are not the only ones who refuse to call football by what many people seem to feel is its rightful name.
In Italy it is commonly called calcio (from calciare, meaning Бto kickБ). And there are a number of other countries which also refer to it as soccer or some variant (such as South Africa, where one can hear it called either soccer or sokker ; or Japan, where both sakk д б and futtob е ru are used). We are unlikely to adopt the more commonly used word anytime soon, and itБs fine to criticize this as a North American idiosyncrasy, just so long as itБs understood where soccer comes from: the earliest recorded instance of the word found in the Oxford English Dictionary is from a Brit, the 19th-century poet Ernest Christopher Dowson. Ammon Shea is the author of б Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravationб andб Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages. He lives in New York City with his wife (a former lexicographer), son (a potential future lexicographer), and two non-lexical dogs.
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