Global Lingo Blog

Language of the World Cup 2010

Language on the terraces is sometimes difficult enough to work out when you move around the Premier League from West Ham to Wigan the songs and abuse all have a very regional bent.

We’re all aware of the songs from the terraces and clichés from the English pundits, but what about our continental friends?

  • Do the French understand how sick your parrot is?
  • Do the Germans think the referee’s a w**ker?
  • What’s Zulu for “You must be blind, ref!”

You may think that the only way to uncover these truths is to translate the English football songs and clichés, but most of the time there’s just no equivalent. A Zulu speaker won’t get “Eat my Goal” and has probably never tasted Vindaloo, never mind understanding why on earth the English are singing it to them.

That’s why Global Lingo took a tongue in cheek look into the language and cultural differences of the countries taking part in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. We’ve tasked our translators to come up with the local equivalents as well as direct translations for English footballing language.

Here are few of the odd examples from around the world.

A very, very strange Zulu chant

Ngizobhalela ubaba kaBoy ngithi: Dear babakaBoy, ungayibona into eyenziwa uBoy egrawundini. I will write a letter to Boy’s father and say: Dear Boy’s father, if only you could see what Boy is doing at the stadium.

And this one brings back thoughts of Michael Caine at Rorke’s Drift!

Niyabesaba na? Ayi asibesabi, siyabafuna! Are you afraid of them? No we are not afraid, we want them!

Banal punditry from Germany

Es ist erst dann Foul, wenn der Schiri pfeift. It’s only a foul if the referee blows his whistle.

Not exactly Three Lions is it?

54  74  90  2010
Ja so stimmen wir alle eiMit dem Herz in der Hand und der Leidenschaft im Bein

werden wir Weltmeister sein

54, 74, 90, 2010
Yes, we’re all joining inWith our heart in our hand and passion in our leg

we’ll be world champions

Not very classic song writing from Spain

¡Este partido, lo vamos a ganar,este partido, lo vamos a ganar! This game, we will win, this game, we will win!

Eat my Goal?

¡Toma gol! Take that goal!

The Italians seem a little politer when asking ‘Who are ya?!’

Ma chi sei?! But, who are you?!

And yes the Italians do think the referee’s a w**ker

L’arbitro è una sega!

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