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Iniesta passed and Messi finished clinically: Football verbs and transitivity

Journal article
Authors Gunnar Bergh
Sölve Ohlander
Published in Nordic Journal of English Studies
Volume 15
Issue 2
Pages 19-38
ISSN 1654-6970
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Languages and Literatures
Pages 19-38
Language en
Keywords football language, transitivity, omitted objects, unconventional objects, expressive economy, selectional restrictions
Subject categories Languages and Literature


Football language, like other special languages, is not only of lexical interest. It is also special by virtue of various syntactic and semantic features, related to the situational context of football. Two areas of verb syntax, involving transitivity, are in focus: the omissibility of certain contextually recoverable “football objects” (e.g. Iniesta passed [the ball], Messi finished [the attack]) and the occurrence of “unconventional” objects of certain verbs (e.g. Their third goal killed the match, Manchester United sold Ronaldo to Real Madrid). Thus, like other special subject areas, football creates its own semantic-pragmatic framework, paving the way for constructions and collocations that deviate from those applying in general language.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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