Today I would like to drink to “soccer,” not the game… the word.
Being a Whitecaps FC season ticket holder, I wanted to relive the thrilling extra-time volley by Eric Hassli, by far the best goal I have seen in person, one which literally gave me goosebumps.
Since it was against Toronto FC, I thought it would be nice to taste a Toronto beer while watching the video. As usual though, I got distracted.
I went to YouTube and scrolled down to the comments. I found a rather lively debate about our use of the word “soccer” in Canada instead of the word “football.” Some people (presumably from England) simply cannot get over the fact we use a different word. They have a point. After all, some countries, France for example, use the word “football” despite speaking a completely different language altogether. Why then would an English-speaking country like Canada use a different word?
Welly welly welly well! Without getting into the history of the origin of the word “soccer,” I would like to take this opportunity to compare the use of the words “soccer” and “football” worldwide.
Let us focus first on people who speak English as their native language. Ninety-nine percent of native English speakers live in one of these nine countries:
- The USA (225M)
- England (58M)
- Canada (18M)
- Australia (15M)
- Ireland (4.4M)
- South Africa (3.6M)
- New Zealand (3.5M)
- Phillipines (3.4M)
- Jamaica (2.6M)
68 million (20%) of native English speakers, (those from England, Ireland, Phillipines and Jamaica) use the word “football.”
266 million (80%) of native English speakers, (USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand) use the word “soccer.”
That means four times as many native English-speaking people use the word “soccer” than use the word “football.” Compelling indeed. And yes, I did that math in my head!
Of course, it is more complicated than that. There are 125 million people in India who speak English as their second language, who would likely call it “football” as well. Even so, this is still a close race.
People may also make the assumption that non English-speaking countries in Europe use a variation of the word “football” (like fussbol, fuetbol, etc). In fact, many languages actually use a variation of “soccer,” or a unique name altogether. Here are a few examples I dug up using a little thing called the ninterwebs
- Italian: “Calcio” (translated “kick”)
- Afrikaans (South Africa): “sokker”
- Canadian French: “le soccer”
- Gujarati (India): “sokara”
- Kannada (India): “sakar”
- Gaelic: “sacar”
- Japanese: “sakka”
- Korean: “chuggu”
- Latin: “morbi” (?)
- Polish: “pilka nozna”
- Slovenian: “nogomet”
- Swahili: “soka”
- Tamil (India): “cakkar”
- Telugu (India): “sakar”
- Vietnamese: “bong da”
- Welsh: “pel-droed”
Don’t worry though. If you come from England and call it “football” we will know what you are talking about (probably). Just don’t try to make fun of us… (remember… 80%!!). Also, I mean hey, all Canadian teams are named using “FC” in their names. We are showing the love!
And if you are Canadian, be proud to call it “Soccer!”
This is a really smooth tasting Canadian Lager, with an alcohol content that is way too low to be great. See you next Wednesday Toronto FC.
What do you think? Remember to comment.