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The 5 linguistic styles of exciting goal calls
"GOOOOOOOOOOAL!" is but one possibility
 
Goooooooooaaaaaaaaal!
Goooooooooaaaaaaaaal! (Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

I've got a soccer crazy kid, and in the days leading to the start of the World Cup, we watched a lot of old highlight videos. Hearing hundreds of goals called, one right after the other, by excited announcers from various countries, can really make you notice the international differences in goal announcing style. After a few weeks of passive linguistic analysis of goal after goal, I have come to the conclusion that there are five basic linguistic styles to the goal call.

1. Latin American

Long, loud, and steady of pitch, perhaps the most recognizable goal call is the super-extended vowel version used throughout Latin America. It apparently began in Brazil in the 1940s with radio announcer Rebello Junior, known as "the man of the unmistakable 'goal.'" One of the best-known practitioners today is Telemundo announcer Andrés Cantor. Here he bellows the unmistakable, Latin American "gooooooooooooal!"

2. Italian

In tone, it is operatic and emotional. Tears may be shed. Linguistically, it is characterized by punctuated repetition. Not so much a long, expansive yell, as a series of staccato cries. This is an excellent example. Tears and all.

3. British

The British style is wordy and poetic, a performed thesaurus of flabbergastedness. Not satisfied to simply invest vowels and syllables with emotional weight, as the Latin Americans and Italians do, the British announcer must explain all the feels he is feeling with words, metaphors, and similes. Here is Ray Hudson in fine form: "Aaaaaaaaaare you kidding me!? Astonishing!! This is not just a dream it's a wet dream of orgasmic proportions….more curves to it than Jessica Rabbit — on steroids."

4. Continental European

Other European countries — and as far as I can tell this is true for the Middle East as well — seem to focus more on the name of the goal-scorer in their goal calls. Depending on the phonological characteristics of the name, they will either draw out syllables, Latin American style, or repeat them with a punctuated rhythm, Italian style. Here's a Dutch announcer on a goal by Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp!

5. Spanish

Spain stands in a unique position in the world of soccer announcing. It shares a language with most of Latin America and certain elements of its goal-announcing style. But it shares other features with its European neighbors. What's a Spanish announcer to do? Use every single vowel, consonant, and syllable for effect! These examples from calls for Barcelona run the gamut, using vowel extension (gooooooool!), punctuated repetition (gol! gol! gol! gol!), scorer's name with both techniques (Puyol! Puuuuuuyol! Pu-yol! Pu-yol!), even consonant extension (golllllllllllllllllll!) and a unique move that almost turns into ululation (golololololololololol!).

Any regional style features I've missed? What's your favorite kind of goal call?

 
Arika Okrent is editor-at-large at TheWeek.com and a frequent contributor to Mental Floss. She is the author of In the Land of Invented Languages, a history of the attempt to build a better language. She holds a doctorate in linguistics and a first-level certification in Klingon.

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