Publication details

“The battle fever’s on” : Phrasal routines and multilingual play in sports commentary



Year of publication 2023
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description One of the characteristic features of sports commentary in the media is the relatively high formulaicity of language describing the action components of a sports event. Such linguistic routines are found in both spoken and written commentary by professional sports commentators, particularly those commentaries that are produced in real time. However, the question arises of whether the use of phrasal routines is automatic and passes unnoticed or whether some of them can become the subject of foregrounding and, thus, the metalingual focus of the sports commentator. Based on a corpus of English online live text commentaries, this paper provides a qualitative case study of one of such recurrent phrasal routines – the English expression ‘battle fever’. The data indicate that some sports commentators tend to exploit the intertextual nature of the phrase as well as deploy it as a trigger for metalingual and multilingual play, e.g. through humorous translations, thus attesting the users’ metapragmatic awareness. The findings show that a routine phrase can become not only the focus of attention but also – almost paradoxically – subject to linguistic creativity and innovation.
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