Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

Sports Terminology as a Source of Synonymy in Language: the Case of Czech

Aleš Klégr, Ivana Bozděchová



Modern sports and their terminologies in European and other languages have been strongly influenced by English. The reason is that some of the most popular sports originating in Anglophone countries have been exported to other countries together with established terminology. There are several possibilities of how to transfer terminology into recipient languages: to borrow and adapt original English terms, to use vernacular terms, or to do both. For the purposes of the study, 100 essential terms were selected for three different Anglophone sports, association football, tennis and golf, and all their Czech equivalents were gathered using available sources. It was assumed that a typical development involves the adoption of an Anglicism which is subsequently either replaced or supplemented by a vernacular term or terms. It was found that the 300 English terms are matched by the total of 540 equivalents. Thus, the results confirm the Anglicism-to-vernacular shift as a potent source of synonyms, though other intervening factors such as the length of time since the introduction of the sport, the general and social media popularity and accessibility of the sport for the general public play an important part and explain alternative patterns.


Sports terminology development; Synonymy; Association football; Tennis; Golf


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