Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lost in Translation

For people who are learning the English language, TV can be a good source of English being used in everyday situations. Programming like sit-coms and documentaries can often help non-English speakers learn. However, non-English speakers should not try to learn English by listening to the announcers on almost any major sporting event. For some reason, sports announcers use an almost incoherent mish-mash of seemingly random words to describe the events taking place on the field, court, and/or rink. Sometimes they make up words on the spot in their efforts to describe the action. The following are particularly confusing sports terms/phrases:

Sports Speak: "He's money in the clutch."

Literal Translation: "He is exchangeable currency in the gear shifting mechanism."

Actual Meaning: "He performs well under pressure."

Sports Speak: "He's dropping bombs from downtown."

Literal Translation: "He is dropping explosive devices from the middle of the city."

Actual Meaning: "He is making lots of long range shots."

Sports Speak: "He just got posterized!"

Literal Translation: "Someone made a poster out of him."

Actual Meaning: "Someone just accomplished such an amazing feat of skill and athleticism that it could be made into a poster. The poster, while highlighting the great play on the part of the offensive player, would in an equal fashion, embarrass or cause shame to the player who was outplayed. Hence, getting 'posterized', is not a good thing. However, for the one doing the 'posterizing', it is a very good thing.

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