Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Ashes: Cricket has a language all its own

Yes, but what does it mean??

My day job (well, one of them) is Coordinator of Web Content Services for the Canadian Curling Association. This means that from September to April, I write about the sport of curling - a lot!

A month ago I posted a story to my blog Grassroots Curling about the strange and wonderful words and phrases we curlers use to describe the action in our sport. (Here's a link to that post: Curling lingo: Anyone ready to weagle? if you're interested). It was inspired by comments made by a friend of mine during the 2010 Olympics about the indecipherable commentary from the announcers and players at the curling competition in Vancouver. The curling lingo made her laugh out loud.

Okay, I get it. The trademark "Hurry haaaaard!" has become the poster child for funny curling phrases. But you know what? I believe lingo belongs on the Fun Side of language. When a group of communicators - be they curlers, or politicians, or pipe fitters, or knitters, or musicians...well, you get the picture - gets together and talks about their enterprise, magical things happen. Individual words are thrust together in the most extraordinary combinations, taking on new meanings. And in many cases, completely new words are created.

I was reminded of the joys of lingo as I was reading about The Ashes, the famous cricket contest between England and Australia that takes place every other year. My friends in the UK assure me that this year's first Test match was unusually exciting and close. All I know is this: when I read reports about the games, I am confounded. And impressed. And delighted.

"Century partnership?" "Drinks break?"
I love this passage: it's language at its most creative and meaningful, even if I don't understand any of it. These words, put together this way, make perfect sense to cricket fans everywhere: a secret code. And if I want to, I can put in the effort and break that code too. And isn't that what language is? Coding and decoding, using specific words put next to each other, just so?

One day, I might even be able to speak Cricket as well as I speak Curling. Long live lingo!



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