"Play ball!" : A Study of Speech Variations and Characteristics of UK Sports Commentary

University essay from Högskolan i Halmstad/Akademin för lärande, humaniora och samhälle

Abstract: This study uncovers how and to what extent UK sports commentaries vary in terms of speech variations and other sociolinguistic factors, such as social class and gender, in relation to the social status with which different sports are associated. It also analyses how the use of jargon, slang, colloquial forms of English, and other linguistic features are incorporated in the commentaries of the sports and how it affects the information expressed by the commentators. In order to do this, theories and scholarly work on variations in speech, phonological and sociolinguistic features will be applied to examples of recorded commentaries made during matches in five popular televised sports, namely football, cricket, rugby union, netball, and tennis. The primary data will consist of two-minute transcriptions made from matches from each sport. The study finds that there are speech variations in the commentators’ ways and that they relate, to some extent, to the social class associated with the sport which the commentators are commenting on. The variations also depend on the commentator’s role in the broadcast, whether or not they feature as the general commentator or as an expert in the particular sport. It also reveals how commentators rely on the use of jargon, slang and, colloquialisms to make the communication to the spectators/listeners efficient and entertaining. 

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