What’s all the Fuss(ball) about?

Everybody’s talking about the  FIFA World Cup these days, whether they are interested in it or not.  Fans are discussing the results and upcoming matches, and disinterested spouses are complaining about the lack of attention they’re getting while the football (or soccer, depending on where you come from) is on.

It’s pretty exciting that both New Zealand and Australia qualified this year, and I think it’s a good opportunity to learn a bit more about other countries and their languages.  For example, as you’ll probably know, Kiwis and Aussies don’t usually mean soccer when they talk about football.  Luckily, there are so many sports that could be called football (rugby (union), soccer, Aussie Rules, (rugby) league) that people usually just call them by their proper names.  Most ‘serious’ football-playing nations will call it football, though (or some variation of that name).  Some words borrow from the English word (e.g. the Spanish and Turkish word futbol and the Serbian word fudbal), and some are a direct translation of the words foot and ball (like the German Fussball/Fußball, and the Dutch voetbal).

Enjoy the competition, whatever you’re calling the sport!

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