At the cutting edge of broadcasting

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A video from Today's Big Thing, under the headline, "Soccer Reporter Invents New Kind of English":


Soccer/football enthusiasts will recognize the wildly disfluent commentator as former Hull striker Dean Windass, and the incredulous presenter is not John or Steve or Jack but Jeff Stelling. The soccer site 101 Great Goals notes that later in the same broadcast (Soccer Special on Sky Sports), Windass referred to Everton player Diniyar Bilyaletdinov as something like "Didier Bilabilabilakillakov."


[Update: Further discussion here.]

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21 Comments »

  1. Ginger Yellow said,

    May 20, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

    Windass used to play for Oxford too. His post-match interviews were always *interesting*.

  2. mike said,

    May 20, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

    Ray Hudson gives this guy a run for his money — he's profiled in The Millions: http://www.themillions.com/2010/02/the-magisterial-goal.html, replete with video testament to his greatness.

  3. matt said,

    May 20, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

    That made perfect sense, and was pretty similar to the way a lot of people narrate exciting events that happened recently. I don't see why this is notable.

  4. Tom said,

    May 20, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

    To be fair to him, once he stops attempting Stelling's name he's not really disfluent at all, just speaking very colloquially and in a strong Hull accent. Not at all surprised that those unacquainted with Yorkshire English can't understand but I don't have any trouble following him.

  5. Tom said,

    May 20, 2010 @ 2:23 pm

    Agreed, matt. Maybe another reason Americans struggle with this is that they're unfamiliar with football terminology and the way people discuss the game. I find American football reporting equally unintelligible but would never think to post it online as "a new kind of English".

    [(bgz) Perhaps someone familiar with both the Hull dialect and football terminology could hazard a transcription.]

  6. Ian Preston said,

    May 20, 2010 @ 3:21 pm

    Perhaps someone familiar with both the Hull dialect and football terminology could hazard a transcription.

    I can't claim any especial familiarity with Hull dialect but I didn't find it difficult to follow. Here's my attempt:

    JS: Have Everton gone close recently, Dean Windass?

    DW: No, they haven't, John. They nearly went behind – er, Jeff, John, Steve, whatever your name is. They nearly went behind, Jeff, er, through Piquionne. He's outraced Jagielka and you're thinking, go on. He goes around Howard. You're thinking, go on just tap it in with your left foot, and he drags it back and he sends Jagielka for a pie. Howard stands up and he tries to place it. It hits Howard on the chest, comes back out. Still nil-nil. Jack.

    JS: He's at the cutting edge of broadcasting, isn't he?

    [(bgz) Thank you kindly. For me, "He sends Jagielka for a pie" has all the magic and mystery that "Terwilliger bunts one" had for Annie Dillard's mother.]

  7. Harry said,

    May 20, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

    Not particularly language-related, but from the same show, this is a classic moment that happened recently:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8gKmQ6Hrro

  8. David L said,

    May 20, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

    …and he sends Jagielka for a pie.

    A little more explanation needed there, please.

  9. Ian Preston said,

    May 20, 2010 @ 3:46 pm

    A little more explanation needed there, please.

    I admit that I've never heard this before and I could be wrong but I take it to be a colourful way of saying he jinks so as to send him the wrong way. Maybe someone else has a better interpretation but I think that if he didn't say it, he should have.

    [(bgz) A couple of other football-related uses I found:

    David Moyes: "The way he sent two of the defenders for a pie and a Bovril for the second goal was terrific!"

    Neil Lennon: "I even charged down the goalkeeper once - although he sent me for a pie and chips when I did it."

    ]

  10. Sili said,

    May 20, 2010 @ 3:52 pm

    Huttelihut.

  11. CS Clark said,

    May 20, 2010 @ 4:57 pm

    'I admit that I've never heard this before and I could be wrong but I take it to be a colourful way of saying he jinks so as to send him the wrong way.'

    I agree with that. More specifically, he sends him so far the wrong way he's off the pitch, up in the stands. Where he may as well get a pie while he's there, for all the good he's doing.

  12. James Meacham said,

    May 20, 2010 @ 5:19 pm

    'I agree with that. More specifically, he sends him so far the wrong way he's off the pitch, up in the stands. Where he may as well get a pie while he's there, for all the good he's doing.'

    I think that's about right. In english football stadia, one of the culinary peculiarities is the "pukka pie" which is a bit like a cornish pastie. Only place I've seen them served (aside from a pub in Manchester I once visited). I'm sure that he's referring to this, not, e.g., an apple pie.

  13. Szwagier said,

    May 20, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

    Windass? You couldn't make it up. The perfect name for a sports commentator.

  14. matt said,

    May 20, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

    "I think that's about right. In english football stadia, one of the culinary peculiarities is the "pukka pie" which is a bit like a cornish pastie. Only place I've seen them served (aside from a pub in Manchester I once visited). I'm sure that he's referring to this, not, e.g., an apple pie."

    Just as an FYI, they're also a very common feature in fish and chip shops. Steak and Kidney is definitely the best flavour.

    However, anyone who drinks Bovril outside of a football ground is most definitely insane.

  15. Linda said,

    May 20, 2010 @ 6:11 pm

    I always think of "Pukka pies" (Trade name, not descriptive) as being a midlands' thing, oop north I'd be looking for "Holland's pies". Holland's pies are superior.

  16. Mark F said,

    May 21, 2010 @ 8:54 am

    I don't know if people in the UK realize just how unintelligible this passage is to Americans. You may not be able to make heads or tails of American football commentary, but I'm guessing you'll at least be able to recognize the word boundaries in the speech and have some go at figuring out what English words they're using. Clearly, the, um, football terminology made it worse, since I understood his fumbling around with the names. But it certainly wasn't just a matter of trying to figure out what "sends Jagielka for a pie" means, since I couldn't even figure out that that's what he was saying.

  17. Picky said,

    May 21, 2010 @ 10:37 am

    Don't worry, mark F, I think it would give a bit of difficulty to many in the UK, too. I lived in Yorkshire for many years, but I had to concentrate pretty hard to make it out. The still-remaining profound differences between the English of various regions and nations is one of the glories of the world, isn't it?

  18. Alan Palmer said,

    May 21, 2010 @ 11:12 am

    Not much to add here, although I have listened to US radio commentaries on basball and American football and understood perhaps every other sentence. (I'm from the UK).

    I seem to remember reading a few months ago about some weirdo who'd visited all the league football grounds in England, Wales, and Scotland and ranked them in order of the quality of the the pies served. I can't recall now where he found the one that he preferred, but I seem to remember it was somewhere in in West Country. Of course, that is purely his subjective judgment; if there were two people on the same mission (highly unlikely) they'd probably have wildly differing lists. Pies, after all, are a matter of taste.

  19. cameron said,

    May 21, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

    I never heard about the latter-day Simple Simon and his Quixotic quest to taste the wares of all the piemen at all the football grounds in Great Britain. But I do recall reading a study that rated the pies (actually the food in general) at various stadia based on surveys of the regular attendees of the games there, and how satisfied they were with the snacks on offer. I suspect one of the newspapers did this study in the aftermath to Roy Keane's famous comments about ManU's home fans eating prawn sandwiches, which is to say this was probably about ten years ago.

    If I recall, the stadium that was highest ranked was Maine Road, in Manchester, which was demolished a few years ago. I wonder if the cooks and piemen have been retained at City's new ground?

  20. Áine ní Dhonnchadha said,

    May 21, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

    Good lord, I honestly didn't understand a word that man said aside from the names "John, Jack, Stephen". Reminds me of the recent gangster films that had to be subtitled for the wider viewing audience. The whole bit about the pie I'm taking on credit because I couldn't fish it out of the interview at all…

  21. Ken Brown said,

    May 21, 2010 @ 7:08 pm

    The US equivalent to "sent him for a pie'" wd be sent him out for a burger. He's so uselessly out of the game that he mighf as well be getting the food in.

    Trust me on this – I'm a Millwall supporter and we're going to Wembley :-)

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