Representations of experience in the language of televised and radio football commentaries: patterns of similarity and difference in transitivity

Ben Clarke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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This chapter presents the results of a fine-grained grammatical analysis of live commentaries of football (soccer) games, and so adds to a growing body of literature concerned with the linguistics of sport and, therein, particularly with football. More specifically, two subtly different types of football commentary are compared via a linguistic analysis: U.K.-produced live radio and television commentaries. The linguistic inquiry here explores how the experiences reported in these commentaries are encoded grammatically in the language used. As such, a detailed and large-scale analysis of the commentary data is conducted using Systemic Functional Linguistics, specifically a Transitivity analysis. In Systemic Functional theory where language is seen as inherently related to social context and culture, such an analysis can tell us a lot about the data contextually. The paper starts by introducing the Transitivity system within Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistics. This is followed by an introduction to the data analysed, explaining the contextual attributes and offering some preliminary linguistic characteristics of the component parts of the dataset. The body of the chapter presents the results of the analysis of Transitivity undertaken on the commentary data, divided into three parts to reflect three pertinent trends consequent from the data analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Discourse of Sport
Subtitle of host publicationAnalyses from Social Linguistics
EditorsDavid Caldwell, John Walsh, Elaine Vine, Jon Jureidini
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages31
ISBN (Print)978-1138184688
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2016

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Sociolinguistics


  • sports discourse
  • football commentaries
  • representational language
  • transitivity
  • systemic functional linguistics


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