Book Review: Haraldo Maranhão – Dicionário de Futebol

September 14, 2008 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

If you’re a fan of football you’ll love this book. And, let’s face it, even if you’re not but you want to find out a bit about what makes Brazilians tick then a dictionary of football terms is a good place to start.

Haraldo Maranhão – a jourmalist and writer who has worked for various prestigious Brazilian newspapers and co-authored several titles about Brazilian football and the World Cup – has set about putting in one place all those little words, phrases, expressions and idioms that make talking football seem like talking a new language altogether. At 274 pages long he’s not skimped on his duties. If you’ve read football reports and been confused by the expression “holding the lantern”  then this is going to help a lot. (Holding the lantern = the team in last place in the table). The definitions are clearly written and often contain examples from newspapers and real uses of the words or phrases in question.

I genuinely think non-football fans would find it interesting as it has a lot to say about how flexible Portuguese is and how slang is generated from other more common words . For example, “Comer a Bola” = to eat the ball is “to jogar excepionalmente bem” = to play very well. Similarly, as football is so fundamental to the makeup of Brazilian identity football slang is often also the slang of everyday life. For instance, “pontapé inícial” = kick-off (=lit, I guess, the first contact of the foot!) is used throughout life as an idiom to mean the start of anything. Lastly, if you’re intersted in etymology you’ll see a lot of words that have been incorporated from English or other languages and been “Portugesised” along the way. So, words such as “baque” and “alfe” are distortions of the English words “back” and “half” respectively and are occasionally used in Brazilian Portuguese football terminology.

To conclude, this book may not be the most useful reference book you’ll ever buy and I wouldn’t recommend reading it from cover to cover. I also have no idea how possible it is to get hold of outside Brazil but it’s certainly a lot of fun and would make a great Christmas present for a serious Portuguese-speaking fan of football or the Brazilian Portuguese language.

Click here for more information about the book.

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Entry filed under: Book Reviews, Etymology, Idioms, Other stuff. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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