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"In any language, the whole world is united by a ball." --- Steve Amoia, Publisher.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Book Review: "An Illustrated Guide to Soccer & Spanish" by Elliott Turner

Image credit: Barnes and Noble.
Please click on the image to
learn more about this book.


Elliott Turner has authored an important language resource that will make a great addition to your world football library. Comprelo/buy it and start speaking the language of Cervantes with a few added footballing twists.

My Review in Brief:

Language influences our prism of the world in compelling ways. This book concisely provides a linguistic examination using the metaphor of world football with two global languages: English and Spanish, respectively. Elliott Turner uses both languages with ease and fluidity making this book unique in its presentation, delivery and educational impact.

--- Steve Amoia, World Football Commentaries


1. Overview
2. Writing Style
3. A Language Learning Tool
4. Illustrations
5. A Few Notable Quotes
6. About the Author

"When you change the language, you change concepts. And when you combine languages, you get new concepts. That's one key to forming a really deep and distinctive American soccer culture."
--- Elliott Turner, "An Illustrated Guide to Soccer & Spanish," page 7, published by Round Ball Media LLC with a list price of US $3.99 at Barnes & Noble.
1. Overview
Diego Costa
Photo credit: AndhikaMPPP.

There is a forward by Brian Phillips, an introduction, table of contents, nine detailed chapters, two specialty dictionaries (Spanish > English and English > Spanish) and biographies. The length of this e-book was 72 pages which makes for a quick read but also one that serves as a future reference source.

2. Writing Style
UCL Defeat at home
Photo credit: AndhikaMPPP.

The author uses a blend of history, humor, soccer education and engaging prose to make his book a captivating read. He blends English and Spanish in distinct ways which avoids "Spanglish" or attempts to detract from both tongues by placing more emphasis upon one. The author also makes his book useful for levels of Spanish language abilities. Regardless of your fluency level, you will enrich your vocabulary significantly.

3. A Language Learning Tool

The author used specialized vocabulary found in a soccer setting but introduced it in thought-provoking ways. He has lived and worked in Spain, Central and South America which makes him an expert on various idiomatic uses of Spanish. There was also a discussion about linguistic terms, such as false cognates, which are words that look the same but have different meanings:
"Fans feel pena (shame), but they don't get embarazada. That deceptive sounding term does not mean embarrassed, but rather 'pregnant.' " (Page 50)
This e-book would make a great language learning tool during the upcoming World Cup. For example, those who prefer Spanish language commentary and ave a desire to become more proficient. Or viewers learning English as second or third language for the same reason. The soccer point of reference makes this a unique way to learn either language in a format that mirrors a real-world application. You won't find such a tool elsewhere unless you hired a specialty tutor with a knowledge and passion for world football.

4. Illustrations

Spanish language commentary from the legendary soccer/futbol commentator, Andres Cantor.

As you can see from the cover image, this Nook e-book has unique images created by Erik Ebeling. Most of them are very small; however, each one was themed for a particular section in the book. My two favorites were one of Rafael Benitez playing chess (page 41) and former Italian/FIFA referee, Pierluigi Collina, holding a judge's gavel (page 44).

5. A Few Notable Quotes

Image credit:
360 Network.

"Contencion - contention, and a volante de contencion is a defensive midfielder." (Page 24)

"... enganche because they hold onto the ball while waiting for a teammate to make a run, literally 'hooking' an advanced position in the opposition's territory." (Page 24)

Please Note: Enganche is a South American Spanish term for the creative number 10 player. What would be called a Trequartista in Italian football.

For an example of a Churrigol (easy or lucky goal):

"Just as indigenous tribes of the Great Plains used every part of their bodies, Filippo Inzaghi has scored with almost every part of his body." (Page 18)

"While starting portero (goalkeeper) at Manchester United, he overreacted and spilled a tiro libre (free kick) in a crucial UEFA Champions League game. The rebote (rebound) and churrigol (lucky goal) resulted in United's exit from the competition. He never regained the confianza (confidence) of Sir Alex Ferguson or United's hinchas (fans), but did move on to green pastures at Everton." (Pages 35-36 on Tim Howard.)

"Literally in South America, the term for fan is hincha. It derives from the term hinchar, which means 'to swell'. Fans swell with pride for their team, and tend to odiar (hate) their rivals." (Page 49).

6. About the Author

Elliott Turner lives in South Texas and enjoys cooking Latin cuisine when not spending time with his beautiful family. He has played and coached soccer for over a decade. He blogs regularly on the beautiful game at www.futfanatico.comElliott has contributed at The Guardian, The Blizzard, Howler, The Classical and other publications. 

You can follow Elliott @futfanatico on Twitter.

Please Note

I did not receive a complimentary review copy and was not financially compensated by the author, publisher or any party who would benefit from a positive review.

Steve Amoia is a freelance writer and translator based in Washington, D.C. He is the publisher of World Football Commentaries since 2006 and published The Soccer Translator from 2008 to 2015. 

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