Monday, December 19, 2011

Baseball and the English Language

Every language is shaped by the experience of its speakers.  The sea and (European) football have shaped England.  Ranching and its wilderness experience have shaped Australia.  One of the strongest influences on modern American language is sport.  While American football and basketball attract more fans per game, American baseball attracts more people per season and strongly impacts the language.
If life throws you a curveball, you have an unpleasant surprise.  A person who is called a minor leaguer does not get much respect.  If you strike you, you had no success.  Speaking of scoring, teenagers used to refer to a date’s progress by how far the boy got, i.e. a kiss was first base while the mythical homerun was generally a lie at that age.   A ballpark figure is an approximate number while a bleacher bum is an uneducated, boorish individual who is always criticizing.  If your batting average is poor, you are not successful most of the time.  A person who tries hard until the bitter (or maybe happy) end knows that It isn’t over until the fat lady sings.  A screwball is a completely strange person.   The world series is where the best play each other
So, whether you like watching baseball or not, baseball is a part of America’s language.

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