Never in my classroom – footie, and native speakers as the exemplary model

The slide into 2013 in general has been good, thanks for asking .

But not even a fully week in, and already 3 classic examples of me being slightly flummoxed by my students have already occurred.


Lets start with one observation that is kinda connected to my own pet peeves. Falling standards of journalism, especially on line.


Living in Germany means beyond beer, football is a national past time. Likewise despite IT being a hub of my business, many of my students are footie fans. One of which asked me about footie journo at the beginning of this week. Take a look at the printed texts he brought in:

 “However, Emmanuel Adebayor’s Spurs future is in serious doubt and it is understood the club would consider offers for the 28-year-old Togo striker.”

 “Stoke manager Tony Pulis has rejected reports that Michael Owen is to leave the club and head to Australia. Perth Glory claimed on Saturday they had been approached by the 33-year-old former England striker’s agent about a move.”

>GOSSIP – BBC football section

Talk about being prepared and interested, luv it!

And he asked:

Do you have to have played for your country to be called the “German” striker? like Gomez, Klose, Podolski.

 Why do you not use an adjective? Togonian, and English striker?

 What do you think my answer was to the curious student cat?


As a trainer it is always the case you should not assume anything, and make blanket statements. Have fallen on my face in the past with this.

Also I know a lot of the BBC and the Guardian content cannot and should not always be held up as a shining beacon of standard, native speaker English. Which also makes me recall an observation from last year that footie journo is not always easy to read. I cannot recall the exact example from last year.


But if you need any challenge take this example from today and try to teach his use of tenses.

“And over the holiday period Chelsea’s interim boss Rafael Benitez visited the only place where he will arguably receive an icier reception than on supposedly friendly territory at Stamford Bridge when he went back to Everton.” Phil McNulty

And to add spice to your teaching. Lets imagine teaching it to A2/B1 students.

Now time for the …….

theLingoGuy’s answer:

“I can’t tell ya.

Could be they’re using the noun as Abebayor plays for them.

But I know the BBC, and the footie GOSSIP section. So maybe na”.


As a betting man I would put my money on the noun denoting playing for one’s country not always being used correctly. But this poses an interesting linguistic question, which kinda brings me back to Podloski.

If you are born in a country can you be called the “German stiker”, or must you have played for the country? What qualifies this lingo usage? And how accurate is it’s usage in footie journo?


2) and 3) to follow…..


Disclaimer: In no way does the author imply that theLingGuy produces text without errors or speak proper, always comprehensible English. Spelling mistakes, and complete comprehensibility by everyone is not always a given.

Especially as the author likes to challenge people, and has an element of play in lingo usage.




A native Brit, Stewart is from the East Midlands. He has worked all over England and has been in Germany since 2002. Through working with the youth and the disabled he has been able to fine tune his communication skills. A Cambridge qualified (CELTA/LCCI CerTEB) instructor of English as a Foreign Language, he also has experience as a copy editor/ proof reader specializing in Higher Education and Business English. He assists established companies & local English trainers (LELTA) in optimizing their platforms, markets & copy (texts). With a Bachelors degree in English & Art, he brings diverse skills within a broad palette to his academic courses, an English speakers community (So Social Club) & an art project (Lebenskunstler). Not only focusing on creative expression but exemplary use of language.

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