Roy, over at Meg’s blog, asked what language she was speaking in her most recent post. Meg was speaking Fanese, Roy.
Fanese is a collection of international dialects specific to regionally popular sports. Euro-fanese, for example, is focused on football, tennis, and winter sports (non-American football, that is, or what we call over here, “soccer”). Euro-fanese and Asiatic-fanese have a collective sub-dialect Anglindo-fanese, which includes local idioms from England and India concerning cricket. Asiatic-fanese is a fairly broad class of dialects, itself.
Over here in America we speak Amerifanese, which most linguists now accept is the actual root of all Fanese, as the Americans are the first culture to elevate “sports” to a level of social prominence unheard of in other cultures. Traditionally, of course, the linguist Dr. Franken Hausenfrausen launched the study of Fanese in his seminal 1914 paper “On The Characteristics of Physical Competition Derived Linguistic Objects” with the claim that the language originates in Ancient Greece, however this work fell out of favor in the 1950s as the study of Fanese underwent its first paradigm shift. Dr. Hausenfrausen’s Munich School is largely considered to have lost the war, so to speak, as the study of Fanese largely shifted to the University of Vancouver under the auspices of Dr. Laura Higginsbottom.
Dr. Higginsbottom argued (quite successfully in my opinion), that the Ancient Greeks (or Ancient Anythings, for that matter, as many other cultures celebrated physical competitions of one sort or another) were focused primarily on what she termed “pre-Enlightenment physical competitions”. These competitions were focused nearly entirely upon basic challenges (who can throw this object the farthest, who can lift the most, etc.) which were, in turn, based in large part upon the warrior-based cultures of the pre-1800s. In addition, those challenges and how they were regarded culturally were largely limited to the warrior class or at the very least the patrician class. Even when exposed to “the masses”, as gladiatorial combat was in ancient Rome, the lingua franca of the greater society did not adopt new terminologies to describe the events themselves.
The Enlightenment era, she argued, began in the United States in the 1850s, when the term “national pastime” was originally coined to refer to baseball. All Fanese, according to the Vancouver School of thought, is derived directly from this moment, as it is the first outward expression of the idea of a game (as opposed to an individual competition) possessing cultural prominence on a national stage, and the first indications of actual linguistic changes directly attributable to modification of existing terminology to refer to sports-related activities or new terminologies altogether.
There are, of course, dissenters to this view, but recent work by Dr. Jonesmith of the Vancouver school does answer many of the challenges of the old Munich school, particularly in regards to modern versions of boxing, sumo wrestling, and Olympic competitions and how their adoption of their popular terminologies can now be traced to sociolinguistic factors that can be directly linked to 1850s baseball in New York. His work, published in the 1980s, shows that the linguistic changes in national records of many countries regarding their “national sports”, (e.g., Japan (regarding sumo), Thailand (regarding Muy Thai), England and India (cricket), etc.) are all related to those cultures adopting to some degree the until-that-point uniquely American obsession with sports.
Basically, Fanese can be directly attributed, for good or ill, to the United States and our cultural obsession with football, basketball, and baseball. But everything comes back to baseball.