Sport Commentators

In earlier days, commentators played a huge role before the arrival of television sets. They have to tell the people listening virtually everything what they were seeing and this is still the case with radio listeners. In tennis commentators have a different job to other sports commentators, as the commentator need not commentate the whole time. Most importantly the person who is commentating will not commentate when the point is being played. This is because in tennis, each shot taken by a player happens so fast that it is difficult for a person to speak on it.

He will describe the point once the point is over and also between each game; this is different to other sports where the person has to commentate throughout the entire game with only short breaks in between. It is also common in the majority of the sports that sportsmen after their retirement take up the profession more usually because they want themselves to keep in touch with the sport and so they could also share their experiences and technical knowledge of the sport with the viewers. Sporting commentators all have a distinctive style of speaking that is recognisable wherever you go, this is called sociolect.

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Sports commentators are well known for their exaggeration and use of phonology. For example Andy Gray says “Look at the prey on the little flick through… ” For enthusiasts and follows of the sport, football fans will understand and recognise the jargon used by the commentators. The metaphor used; “Look at the prey… ” is used to entice the listeners and keep them interested in the jargon only follows of the sport will know and understand. This also is shown from Gray later on when he says “… hen try and transfer it across” this language is shaped and selected for the sport as “Transfer it across” wouldn’t normally be associated with a football. In addition football comes with its own lexicon, like other sports it includes its own unique terminology. For example Gray comments “you don’t usually take out a striker out of the penalty for a free-kick round… ” The terminology used is here is “penalty” “striker” and “free-kick” the language is specifically selected for football therefore foreigners of the sport would find it more difficult to understand.

Using specialist vocabulary, football phrases are used worldwide even the exact same words just delivered in numerous languages. Sports commentators use figurative language such as imagery to engage the listeners, imagery highlights the commentator’s perspective; using imagery he can tell the listeners what it is he is seeing as they are unable to. Tyler after a pause says “… it was a good idea to steer it forward quickly into the path of Phillips… By specifically using the word “steer” it enables listeners to visualize what is going on without being there, “steer” showing us what the footballer is actually doing is figurative language also it is a metaphor as normally when describing movement of a football you don’t tend to use “steer” as a describing word you would perhaps use it to describe a action which involves driving. Hesitations are the most common errors in speech production. They are ‘umms’ and ‘errs’ and pauses that litter every conversation and spoken text.

It is common when people Say them when they are stuck for what to say, they are convenient ?llers when you are stumbling over the right words to say. As with any public speakers, sports commentators are under greater pressure to perform compared to normal people engaging in normal conversation. Unlike most public speakers however, what they say cannot be fully prepared before hand, since they cannot know what exactly they will have to comment upon. This performance pressure is increased in a sport like rugby that can be quite fast, involves a lot of players, and is often viewed from a distance. Rougerie is thumped by….. Kahui but France roll on relentlessly, this is eight phases now”. Rugby commentators can be heard to hesitate quite frequently, though most often when identifying players. These hesitations are often unvoiced, remaining as short pauses in the commentary. Sports commentary has developed in way which discrimination is becoming a less frequent matter across sports, however women have not fully broke into commentating meaning it is rare to see a female commentator. This is unusual because women have been involved in sports production for almost 35 years.

Julie Welch filed her first match report for The Observer in 1973, and women have been spotted on the sports news pages ever since. There seems to be no problem with the likes of Helen Chamberlain, Claire Tomlinson and Gabby Logan acting as presenters on football programmes; however when sports reporter Jacqui Oatley made her debut as the first female commentator to feature on the BBC’s Match of the Day, and entered into the male-dominated commentary box has caused football fans to protest viciously.

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Sport Commentators. (2016, Dec 09). Retrieved from