This month, all eyes are on the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ in Russia!
How much do you know about languages at the World Cup?
Out of 32 teams, 7 teams are from majority Spanish-speaking countries. Those teams are Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Spain, and Uruguay!
There are 2 teams from majority English-speaking countries (England and Australia), 2 from Portuguese-speaking countries (Brazil and Portugal), 4 from Arabic-speaking countries (Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia), and 2 from majority German-speaking countries (Germany and Switzerland).
The word “soccer” comes from American English. Many languages that are influenced by American English call the sport “soccer,” or use a similar word. For example, the Japanese word sakka- comes from soccer. The Swahili word is soka, and the Afrikaans word is sokker.
However, most viewers of the World Cup call this sport “football.” Languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Thai, German, and more use a word similar to “Football.” For example, in Spanish, the word is fútbol, and in Bengali, the word is ফুটবল (phuṭabala).
The FIFA World Cup™ has 4 official languages, but all referees are required to speak English.
The current World Cup languages are all European languages. However, as the sport grows in global popularity, we may see some new official languages in the future!
In 2022, the host country will be Arabic-speaking Qatar! We can look forward to hearing more Arabic and learning some new words and phrases. For now, here’s one: in Arabic, soccer/football is called “كرة القدم“, or Korat El kadam!