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Chapitre D'ouvrage Année : 2008

The strange phenomenon of the footballer's perfect

Jim Walker
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This paper must begin with two confessions on the part of its author, right from the very outset. The first is purely anecdotal, in that the research which it recounts was born, in part, of a passion-that of watching football-which all too often is seen as having very little to do with the lofty call of academia. If no other end is achieved herein than a demonstration that football can lead to serious linguistic reflection, in other words that intellectual business can indeed be combined with pleasure, then that in itself is perhaps sufficient. The second is a more serious confession, in that it relates to the way this paper, and the research process on which it is based, has been devised. This project was initially undertaken as an investigation into what might be seen as an unusual and little discussed grammatical feature, almost an oddity, one that has been termed the footballer's perfect for reasons that will become evident in a moment. The initial intention was simply to describe the phenomenon, to establish the factors which might lead to its emergence and to attempt to establish a sociolinguistic framework within which it might be more fruitfully studied. However, it soon became apparent that the feature described here poses problems for various approaches to the question of the present perfect that appear in the literature, and it is these more deeply-rooted theoretical problems, which in effect took over from the initial descriptive intention, which are submitted herein. In other words, this paper seeks less to present the findings of research than to indicate what problems these initial findings might pose. The confession that needs to be made, then, is that the problems sketched out here come as the direct result of a certain theoretical bias that will become apparent over the coming pages. I have made clear in the past (Walker, 2002) my contention that utterer-based, pragmatics-oriented 1 Je souhaiterais remercier les deux relecteurs de cet article, à qui je dois d'avoir évité quelques coquilles et certains maladresses.


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hal-02510530 , version 1 (17-03-2020)


  • HAL Id : hal-02510530 , version 1


Jim Walker. The strange phenomenon of the footballer's perfect. Etrange /Etranger: Etudes de linguistique anglaise, 2008. ⟨hal-02510530⟩


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