Peloton versus Pack & Bunch A study of French lexical borrowing in live English cycling commentary

Abstract

The sport of cycling is an ever expanding global phenomenon, drawing crowds in their thousands to watch the races unfold. Its community has a distinct vocabulary, with many terms borrowed from several other languages, principally French. This study investigates the presence of French loanwords in the language of English cycling commentators, and to what extent these loanwords are used in comparison to their English equivalents. It also examines extra-linguistic factors that could affect the commentator’s choice of vocabulary, mainly the location of the race. The study investigated the language of English commentators from live broadcast of 6 different races: 2 located in English speaking countries, 2 in France, and 2 countries where neither French nor English was the native language. All utterances of French loanwords and their English counterparts were noted and collected for analysis. The findings demonstrated a clear presence of French loanwords in the language of the commentators, with a varying degree of frequency. Some loanwords were preferred over their English equivalents, whilst others were not. The location did not seem to have a significant impact on the choice of vocabulary, with the exception of the only race held outside of Europe, where the commentators demonstrated a clear preference for English terminology over French loanwords. The analysis concluded that many different extra-linguistic factors may play a role in the commentator’s choice of vocabulary.

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Fernandez2017PelotonVP, title={Peloton versus Pack & Bunch A study of French lexical borrowing in live English cycling commentary}, author={Sebastian Fernandez}, year={2017} }