Linguistic indigestion in sports chronicle

Victor Willing, Place with a Red Thing, 1980.


Sports narrators still think that the image is not a language, but rather a fixed and obscure object that needs to be insistently and ardently narrated.

The combination of predictions by members of the so-called Frankfurt School and Jean Baudrillard's analysis of the society of spectacles is associated with language sciences to ensure an understanding of the current linguistic indigestion in the field of Brazilian sports media and its repercussions in contemporary social networks. . The relevance of the theme is not only given by the influence of the discourse on youth, but also because the sports chronicle gave in to the spirit of hooliganism and the breaking of the connection between discourse and reality, which does not mean the destruction of industrial objects on sports fields, but of the language. The first destruction is always language, as seen in the marriage between party politics and corrupt public administrations.

The relationship between the speeches and the synchronic images worsened the picture. It would be possible to fill several field notebooks with regard to the linguistic confusions of sports narrators, in which discourse and figuration are mutually denied. Strictly speaking, a repertoire capable of enunciating and absorbing this synchrony has not yet been created, as the narrative chatter thinks of overlapping the imagery, which is fatal. Think of the hypothesis of narrating at length in front of David's sculpture and, in the end, nothing remains but the great icon questioning the speaking human. No word would remain on word... A voluptuous narration about David never finds the meaning of the sculpture. Perhaps it would be possible if the speech understood the way in which David was composed.

The problem becomes more acute because there are no signs of any learning of the new repertoire capable of establishing communication between speech and its images. Narrators still think that the image is not a language, but rather a fixed and obscure object that needs to be insistently and ardently narrated. A dramatic mistake.

We live in a historic moment of MMA, symbolized by the serious disconnections of language of the president of this republic, incapable of creating phrases of reasonable understanding, but capable, in his voluptuousness, of changing soccer team shirts every day (because your body is good for anything) and very capable, within your mental illness, of mocking those sick and dead by Sars Cov 2. There are also many international signs of evil. As a result of such extremes, the best way to think about the problem posed here is the theoretical one, as the immensity of the facts and data to be cited would be diluted in the irrationality of the justifications. Very few people in the sports field are probably thinking about hooliganism and the breakdown of the relationship between Logos is life. Or that life is in the Logos. Let's agree, however, that sports narrators perform their duties much better than the Planalto tenant.

The old commonplace that sport is a stripped, open, liberated, youthful social place, etc. it seems to give rise to the miscellaneous and sometimes promiscuity and anything goes of the statements.

The theoretical field is full of considerations. Make yourself a basic choice.

The analysis of discourses in social life considers that the phenomena and data of life are related and connected, because “language is the most perfect of all manifestations of a cultural order that form, in some way, systems” (LÉVI STRAUSS (1971) :134) For his part, Jakobson (1973:43) adds: “language is at the center of all human semiotic systems and is the most important of them all”. they are situated in a nodal point of modernity and there they seek not only to understand the human being, social and connective, which is presented in language, but also that communication is only possible when understood as a construction of the self and the other, the other. Precisely because language is a strong sign of our relationships in the world, our communicative presence must be aimed at better intelligibility of relationships and not just the expression of what we want to be, perhaps the center of a little world. The idea of ​​a system matters less, because it is always open to criticism in the history of science, although it has the main utility of showing that we are not the center of everything, but a relationship, a constructive connection.

The narrations of volleyball, basketball, football, gymnastics (by way of situating fields of work) are a perfect time-space to discuss the “invention” of the image visualized by the discursive chatter of the narrators. The starting point of imbroglio lies in the fixed concepts that those responsible for the narrative acts seem to dominate. Firstly, there is the impression that the narrated phenomenon does not exist and needs to be created, which is reminiscent of the old narratives of the radio's exclusive time. In those times, with some rhetorical reason. In the current case of radio, TV and networks, the grammar of the language suffers too much and this is not school pedantry, as Brazilian school teachers failed to show that grammar is the way to make the human disposition to express itself legible and intelligible . Grammar was never formalism, or something typical of Rui Barbosa, except because of the mistakes made by the teachers. In the society that promotes images, poorly termed as post-modernist (and even because of the stupidity of post-everything), it will only be respectful to narrate what comes to guarantee the enrichment of the image, as in poetic reading aloud, what is realizes in nuances of meaning to highlight, details to juxtapose or list, memories to update. There, the grammar shows the meanings of the reality that is expected to be transmitted, without idealization or disqualification. The respectful narration would gain a pedagogical meaning that could revert the contemporary free-for-all, because for the new generations, free-for-all is death.

a narrative organic farming of sport requires reasonable knowledge of the sciences and arts of the modalities and, precisely from this accumulated culture, a connecting discourse is sustained and supported, which does not take place between subject and object, but between subject and subject, senders and receivers mediated by the factual, poetic and objective messages. Between the narration booth and the sports field, a subject-object relationship is not possible. Thus valued for correctness and beauty in dealing with the subjects of interlocution, athletes will be viewed in the fairness of their searches towards the emergence of their goals and the construction of individual and collective emotions. The narrator is not the owner of the narrative estate and does not even have the right to hyperbole or hooligan jokes, as they are almost always denied, either immediately or indirectly, as we are tired of seeing and hearing. And then the narrator rushes to justify himself again, which adds to the linguistic indigestion of the sports chronicle.

The athletes are not better for the narrative, especially for the immensity of adjectives shouted by the narrators, but for their complex condition of to be in the exercise of performances; better, in the constitution of your work. Sad to recognize that the emergence of women in the narrative field did not change the current scheme, which is terrible, since significant sectors of society put a lot of faith in the specificity and originality of female doing, which could result in the new. Who knows, this new one will still be built, as opposed to what is established and imposed.

Many narrators of short stories and novels recognize the strength of the narrated subjects and even their overlapping with the narrative flow (Ah, Clarice!), as if the actors escaped the plot to jump into real life. Athletes need to be treated with the same rights in the flow of narratives and there is little point in making exaggerated praises in one moment to burn the tongue in another and, moreover, alter the rhythm of the very lives of promising young people.

Walter Benjamin, a young man at the time of the German intellectual school mentioned at the beginning of this text, was very interested in narration. One of his texts reads: “The experience that passes from person to person is the source to which all narrators draw. And, among written narratives, the best are those that are least distinguished from the oral histories told by the countless anonymous narrators”. With no intention of analysis, it is only necessary to consider that the narratives, by not being distinguished from the oral histories told by common people, show that their foundation is in the creation of communication, since ancestral stories tend to always increase the degrees of communicability and the good understanding of the narration. The narrated story grows and expands, while the narrator remains anonymous, in the modesty of the condition of narrator.

Probably most sports narrators do not feel part of these language plots. Nothing unusual, as this time pays no attention to the subliminal, to the apparently submerged, to the somber and anonymous that forms life, because what matters is to open up speeches left and right. Check out the production of the gullet. Many narrators ignore that too much language always leaves accumulations and sequels in the dark areas, in which the athletes are not yet mature, although they already seem to be fully via narrative. Gradually, the hyperbolic narratives and “inventors” of images beyond the image of the real destroy not only the language but also collaborate for the destruction of the athletes. They play a role similar to that of the governing bodies, federations and confederations, generally (exceptions must be honored) run by those who have no mastery over the sciences and arts of sport. They don't even know about the design, formulation, implementation and evaluation of sports policy.

There will be a day when it will be openly discussed (also by, by the athletes, as a rule intimidated, as) why these gentlemen are sovereignly cast into the power of organizations. Could it be that no one sees that they make sporting activities worse and only provoke the expansion of the fanciful discourse about sport because that goes in their favor as prestige and profit?

After that long first place, the second fixed concept. It's about the divisions between the excellent and the other thing. A brutal image, which distorts the narrations in their own immanence, consists of dividing the sporting world into superior and inferior. The slightest reading of the structure and historical construction of the phenomena and their organizations is lacking. We are tired of hearing that European football is the best in the world. Why better than the one played in Tonga or at the Mozambola tournament? Oh, maybe because of the capital employed and the paraphernalia of consuming objects... But not because of the rush on the field, because European football is close to completely confusing the original meaning of football by combining in its crazy movements on the field a sum of behaviorist rules, something from American football, rugby and everything else that means stopping the other so that I can progress towards the goal, the target. Let's say that this satisfies certain sectors of European society, but, after all, what is good about it, what is excellent, what is better? At most, to think a little about structures, he can have the spectacular face of the society in which he is thrown. But Europe, despite its wealth, could not set examples in dealing with Covid, in true ecological care (outside its navel), in dealing with immigrants, etc. Thus, European football (only the one that is seen, spectacular) is something forged for certain sectors of society, a fact that, although it seems different from what complex Europe is, deep down it is similar due to the innumerable European contradictions, known and known since the dawn of time. process of colonization of the world in the Renaissance. Who knows, maybe the sportscasters, their editors and the owners of broadcasts will recognize the evil that such unreasonable nominations mean, posted here as one among many.

It is recognized, again, that the championships of Tonga and Mozambique may be running after the “best football championship in the world”. Anyway, (to clarify the structural reading) the English language is no better than the language of the Bororo nation, except for international prestige and the conduct of business. Insofar as the exception is the social rule, certainly English will be superior to Bororo.

Therefore, a qualification of principle can ruin a civilizing process, especially from the point of view of comparison, since it completely disregards the history and structural arrangements of the compared societies. It is understandable that everything that is not “spectacular” is far from screens and microphones; unfortunately, also from social networks.


This text avoided casual examples and sought to present only a few in view of its already socially prestigious structure. Even if too prestigious. What still remains to be inferred from the hearing and the assistance to the world of sport via narrations is that the vociferous society of the spectacle and the narrative of the spectacle made as the spectacle itself, plus the sports classifications stratified in the discourses mean, in some way, the death of the society thought both in the debate at the time of the industrial revolution and in contemporary declarations of human rights. On the one hand, because it carries concepts of low communicational density, that is, it repeatedly hits the keys of its monotones and forges a reality that is strange to that existing in people's daily lives, including athletes. Likewise, his spectacle is fleeting and his charm ceases at the end of the speech, always demanding more and more spectacularities. Like the cicada, you sing until your chest bursts and your body goes into dry inertia. Perhaps among cicadas there is more communication, especially about phenomena of nature happening and to happen. By not communicating the beauty of reality itself, narration distorts it and breaks communicability. This is an act of death. On the other hand, insisting on the self-interested use of the spectacular society is a crude way of crippling the sports culture (full health, beauty and well-being) in favor of turbo-neoliberalism that does not reserve any importance for the construction of the being, but for its performances spectacular and profitable.

* Luiz Roberto Alves is a senior professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP.



BENJAMIN, Walter. Magic and Technique, Art and Politics. São Paulo, Editora Brasiliense, 1985.

JAKOBSON, Roman. Linguistics and Communication. São Paulo: Editora Cultrix, Publisher of the University of São Paulo, 1969.

LÉVI-STRAUSS, Claude. Arte lenguaje etnologia (interviews with Georges Charbonnier). Mexico: Siglo veintiuno editores sa, 1961.


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