The boy done good? Football’s clichés and the philosophy of language (games)

Grimwood, Tom and Miller, Paul K. (2009) The boy done good? Football’s clichés and the philosophy of language (games). In: University of Cumbria Research and Enterprise Conference, 15 July 2009, University of Cumbria, Lancaster, UK. (Unpublished)

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Football is often celebrated as a global language. No less global, though considerably less celebrated, is the plethora of football-specific clichés which make up the language of commentary, post-match interview and expert analysis. The persistence of clichés suggests they are an important element in understanding the world of football. However, cliché itself is a relatively unexplored philosophical phenomenon. In this presentation, findings are reported from some research for a forthcoming book chapter. We aim therein to challenge the philosophy of language to account for the meaning that football gives cliché, and, in turn, use this account to assess the difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ clichés in language of football. The problem is that, philosophically speaking, the notion of the ‘cliché’ seems to resist critical appraisal because of the number of different and opposing meanings that can be attributed to a clichéd statement: when it comes to definitions, cliché literally gives 110%. What, then, makes a cliché? More significantly, what differentiates ‘meaningful’ or ‘authoritative’ cliché from mere lazy or banal uses of language? As football is a game of two halves, we will explore two approaches within the philosophy of language for possible explanations, approaches that offer very different accounts of how such a use of cliché produces meaning; the approaches of Hans-Georg Gadamer and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Through a comparison of the effectiveness of these philosophies for assessing footballing cliché as meaningful, we explore (at the end of the day) what particular conditions enable cliché to be useful, and what conditions produce simply tiresome language.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Departments: Institute of Health > Medical Sciences
Depositing User: Paul Miller
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2018 16:39
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2023 11:04


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