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The art of language has taken a 'surreal' turn.

Byline: CHRIS UPTON

IT might be because I'm a writer, of course. But I'm subject to obsessive distress when people maladminister words. I should just let it go, I know, but I never can.

So when a waitress/waiter offers to double-check something with the kitchen, I'm always tempted to call her back. No need to double-check that, I mutter under my breath. Checking it once will be absolutely fine.

It's in the course of sporting talk that the English language is roughed up most regularly, the best reason I know for muting post-match interviews on Match of the Day. But occasionally the remote has disappeared under a cushion and it's impossible to deflect one's ears.

I have a particular bugbear with the word "surreal". Quite how this concept from early 20th century fine art crept into sport I have no idea, but it has.

"It was surreal, to be honest," says Ron Footballer. "I had only just come on the field and ended up taking the penalty."

This is not surreal. If a footballer scores a goal it is as grounded in reality as you can possibly get. Had the penalty spot unexpectedly turned into a marrow, or the goalkeeper charged out of his goal to present the on-rushing striker with a bunch of dahlias... now that would have been surreal.

I'm probably wasting my breath. The chances are that a host of fin-de-siecle art movements will now be finding their way onto the field of play.

"It was totally Fauvist," commented Neil Warnock. "The defender went in like a wild animal, and was dressed in a kind of orange and red kit with strong horizontals and green socks. He looked like a bowl of fruit painted by Derain, and he tackled like one as well."

" "I disagree," replied Mark Hughes. "To my mind, it was my mind, it was " more Post-Impressionist. We peppered their box like Georges Seurat on a good day. I can't understand how we didn't get all three pointillists."

"It was Cubist," said Wenger. "From one point of view it was a penalty - from the other he dived. Both positions are equally valid."

Now, if a manager said that, it really would be surreal.

Dr Chris Upton is a windmill at Newman University Birmingham

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 18, 2014
Words:379
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