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Promiscuous is a Good Word
Fabio Capello claims he only needs 100 words of English to do his job as England football manager. A man of few words then, The Sun said. I find that difficult to believe, personally. If you include phrases like: keep the ball, on your head, with your foot, in the goal, not over the bar, dirty tackle, get in position, tough match, what about the opposition, you’re offside, stop drinking, shut up and listen, you are useless and a few expletives, that doesn’t leave many words! It is apparently like communicating at the level of a 2 year old, without the need to construct full sentences.
I know people say that English footballers are not that intellectually sophisticated but even so, surely they need full sentences and a bit of descriptive language. That must involve more than 100 words? The prepositions along account for a fair few. And does a football manager never do any nurturing? What about asking about the players’ emotions, their families and their private lives? What about analysing their motivations and talking them round after a poor game? Or even explaining difficult decisions to leave people on the bench or award the captaincy? (Not a Capello strong point, I know) And it is not all about tactics, surely. But if it is, what are the tactics? He clearly didn’t get the message across during the world cup. Or maybe he just didn’t know any good adverbs.
Many people also like to say that English is a relatively easy language to learn. This is usually claimed by people with a poor grasp of it, of course. But I was having this very discussion with some friends recently and some of them insisted that it must be the case that English is an easy language to learn because so many people in the world speak it. Really? Nothing to do with Empire then or the dominance of the US? Clearly Mr Capello doesn’t agree at all. After all, given the amount of time he has spent working in the UK, in a job that is all about communication, he must be finding it quite difficult. If the average number of words a person actively uses is about 20,000, then even Wayne Rooney should have taught him a few more words by now.
A friend of mine used the word promiscuous the other day, when she actually meant something more like fickle or capricious. (Fair enough, she is not a native speaker). She wanted to convey a sense of flitting from one idea to another on a whim. It could have had very embarrassing repercussions though, if she had started criticising people for being promiscuous, when she really didn’t intend to make accusations about anyone’s sexuality or number of sexual partners. But of course context is everything. I am wondering if promiscuous might be a useful word to add to the Capello 100. There seems to be plenty of evidence that a number of players in his England team have already been found guilty in that department. Perhaps that is the reason for recent poor performances. It might just be something he wants to talk to them about!