Continuing with the topic of names, some of the games in this Saturday's family sports event have interesting ones. Soccer means original English football because it is a distortion of the word "association", the English Football Association. "Association football" is otherwise known as "the beautiful game" (in the title of Pelé's autobiography), possibly to contrast it with American football, which is a hybrid of Rugby League and the clashes of the gladiators in Ancient Rome (only joking…*).
Badminton is a modern version of a very old game played in China, Japan and India. British army officers brought it back to England in the 1860s, and the Duke of Beaufort made it popular with the aristocracy at his estate called Badminton in western England. Pétanque is the French game played with metal balls which are lobbed through the air to fall as close as possible to the little target ball. The name is supposed to imitate the sound of a lobbed metal ball bashing into the others on the ground. (*…or am I?)
Tricky Words in this week's OVI
Volunteers - dobrovoľníci. Almost the opposite of tricky words here, because the root of these words must surely be the same - the Latin verb volo (I want). As usual the modern Slovak word "vôľa" remains closer to the original Latin, while the English word "will" has been influenced by the German "Wille" (and that Latin volo becomes "ich will" in German, and "je veux" /žö vö/ in French). It's interesting that the Slovak word "dobrovoľníci" stresses that they are motivated by GOOD will, implicitly reminding us that BAD will exists too (malevolence in formal English), and that "svojvôľa" and "svojvoľnosť" have negative connotations, like the English "willfulness".
What is really tricky in this respect is the English verb "will" - it doesn't have future meaning in itself (future meaning is always in "will be"), but it expresses "ochota": "I'll help you with that" means "Pomôžem Ti/Vám, lebo chcem", and it means NOW, not some time in the future.
Už po osemnásty raz budeme môcť prostredníctvom firemnej iniciatívy Stromček prianí urobiť počas najkrajších sviatkov roka radosť aj celkom neznámym deťom.