Foot-ball, futbol, balompié... the beginnings of the adaptation of sports vocabulary of Anglo-Saxon origin

Xavier Torrebadella-Flix, Antoni Nomdedeu-Rull

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    In the origins of the contemporary sport in Spain, between the mid-19th century and the early 20th century, a linguistic and conceptual discussion arose regarding the vocabulary used in the practice of new sports of Anglo-Saxon origin. This situation was acknowledged by some individuals who influenced by the Regenerationist movement at the time adapted foreign sports vocabulary to the Castilian language, thus starting the modern terminological contributions to the different sports, which were fundamental in order to create a new specific lexicon in Spanish. Terms such as foot-ball, futbol or balompié were protagonists in this discussion forum and represented the first debate about sports terminology in the Castilian language. Following a chronological exposition of events, mainly established by the sports press of that time, some data, which was not fully studied, are discussed here with the aim of clarifying the path followed by the accepted translations and adaptations of the term foot-ball in Spanish. As a result, it was found that, since 1902, the word futbol was frequently used in texts produced in Catalunya, whereas the term foot-ball was predominant outside that community until 1908 when Mariano de Cávia started using the term balompié, which coexisted with the borrowed word futbol. Both in the texts studied firstly as well as in the dictionaries at that time secondly, futbol and balompié were finally imposed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5-22
    JournalRICYDE. Revista internacional de ciencias del deporte
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


    • Balompié
    • Castilian language
    • Football
    • Regenerationism
    • Sport
    • Sports terminology


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