World Cup Kicks Off June 11 – Are You Ready?

Category: Culture

This post introduces the Acclaro blog series on The 2010 FIFA World Cup taking place in South Africa from June 11 to July 11, as teams and fan from all over the world converge upon the country for this incredible event.

It’s Only the Biggest Single Sporting Event of the Year

You don’t have to be a “footie” fan to feel the excitement building around the upcoming World Cup. The scale of this event dwarfs that of any other sport in the world — yes, even the Super Bowl, the NBA playoffs or the entire yearly audience for professional golf tournaments. The proof is in the numbers: according to FIFA, the sport’s governing body, the last tournament in 2006 in Germany had a total cumulative television audience of more than 26 billion people in 214 countries and territories.

The upcoming tournament between 32 national teams kicks off with a match between host-country South Africa and Mexico on June 11. For billions of fans all around the world, day-to-day life will grind to a halt for 30 days as they cram bars, pubs, theatres, friends’ houses — anywhere there is a television — to watch and shout and groan and cry as they root for their country’s 11 players on the world stage.

So Many Teams, So Many Languages…

The World Cup is indeed very nationalistic, but at the same time, it’s an event that spans borders, bringing people, cultures, and languages together. A good case in point is South Africa, the host country, where there are 11 official languages.

While English is the most widely understood, it is the mother tongue of just eight percent of the population. The actual dominant mother tongue of the Rainbow Nation is isiZulu and the official match ball of the 2010 World Cup is named “Jubulani,” which means “happy” or “to celebrate” in that language.

Now imagine adding 15 additional languages into this broad spectrum of linguistic diversity, as 31 nations send their player to South Africa to compete.

It’s going to be a wild ride — and we’re going to be covering all sorts of linguistic and cultural phenonema that arises during the 30-day event. Stay tuned to the Acclaro blog for frequent updates and observations. Better yet, subscribe to our RSS feed to receive posts in real-time, so you’ll never miss a kick.