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Apr 15

Coach a team with 100 words

Footballers are not known for their extensive vocabularies.

So it was hard to tell whether it was a compliment or an insult when Italian Fabio Capello, England’s football coach, said he could manage the national team using just 100 words.

“If I need to speak about the economy or other things, I can’t speak,” he told reporters. “But when you speak about tactics, you don’t use a lot of words. I don’t have to speak about a lot of different things. Maximum 100 words.”

To see if it could be done, first the BBC went to the Oxford English Corpus, which has identified the hundred commonest English words found in writing globally:

1. the
2. be
3. to
4. of
5. and
6. a
7. in
8. that
9. have
10. I
11. it
12. for
13. not
14. on
15. with
16. he
17. as
18. you
19. do
20. at
21. this
22. but
23. his
24. by
25. from
26. they
27. we
28. say
29. her
30. she
31. or
32. an
33. will
34. my
35. one
36. all
37. would
38. there
39. their
40. what
41. so
42. up
43. out
44. if
45. about
46. who
47. get
48. which
49. go
50. me
51. when
52. make
53. can
54. like
55. time
56. no
57. just
58. him
59. know
60. take
61. person
62. into
63. year
64. your
65. good
66. some
67. could
68. them
69. see
70. other
71. than
72. then
73. now
74. look
75. only
76. come
77. its
78. over
79. think
80. also
81. back
82. after
83. use
84. two
85. how
86. our
87. work
88. first
89. well
90. way
91. even
92. new
93. want
94. because
95. any
96. these
97. give
98. day
99. most
100. us

Source: Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11th edition, 2006)

You will be pushed to make many phrases from these – although you may do better from the list of the top 25 Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives.

The list of nouns makes interesting reading:

  • man is 7th, whereas child is 12th and woman 14th
  • the highest-ranking body part, hand, is 10th – eye is the next in 13th place, followed by head at 27
  • Work is at number 16 whereas play and rest do not feature in the top 100!
  • war is at 49 with no sign of peace
  • problem is 24th and there is no solution in sight
  • friend is 30th with no enemy or foe
  • book is number 41 whereas computer does not feature in the top 100 and is below paper
  • Money is surprisingly low at 65 and cash is nowhere to be seen: this low ranking is perhaps explained by the fact that we have so many synonyms for money.

 

Not to be outdone, Cambridge has now been through the Cambridge International Corpus.

The dictionaries contain more than one billion English words, and their context, used regularly in newspapers, books, emails and conversations. Experts tracked down around 8.5 million football-related words before refining them to the 100 most commonly used football nouns, verbs and adjectives.

The list of 100 football words are:

1 – ball 2 – cup 3 – player 4 – Game 5 – Match 6 – Win 7 – Lose 8 – Play 9 – Team 10 – Goalkeeper 11 – Defender 12 – Fullback 13 – Midfielder 14 – Winger 15 – Striker 16 – Forward 17 – Defence 18 – Midfield 19 – Attack 20 – Pitch 21 – Goal 22 – Goalposts 23 – Crossbar 24 – Woodwork 25 – Box 26 – Touchlines 27 – Left 28 – Right 29 – Kick 30 – Pass 31 – Tackle 32 – Cross 33 – Dribble 34 – Shoot 35 – Strike 36 – Score 37 – Equalise 38 – Foul 39 – Defend 40 – Attack 41 – Header 42 – Touch 43 – Mark 44 – Dive 45 – Referee 46 – Linesman 47 – Assistant 48 – Offside 49 – Handball 50 – Free kick 51 – Penalty 52 – Corner 53 – Goal-kick 54 – Caution 55 – Suspension 56 – Yellow 57 – Red 58 – Cards 59 – International 60 – Tournaments 61 – Stages 62 – Competition 63 – Friendlies 64 – Qualifiers 65 – Group 66 – Quarter-finals 67 – Semi-finals 68 – Progress 69 – Final 70 – Shoot-out 71 – Tactics 72 – Training 73 – Formation 74 – Possession 75 – Pressure 76 – Defensive 77 – Attacking 78 – Patience 79 – Fitness 80 – First-half 81 – Second-half 82 – Half-time 83 – Injury-time 84 – Extra-time 85 – Physical 86 – Technical 87 – Clever 88 – Pace 89 – Skill 90 – Talented 91 – Fans 92 – Supporters 93 – Passion 94 – Spirit 95 – Pride 96 – Excitement 97 – Defeat 98 – Disappointment 99 – Humiliation 100 – Sack.

 

Perhaps we could run a project with just 100 words? Maybe even just 40:

Meeting, stakeholder, initiation, deliverables, deadlines, scope, budget, sponsor, on-time, quality, document, time, report, review, communication, progress, management, change, office, benefits, cost, business, case, plan, control, milestone, task, estimate, program(me), team, design, analyse, package, work, schedule, risk, slip, delays, overrun, shelved…

Leave a comment with your suggestions.

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