How To Pronounce Derby — A Information For Clueless People
Every time there is a derby week in Europe, from Manchester to Madrid to Milan, American football fans listen to British commentators and wonder how to pronounce derby. As one of the few American soccer websites that actively refuse to use British English, we at The18 decided it was time to go over the basic soccer terms in American English.
While most of the differences between UK and US football terms are tiny and meaningless, a group of people get viscerally angry when they use a term that is different from the one used in England. If The18 had a penny for every comment we received on Facebook, we would be a Fortune 500 company. It is therefore important that we advocate American English and defend ourselves against the Eurosnobs who refuse to recognize the word football created by the British.
This guide is primarily aimed at people in the United States, but it is also useful for anyone who thinks the only way to talk about football is with a British accent.
Before we begin, please remember that each language is arbitrary. It is necessary to have words with generally accepted definitions – how else would we understand anyone? However, the fact that a certain group of sounds and letters represent a certain concept is mostly arbitrary. Hence, it doesn’t matter what you call the beautiful game as long as those you communicate with understand what is being said. When we say American, we are almost always referring to the demonym for the United States, not someone from North or South America.
How to pronounce derby and other things – a guide for american football fans
How to pronounce Derby in the United States
Today, let’s start with the core of the problem: how do you pronounce Derby? In my experience, this is perhaps one of the hardest concepts to pin down for American football fans.
The problem arises from the fact that Derby is pronounced differently in the US and the UK, even though it means the same thing. Americans who watch European football, which is mostly commented by the British, are bombarded by announcers who pronounce it one way when it is pronounced the other way home.
Derby means a horse race, a competition open to all comers, or a sporting event between two local teams. In British English, Derby is pronounced as Dar-Bee. In American English, derby is pronounced during the bee.
Unfortunately, I mostly hear Americans – including a number of people at The18 – pronounce Derby as Dar-Bee. An American proverb “dar-bee” refers to “a plaster swimmer made from a long, narrow strip of wood with two handles”. (There is also a Canadian football club called Darby FC, but the club got its name when the Darlington and Whitby football clubs merged.)
The next time you’re talking about the Manchester Derby to friends, remember to pronounce it like the Kentucky Derby during the Bee Derby so you don’t get into an English accent like a madman.
Soccer against soccer
Is it football or soccer? We honestly don’t care, and this entire category is for terms that can go either way.
- Soccer against soccer
- Game against game
- Pitch against field
- Punishment against PK
- Way against street
Which one is preferable? In our eyes they are all fine. The words mean the same thing, so we won’t waste time trying to distinguish between them. And we hope you won’t hold a grudge if we use them interchangeably.
Plurality of the team
There is no problem in my crawl like British grammar pluralizing collective terms. It’s a problem that has spawned an army of Americans who don’t know how to speak English properly in the United States, and it makes me shudder like the little wooden spoons that come with Blue Bell ice cream for one-serving at children’s birthday parties.
I’ve written about this at length before, so here’s a quick refresher (read the full explanation here). In British grammar, collective terms such as “team” or “family” are considered plural. In American English, these collective terms are singular. They say “the family goes to dinner” and not “the family goes to dinner”.
While this is a well-understood concept in the United States, Americans often completely forget about this fact in football. People say “Manchester City is playing really well” instead of “Manchester United is playing really badly”. Most of this is because UK media companies and broadcasters use their UK grammar, but it doesn’t help if American companies like NBC, ESPN and Fox continue to spread some type of grammar that is wrong in this country.
We here at The18 will do our best to always use correct US English when referring to soccer teams. After all, the US is home to the best football team of all time, and we will always refer to the USWNT as a unique entity.
Unfortunately, most soccer fans will still prefer to use English grammar when talking about soccer. I have no problem switching between English and American colloquial language, but I draw the line with grammar. As someone who has read and reread the AP Style Book, I know the importance of having a consistent language for quick and accurate readability. So I’ll keep complaining about British grammar just as loudly as the pesky pussies that complain every time we use the word football.
Of course, as mentioned earlier, the language is arbitrary. As long as everyone can understand what is being said, it doesn’t really matter.
But if you want to know how to pronounce Derby, remember that we are in America, the home of the Kentucky major bee, not the Kentucky Dar bee.