They say it's beyond words : a study of professionals' discourse on football
This is a discourse analytic study of how professional footballers talk about the game of football. The study reveals how talk about football constructs the nature of the game,i ts constraints,p otentials and contingenciesw, hile attending to participants' accountability in it. An initial observation is that the talk's construction exhibits everyday conventions of discourse, which are what make it intelligible, and that the specific nature of football is provided for within those general discursive conventions. The context of 'football itself is not some physical entity that determines the type of talk which occurs within it. Rather, it is through their discourse that professional participants build the nature and relevance of that context, and build their own status as individuals who are both competentp rofessionalsa nd competenti nformantso n professional practices. What also becomes evident, in examining the construction of the talk, is that there are two sides to it. On the one hand, within their descriptions, or versions, there is flexibility in terms of what a speaker can say, or construct as relevant and factual, in building the talk's context. On the other hand, speakersr outinely attend to there being constraints imposed upon them in terms of what can be properly or accurately said. The orientation is towards those constraints as imposed by the nature of the world referred to. Participants describe events in a particular manner on the basis that that is simply how they are. However, the constraipts upon descriptions are demonstrably social ones. Speakers' attention to them arises out of the interactional nature of how external realities are determined through, or within, talk. These two sides of construction go hand in hand. In the interviews, which provide the data for this study, the professional footballers attend to constraints, in constructing the specifics of their talk, both as externally driven, and as matters requiring the interviewer's confirmation as definitive.