Title Soccerlingua
Author Richard Weaver et al.
Publisher www.soccerlingua.net
ISBN 0 9551303 0 1
Reviewer Duncan Byrne
   

Soccerlingua is an EU-funded project to promote language learning through the theme of football. Nothing particularly new here, since those of us who teach boys have been shamelessly exploiting football in our teaching for years. However, this is an unusual, but attractive resource that is due to come on the market in the New Year, in time for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

The first unusual facet of the book is that it caters for four languages (EFL, Spanish, Italian and German), with thirty pages dedicated to each on identical subject matter. The target language is used throughout, so that this resource can be used throughout the EU. The absence of French is peculiar, considering that it is, with English, one of the two working languages of the European Union, and this may limit the appeal of Soccerlingua in this country. The content comprises basic topics such as colours, personal life, body (and injuries) combined with a variety of grammatical structures, and the book is therefore an attractive ‘treat’ for pupils who have grown tired of the traditional ways in which to teach these topics. It is certainly very imaginative. The Italian section deals with the topic of daily routine by following the iconic referee, Pierluigi Collina, around his pre-match routine and the perfect tense is revised in German by looking at the multi-cultural youth of England’s Bayern Münich midfielder, Owen Hargreaves. When I met the Soccerlingua team at the Language Show at Olympia, exact marketing ploys had yet to be finalised, but there was the suggestion that the pages of the book might be available in CD-ROM format, which would allow a page to be integrated into a lesson via data projector or white board. I am concerned that, in its current four-language book format (yet without French), Soccerlingua may be too much of a luxury for schools and thus fail to engage with its intended audience.

The most exciting part of the project, however, is the interactive DVD quiz, which is entirely in the target language. Pupils have to answer multiple-choice questions involving video clips of past World Cup tournaments to progress beyond the group stages to Quarter-Final, Semi-Final and Final. I was immediately addicted to the quiz and can’t wait for the opportunity to try it out with my classes. The DVD is not yet available but the website www.soccerlingua.net will keep you up to date with developments. If your budget has a little left in it, and your teachers and pupils are as mad about football as I am, this will be an extremely motivating resource to be dipped into as appropriate.