As you watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup over the next few weeks, you'll hear a lot of people call the sport "football."
未来几周观看世界杯的时候,你会听到很多人管足球叫"football"。

If you're American, however, there's a good chance you call it "soccer." And despite what British fans may tell you, there's a good reason you call it that. They should know — soccer is a British word.
但如果你是美国人,很可能你管它叫"soccer"。不管英国球迷怎么说,你这么叫其实很有道理。那些英国球迷得要知道,"soccer"其实是个英国词。

The word "soccer" dates back to the 19th-century birth of modern football. It has a more precise meaning than the broader term "football," points out University of Michigan professor Stefan Szymanski in a new paper.
"soccer"这个词可以追溯到19世纪,现代足球刚刚诞生的时候。密西根大学的教授西曼斯基在最新发布的研究中指出,"soccer"的词义更为精准,而"football"的词义更宽泛。

People have been playing football-like sports for centuries, from the ancient Chinese cuju (pictured above) to the Mayan game pok ta pok, which used a rubber ball. Yet football as it's played in the World Cup was born more recently in Britain.
从中国古代的蹴鞠(见上图)到玛雅的橡胶足球“波塔波”,人们玩类似足球的运动已经有几个世纪的历史了。然而在世界杯上踢的足球却是英国人在近代发明的。

Some types of football had long involved use of the hands — "football" originally meant an array of ball games played on foot rather than horseback, and didn't necessarily refer to kicking. In 1871, a group of clubs met in London to form the Rugby Football Union, and from then on the two versions of football were distinguished as Rugby Football and Association Football. The latter is a mouthful, especially compared to "rugby," so it clearly needed a nickname.
football一词最初是指在地上而非马背上进行的球类运动。在那时,"football"并不一定要靠踢的,一些"football"长期以来都用手玩。1871年,一些俱乐部在伦敦组建了橄榄球联盟,随后两种不同版本的"football"被分别称为橄榄球(rugby football)和英式足球(association football)以示区别。和前者比起来,后者的名字很拗口,需要一个昵称。

But how did "association" become "soccer"? For one, it was common at the time in England to form slang by adding -er, like "rugger" from Rugby. Plus, as the Online Etymology Dictionary points out, "those who did it perhaps shied away from making a name out of the first three letters of Assoc."
但"association" 是如何演变成"soccer"的?一来在当时的英语中通过添加-er后缀组成俚语很平常,例如橄榄球运动员"rugger"就演变自Rugby。另外根据在线词源词典所指出的,“引导单词变化的人,可能是为了避免单纯地取源单词‘association’ 的前三个字母。”

The popularity of football in North America required another name for association football, so Americans used the British nickname "soccer." This was still a recognized term at the time in England. The word “soccer” wasn't used widely in publications until after World War II. It then peaked in popularity among the British from 1960 to 1980, when soccer and football were used almost interchangeably.
在北美,由于美式橄榄球的盛行,人们需要用另一个名字来称呼英式足球。于是人们选择了它的英国昵称"soccer"。"soccer"一词在二次大战前并未在出版物中广泛使用。在1960年到1980年之间,它在英国的使用率达到高峰,几乎可以和football一词互换使用。

Although it's unclear why "soccer" grew more common in Britain after World War II, it may have been due to the popularity of U.S. soldiers stationed there.
我们尚不清楚为何二战后"soccer"一词在英国变得更普遍,但这可能是因为驻英美军。

In the 1980s we start to hear the argument that soccer is an American word. It is hard to think of any explanation for the decline of "soccer" in England other than the rising popularity of the word soccer in the U.S.
从80年代开始,我们开始听说说法认为"soccer"一词是美语。除了"soccer"一词在美国用的越来越多,我们很难想象还有其他原因能解释为什么英国人不再用它。