The Rugby World Cup is under way. France is hosting most of the matches, including the final, although some are being played in Scotland and Wales.
Now is also the time that the American football season begins. Some of those games are available on French tv, depending on the type of cable or satellite package you have.
So why do I mention these two sports ? They both have their roots in the same game. They both play with a similar oval ball. Goals are made by moving the ball across the goal line. It's interesting that in rugby, this is called a "try" and the ball must be grounded or downed, but in American football, the ball just needs to cross the goal line for a "touchdown." In both games, field goals are kicked through the upright section of the goal posts.
And both games include today's word : le plaquage or, as we say in English, the tackle. It's the primary way that the opposing team stops the team with possession of the ball from moving forward.
The word is the noun form of the verb plaquer, which comes to French from the Middle Dutch placken, which means "to patch." The first meaning of plaquer is to apply one thing to the surface of another, to veneer as in wood, to plate as in metal (gold-plated).
The second meaning of plaquer is to flatten, which I presume is how it came to mean "to tackle" in rugby.
And although the French rugby team lost its opener over the weekend, I'll still say, "Allez les bleus !"
Image from : http://fr.encarta.msn.com
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