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Soccer self portrait by LBott @ Flickr.com. Link at bottom of post.We’re set for another weekend of soccer football at my house this weekend, particularly the Germany vs. UK game, about which I’ve heard via Hanna via StephenFry via CarlTidy on Twitter: “This world cup is like WWII: The French surrendered early the Americans turned up late leaving England to fight the Germans.”

So in honor of this international sporting event, to which I am neophyte follower (having been put through my paces by Hanna), I share this story from last weekend’s On the Media about the World Cup and that internet phenomenon known as Twitter, which is used by human beings worldwide communicating in a polyglot of languages — often (as this story shows) to unintended and, shall we say, très amusant results.

BOB GARFIELD: Carlos Eduardo dos Santos Galvao Bueno is a play-by-play announcer who calls the World Cup matches on Brazil’s largest TV network, Rede Globo. Last weekend, someone in Brazil offered a blunt critique of Galvao’s broadcasting style with a three-word Tweet in Portuguese: “Cala Boca Galvao,” or, in English, “Shut up, Galvao.”

The phrase quickly became one of the top worldwide trending topics in the Twittersphere, and what happened next, says Ethan Zuckerman of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, was the result of a wired world eavesdropping uncomprehendingly on one another’s conversations.

ETHAN ZUCKERMAN: For the last three or four days, “Cala Boca Galvao” has been absolutely at the top of the topic list. And so, what happened was a lot of non-Portuguese speakers saw this phrase, didn’t know what it meant and started Tweeting, what does Cala Boca Galvao mean?

If there’s a new topic trending on Twitter, there’s probably a significant chance that it has something to do with Lady Gaga. So some of the Brazilians grabbed that idea and started telling the non-Portuguese speakers that Cala Boca Galvao is the new Lady Gaga single.

The fun doesn’t stop there! Sad to say there is no direct embed function for the audio, but you can listen to the story, download the mp3, or read a full transcript over at On the Media.

Have a great weekend!

image credit: soccer self portrait by LBott @ Flickr.com.

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