‘Sport’ in Germany: From an ontological category to a concept of the present time

Klaus Willimczik

*Corresponding author: Klaus Willimczik klaus.willimczik@bluehash.de

Original Language

Cite this article

Willimczik, K. (2009). ‘Sport’ in Germany – From an ontological category to a concept of the present time –. Apunts. Educación Física y Deportes, 97, 48-60.



The German and English linguistic zones have a great variety of definitions when referring to the concept of sport (Wil­limczik, 2001). However, the question of the linguistic-philosophic grounds on which the argument is based is always open.  Also, the perspective of both sociological observations and empirical-inductive analysis, accepts the coexistence of different sports models (Rittner, 1984) but without a justification or theoretical basis existing for this. On a linguistic-philosophic basis, this article empirically reviews the scientific empirical model of prototypes, taking as a starting point the analysis of Wittgenstein’s family resemblance:1. to what extent sport is a concept of family resemblance in Wittgenstein’s sense, and what relations of similarity exist in the concepts of work, art, game and health care; 2. what models of sport exist in ordinary language;  and 3. what resemblance different sports models have with the concepts of work, art, play and health care. The results show: The concept of sport is not clearly defined in the sense of a family resemblance, but rather that its boundaries are rather frayed. However, it possesses a significant nucleus directed at high performance sport. Six models of sport could be defined as prototypes: traditional sport, professional high performance sport, hobbies close to sport, exhibition sport, experience sports and sport for health.

Keywords: Family Resemblance, Germany, Philosophy of Ordinary Language, Prototypes, Sports Models.

ISSN: 1577-4015

Published: July 01, 2009