Swearing, It's not big, and it's not clever. Maybe.
Swearing, It's not big, and it's not clever. Maybe.
Mar 24 2011, 05:23 PM
Advice for the young at heart
Joined: 26-February 03
From: Essex, UK
Member No.: 33
Whilst ensuring you do not break forum rules (i.e. probably best not to list your favourite obscenities), I would be interested to hear your opinions on swearing/cussing/cursing.
I wouldn't say that I swear a lot. I'm not the kind of person to stick the f-word several times into one sentence, but I'd happily admit to swearing. I am always careful not to do so in front of people that do not like it, and I always ensure that there's nobody in ear-shot that would also be unhappy about it. I'm not out to cause offence...
But that's where my query really lies. Can a single word actually BE offensive? My opinion is that people can be offended by a word, but it isn't the fault of the word itself. The person has chosen (or been conditioned) to be offended. Randomly generate four letters and, eventually, you might get the F-word. What suddenly makes this combination of letters offensive? It is just a word.
Personally, if I try to remember moments when I have been offended by what a person has said to me, it never has anything to do with them 'effing and blinding'. Call me arrogant, or obnoxious, or ignorant, etc. and I am likely to feel the negative effects. But telling me to f*** off doesn't, for me, cause any more offence than telling me to get lost.
A few friends of mine will happily use any profanity they can think of... except the c-word. And, indeed, one in particular hates the word, and is extremely unhappy to hear it in any situation. I find this interesting: every single word is fine, every combination of letters is fine, except one. Gather up four innocent letters in a particular way and suddenly they become "harmful".
Should people be offended by language? Is it right to be? Is it petty, or archaic?
The rules of this forum promote correct use of the English language, and I whole-heartedly support that (I am not disputing the rules here, I am just using them as a point of reference). We are encouraged to write proper sentences to the best of our abilities - I think this is marvellous - and we are encouraged to avoid using "offensive" language because of the varying visitors to the site. A fair load of profanities have been censored in the past, and a handful have been allowed due to the situation/circumstances of the post. It all makes sense. But I do find the concept of 'bad language' (beyond the confines of this forum) to be interesting.
Here's another point...
As Mata writes in the forum rules: "Anyway, it's far more fun to be creative with your swearing, 'arsebuckets' is a favorite of mine". The word 'arse'/'ass' has joined the likes of 'damn', 'crap', 'bloody' and 'shag' (and, to a slightly lesser extent, 'bugger') as being pretty acceptable. Sure, they won't be found within children's television, but they all can be found in some pre-watershed programming (UK examples would be various soaps, some sit-coms, etc.). But twenty-years ago, this wasn't the case. The Harry Potter films - undeniably made to appeal to kids of many age groups - has 'bloody' and 'bugger' in them. So some swearing has become okay?
Except, obviously, the words themselves haven't evolved to become acceptable. Just social opinion of them. The "strongest" language (c-word, f-word) can be seen and heard fairly regularly in media now (the latter more than the former, admittedly), as long as there are sufficient warnings and ratings. But there was a time when neither would ever have been heard on television.
I have censored myself in this post when mentioning the words that are considered to be higher up the scale of profanity. And SOME of the media does the same. Interestingly, I read a comment from one broadcaster earlier today that mentioned cases where bleeping an obscenity had caused more complaints than they'd have predicted had they let it be heard. Everybody KNOWS what was said, covering up the word has never stopped an intelligent person from being entirely aware what it was originally, so why is that actually okay? Hearing it vs. knowing it? Hmm. But the point the broadcaster was making, was that the complaints were actually along the lines of: "Why are you treating us like fools? Don't pretend we are stupid by censoring this material. Don't assume what we will or won't find offensive."
In general, I think Radio 4 listeners have a high tolerance for swearing. We had 20 or so complaints in this case. But we attract just as many when we bleep or edit out swearing. Listeners argue we are insulting their intelligence and censoring when we do it. - Peter Rippon, BBC
Will there come a point when the REALLY BAD WORDS are no longer censored, but just provide us (as they already do) with a negative extreme in our language.? Will 'damn' edge its way into Peppa Pig and The Tellytubbies, and the f-word into Eastenders? Probably, to some extent at least. It is fair to say that each generation is more liberal with language use, so perhaps eventually there will be nobody left who finds the words offensive. And we don't really seem to have made any new swear words to take the place of those we don't care about anymore.
So... thoughts, please
Some interesting reading (I guess all NSFW due to language; containing words that you MAY find 'offensive'):
BBC Editorial Guidelines - Language
The XXX Factor: An uncensored history of swearing on TV
BBC Blog: To swear or not to swear
Mar 31 2011, 05:19 PM
Wait for the uprising
Group: Established Members
Joined: 7-April 05
From: In a cave in Scotland
Member No.: 1,735
I have a mouth like a sailor (double entendre fully intended), I live in Scotland and I love the c-word. (I hate the term c-word only marginally less than I hate the replacement of "lady part")
[The C-word] is an interesting case. Unlike most swearwords, and more in common with racial epithets, it's usage is tied up with the idea of prejudice and discrimination. So as a word, it has power because of the history attached to it. However, it only has that power if you give it to it. That is, using the word in a derogatory or aggressive manner gives it a power that using it in a casual way doesn't, to my mind it's only offensive in the former case.
QUOTE (CrazyFooIAintGettinOnNoPlane @ Mar 24 2011, 08:26 PM)
Hmm, yeah, but I think it's more the misogynistic overtones with that one, which I consider different from the sweariness
To be entirely honest, I've been entirely ignorant of the possible misogynistic overtones of the C-word. Until you pointed it out, I had never even considered it - even though it is entirely obvious. I guess because whenever I might make of the word as an 'insult' or 'faux-insult', the literal meaning of it never even occurs to me. Chances are there was quite a long gap between me learning the word, and discovering what it actually referred to. I suppose, personally, I never consider that aspect of it when I use the C-word, and I do find it difficult to understand the fuss about it - in the same way that I have no issue with insults based on male genitals.
But then as an argument, "It's okay 'cause there's opposite swears that expresse misandry instead", is about as good as saying, "It's okay to use racist nicknames for [X] because they have ones for us too!".
I don't have any problem with lingual evolution leading to certain words becoming more "acceptable". Yes it will take time for it to filter through the generations and become in standard use, but if that means a reduced amount of fuss about a few letters, then that's great. The F-word is said far more often (and without shock) by those younger than me, than I ever said at their age. And so, eventually, the taboo-factor will be worn away.
I tend to feel more "offended" by hearing the word 'like' used repeatedly in a single sentence, than hearing regular swearing.
Spoken language is real language- written language is just an approximation of that. Words can be spelt exactly the same but mean completely different things. You could call someone a c*** and it's offensive. You can call the thingy between a lady's legs a c*** and you're just calling it a synonymn of vagina. Consider the word "match": you have a football match, a matching pair, a match you light a fire with...
The fact that words change their meaning over time- be it something like "that's fine" changing from meaning "That'll do nicely" to coming across as a slightly disappointed affirmative, or swearwords becoming less strong in their impact- is, as Hobbes put, linguistic evolution and it really pisses me off when people attribute it to a sudden lack of societal morals.
Something else that pisses me off:
on the subject of the "c" word, I was lucky enough to catch a performance of the Vagina Monologues one time, and was chatting to the well-educated woman who did the "reclaiming c***" section of the show afterwards. Her upper-class accent and posh name completely contrasted with the filth she was spouting on stage, yet the same contrast held me enraptured.
In line with the subject of this thread, and using swearwords because they are short ways of expressing opinion and emotion: fuck. that. shit.
Hi, my name is Daria and I have to deal with this bullshit attitude every fucking day (no offence, Tara- it's just a trigger for RAAAAGE).
RP (received pronunciation) was once the standard accent taught through education (and elocution lessons). Back in the day, when education was a prestigious affair that cost a lot of money, having an RP accent denoted refinement and a level of power and wealth. Having a regional accent usually denoted a lower class- with the start of the middle class, English saw new and interesting pronunciations of words (hypercorrections) due to people wanting to sound more "refined". Often- in RP pronounced "offen"- became "often" (I started to use IPA to denote pronunciations but gave up) and all manner of silent Hs started to be pronounced.
Fast forward a few hundred years, and the idea of RP denoting some kind of social standing and poshness has stuck with us even though regional dialects are much more accepted (and encouraged by the BBC), and almost everyone from a certain generation onwards has at least 11 years of the education system under their belt.
Here, have a video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8toZFhH_C4A It's old RP (much more clipped and Rs are tapped- sounding slightly like Ls) and a bad immitation of a Suffolk accent- but you get the gist.
I have a modern RP accent with a North Suffolk dialect, being pedantic about it. State schooled, lower middle-class family, lived in a council house when we were evicted due to bancruptcy. At primary school I was taught to say "ah" instead of "are" for R when saying my ABC and at highschool it was uncommon for our teachers to have East Anglian accents so I ended up with modern RP. No silver spoon or airs of entitlement- and yet I am perceived to be posh because of my accent. It causes barriers to be built between you before they even know what you're like. Linguistic discrimination in all its forms can go suck a fuck.
So, after a huge detour (*cough*vent*cough*) we get back to my sailor-like mouth. I frequently swear. It's tempered around those I think would be genuinely offended by it (my granma) and children, and it still feels odd to swear infront of my mum. As with any idiolect, it changes depending on the situation and who you're speaking to- if I'm attempting to diffuse a situation between people, it's unlikely that I'll swear because it can be seen as a form of aggression and reacted to with a higher degree of aggression back.
As for c***? I like the way it sounds, and I like how it's not a diminutive for a female bodypart. Pussy? No thanks. Vagina? Oh so clinical. It's not a big bad word because it is a c then a u then an n then a t in a row, it's only down to perception. Free yourselves! Use language however the hell you want! You do anyway without thinking about it.
Personally I find whore much more offensive.
We are unraveling our navels so that we may ingest the sun.
DARIA IZ GOOD ON TOAST
TOAST IZ GOOD ON DARIA
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