EXERCISE Swears

Discussion in 'DEVELOPING CHARACTERS & CULTURES' started by Minibit, Feb 22, 2015.

  1. THERE ARE LOTS OF SWEARS IN THIS POST.
    You were warned.

    When my brother came back from Quebec, we asked him if he learned any French, and he responded that he learned "five words and they [were] all swears!"

    What was funny though, was that he noticed a lot of the swears in French are based off of religious things; like Tabernac (which comes from Tabernacle/Temple). Whereas in English our swears are mostly based off of sexuality and body parts. And then @Gwazi Magnum shared this:


    And, well, now I wanna talk about the themes of swears in different cultures, goddamnit! (and hey, if you're from a non-English majority culture, tell us about your swears! maybe we can get some inspiration off of it.)


    Let's discuss the use of swears in English briefly, as a base. The things we widely consider vulgar or horrible enough that just referring to them is offensive include: Graphic sexuality (Fuck!) and the genetalia associated with it (Dick.), dirty things (shit!), religious slander/blasphemy (Goddamnit), and racism (ie: the n-word).

    Some swears seem to be considered worse than others: for sexuality things, the more graphic or deviant the thing you refer to is, the more offensive it seems to be. "Fucker" isn't as bad as "mother fucker", and "ass" isn't as bad as "asshole" for example. But most swears seem kind of arbitrary; "crap" and "shit" refer to the same thing, and are used in the same context pretty equally, but "crap" is less offensive than "shit". How offensive religious swears are depends on how religious the person you're swearing at/near is. there's also a distinction between just swearing, and swearing AT someone. "oh fuck!" is almost never as bad as "fuck you". Close friends who trust each other that the swears are insincere may swear comfortably at each other in jest though. But again, this varies. For example, swearing at or in the vicinity of children, the elderly, authority figures, or one's parents is almost always offensive no matter what the swear; same goes for swearing in a church or fancy/upper class setting. Even among peers swears may be more or less offensive depending on how the person was raised, their religion, their attitude toward sex, their racial heritage, et cetera. Sometimes swears are excusable if they're spoken in jest or as a means of venting frustration/pain (like when you hit your thumb with a hammer). But this widely varies. On the subject of how swears are used though, swears are essential to a really mean insult ("Big meanie" vs "goddamn asshole"), and are often used simply to add shock value or emphasis to a description "A disaster" vs "A clusterfuck" "I'm really angry" vs "I'm really fucking angry". Swearing is also associated with adulthood, because of the taboo of swearing at/near children resulting in teaching children that swearing is bad/repulsive (which ironically is what makes them want to swear later on)

    So talk about how your original fiction culture treats swears!

    What subjects are typically the origin of swears?
    What makes some swears worse than others?
    With/at who/what is it more okay to swear?
    With/at what/who is swearing never or almost never acceptable?
    How taboo is swearing in general?
    Does age or gender factor into how okay it is for a person to swear?
    Some swear examples!:
    Other:


    (optional) Bonus challenge: Write a swear-y conversation from a fictional culture whose swears are different from yours!
     
    #1 Minibit, Feb 22, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2015
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