Vulgarities and offensive language

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Brovo, Sep 15, 2016.

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  1. This is spawned off of @Minerva 's thread about common words people don't like using. It kept getting brought up, so to avoid further derailment, I moved the discussion here for those who wish to have it.

    Please play nice. The staff have much better things to do than to stare at people wanking about their linguistic superiority because they don't use one word or another. Focus on the topic, don't attack each other personally, and we should all be cool. :ferret:

    I'll crack things off with a response I had to someone else, who is obviously particularly verbose. (That is a compliment.)
    Yes, "very" did used to mean something different than its modern incarnation. However, if we're going with "common words you don't like" I picked words which had a different meaning in conversation than they have in the dictionary. Same as "privilege" or "offended" used to be fairly innocuous statements that, thanks to modern politics, are now loaded words.

    The word "faggot" used to mean a bundle of sticks. In Britain, it is slang for a cigarette. Britain also uses the word for a type of food. "I am going to cook a faggot" is a legitimately inoffensive term in Britain, as it likely refers to the food item and not the North American slang for male gays.

    Anywho, time to throw in my two pence about vulgarities in general.

    Vulgarities woo!
    #1: Vulgarities are ordinarily the language of the proletariat. The reason vulgarities are looked down on by society is because the high brow constantly try to find ways to appear and behave more civilized, or more appropriate than their more impoverished, commoner peers. Those that aspire toward the likeness of the wealthy and celebrities, ape and imitate them--which is why fashion constantly evolves, and why slang words are frowned upon in more... Upper class company. It's all a game of catch-up starring the rich who want to be unique, and the poor who want to be just like the rich.

    #2: Vulgarities will always exist because language constantly evolves to provide them. Alternative meanings to words constantly appear--like "faggot" for instance. Even if you were to successfully eliminate words like fuck, shit, faggot, cunt, pussy, dick, asshole, and so on, new words would take their place. The advent of the Internet for instance also brought about language filters--so that if you're playing an online game, your opponent can't call you a fucking cunt. Instead he calls you a ******* ****. So the Internet invented new slang to insult people with, like "cuck" or "noob" or so on.

    A particularly vicious example is Jaywalker. Jaywalker has no offensive connotation today, but back in the day when it was coined, a "Jay" was a racial slang term primarily oriented toward people of Romanian, Hungarian, Polish, Austrian, and Albanian descent. If we made up the term today, it would be the equivalent of saying "niggerwalker" or "pakiwalker" or something equally grotesque.

    The best way to handle these words is simply to understand the environment you're in. Don't use them in places like high brow culture or academia, but using them in places like among friends is usually fine--so long as your friend is okay with it. Use vulgarities to draw particularly special attention to something--they're expletives, after all.

    Ex: I injured myself.
    Ex2: I fucking hurt myself.
     
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  2. Thank you for making this thread. I really hate it when arguments arise in what's supposed to be a peaceful discussion.

    @Brovo
     
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  3. Ah, it's just human nature conflicting with this forum's structure. It's normal--very truly normal--that conversations which start on one topic constantly evolve to new topics.

    People'll figure it all out, yo. Just needs time.
     
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  4. From what I've seen, that was actually pretty peaceful. ;)

    I've had a rollercoaster ride with cussing if I'm being honest. When I was younger, like in 6th grade, it was basically the 'cool' thing to do, to cuss. I'd be saying all sorts of things around my friends, from the F word to adding mother before it, to well, anything that was common in the later 90s. Never in the house, however. 'Til this day my parents have no clue that I ever cussed. Seriously. Saying 'pissed off' gets the glares being sent my way.

    I'm not sure why I stopped. I think it may have just been due to homeschooling, or perhaps because I realized I'd only started to be 'cool' and fit it with everyone else. Pretty much everyone I know, besides my Mister, my parents, and big brother, cuss.

    I restarted a little, but this is mostly rare and kept to when I am really frustrated, agitated and truly pissed off. Words just come out, and well, I don't really care at that moment.

    That being said, I honestly don't mind at all when my friends cuss. I've told them multiple times not to censor themselves around me because I want them to be comfortable when talking to me. They all still do but that's their greatness. <3 I'm honestly envious that they can express themselves in whatever ways they want.

    Anywho, I don't think I added anything at all to the subject, but just wanted to voice the experience I've had.
     
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  5. I swear this thread is a bit vulgar.
     
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  6. Again with the bad jokes Gwazi? XD

    I don't swear but I have before. I'm no saint lol. I just ignore swearing when I hear it because it's pretty much everywhere. That doesn't mean I ignore what the person is trying to say though. I've heard of the whole swearing thing making it easier to tolerate pain, but I actually notice that swearing only serves to make a person angrier rather than calm them down.....
     
  7. Again implies that I ever stopped. :P
    Or you're noticing the correlation. People tend to swear to express pain or grief as a coping mechanism. But as a result you're going to be seeing swearing pop up more often when people tend to be in pain or angry. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the swearing is causing them to be angry or in pain.
     
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  8. I don't have any super-insightful commentary of my own to offer, so here's a cool video on the subject. :D

     
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  9. I swear, but its typically mild; bitch, shit, and ass. They are all I need to get the anger out. All others feel either subpar or extraneous. I didn't really start using them until I was 18. It was more for my peace of mind than anything else. It was almost like a reward to myself.

    In contrast I have a friend that strings vulgarities together when he's frustrated. They way he says them is funny, I can't describe it. Its in his inflection, I think.

    Then there's my soon to be ex-in-law who swears at their little kids constantly. This is the sort of thing that disgusts me. Swear at/around adults all you want, but I don't want to hear anyone call their little girls/boys cunts, faggots, sluts, or any of that. Its so one-sided. How is your child supposed to bounce back from that? I just - grrr.
     
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  10. Aha thank you for the compliment @Brovo. In response to your first post, I love the use of expletives as emphasis in order to create a bigger impact on things. I like swearing when it creates a sense of power about the statement. For example, saying "fuck off" has a far greater impact than saying "go away" or "leave me".

    As a British person, I must say that I have never heard anyone use the word "faggot" inoffensively as a synonym for food, or anything else for that matter, but the shortened version of the word, "fag", is quite common in reference to cigarettes.

    When it comes to swearing, I became quite the hypocrite in my earlier days. I used to swear frequently (every single second of the day), but as soon as I heard a friend swear, I would say "stop fucking swearing". The strange thing is that until someone pointed out the hypocrisy, I had no idea that I was actually being a hypocrite.

    On another note, my father once said to me that he doesn't swear, smoke or drink alcohol, after me and my aunt were pointing out his faults as a joke. Literally later in that very same day, he came home and said to us, word for word: "Shit, I left my fucking cigarettes in the pub." I couldn't tell whether he was joking or not, and if he was then kudos, but I laughed so hard nonetheless.
     
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  11. But see that right there is an interesting problem. I have seen parents swear constantly (not at their kids but around them when they think they arent paying attention), and then as soon as an expletive escapes their child's mouth, they wanna threaten them to "never do it again". Which is so hypocritical it makes me cringe and bite my tongue lest I try to call them out for it. It makes no sense to me to swear all the time and then tell your kid not to do it.
     
  12. It is hypocritical, but for the most part, parents tend to be like that. I don't mean it in a maligning way either. Parents like for their children to be better than they are. There are exceptions, but mostly that's how it goes from my experiences.
     
  13. But you can't expect your child to be better than you if you're not setting a good example for them. That's the point I'm trying to make. For instance, if I was 15 years old and my mom or dad told me I better not have sex even though they bring various "partners" in all the time, do you think I'm gonna take him/her seriously? I'm not sure if I explained my train of thought well enough or not....My apologies if I'm not making sense. Lol.
     
  14. Smarter thing to do would be to just realize that your kid will be exposed to it the moment they hit junior high (if they haven't already been exposed in their latter years of elementary), and teach them what expletives are. Teach them how and when to use them. Help them learn the language they will use to communicate to literally everyone else around them forever.

    Kind of like teaching a son to say "truly beautiful" instead of "very pretty." How one says something can mean the difference between approval and denial with many things in life.
     
  15. Oh you explained well and you make complete sense, don't worry about that! I'm just saying that that's the way things tend to be for the most part.
     
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  16. Personally I don't see the issue with swearing near kids. I've outright told my little cousins before not to worry about swearing around me (especially if gaming), it's words, they're not harming anyone.

    And getting mad at kids for swearing (or getting mad at parents for swearing near kids) makes next to no sense if your view of swearing is that it's simply an extension of language. You wouldn't get mad at your child for expanding their vocabulary in most ways, so why should swears be an exception? Like anything else all you really should be keeping track of is the context/timing of it, like with any action sometimes it's appropriate other times it's not.

    Also, here's more Stephen Fry.

     
  17. I have zero problems with most vulgarities. I can and will say bitch, shit, cunt, fuck, dick etc around my friends. Usually the people I know are used to this, but I still get a few funny looks occasionally when I say cunt. I hate the stigma behind that word. Dick is slang for male genitals and is one of the most common swears, but cunt is slang for female genitals and is considered by many the single most offensive word in the english language. Coincidence? Yeah, I don't think so.

    In fact, as far as language in general is concerned, there are only two words/terms I actually dislike: SSA and faggot. SSA isn't used very much anymore as far as I've heard, but it was basically a term homophobes who tried to act smart used to classify homosexuality as a mental disorder ("Same Sex Attraction"). Faggot is self-explanatory. I may make a few bundle of sticks jokes, but beyond that I can't stand it.
     
  18. If it's directed at someone specifically, then actually they are hurting someone....Not everybody has thick skin. Some people even pretend to be unaffected when it actually hurts them very deeply. And that's when the issue of suicide pops up. People don't realize how much words (even the "clean" ones) can affect a person.
     
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  19. Well... I'm not going to deny that I swear from time to time, and sometimes I use "shit" to refer to stuff offhandedly. But generally I don't swear a lot. And I don't really have a problem with others using vulgar language unless it becomes so excessive that it's nothing but filthy words drowning out what you're trying to say. Or if you hurl them at innocent people or kids.
     
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  20. At that point though you're tackling a false problem. It's not the words that are the issue but the meaning/intention behind those words. Telling someone "Don't swear" isn't going to fix what you're describing.
    And this part is a bit derailing, so if we continue past this post I'll make a new thread. But saying "X should be stopped because people don't like it" is frankly speaking a horrible way to operate. You're basically teaching people that when you have a problem that you should expect society to fix it for you rather than taking the effort to fix it yourself and improve as an individual.
     
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