Author Topic: How to use "good cuss words" in social settings  (Read 1628 times)

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Offline CaseAgainstFaith

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How to use "good cuss words" in social settings
« on: October 10, 2012, 01:07:35 pm »
Interesting background info: In 1050, with the Norman Conquest of England, the language of the aristocracy and court became the Latin based French, instead of the German based English. The English tongue was considered base or vulgar or profane (interesting that our word "vulgar" in English, means both common [unrefined] and nasty). Most English "cuss" words are simply the Germanic/English base word which, if re-stated with the Latin/French base word, would be perfectly acceptable in mixed company.

The very thing that makes them "profane" is that they are from the common tongue of the peasants instead of the court tongue of the aristocracy.

If I describe an object or action with the German based word, I'm cursing; if I describe the same object or action with the Latin based word, its all fine and dandy.

Examples:

Fuck - Copulate

Shit - Defecate

Piss - Urinate

Cock - Penis

Puke - Regurgitate

Hell - Hades (Greek)

Butt/Ass - Derriere (a generation ago butt was vulgar)

In another example, we see the same force at work regarding food. The meat as it is in the field is called by the Germanic based name; the meat as it is served at table is called by the French based:

Cow - Beef

Pig - Pork

Deer - Venison

All this to say that "bad words" are culturally based. What is considered a bad word today won't be tomorrow, and vice versa. On the one hand, we are cautioned in the Scripture to avoid coarse speech. On the other hand, God doesn't give a fuck about what words we use; words are words. Everything is contextual. If I use "foul" language around friends and in a non-condemning way that's perfectly fine. If I use the same "foul" language in some social settings, it would be scandalous, and as a representative of Christ, I ought not bring scandal. In other words, field and court still exists, even in our societies. C.S. Lewis describes a true knight like this: "The knight is a man of blood and iron, a man familiar with the sight of smashed faces and the ragged stumps of lopped-off limbs; he is also a demure, almost a maidenlike, guest in hall, a gentle, modest, unobtrusive man. He is not a compromise between ferocity and meekness; he is fierce to the nth and meek to the nth.”

Even the notion of taking the Lord's name in vain (and breaking the 3rd Commandment [or 2nd, if you're Roman Catholic]), has to do not so much with vulgarity as with manipulation. The person who says, "I'm a good Christian, you can trust me," and then sells his customer a piece of crap for twice what it's worth, is taking the Lord's name in vain more than the guy who stubs his toe and inadvertently blurts out, "God damn, that hurt!"

There is a time and a place for a good cuss word.
http://www.reddit.com/r/fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu/comments/117yg8/theyre_just_words/c6k760j

I like this logic.  Also I had no idea about the latin/french and german/english differences.
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Offline nickiknack

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Re: How to use "good cuss words" in social settings
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2012, 11:24:29 pm »
Wait, when did "puke" become a cuss word?? Copulate that defecate...

Offline TheL

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Re: How to use "good cuss words" in social settings
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2012, 07:46:10 pm »
Wait, when did "puke" become a cuss word?? Copulate that defecate...

You mean, "copulate that feces."  Defecate is a verb. ;)
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Offline Cerim Treascair

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Re: How to use "good cuss words" in social settings
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2012, 09:13:42 pm »
I go into Elizabethan levels of swearing when I'm riled.
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Offline tygerarmy

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Re: How to use "good cuss words" in social settings
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2012, 12:14:50 am »
I like it, I'm using it!
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Offline Old Viking

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Re: How to use "good cuss words" in social settings
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2012, 06:38:04 pm »
Some nice linguistic observations here.

The Norman conquest was in 1066.  (Battle of Hastings.)

I was once offered a job on a chicken farm, but turned it down because I disapprove of fowl language.
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Offline TheL

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Re: How to use "good cuss words" in social settings
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2012, 07:07:38 pm »
I go into Elizabethan levels of swearing when I'm riled.

You give those swiving poltroons what for!
Quote from: ladyrenae
You there. The creepy person who decided I was supporting their position. Stop it.

"Half the reason that I like foreign music is because I can kid myself that "Shake dat ass" is more poetic in Hindi."
--Sanda

Move every 'sig.'  For great justice!