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7.12.10

The language barrier


Warning: explicit language used throughout which may offend some viewers... 
Which is kinda my point...

I swear like a truckie. I won't touch the 'c-word' with gloves on and my gutter language is more of a sprinkle than a flood in my every day chatter, but I have been known to come out with statements like 'For fuck's sake, it's all just mutha fucking fucked'* during a work meeting.

You wouldn't know this about me because I don't like to swear when I'm writing. I struggle to even write 'oh my god' or 'dear lord' in case someone finds it offensive, even though I use those two expressions pretty much daily. Of course this makes me question my lacksidaisical approach to swearing in the first place, but one thing I know for certain:

It just seems to mean more when it's written down.

Take that Cee Loo Green song. You have the 'Forget You' version and then you have the 'Fuck You' version and frankly I prefer the former. Is it really necessary to have the latter? I don't think saying 'fuck' rather than 'forget' adds a single thing to the song.

I'm kind of with the censors on that one.

I get that it's 'just a word'. But I just think that whether we're dribbling f-bombs in everyday conversation or not, we really don't need to have it gilded forevermore in written expression. I think swearing is best left for chit chat (and I totally understand why some people would like it erased even there). It's just not as effective (or, on occasion, as funny) in writing. Surely when we're writing we have more time to craft a heartfelt statement that doesn't require offensive language? Surely?

Where do you stand on blue language? Does it bother you in its written form more than when it's uttered?

* Just so you know, it is actually physically paining me to write the word fuck, but I'm not hypocritical enough to say 'f-word' or 'fark' during this post as I usually might in a post... 


[Image by Gloria Rivera]

50 comments:

Stacia said...

I used to curse a lot, till I had little mouths mimicking me night and day. I learned quickly to watch my mouth. Now, I'm all, "For Pete's sake!" and "Heavens to Betsy!" Doesn't give me quite the same sense of exhilaration ...

Naomi said...

I am a dropper of theF bomb and I do think it has it's time and place.
It doesn't bother me when it's uttered or written... well, that's not entirely true. I can find it offensive, but it's more the context then the word itself. A well placed 'Fuck' in written form can be very powerful. It all depends on context.
As for the song. I think it does need the 'fuck you.' In all honesty, any ex I ever think of has a 'fuck you' not a 'forget you' in my thought process!

Cat said...

Totally with you! I swear quite a lot in conversation (though Mama-hood has toned it down given that the Bebito is now the main person I converse with - no wonder I'm going nuts!) but I have a really big aversion to writing it myself. I don't mind reading it and think it great that others do but it feels fake for me to swear in writing, like I'm trying too hard to be cool and cool is something I am definitely NOT!

Mrs Woog said...

Mrs Woog is pleading guilty.

Jane said...

I am exactly the same. I swear at work, try to avoid swearing in front of the children and never ever swear on my blog. Which is kind of weird. I do think that swearing is a form of laziness and I wish I could cure myself of it but saying 'Fuck!!' does make me feel better!!

fairchildstreet said...

Don't think we need it in writing or conversation. This is from a no swearer. Charmaine

Jess said...

I drop the F-bomb a bit too much and I know this because recently I heard Izzy say 'FICK' a few times whilst in a state of toddler anger.... dangerously close to the real thing for me liking.

I think swearing is foul really but I guess it has its place in the English language too... and I will probably be dropping F-bombs for years to come!

life in a pink fibro said...

I don't find it offensive, but I don't find it necessary in the written form either. There are a million other words to use. If I use it, it's there for a very good reason.

And I'm working really hard on scaling back the Fs in my spoken language too. Mostly because I don't like the echoes around the house.

brismod said...

I don't mind reading it at all. I don't swear on my blog because I have children who can read and sometimes read my blog... The English language is so rich with wonderful words anyway - it forces me to be more creative with my choice of words. xx

Toni said...

Interesting post, has made me stop and think. I hate swearing (though I find myself spitting out the F word more and more) and I am going to try and stop (or at least cut back LOL)
I don't THINK I swear on my blog.... but it doesn't overly bother me to read it unless the use is gratuitous.

Amy xxoo said...

I'm a big swearer in casual conversation, but never at work and (hardly ) never in front of my parents. That being said, it depends what you define as swearing : my father and i are happy to call each other dickheads, but i cant envision a circumstance where i'd be saying fuck in front of him.
And it doesnt bother me seeing it written either, depending on context...

Deb said...

Have you watched Monsters V Aliens?? at one point on of the Aliens says "What the flagnoid" which has become a common place saying in our house!!!

Naturally Carol said...

I have found there are very few occasions where swearing gets your point across better, esp. if you run the risk of antagonising ppl as well, unless that's your point! Written is worse 'cos it is thought over and considered, so often it comes over as pretentious, just to shock, not genuine.

Sammie said...

As long as the 'C' word is avoided at all times I am fine with swearing.
But never ever the 'C' word.

In Real Life said...

I suppose it might be a bit of left over immaturity on my part, but I can't help but giggle when I see the word "fuck" written. I don't use it on my blog, I had a hard time even writing just now! I do use it verbally though.

Vic said...

I use every name in the book except for the lords name.....I won't ever use that whether it's writing or coming out of my mouth....everything else is fine! Shit someone created it for a reason:)

Selina said...

I dont write the 'phuck word' but I sure use it so I wouldnt criticize those for writing it.

Being Me said...

I'm not offended seeing it written, I occasionally drop it on my blog. I say it alot. It's some days used as an expressive joining word in my conversations.....

Gina said...

I swear a lot too. And the c-word doesn't bother me that much. I guess it takes a lot to offend me!

A Farmer's Wife said...

I am very similar to you - do swear occasionally but not the c word. Would never ever swear in print. Anywhere.
Ever. Bit hypocritical of me but that's how it is.

Jennie said...

Well done you for bringing it up!
It probably does seem worse when its written. Like others, i've totally toned down with the old motherhood thing going on!x

Sarah said...

OMG I have a huge struggle with this too. I think I have sworn once on my blog and even then I put a line through it. That said I have absolutely no issue reading blogs littered with swear words at all. Some of my fave bloggers swear like troopers. It's just not me but never say never.
In real life I won't swear round my kids and use it only to make a serious point. I guess there are just so many other colourful metaphors instead.

Cate said...

I'm not much of a swearer - I try very hard not to; my kiddos think 'bum' and 'stupid' are swear words. I will say things like geez and crikey and brontosaurus (quite fun to shout when you're exasperated!)
I actually surprised my midwife while in labour with Meerkat by yelling 'far-out-brussel-sprout' - she couldn't believe I was being so polite (her words...).
But having said that, I'm certainly not offended by others swearing - I find it very amusing in fact :-) xxxCate

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

I made a conscious decision from the start not to use swearing. Oh, I think I've used 'bloody' a couple of times, but really - I don't use it. Doesn't bother me though if others do. I just didn't want to. My sister NEVER uses the 'f' word - nor do my parents - so they would be highly offended if I did! But it's not just that. I just didn't want to.

;)

Miss Ruby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miss Ruby said...

I swear like a trooper both in real life and in my blog. I have thought occasionally about whether to stop swearing in my blog but then I figure it's my blog, it's part of who I am why should I change and/or censor that?

All that being said, I still, at 31, don't "proper swear" around my Mum lol and I obviously don't swear at work [I work in aged care] BUT I do have a client that swears like a trooper - which at her age I find hilarious and a little strange - old ladies aren't supposed to swear!

kate of here we are together said...

oh,i never swear! i used to before i had children , though, but "oh bother" is as bad as it gets for me,really.

Killiecrankie Farm said...

yup i have potty mouth, not around the kids, but definately on my own or when talking in general. Have mellowed a lot, don't find it that offensive if appropriate, even in written form, not one for the c-word, must be my limit!
F-bombs a plenty when driving the tractor - like when I ran into a Christmas Tree after hitting a rabbit warren -wooo blue !

Kel said...

Doesn;t bother me either way really - I'm cautious around little ears and drop the F bomb in my blog and at various other times. I guess it's all about what you're used to.

BabyMac said...

You get a pretty good idea of how things roll around these parts when my 3 yro will look at me when something goes wrong as says "Is it a for fuck's sake Mummy?". I know, it's OK, I know. I am a fucking failure of a mother.

I swear like a trucker. Always have. Always fucking will. But totally agree that it looks worse written down. FUCK. See? Nasty.

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

I have no problem with the 'f' word, either spoken or written, however it's overuse just suggests to me that the person possesses a poor vocabulary.

I rarely use the 'c' word and would never write it on my blog, it's my REALLY bad word that is used for emergencies and roadrage.

Curvaceous Queen said...

As one who can make a roomful of truckies blush I tend to think that it is the nuance with which fuck is delivered that conveys the power of the word and you just don't have that texture with the written word.

nicole said...

i am one to drop the f-bomb on (way too often of an) occasion but i think it has a time and a place...

but as for cee-lo green's song, i think it depends how you see it. i'm not a big listener of commercial radio (i LOATHE listening to ads) so the first time i heard the song was in it's raw fucking glory. then when i heard the forgive you version it just didn't seem to portray the same message. but again, time and a place.

Jacki said...

I am SO with you on the Cee Lo songs! I think it sounds so much better as 'Forget You'. The other version just sounds so harsh!

littlemisspip said...

I am much the same, I will drop f-bombs but only in an appropriate time and place - not on my blog though! Gosh no! ;)

MultipleMum said...

I'm not into swearing in print. Except bloody and shit, which are my mainstays in conversation too. There is an art to using the 'f' word. It is a highly expressive word (verb, noun, adjective and adverb) and can be effective when used artfully but can seem cheap and tacky when not. That's what I reckon anyway.

Tenille said...

I swear, probably too much, sometimes under my breath (whilst working), sometimes very loudly (whilst driving), and sometimes in print (whilst blogging). I don't have an issue at all with others doing so, but if it isn't your thing, that's fine with me too.

'Fuck' needs context though. And overuse just cheapens it. The power of it is in the contrast.

I must respectfully disagree about the Cee Lo song; the difference in meaning and intensity between the two words is monumental. I much prefer the uncensored original.

If you feel so inclined, Google 'Untouchable Face' by Ani DiFranco. Wonderful song. And even my Mum agrees that the 'fuck you' is warranted. :-)

Mammamusing said...

I'm pretty confident you'll never see a swear word uttered in my blog.

Ironic really considering the f-bomb slips from my lips more often than I care to admit.

I don't want Amelie to start uttering swear words so I really need to get my swearing under control.

M-fkr on reflection is really so wrong even if involuntarily uttered after dropping something heavy on my foot!

Rachel said...

Not a lot offends me.... and I have a mouth that could use a good soaping ... and I really hope Ive never swore on my blog and if I have ...Oh well shit happens when you party naked .....

Emma Clark said...

Ok I have a few thoughts on this topic:

1) I'm the same way when it comes to the c-word. It's the worst. I hate it more than any other word in the English language. It is beyond offensive and I can't even think about it.

2) I don't really swear. Although it may be "just a word", that word has a meaning. And to use it in everyday conversation really erases the meaning of it and the strength when you really need a word when you're angry or whatever.

3) I also agree that swearing should not be used in writing, because it's just stupid then. You have the time to think of better, more accurate words.

4) The song. I'm in Belgium, right? So when I first had that song on the radio, I was ASTONISHED that they played it, uncensored, on the radio. And it's mostly because the people hear listen to music in English without understanding it. But the truth is, those lyrics are unnecessary. But the other funny part is that here in Belgium, I hear more f bombs than I did in the hallways of my high school in the States. Interesting, huh?

:)

Hootnz said...

Hey, I'm alot like you when it comes to swearing, actually you could maybe say I am a 'social swearer' it depends who I'm with, whether I swear alot or not. And I totally agree with the sensoring on that song, although some radio station still play the original, and its difficult to explain to a nearly nine yr and 7 yr old that it isn't appropriate! lol

Me 'N My Monkeys said...

*Guilty*
I also swear like a trooper.
Awesome topic!

Draft Queen said...

I swear like a sailor. In my blog posts I do swear, but mostly because every one of them goes from my head to my fingers and never sees any editing. In a professional setting, though I've been known to drop a few f-bombs, I'd never write it out.

A Country Wife said...

Nope, I don't tend to swear much and I really hate it in written form. Depends what is constituted as a swear word too. The f... and c... words offend me, but s... and bl.... hell are pretty tame and I don't consider them swearing. The odd swear word in a conversation doesn't bother me too much, but when its used as an adjective it can be a bit much.

Mrs BC said...

Ummm, I like swearing. I try not to swear around my children because I don't think it's age appropriate for them to swear. But I do swear on my blog & in my life because I like it - I think it's good to use the full extent of language to express yourself. Someone once said to me that swearing was for uneducated people - clearly they couldn't think of a better word. Well I don't agree, a well placed swear word is (to me) a sign of creative loquaciousness. I would have to be levitating with fury to use the C word, but if it is warranted, sure.
Mrs BC
xx

alexkeller said...

glad i'm not the only one with a swear jar!

nadinewrites108 said...

Hmmm... oops. Mrs Woog and me both, I'm afraid... But I'm trying to mend my mouth, er, fingers: http://nadinewrites108.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/the-abcs-of-minding-your-ps-qs/

Justine q said...

My husband introduces me as " this is my wife Justine, and she could give Billy Connolly a run for his money"

Ahem... think that just about say it all LOL

xox

m.e (Cathie) said...

having kids has censored my language but even before that the C word was definitely a no go.
the most i get out now is "oh my goodness" & "shhhhhhugar"
can't forget there are little ears everywhere ;)

Tasha - The Nerdy Owl said...

I swear. I enjoy it. Sometimes I don't even realize I say it. But there is a time and place for it. Like when you are seeing your 95 year old sweet Great Grandmother. Unless of course she gets out a bottle of Jack and pours a stiff drink. To that I say, Fuck Yea.

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