Re: The proper use of swear words


” I haven’t met anybody who’s truly shocked at swearing, really, they’re only shocked on behalf of other people.”

Stephen Fry (2007)

I don’t believe in bad words, but I do believe in bad language. I think just about anything can be said as long as it effectively conveys the point you are trying to get across

It should come as no great shock that I, like most normal human beings, swear. I swear a lot in my daily life, much more than I do in my writing.  Besides being the cultural norm for my profession, the creative use of swearing is vital for the proper expression of attitude and emotion. If used properly they can bring attention to the portions of your statements that you  wish to highlight.

In stream of consciousness speech they often take the place of punctuation, especially the comma. A true master of foul language can use practically any four letter word as an effective substitute for a noun, verb, adverb or adjective several times in a sentence and you would still be able to follow along and clearly understand the subject of discussion. I’d like to count myself among those masters, though I am sure I could still be taken to school by more than a few people. You can tell a lot about a persons frame of mind; for instance if someone (like me) suddenly stops swearing after clearly being annoyed by another person and starts to speak very slowly, and deliberately, and calmly then that individual is most likely contemplating violence.

When my daughter was born I started playing that delightful game that all new parents do where they pretend like they don’t swear when they around their children. I was actually good at it for a long time, well really I just work a lot. I realized quickly however that I was fighting a losing battle. This first occurred to me when my darling little girl called someone a jackass. It dawned on me that simply modifying my speech while around my child was going to do little to prevent her from learning and using curse words.

Late last night I stumbled across this short piece from NPR’s All Things Considered.  

So, I still havent digested the fourteen pages that Dr. Jay published in the American Journal of Psychology (I plan on doing that on my break at work), but kids are going to swear. I think it is just lazy parenting to try to simply tell them not to use certain words. It is up to us to make sure they know how  and when to use them. This doesn’t mean raising our children to talk like sailors, it means teaching kids how to properly communicate their emotions and intentions, regardless of the vocabulary they use.

Besides, it is hilarious when kids swear, just ask the internet.

Happy Monday

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