Thursday, 22 October 2009
Swear words.... good or bad?
Isn't language odd?
It's constantly evolving and changing. There are diehards who bemoan the passing of the Queen's English. But they are living in a world that never existed, as language changes constantly according to fashion and youth.
Lets face it, not many of us will be using the expression Odd's Bodikins, which is an Elizabethan piece of blasphemy, meaning God's Body. Language changes most in relation to swear words, what was once seen as a scandalous word to use, may now be used in common parlance by some.
Youth in particular have the wonderful knack of inventing new terminology, for example, when my youngest son wants to say there is lots of something, he says there's bear. I have no idea how bear got translated as lots. And I don't know where it comes from. Although I suspect it's a word used in Grime. You might ask what Grime is? Well it's the English equivalent of rap music. Except it's more real.... see, I can talk the talk man!
Words go in and out of fashion, who ever thought that having a gay old time back in the 1930s would have such a different meaning now.
Why are some words so offensive to some and not to others?
My point here, is that the words we use matter, and how we say them matters even more. I want to respect my fellow man, and I would like respect back. But I will not be precious about someone using a word as an expletive when they are frustrated. Cause lets face it those people who get twisted up about swear words and say things like.... oh sugar, are really saying oh fuck, and they fool no-one by their sweetness.
But that said I think the Brits probably swear more than anyone else. Don't think this is a claim I'm proud of! But nowadays so many words are seen as normal, especially amongst the young. We seem to have swear words that cover all occasions; religion, sex, drugs and drug users, race, disabled, anything or body we can find, we will find an offensive word
Being angry is a normal part of human behaviour,and being able to let rip a few chosen words may just stop the knife going in. I enjoy swearing, it helps me to cope when I'm cross or frustrated.
What is weird about trying to write this post is that I've just taken out the paragraph about the actual words, almost as if to write those words down and talk about them is one step to far. Which is nonsense cause everyone has swear words in their heads, even if we are scrupulous about not uttering them out loud. We will mutter them to ourselves if we feel in danger. But it feels more respectful to those that might be offended by seeing them written.
What I find just plain boring is the conversation laced with the F Word when used without thought. As in what's for effing tea, I want have a cup of effing coffee. Etc etc. Very dull conversation.
I use swearing as part of therapy. So many clients come into my room and make immediate value judgements about me,white ,middle aged (surely not!) middle class and so on. They are scared stiff of being judged by me. So when I hear what they say I will respond at some point with a swear word, like 'I'm not fucking surprised', when someone has told me why they are feeling awful.
I do not just use it, because I'm uneducated, I use it because I need that person to relax, and to be able to use the language of their frustration. And if their perceptions of me get in the way, as in they can't relax because their worried about offending me than that is no help to them. So by finding out that I'm unshockable by the words they use they can get more out of therapy by being real.