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.


miss*R said...

the past week I have used lots of 'swear' words.. it would make my grandmother blush..

love that you swear in front of clients.. it makes you more real. xo

SylphSong said...

I'm so fucking happy you didn't stop blogging.


lakeviewer said...

Yeah! I love this philosophy of life, this acceptance of who we are through and through.

Mel said...

*laughing at SylphSong's comment*

ME, too!!

And I don't think my families or kiddos would bother with me if I couldn't or wouldn't talk and deal in terms they talk and deal in.

But I do admit I get irritated with folks who seemingly can't make a whole sentence without the F word tossed in multiple times.


kj said...

okay, i'm going for it:

holy fuck, fire byrd! like sylph song, i am also fucking happy you didn't stop blogging.

have you seen the 20 or so really funny examples about the versatility of this word? i've been looking for it for you, and if you have never seen it, i will look harder.

really, nice to be able to visit and leave a comment. i can't say i'll be always present and consistent, but i'll be around, appreciative, and hopefully fun.


Merry ME said...

I'm trying to remember if any of my therapists ever used the "F" word, she said prudishly! I think I would have been shocked, but not repulsed.

There was a time when I thought it was very freeing to say fuck you whenever I felt like it. I still use it but don't think it has the allure that it once had.

At times I like to make up my own words. I might be thinking fuck but enjoy saying something new and creative!

Lori ann said...

Not good or bad, just words, but sometimes inappropriate, sometimes funny,often times shocking but really there are times when there is no other word. Do you remember my Fucking Spiders?!? oh man.

Linda - Gold Coast said...

To this day I have never heard my Mum or my sister swear. Needless to say I always have to watch my p's and q's when I am in their company ****

Angela said...

In modern times Germany, swearing is not considered as shocking anymore, but we use other words. They are not related to fucking but to shit. When something goes wrong, we say "Schei├če", meaning shit, or as a rude address to someone he is called an "Arschgeige" (literally an arse-violin, whatever that`s supposed to be). Funny when you think about it. And instead of saying that fucking bastard we`d still use a church word, like "Dieser verdammte Typ" (this damned bloke).
Interesting subject.
If it relieves you, Mandy, just swear a bit, but I hope you won`t have much reason. And what you do with your clients is very good! You are a great therapist.

Anonymous said...

Odds bodikins, m'lady, but thou hast excelled evenne thyself wyth swich an fyne poste!
You've cleverly condensed so much information & so many complexities that I'll have to keep returning for another read. Wise Mandy!
Yes, language is a living entity, always changing. I went to boarding school; they all evolve private languages - just as 'yoof' has always done to distinguish itself/cut off the dreaded 'olds'.
There IS something oddly shocking about seeing swear words in black-and-white: they're somehow more 'real' than in speech. And I do agree about over-use being tedious as much as offensive.
The French swear a lot, too; but it's not quite as crude, and is almost ritualistic + frequently rather funny in an absurd way ('Break yourself, you type of blood pudding! Ah, prostitute of manure!').
I especially love the funny + wise finale, which shows great sensitivity + puts your client at ease immediately: how very right you are.
Aargh: so stimulating is this that I've started writing another one myself here - it will not do! Min xx

karen said...

Egad! what an interesting post!! and comments.. I know if you were my therapist, I'd love it..

Enjoyed Lori's comment, remembering her post about the spiders!!

have a great weekend :)

trousers said...

Never knew that about Odds Bodkins. But then I shouldn't be surprised since some of the most innocuous phrases came about to avoid blaspheming: Crikey, Cripes, 'strewth, Jeepers Creepers, Gosh and so on and so forth.

Mind you, my favourite (apart from Crivens, which I use at opportune moments) is Shitting Crikey. Try and slip that in one of your therapy sessions.

Right I'm off to find a site that doesn't contain any blooming swearing (let's face it, it would have been far too obvious at this stage in the thread to have used the word "fucking" instead of "blooming").

Rach said...

I just popped by to say I am so pleased you have decided to allow comments again, I do try to comment on every visit but sometimes I am happy just to read, I do always think about you

CheekyDani said...

Some time back I heard on morning TV of all places that swearing at times such as when you stub your toe or whack your finger with a hammer actually helps. That's my excuse anyway (though can't exactly remember how it helps!).

I go through swearing phases, sometimes I have the cackiest mouth in the west, others I hardly swear at all. Not sure what effects the difference though...

Pauline said...

Excellent, interesting post. I rant about mis-use of our language but can swear like a bullocky as my grandmother would say. But funnily enough my very best expression to vent frustration is a tame "Bloody hell." Love your blog!