Why are words we call “swear” words ‘bad’ to say? We can say any word, and depending on the way it is said, it may be taken offensively. Why are a select few words wrong to use? The word ass and the word but can mean the same thing, so why should the former not be used?
Also, why is it mainly older generations who care? The newer generations often use this language freely without a second thought. Why has it become okay to use?
for thef irst question i guess that its related to the symbolic meaning of words ,names, and languages. after all our wole language is a bunch of signs, symbols, …nonsense.Only a human being can give them meaning … what is love ? four letters . But it means different things for each person . its not about the word , its about the conception you have of the word, the prejudicesyou hold,your cultural background…and this goes for “bad words” too. The reason why tHose words or expressons are so taboo lies in the education we all received . and as for the difference between generations i guess its an issue of morals ..morals change, evolve..having good manners and being eloquent meant a lot in the past….now we bow for people who cant say one sentence without a “like” or “i maen” “i was like…” , and also our societies nowadays are way more open … less conservative…less religious also ( swearing is considered to be a sin in some religions ). .
I always ask people who hate swearing what makes the words “bad” and I am yet to get an answer. Part of me is asking to make a point but part of me really does want to know. It irritates me when people do/believe things but can’t explain why.
“Also, why is it mainly older generations who care? The newer generations often use this language freely without a second thought. Why has it become okay to use?”
Older generations understand the power of words. Recent generations care less about what is said and how fucking loud you can say it.
There’s an art to language and a time and place for every word. A lot of people–newer generations especially–can’t seem to grasp that. It’s not that these swear words are bad; it’s that people use them excessively, in my opinion. Ever listen to a twelve year old who only recently discovered the word “fuck”? Most annoying thing in the world.
interesting topic. I think it has to do with the nondescript and derivative nature of the words. They are words usually said in anger…which is an emotion we usually try to avoid. So saying fuck or bitch or whatever else projects that anger into the world and makes people uncomfortable. They are also ‘label’ words that are limiting in their descriptive power…in the same way that racial slurs are. So in a culture that values…or valued…specificity, curse words didn’t say enough. I also wonder if it has anything to do with the literal “curse” insinuation….as in casting a curse upon a person. By labeling curse words themselves as CURSE words in an anti-pagan society people tried to avoid them. And the prohibition against curse words may drive children to use them. We try so thoroughly to hide vulgarity, in vain, from children that when they do get access to them…they go overboard. Maybe it has to do with the words being used by a subordinate class of people and thus linked to their inferiority by the ruling class. I’ve never read anything on the subject so this was very general but fuck it ;)
Hang on from William the Conqueror’s reign: When he rocked over to the British Isles and made himself King he took his language – French – and made it the official language of the courts. Thus the ‘Old English’; which is from what I understand more or less Anglo-Saxon, became the language of the commoners and thus crude.
This explains where the swear words come from, but as to why they’re actually bad, I’m not entirely sure. Probably just evolved from the stigmas surrounding the meanings of them?
@sobroquet, My point is that they are just words that we have attached a meaning to. What makes these specific words vulgar or offensive? There are many different ways to portray thoughts or feeling, but in the end they have the same meaning, so why does how you say it have so much impact?
@secretcow, Think about the meaning of the words, they’re things that previous generations tried to keep private or were not socially acceptable to talk about, you know. Like fuck, shit, piss, cunt, dick, they make some people feel uncomfortable because they’ve been conditioned their entire life that these things aren’t socially acceptable to discuss in public.
It’s actually kind of an amusing topic for me, since I don’t really “swear” in terms of using the words that are currently considered ‘bad words,’ but I have the socially-acceptable substitutions I’ve created over the years that serve the exact same purpose, minus the offense.
Frick, darn, dang, crap, etc…they all equate to the same verbalization of frustration, anger or offensiveness, yet by using these instead I am able to fly under the radar and remain purer in the eyes of the public.
When I tell people I don’t curse, I immediately have to follow that statement with the additional statement that I use plenty of comparable phrases to express the same feelings or thoughts, just ones that HAPPEN to not cause a stir.
It really just goes to show how trivial the extra weight we place on these words is, and how it takes only subjective experience to make them into something or, conversely, absolutely nothing. We’re kind of dumb like that sometimes…
I don’t really think they are considered “bad” in society per say. It depends on, and this goes for any word or slang, where you say it at and infront of who. If you go into your workplace, a professional one, your not going to start cussing up a storm in front of your boss. If you know them in a cassual way, maybe, but its still out of place.
Just as you said, any word can be offensive if said the right way, but “swear” words are mainly used to show offense towards someone. Thats why depending on what setting, they are considered taboo words.
@secretcow, It’s a matter of respect and modesty, things people do not have these days.
On one hand; if a person is so easily offended we could tell them to harden up, but then if you are inconsiderate of others in ways that it does you no harm to exercise a little self control, then you are really the one at fault.
why the fuck does my ‘fuck’ fucking bother you? fuck of if you dont fucking like it. lol
I rarely censor myself and when I am asked to that just gives me an easy way to irritate someone. Someone taking offense to something is their problem, not mine.
“It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.” -Stephen Fry
I love this quote, not only because it’s true but because it’s from a proper Brit and for some reason offending someone in the UK is like high fucking treason. Someone was arrested for standing outside with a sign that said “Scientology is a dangerous cult”. C’mon people.
@secretcow, i dont know how to answer this question, which makes it especially interesting to me. all i know, is that hearing a swear word makes me flinch, and it kind of feels heavy. i am not sure why. when i try to say a swear word it sounds very silly and unnatural. i dont “judge” (haha) people who swear, honestly i dont, but i just think that swearing is not for me. 8-)
@thomph, I think it’s a bit more than just people being offended for no reason. The words themselves, ‘shit’ for instance.. what mental imagery does that give you? Is that what you want to give to other people? It IS based on tradition, but these words are describing things we as humans find private/offensive. If we didn’t, people wouldn’t regulate their thinking, and we’d lose our focus as a whole.
It isn’t just society or any of that bollocks, it’s literally because of what the words mean. Same reason why you wouldn’t say these words to kids. You’re opening up a can of worms. If we’re to be conscious of our thoughts, we need to regulate them, that is the only way forward. Spouting out nonsense never did anyone any good.
Our language is an unlimited way of communication among people and we should use emotions and different emotional definitions to express what we actually mean. When you listen how people talk you can easily clasify them