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Words?
Posted: 31 August 2012 10:47 AM   [ Ignore ]
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We avoid any discussion or use of the words in polite society of copulation or the organs involved because it’s considered crude.  When used, it’s often for shock value. 

However, we assign positive values and easily use words that are either based on or connected with copulation: virgin, honeymoon, pregnancy, birth, and so on.

I thought this view of how our minds work is interesting.

Occam

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Posted: 31 August 2012 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Well, I think it’s cultural. It seems as though each language has to have its ‘forbidden words’, only for use when one is very agitated, but there is no simple formula about which words qualify.

E.g., although their words for excrement and sex are only mildly profane, one of the worst words you can say in Quebecois French is “tabernacle”.

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Posted: 31 August 2012 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I agree, Doug, but I wonder how the choice of those “forbidden” words, that is, in which category they fall, affects any particular culture.

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Posted: 31 August 2012 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, free peaceful assembly, and free protest of the government were crucial values of the Americans… as they resisted and rebelled against the British. 

Is crudeness considered to be illegal, or is it shouting fire in a crowded theater which causes a damaging riot for no good reason, a waste?  Then there obscenity and the Miller three-prong test?

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Posted: 31 August 2012 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Well, I think it’s cultural. It seems as though each language has to have its ‘forbidden words’, only for use when one is very agitated, but there is no simple formula about which words qualify.

E.g., although their words for excrement and sex are only mildly profane, one of the worst words you can say in Quebecois French is “tabernacle”.


Maudit! I had no idea Tabernacle was so profane. So, in Anglais it would be the Mormon god damn choir? Merde!  red face


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Posted: 31 August 2012 02:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Occam. - 31 August 2012 11:34 AM

I agree, Doug, but I wonder how the choice of those “forbidden” words, that is, in which category they fall, affects any particular culture.

Occam

From what I understand, the subject matters which inspire offensive taboo words even changes over time in the same culture. Whereas some copulation words are tabboo nowadays, religious terms used to be tabboo in the same way 100 years ago, and you’ll still find places where the phrase “God dammit” is extremely offensive. And many racial terms nowadays are considered tabboo which were definitely not 100 years ago.

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Posted: 31 August 2012 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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This site in pretty inclusive of those forbidden words that evoke air sucking when heard in mixed company. Most of what we now call profanity was labeled so in the most sexually repressed era in English History and here. One couldn’t even mention a body part correctly without chastisement, ex. Chicken parts. The thigh was labeled the short leg, while the breast became the “chest” of chicken. All the while Victorians frequented the houses of Ill repute (can’t say whorehouse) and secreted the young unmarried pregnant women away to the cousin in the country until after the event. As Andrew pointed out, words in common usage in one era became forbidden fruit in another. Ex. Piss in the 18th Century was a perfectly acceptable label for the act but today is considered vulgar in formal settings. None of my students would have been allowed to say, “hey, I gotta piss”, today. It would do more than raise eyebrows. But at a football game, no problem.


http://www.newsgarden.org/chatters/homepages/alllie/dirtywords.shtml


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Posted: 31 August 2012 04:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 31 August 2012 03:02 PM

This site in pretty inclusive of those forbidden words that evoke air sucking when heard in mixed company. Most of what we now call profanity was labeled so in the most sexually repressed era in English History and here. One couldn’t even mention a body part correctly without chastisement, ex. Chicken parts. The thigh was labeled the short leg, while the breast became the “chest” of chicken. All the while Victorians frequented the houses of Ill repute (can’t say whorehouse) and secreted the young unmarried pregnant women away to the cousin in the country until after the event. As Andrew pointed out, words in common usage in one era became forbidden fruit in another. Ex. Piss in the 18th Century was a perfectly acceptable label for the act but today is considered vulgar in formal settings. None of my students would have been allowed to say, “hey, I gotta piss”, today. It would do more than raise eyebrows. But at a football game, no problem.

Context/environment certainly makes a difference. You wouldn’t tell the crowd at the biker bar that you were going potty. LOL

Then there’s just different meanings, in the UK doesn’t ‘pissed’ equal ‘drunk’?

Then of course in the US ‘I’m pissed’ means I’m angry, but ‘I pissed’ means I urinated. Damn, language is confusing.  tongue laugh

Take care,

Derek

[ Edited: 31 August 2012 05:01 PM by harry canyon ]
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Posted: 01 September 2012 02:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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It is very interesting,  but it changes with time.

When my generation becomes the authorities, those sexual/excretory terms won’t even be considered taboo.

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Posted: 01 September 2012 05:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Context/environment certainly makes a difference. You wouldn’t tell the crowd at the biker bar that you were going potty.

Uh, I think not. If you did you’d have the “merde” beaten out of you! 

The language we use totally depends upon the context, to who we are speaking at that time and the role in which we find ourselves. It’s a communicative skill we learn while on the job. Language is something I’ve always enjoyed studying from street speech to jargon (the language of your job from plumber to academic, people sometimes betray what they do by including terminology normally used in their profession). The only thing I regret about merely posting, blogging or whatever you call it is missing the richness of our accents. FI New Englanders chop and nasalize, Southerners draw out words by adding syllables, and Westerners either effect the Midwest non accent or combine it with a southern drawl. Not to mention the Europeans whose accents are underlaid with their original language. Germanic dialect is easy, as is Slavic, and the Romance languages but I still miss with the Brits and the Aussies. That’s why I like NY so much . Walk a couple of blocks and you’ll here it all including the lilting vowel based African languages. Zulu is my all time favorite. We had a Jewish cabbie once who spoke Engilsh with a Yiddish accent and you could distinctly make out the combo of German and Hebrew. Heterogeneity over homogeneity any day!


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Posted: 01 September 2012 06:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I agree with Doug, yet, I have to wonder which words would fall in the forbidden category in Argentina or Uruguay. I have yet to meat a person from those countries who doesn’t use profanity as an every day part of their vocabulary. If you have seen “The Motorcycle Diaries,” that’s pretty much what every person from those countries sounds like.

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Posted: 01 September 2012 09:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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If you ever go to Jamaica, don’t say blood clot. That phrase is at least as obscene as tabernacle is in Quebec!

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Posted: 02 September 2012 05:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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asanta - 01 September 2012 09:12 PM

If you ever go to Jamaica, don’t say blood clot. That phrase is at least as obscene as tabernacle is in Quebec!

Interesting! Any idea why?

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Posted: 02 September 2012 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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The word “cunt” has a terribly pejorative connotation and is rather strictly taboo in polite conversation, but one writer makes the case that this stems from our history of a patriarchal society that fears and despises the challenge of feminine equality.

http://www.amazon.com/Cunt-Declaration-Independence-Expanded-Updated/dp/1580050751

“An ancient title of respect for women, the word “cunt” long ago veered off this noble path. Inga Muscio traces the road from honor to expletive, giving women the motivation and tools to claim “cunt” as a positive and powerful force in their lives…”

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 02 September 2012 01:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Ah yes, it caused me to recall an incident when I was a young preteen, and was with my parents at a party and one of the cruder members told a joke than ended with the Victorian young woman sending her boyfriend a note her chaperone would read saying, “See you when tea is ready.”  I was quite disgusted when I finally figured it out.

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Posted: 02 September 2012 02:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Occam. - 02 September 2012 01:29 PM

Ah yes, it caused me to recall an incident when I was a young preteen, and was with my parents at a party and one of the cruder members told a joke than ended with the Victorian young woman sending her boyfriend a note her chaperone would read saying, “See you when tea is ready.”  I was quite disgusted when I finally figured it out.

Occam

I get it.  But words are what we make of them.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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