Have swear words become an indispensible part of our language?
I lost count of the number of times the F-word was spoken when I was watching a movie last night. What was disconcerting was that…well, that didn’t disconcert me! We have probably become so attuned to hearing swear words everywhere around us that they barely count as offensive anymore. I realized that when my dear little brother unabashedly uttered a few expletives in my dad’s presence without probably knowing what they actually mean. That only made me go red in embarrassment and dad go red with anger whilst he sat shamelessly staring at us.
I always believed that the reason people used profanity was probably because it was an easy substitution for nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs alike! Don’t know how to best describe a new car? Say it’s damn awesome! Better still... use the F-word! No, but how about ‘Wow, the car is classy!’ Or powerful, or elegant, or chic, or exquisite, or even gorgeous? Do we resort to the filthy word because we cannot think of the right adjective at the moment? Or is it because they have an uncanny tendency of cosily snuggling right next to a noun and making perfect sense? I had an animated discussion with a friend on the topic yesterday, and trust me, he is extremely generous with his use of expletives. I rephrased his sentences, replacing the swear words with the most suitable adjectives I could think of. I thought I’d made my point until he made me realize that the emphasis was not quite the same. The same sentences when spoken with the expletives somehow seemed to make a stronger statement. And while he has full liberty to use as many bad words as he can, if I did, I would be ‘un-ladylike’ or even loose! So while most women manage to put their points across with suitable adjectives, why can’t men? It’s a question that they can answer best.
Meanwhile, I read an article about a few profanities becoming so commonplace that they are being considered for addition to the dictionary. Darn, I hope that doesn’t freakin’ happen soon!