The normalisation of the vulgar vernacular.

Betsy Og

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As one knows, AAM maintains the highest standards of civil discourse. See posting guideline 11 in this regard: "Use of profanities (even those that are self censored - like t**s for example) will result in the post being edited or deleted."

Having been on the receiving end of a clout for a fairly innocuous breach of the above, I'm wondering how does one know when one is crossing the line as regards relatively harmless words - I'm not confining this issue to AAM moderation, in the wider world when do words become acceptable usage?

The reason I ask is that we had kids TV on Saturday morning ,CBeebies or one of those, and they had this practical joke feature which involved, dare one say, a flatulence machine. However they didnt refer to it as such, much to my surprise. That pretty much signals for me that that word is now common usage.

Albert Reynolds made his contribution with the more harmless c word, and Fr. Ted of course poplarised the more harmless f word (isnt that the name of a cookery show as well?). I know of one radio show which indirectly referred to a particularly unmentionable word as See You Next Tuesday.

So is it the Dail, kids TV or widespread newsprint repitition which brings down the barrier?

Of course one musn't sully one's high standards by adapting coarse language.
 
C

Chocks away

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Elitists and literary snobs have always wanted to put a barrier between themselves and the hoi polloi. So, taking a combination of four letters in a certain order and decreeing them as bad/rude/offensive etc is one of these acts. Personally I find nothing wrong with the F word - as many others will agree. Hence the popularity of The Sopranos. But I've seen people castigate someone for using the F word. This is a form of bullying by holier than thou self righteous people IMHO. A bit like people buying tickets for a racy film and then walking out - having previously read the critique. Odi profanum vulgus et arceo and all that.
 

Caveat

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I have mixed feelings about this.

There is an item of women's clothing formerly called a 'boob tube' - innocuous enough, but recently it has been deemed acceptable (in some circles anyway) to refer to this as a 'txx top' ?!

I'm not prudish at all but I just think something like this is completely unnecessary and blatant.

Usage of milder swear words has crept in at least partly via morning radio - Gerry Ryan, Ray D'Arcy etc - they have started dropping them in over the last 10 years or so in a way that I've never noticed prior to this.

Having said that, I do think there can be a certain lyrical and rhythmical quality to the judicious use of 'swear' words - even strong ones. I think the notion that swearing is the preserve of the inarticulate is only true some of the time - sometimes no other word will do!

My doctor by the way uses the 'street' terms for testicles and flatulence.
 

thedaras

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I think the use of "swear" words on forums like this one for example would be a big let down for the user. As it just becomes a case of who can swear the most ,it loses the impact it has in the spoken world.
I have seen other boards and it just gets silly when this happens .
Oh dear is SILLY a swear word??
 

Betsy Og

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it loses the impact it has in the spoken world.
I'd agree with this, I would swear a bit when speaking, mainly out of force of habit and hardly ever with the intention of offence -ocassionally in a sporting context!! That said, in a business meeting, especially with any women present, I'd hardly ever swear.

Typing a swear word takes too much effort/attention to be spontaneous, however I think at times it can have the capacity to add realism/wit, convey exasperation etc., and as long as there is no intention to offend (excluding those waiting to be offended types which, thankfully, AAM seems to be short on).

Other agents of change in normalising 'industrial' language:
  • Michael O'Leary
  • Joe Kinnear & Maradona - these guys are ahead of their time though, I doubt we'll be emulating them for a quite a while.
 
Z

z104

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There is no such thing as good words or bad words.

The context in which they're used should be the only reason for finding them offensive; otherwise they're just words.


The word itself should not be offensive to anybody.
 

mf1

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There is no such thing as good words or bad words.

The context in which they're used should be the only reason for finding them offensive; otherwise they're just words.


The word itself should not be offensive to anybody.
Disagree. There are some words that are offensive beyond belief. Particularly to women.

mf
 

truthseeker

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There is no such thing as good words or bad words.

The context in which they're used should be the only reason for finding them offensive; otherwise they're just words.


The word itself should not be offensive to anybody.
I disagree with this. The meaning of a word makes it offensive no matter what the context used is.

For example if I call you a @@@@ then the word has a particular meaning and a particular context.
If I tell you that the word @@@@ means whatever it means, then the meaning is still the same, but the context is different - but the word is still offensive.
 

Tomodinhio

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I think what Nialler is trying to say is that there is no such thing as bad words or good words just as there is no such thing as bad weahter or good weather, like words the weather has no concept of bad or good, therefore they cannot be bad or good.

However they can be precieved to be offensive depending on the context they are used in and the type of person they are directed at, the word themselves cannot be offensive as this would imply that the words had an opinion of their own.

For example the term "a*** hole" is meerly the description of a body part when on its own, however when accompanied by the words "you are the biggest ( insert bodily description ) i have ever met" then the word becomes offensive to the intended recipient.
 

truthseeker

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For example the term "a*** hole" is meerly the description of a body part when on its own, however when accompanied by the words "you are the biggest ( insert bodily description ) i have ever met" then the word becomes offensive to the intended recipient.
But the word $lut is a derogatory term for a woman of questionable morals, no matter how it is used, thats what the word means. Its offensive.
 

Complainer

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But the word $lut is a derogatory term for a woman of questionable morals, no matter how it is used, thats what the word means. Its offensive.
I have seen it used in complimentary context, referring to someone who is sexually very active. Context is important.
 

Tomodinhio

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I have seen it used in complimentary context, referring to someone who is sexually very active. Context is important.
Touche.

Not all women would find this offensive and i am sure some are quite proud of being referred to as one.

Used in the bedroom if would be referred to as dirty talk and may arrouse the receiver (tee hee) of said word as oppose to offending. However if this term was used while the reciever was cooking dinner for instance i dont think you'd get any dinner.

Hence context is important.

However there are people who find words offensive just because they exist. This does not make the words offensive or bad, its just means whoever is interpreting the word, is used to hearing or reading about this word in a derogatory context.
 
Z

z104

Guest
I agree.
Can anybody throw out a few examples of words that on their own are harmless but when put together can be percieved as vulgar

I'll start with
Cock - A male bird
Sucker - Something that sucks or can be sucked.

Are these words bad- No
But used together they can be offensive.

So do you see now that words are just words and context is everything.
 
C

Chocks away

Guest
There is no such thing as good words or bad words.

The context in which they're used should be the only reason for finding them offensive; otherwise they're just words.


The word itself should not be offensive to anybody.
Yes, you got it in one Niallers. But some prudish/condescending types cannot get that aspect. Words that were offensive ages ago are now mainstream and vice versa. Language has got to change/evolve. Look at what happened to Latin.
 

Pique318

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I'm with George Carlin on this (as I am on many things, religion being another), there is no such thing as bad words, only bad thoughts and bad intentions.
 

Paulone

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I've a child approaching two years old who'll repeat any word said... I never thought of it this way before, but we as his parents are the ones who are launching him into language and we can choose the way we'd like to do that.

We have had to modify our verbal behaviour - I don't think anyone wants to hear a very young child use a load of words that could be perceived as offensive as if they're normal? Not at all funny and as bad as not teaching a child how to be basically courteous by saying 'thank-you' and 'goodbye'.

I suspect that every parent gets the question 'Daddy, what does fxxk mean?', but at least it better than hearing 'for fxxks sake daddy, I don't want to say bleedin thank-you to Granny'.
 

Betsy Og

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447
Let's scrub that theory that the Dail sets the standard, totally OTT outburst by Green Party guy (he basically said F you, F you to Emmet Stagg). A wonder he didn't bring adventures in the Phoenix Park into it.

While we're used to eejits in the Dail, at least there used to be some bit of decorum. I hope yer man (some anonymous punter up to now, whose name I can't remember) is suitably mortified.
 
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