Posted by Al on November 06, 2003
In Reply to: The World is going to heck posted by ESC on November 06, 2003
: : : : : I want to ask our English/American-speaking forum readers and writers about foul language.
: : : : : Could you be so kind as to point me some good links to "theoretical reference", please?
: : : : : Next question is about usage - where is the limits? Are F-words THAT really bad?
: : : : : What about "damn", "sh1t", etc.?
: : : : : What about you/your children - use it or not?
: : : : : What is your own point of view about the subject?
: : : : : What do you think about usage of explicit/foul/obscene language in films (there are a lot of)? Is it OK? How do you feel whatching "Pulp fiction" or "Snatch" just for example?
: : : : : My question is related with films, books and other cultural/sub-cultural products in order to find proper equivalent with Russian. There are a lot of opinions about such correlation, so I'd like to know your opinion.
: : : : I don't know where to begin answering these very difficult questions, because the rules of the game keep changing, and language which was socially unacceptable a short time ago is now used in "polite company," and all the borders are blurry at best. What is vulgar, or rude, or shocking, or mildly amusing varies enormously (at least in the U.S.) by age, demographics, region, race, cultural subgroup, social setting, the presence of children, and the amount of alcohol consumed.
: : : The above description of the US applies equally well to the UK. Things are acceptable now which were absolutely taboo when I was a lad.
: : Middle-aged (and then some) female, Kentucky resident: use of sh*t, damn, or f*ck is unacceptable here, especially in the workplace. Young people, particular those traveling in packs, use foul language in public as an attention-getter. I would like to note that none of those young people is related to me.
: : Foul language is more acceptable in private, among friends. I permit it in my home as long as the foul language is colorful and interesting or amusing.
: : "Oh my God," "My God," etc., used to not be acceptable and was viewed as taking the Lord's name in vain. But now most everyone says it and thinks nothing of using God's name in a cavalier fashion. I try not to stand next to them during electrical storms.
: : Cussing in movies -- I find it annoying if curse words are sprinkled in for no good reason. But I find them less annoying than the bleeps and dubbing used to mask the offending words when the movie is adapted for TV. Cussing on television -- radically increased since some change in broadcast standards. I can't remember when that took place but it was marked by a Saturday Night Live episode where the characters said "p*nis" every third word. That was offensive because it wasn't funny.
Then some people object to words that they use themselves just because it is a basis from which to launch an objection. Example: in a road rage incident a man may scream "Don't use that word in front of my children!" when he would otherwise not even notice the word being used. BTW, in comedy words are often repeated to excess for affect or to effect humor. Remember when Al Frankin started he used his name several times in almost every sentence. BTW-II, I know a Siberian native who says there are no unacceptable words in her native language and her people can only cuss and swear in Russian.