Posted by Lotg on October 23, 2004
In Reply to: Full circle? posted by Miri Barak on October 23, 2004
: : : : : : This is an old US phrase that often reemerges around election time. It is based on the strategy that whoever has been in power has been corrupted, and we should just throw them out and put in a new lot. Not a bad idea, generally!
: : : : : I've heard "vote the bum(s) out".
: : : : "Rascal" isn't much of an insult these days. I think that's a pretty old expression, from a time when being called a "rascal" must've been pretty bad.
: : : Right. It's late 19th C., early 20th.
: : I'm not so sure about it not being much of an insult. Although, in the case of 'rascal' it does sound almost endearing now.
: : But profanities are now uttered by many as just a normal part of daily conversation. Such that they no longer have the impact they might once have had. So we've almost reached a point where it's sometimes difficult to think of words strong enough and foul enough to describe things we find utterly reprehensible, distasteful or hateful.
: : I actually find that sometimes when trying to describe something that requires my utter disdain, that it can be more effective to employ 'old fashioned, hardly used nowadays' type words, particularly when dealing with teenagers. I find they're so blown away by words to which they're unaccustomed, that I can get more of a response or reaction out of them by using these 'old words', than if I use the current so-called profanities.
: Interesting approach, but do they understand you?
: In my country words are very powerful (they propeled a murder of a Prime Minister).Bad words have power, words such as: traitor. I think some of them derived from the bible and religion.
Yes they usually understand me (although not always). I find that simply the impact of me using words they don't usually use seems to have an effect. But please don't think this is a miracle. It usually just makes them stop briefly to think about it, doesn't mean they suddenly change their ways.
As for the power of words in your country - I hadn't thought about it before, but in my very limited experience in middle eastern countries, and my greater experience with friends in this country who were originally from middle eastern countries, I noticed the same thing. They don't seem to 'swear' in a way that I would call swearing - they seem to use 'old' words to convey their very strong feelings. I'd even go so far as to say that to my mind, there is more poetry in the way my friends from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Turkey speak. I wonder why it is, that we have predominantly lost that? It's as though our language has gone the way of McDonalds. Cheap, fast, and lacking in culture.