Friday, May 8, 2009

Naughty Words

When Mcclellan was visiting, we were playing together and he said, "Dang-it." I was so surprised to hear THAT from the little cherub, I just laughed and asked, "Who says that?" He told me who, but I won't tell you. Then he proceeded to say it over and over as a toddler will when you react. I asked his mother if that was a word he normally used. She said NO! I was to tell him that wasn't a good word (or something like that).

It's not my intent to offend anyone. I can usually do that unintentionally, but it made me think. Does dang-it qualify as profanity? According to it might. What euphemisms do we use to keep from saying the REAL word?

I admit that I said cr?p when he was here. He didn't repeat it, but his dad told me he would know where it came from, if he did. Now how about son-of-a-gun , darn, heck or shoot? When I was growing up, my dad wouldn't allow us to use the word butt in any connotation. It was outrageous to use it. Am I just desensitised to these words or are they profanity? There is one that I cannot get comfortable with and it is frickin'. I hear it all the time and I still cringe at if they had said the original word. Will I eventually accept it for common usage, too?

So, as you can tell, I'm not an expert in English usage or grammar but that's what's on my mind.


Anonymous said...

I hate the F word too. I read a blog the other day of a pre-school teacher. She said one of her mild mannered little boys was looking at a picture book and said, "It's a frickin' elephant!" She told him they did not say that word. He pointed to the words in the book and explained that is what it says: AFRICAN elephant!!!!!HA

Happy Mother's Day.

Nancy said...

Profanity is something I heard all the time when I was teaching. Teens hear it so much in their music, videos, and movies that they are de-sensitized.

I say "God Bless America" or "Scrudge Bunnies" when I get frustrated.

Debbi said...

My students (who wouldn't use the F or S words in class) use other words which I still think are crude, such as 'sucks.' Yesterday I was on a museum tour and the docent, who was elderly, said 'screwed!' I was shocked. But it just goes to show that defining profanity is a gray area; some words everyone would agree on, but with others, like the ones you mention, depend on personal opinion. I'm rarely a profane person, but I have to admit that 'scrudge bunnies' probably wouldn't cut it for me, Nancy! Maybe it's better to use a euphemism than keep frustration or anger inside (or worse yet, hit something). So maybe Jesus or Jacqueline Kennedy wouldn't say darn or heck, but as for me they slip out. I stop at frickin' too, Mary!

Christina Joy said...

That's funny you write about this! Matt and I just had a conversation today about "gosh" and how we don't want to use it because its just so close to "God." So "goodness" is the euphemism we use. Interjections are a necessary part of communication, but we just have to be very careful about the words we choose to use! I had a friend who would say "Cheese and rice!" instead of "Jesus Christ." Whatever gets you through it! I like "scrudge bunnies." That would be great to hear Mcclellan use regularly! :)

Aunt Dinah said...

With the exception of "frickin'" none of the words you asked about qualify as profanity in my mind probably because neither one of my parents (both born in the early 1900s) would have scolded me for using them. Ben and I have been watching Battlestar Gallactica on DVDs from the library and the characters in this sci-fi tv show use the word "frack." For some reason that doesn't bother me as much as the original f-word or "frickin'. I once heard an elderly lady in the grocery store using "booby traps" and "oh, sugar" to express her frustration. I love those two expressions, but they often aren't strong enough to "vent" strong feelings. Then, I'm sorry to say, I resort to stronger language but only when I'm alone or my husband is around. I hardly ever use "language" in front of anyone else, and on those rare occasions when I have, people have about fallen off their seats, they've been so shocked.