Sunday 24 October 2010

Pre-meditating the usage of foul language

In today's world, it is almost next to impossible to refrain from using unparliamentary words in every context. We have a Hollywood movie channel, which has subtitles for its films and every time a character uses foul language, we can see four asterisk symbols (****). This is the norm as it is not 'nice' to display four-letter words on the screen while screening the movies for Indian audiences. Fine. But in today's world, usage of these words has almost become a part of the daily parlance. There were times when I used to detest these uncouth words. I strongly resolved not to use these words. I still do but in fits-and-starts. There are some absolute places where the usage cannot be restricted. Let me illustrate. If a man tries to grope in public transports, I cannot pass him off with a mild 'Stupid' or 'Idiot.' I am forced to use expletives not only to convey my anger but also to make him feel small and dirty. Whether I succeed or not, I cannot know but I am left with the small pleasure of having given him a piece of my mind in just FOUR LETTERS in addition to some three or more words.

Despite the fact that I use expletives on choice ocassions, I cannot help but detest the usage of these words in every context. Sometimes I wonder about passing off these words as interjections, but no. I believe that the usage of four-letter expletives are something that should be reserved for special occasions. Most words that are part of expletives are sprinkled in every sentence and used as a noun, verb and an adjective. I can understand when out of sheer frustration, someone says: **** but uttering it with every action is taking it a bit too forward.

Today's children use these words to look 'cool' and 'in.' While everyone who uses these words know that they ought not to be using it, few seek to rectify it. I can understand if an old sailor or a man from the army uses foul language a bit too frequently but others.

I always seem to regret the usage of four-letter words after I spew it out in an extreme passionate emotional status. The process continues . . .

Do you believe in clean speech and using words with hygiene? Tell me . . .

Image: Internet


  1. i hear you...i very rarely use them in my writing...but i am not opposed to using it if the character fits far as myself, wish i could say i did not...but i occassionally let them slip....thought never in front of my fam....

  2. In my student days i used them too often, as you said as noun, verb, adjective... these days its controlled only on occasions were it is an absolute requirement. but i also believe using cursing is a great stress buster.

  3. i once used xpletives against an auto driver. I felt real bad. But then he was rude too

    I have been using WTF too casually. My ol' frnd said 'u changed a lot'
    'Because u use WTF very casually'...Its then I understood WTF is not casual. So I have decided to change!!

  4. I do believe in a clean language, in normal circumstances. But, sometimes it becomes necessary to use those expletives to convey your emotions (and shock) the receiver with those!!

    Expletives when used in the right place, effectively convey your displeasure. Only, their use in the wrong place makes us uncomfortable.

  5. We all start innocent don;t we...till my college years I was a total prude but then as you mentioned - as you grow up you meet people, are forced in circumstances that clean language cannot describe them - and thus I defend my use of expletives ...

  6. I do not get frustrated that easily and thus have rarely need to swear.;) But when I do, I do it without restrictions.;) But I have found that I only use foul words that are English, German or Swedish. Never any of my own mother tongue.;) Perhaps that way they feel less foul indeed and my sensitivity to them is not as powerful.;))
    Have a lovely Monday dear Susan,

  7. Oh yeah, I know what you mean. I used to detest it, still do. But sometimes, I guess those expletives do help to keep the temper / stress down. I find myself swearing too often when I've driving alone and when I need to get home quick. We need to definitely watch where we use those words!

    If only we could stick to the clean expletive-less language (sigh!) ;D

  8. Clean speech and I'm proud to say I rarely ever use them other than the mild stupid and idiot ;)

    And I disagree when you say, people know they are not supposed to use it, because there are many who just follow a beaten path of foul words just a tool to be cool and in... but there are others who know it all...

    But enough is enough, I'm fed up! there are other ways to look and be cool, why these fools is all I ask :)

    I hear you Sus, Hugggggggggggs

  9. I believe in a clean speech. In fact I don't think much of people who use the four letter word very frequently. I judge them to be shallow. There are moments when a swear word eases your pain. But a person so dirty will not have any effect by what I say. I simply punch when possible or demean the person by sarcasm. Sarcasm needs no swear words and it does a more effective job.

    The credit for my clean speech goes to my mom and sis who pulled me to a corner when I first used a foul word and taught me not do that. I live by that learning. Today. Always.

  10. Good topic. I rarely use expletives. But when I do, it's usually 'cause I'm angry or scared. I dislike it when people use it too much. I feel it's an indication of their limited creativity and vocabulary.

  11. When words that are forbidden
    try to come out rushing unbidden
    never caring where or when
    what can one do then
    guess it is time to count till ten.

    When I was in college in Madurai, there was this word in Tamil,which literally means....... well, something nasty. A sentence would begin with it and probably end with it. It was a sort of habit and I was using it even at home in normal conversation. Though my folks didn't know what it meant, they knew it was an expletive. I had to very consciously shut it out.

  12. Yes, I agree with Myrna R. In my opinion the improvident usage of that kind of words is definitely an indication of limited vocabulary.

    Well, I dislike it very much.

    Have a great week ahead, dear friend!

    B xx

  13. Brian:

    Can you believe it when I say that my mum does not know even one swear word. I wonder how she managed to steer clear.


    We learn many nonacademic things in the portals of knowledge. University is the culprit here.

  14. John:

    Even I feel bad that way. Now it has almost come down to nil usage except very rarely. It is quite unpleasant on the ears.


    I am even trying to cut off usage from exceptional situations.

  15. Yuvika:

    We all do start innocent :)I hear you!


    But foul language in English, for me, sounds decent than words in my tongue. I have never used them till date.

  16. RGB:

    For many, using foul language is inevitable while driving. Once my friend told me: "Okay, I agree that you are a saint. But prove it while you are negotiating people, vehicles and animals while driving in Chennai." What she said is so true.


    You are an angel, my darling. Even I'm quite fed up with students using it quite freely.

  17. Sameera:

    Well-said. Three cheers to your mom and sister.


    Even I share your sentiment about using expletives. But I wonder whether twenty years down the line, they will be considered as 'normal' speech.

  18. Govind:

    Tamil bad words are horrible. Now that needs another post! How did you manage to use it at home? I'm quite surprised :)


    I am glad that there are many who don't much like using expletives.

  19. Oh yes... I believe in those words... but I don't know how to use them... Developing and reasoning sound better to me... One grows by doing so.

  20. Dear Susan, I do absolutely believe in clean speech. And I so detest it when people just salt-and-pepper profanity in every other word and such. It's just that, sometimes, when I am frustrated, I can't really help myself because... well... because I'm stumped... and I don't know what to say... and it's easiest to just say @!*& and be done with it. It is not ideal, of course. But I am glad I have the availability... and the wisdom to know when it is right and when it is wrong to use it. Sometimes... you know... ;-)

    Wishing you a splendid week, dearest!


  21. Susan, first time here. :) I am a big advocate of clean speech because I see no point in using expletivess... infact hearing them angers me to no end. Kids these days are too much ahead of what we have been.. and what shocked me was when I heard a 10 year old Indian girl using an expletive INFRONT of her parents ON ME... her parents did nothing .. poor things.. it's gonna come one them too someday.. so, I was wondering if she knew what it meant.. but then we can't really know.. they might even know what it means.
    But it is dirty and uncalled for.. to use such words no matter how big the provocation. I wouldn't use them even in situations you listed, because I see no point in trying to make a dirty person feel small.. he's already in the lower rungs of earth.
    Good post!
    Thumbs up for bringing this up.
    Regds, Punam

  22. Interesting... words of vugarity I think are often less bad than flattery and certanily less bad than gossip. All three are pits I slip into now and then, and I always feel dirty climbing out.

  23. Hi Susan :)
    Big hugs to you.
    My speech was all 'clean' ;) until I joined university and then my workplace...Its like they slowly get into your speech and system !! darn these expletives :p
    Anyhow how have you been and how is the thesis going? have you submitted it already?
    wishing you a sweet day!!
    lots of love

  24. I am not opposed to it - but prefer for myself to control the usage, and use it when as you very carefully pointed out it made the most sense to get your point across. Certain situations would necessitate or warrant using desperate measures of profanity -and sometimes we loss by using these words even if initially we were correct.


  25. Dulce:

    Developing and reasoning, yes. You indeed don't belong to this planet. maybe you are a fairy!!


    You are so right, dear Nevine when you say it is easier to just swear when a certain situation demands it. But all the time is definitely a huge turn-off.

    I wish you a splendid remainder of the week, dear friend.

  26. Punam:

    Welcome to the meanderings. Glad to have you here. I am happy that you detest using expletives. You know, my mom does not even know a single expletive and if one were to use it in front of her, she wouldn't know that it is a bad word!

    Thanks for the kind words and do come again when you find the time.


    Your point of view is indeed interesting, GQ. All of us do feel dirty climbing up.

  27. Ruchi:

    How nice to see you after a long time. Where were you this long? Hope all is well with you. As Yuvika remarked, all of us start innocent but University and College spoil us. Thesis is well. Thanks. Might take a few more weeks. Just there. Keep wishing well for me :)


    Well-said dear Joanny. I appreciate your views on usage of foul language.

    Cheers back to you dear Joanny.

  28. Dropped in on your blog today. What a wonderful find this is. I love your post and appreciate all of the comments. In answer to your question, yes. I do believe in clean speech.

    thank you for your post

    when you have the time drop by my bog if you want to

  29. I am not into 4 letter words...hate movies that use too much of it and lack substance. It's like listening to a song and all they say is ... yay yay I love you baby, you know I love you baby yay yay yay. It goes on forever, how boring. :)

  30. Hope:

    What a nice name to utter! My favourite four-letter word! I shall visit your blog. Welcome to the meanderings. What joy to have you here. I am glad that you are for clean speech. Come by again :)


    Gaia, I love your take on things. Big hugs.

  31. I think there are so many NICE four letter words to utter like, hope, as you posted, love, faith, kiss, etc.

    thank you for stopping by my blog today. i am so looking forward to your comments and insights and the prospect of interesting interactions with you.

    Happy days to you!

  32. My pleasure dear Hope :)

    I wish a lovely day and remainder of the week to you.

    Joy always.

  33. Foul language is a foreign language in our family. Even the word, stupid/sh*t is not allowed because i have taught them not to take such words lightly. When very frustrated, i have heard my little son (then) only uttered a few times.. by saying, "O.. S word." Ben and me would smile, not saying anything. On another ocassion, i heard my younger son telling his older cousin not to say the "sh*t" word in our house when he spent the weekend in our house during the holidays. The teen cousin was a sport, didn't get offended but smiled back and say, "OK. Sugar" . From then on, the word 'Sugar' was sometimes used as a 'swear word. ;D

  34. Dear Silver:

    Sugar is so much nicer as a swear word. I wish we start swearing with words like 'honey', 'sugar,' 'sweet' and other words. Imagine when you are frustrated, you stomp your feet and say aloud SUGAR . . .

    Nice reflections, dear Silver.

    Much love to you always.

  35. Yes Yes Yes... people use profane language for no reason these days. Somehow those words have become so ordinary like in their vocabulary. It still makes me cringe though when kids use it... its sad. I have a few words I use often like creep, this is the most common word I use for man and reptiles. If its a situation its a 'bloody' situation...

  36. We are on the same boat. 'Bloody' is one of my frequents too.

    Joy always :)

  37. Sure Susan, always!!:) Loads of besties for it.
    I am doing fine, was away to Jaipur for some official assignments ...Came back to meanderings first thing.Have again missed out much here but will catch up with all the posts!
    you take care and have a lovely weekend my dear friend!
    lots of love

  38. Ruchi:

    Your words always light me up. Lots of love to you always :)

  39. The most interesting part of this post for me is your use of the word "foul" to describe certain Anglo-Saxon four-letter words. Of course, you're not alone in this, but to me this usage connotes a sense of shame about sex, which all such words are about. That doesn't mean that one should use them willy-nilly, but only because to do so would probably offend your listener(s). There is nothing intrinsically offensive about any of them.

  40. Dennis:

    Nice to see you here after a very very long time. I am wondering about "shame about sex" part. Is it shame about sex itself or shame about the suggestive connotations in public? Offense to listeners is probably one of the many reasons but certainly not the only one.
    You did not tell me why you found the usage of the word "foul" interesting?



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