Exactly, Canadian. Does "frell" really capture how you feel? My grandmother used to tell us to say "fiddle dee dee." Much as I love her, it never was a really good substitute for any healthy cuss word. Too long, for one thing!
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As with all language, "swearing," "cursing," "profanity," et. al. are merely tools to communicate, and their appropriateness depends on the environment as Koner pointed out.
The bulk of "bad words" is best described as vulgar, and is defined as:
quote:The word vulgar now brings to mind off-color jokes and offensive epithets, but it once had more neutral meanings. Vulgar is an example of pejoration, the process by which a word develops negative meanings over time. The ancestor of vulgar, the Latin word vulgris (from vulgus, “the common people”), meant “of or belonging to the common people, everyday,” as well as “belonging to or associated with the lower orders.” Vulgris also meant “ordinary,” “common (of vocabulary, for example),” and “shared by all.” An extension of this meaning was “sexually promiscuous,” a sense that could have led to the English sense of “indecent.” Our word, first recorded in a work composed in 1391, entered English during the Middle English period, and in Middle English and later English we find not only the senses of the Latin word mentioned above but also related senses. What is common may be seen as debased, and in the 17th century we begin to find instances of vulgar that make explicit what had been implicit. Vulgar then came to mean “deficient in taste, delicacy, or refinement.” From such uses vulgar has continued to go downhill, and at present “crudely indecent” is among the commonest senses of the word.
Vulgar basically is by definition the way normal people talk. Perjoration of vulgar speech is at best a dislike of people who make the faux paus of using the wrongs tools at the wrong time, and at worst cultural eliteism (dont talk like that; you're better than those people).
People who look down their nose at others because they use certain words are no better than people of who do the same because they're not wearing fashionable clothes. Why not be offended by something that matters?
[ July 27, 2006, 01:48 AM: Message edited by: Adam Lassek ]
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