Quicklink: Ursula K Leguin on swearing

a character from the TinTin books, looking angry and with symbols meant to denote swearing/cursing surrounding him Please Fucking Stop:

I remember my brothers coming home on leave in the second world war and never once swearing in front of us homebodies: a remarkable achievement.
And though I really would like to stop saying Oh shit when annoyed, having got on fine without it till I was 35 or so, I’m not yet having much success in regressing to Oh hell or Damn it. There is something about the shh beginning, and the explosive t! ending, and that quick little ih sound in between….

But fuck and fucking? I don’t know. Oh, they sound good as curses, too. It’s really hard to make the word fuck sound pleasant or kindly. But what is it saying?

Categories: history, language, Sociology

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4 replies

  1. My four year old loudly exclaimed ‘shit!’ the other day. When I told her we shouldn’t say things like that she turned to me and gently explained that ‘shit!’ is what you say when you walk into a spider’s web. As exactly this happens a lot at our place I couldn’t fault her reasoning. Nothing like being firmly put in your place by a four year old.

  2. totally, those smegging feeble minded citizens who cannot express themselves with the full fracking spectrum of their language are def not shiny. in the past i have tried to let Haddock be my guide in swearing, but it is such hard work and i feel that that defeats the purpose as swearing ought to be effortless.
    Thanks for the link to UKL’s blog tigtog. i find a comfort in the cadence of her writing.
    Mindy, the hbomb, 4 1/2, has been revelling in frigging and bloody lately, as in “where are those frigging zebras, i never see them cross the bloody road.” 🙂

  3. I do frequently wish I had Captain Haddock’s flair for invective.

  4. Alternatively, consider the famous scene from the Wire. Very NSFW, in case anyone was wondering.

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