*keep the profanity down in this thread please* I personaly dislike swearing, no offence to you if you choose to swear, that is your right. So my questions are: why do we do it? should we stop? what are the alternatives?
Swearing is word empowerment. Apparently, curse words are stored in the right hemisphere of the brain instead where primary language comes from the left hemisphere. Apparently, infrequent curse word use decreases the sensitivity to pain. Intentions are more important that the words themselves. I like cursing, because I like how forbidden it is. I like how people say not to do it, and therefore I want to do it. The art of word-creation instilling a fear so powerful that creates physiological effects, including death, is much more scary.
In fact, telling the truth can shorten your mother's lifespan more than curse words. There may be a chance curse words increase the lifespan of those who get angry in reaction to them. Interesting theory.
TLDR version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66K65z5lxlk (Hank's explanation)
I try not to curse very much but sometimes, in extreme emotions, profanity is the first thing that comes to mind. I do not curse often because if I ever choose to swear because of an extreme emotion, it is taken seriously.
I do find the power of profanity to be interesting. If someone told me to go away I would not be very phased by it, but if someone told me to f--- off I would become angry rather quickly.
Words only have the power that we give to them, hence why 'swear substitutes' are offensive to some people but not others. That's why the frequency that some people (not many) swear bothers me. We've all overheard a conversation where every other word was f*ding and at that point it loses any meaning as a word.
It's actually been shown that you can withstand more pain if you swear.
I don't particularly detest or support swearing. There's no real clear definition of it because cultures are all different, and they have their own definitions of swearing and insults. For instance, in India it's a very large insult to call someone a pig, due to food being so scarce in some places. In the more northern middle east, flipping someone the bird does not mean "fuck you buddy", It means that you want to anally rape them with your finger or other appendage. In asian countries, putting your finger and pointing it to your eye while resting it on your cheek is another one.
There is no negative effect from swearing, except that socially people may percieve you as a lower-class person, because they associate it with lower class people, with less dignity and nobility. Swearing is neither good nor bad, it's just a 'there' thing, like the oxford comma, or planking in between two park benches. You have to realize that the only bad it actually causes is a lessened social image amongst some judgemental people.
In scientific studies, it's actually been proven that swearing releases endorphins when you're in pain, to act as a counter to your nerve responses.
So, that may be part of the reason why it's perceived as morally bad, but people still do it. It triggers endorphins.
Leaving you all on that note, I have some tasty-ass pizza to finish eating.
Personally, I don't like swear words, or hearing them come out of someone's mouth every other sentence. Here's how I think of it: There's a man who has been living in the dumpsters, covered in trash, dirt, and sweat for six months. You don't want to go within a thirty foot ratio of him because of the stench. Same goes for someone who cusses all the time.
But, I can't stop you, or anybody else, from swearing. Everyone has their own opinion, and I'm just stating mine.
I don't like it. I can appreciate it for comedic value (if done right) but I hate it being used in malice. I've never sworn myself and generally don't like it when people swear.
Some of the points made about swearing being a useful tool to convey emotive messages I agree with. As with all words, if they are used too much they loose their meaning and just become silly which is why we have so many words for the same thing.
Swearing is an extreme example because it's rare that we need to use them and when we use them too frequently the effects are noticeable. We also have the issue of censoring swear words which instantly make them desirable to use and "cool" for kids. Improper use of swearing is a problem but not using it is a hindrance so we seriously need to re-evaluate our approach to swearing so we can fix the mess we have made with our language.
This is a great analysis of swearing by Steven Pinker:
In my eyes, "swears" are just words. Now that doesn't mean I go around cussing people for no reason. But I will use the words if needed. For example, if I am experiencing a lot of pain, a swear or two such as "crap" or "damn" might slip out. Other than that, I find it very unattractive if people stick the f-bomb in between every word if they are mad. I do believe there are other words to describe your emotions. But going back to my main point, swears are just words. But they happen to be words with a lot of power. To be honest, I am not totally against swearing, nor am I totally for swearing. My only advice would be to watch who you swear in front of, because there are many people in this world who are easily offended by said words.
When I was growing up, I was always told that swearing was just an unintelligent person's way of trying to express him or herself. So whenever I heard someone curse, I would feel pity for him/her because he/she "obviously" wasn't intelligent enough to eloquently express him or herself.
But as I grew older, I realized that the phrases and posters and whatnot that teachers post along their walls advertising that only unintelligent or "unintelligent" people do is stupid.
Personally, I don't swear. I do have my own little phrases and whatnot that can replace swear words...but I don't really swear. Sometimes, I think, emotions can be so strong, that a person is unable to express him or herself...and that is when profanity comes into play.
Especially in songs when an artist would have so much pure EMOTION in the music and the lyrics, I would not mind when a swear word came into play. Because I figured that the emotion was so strong that the only logical word to be put there for that artist was a swear word.
Being so tolerant of swearing, basically most of my friends swear...and they aren't extreme swear addicts. They just swear once in a while. I do find people who just swear s w e a r SWEAR S W E A R to be very annoying. Like every...other...freaking...word...is...a...swear...word. It kills me. In that case, I do think that they can be classified as unintelligent or "unintelligent".
But I can tolerate it in most circumstances. I agree that it is your decision whether or not you would like to swear. I always believe in having the choice to do something...in ANY situation.
Swearing, used in excess can make you seem unintelligent. However, swear words can be used for emphasis. The only reason we cringe when we hear them is that we were taught to do so as children: they are not inherently unpleasant. This article details the evolution of swear words. However, they are difficult to tell (Hm, which words in this text were considered dirty?), which just highlights their subjectivity.
I'll think more about the topic and come back with more.
First I have to say that I've read though a majority of the comments and my is this quite something.
Growing up, I did not know what swear words were until, oh, about my sophomore year in high school. I do remember one debate in church with my then church group about whether or not "d**n" is a swear word as it was in the Bible. But, that's another story. My parents simply did not use them. Whether their motives were to shield my and my siblings' ears or just because they did not like using them, I will never know. My parents now swear occasionally in front of my brother and myself, which is okay as he's graduated college and got a job and I'm in college, where let's face it, almost every other word people say sometimes is a swear word.
I learned the profanity words more towards the end of my high school career. To me they sounded dirty and vulgar so I never used them as most instances I heard them being used were as comebacks in arguments and negative feelings, which was something I fled away from (I still do, I hate making people feel bad as I am a NATURAL happy go lucky person). A lot of my friends swore and it didn't really bother me; I just didn't want to swear. I got pestered again and again for not swearing and picked on a lot which I thought was stupid. Just because I don't want/like to say certain words doesn't give one fair game to belittle me. I at least kept my insults varying and it wasn't always something like "You f***ed up."
I still don't have a problem with people swearing, except that I don't particularly find it useful. Though I will agree that swearing does have it's time and place, but people must be mindful of that and most people aren't. Swearing typically allows for an outlet for pain or anguish, which is okay, as long as that's not the only outlet. But, if I'm hearing someone swear every couple of words, that just makes me angry. There are so many words in the English language so why must you use only a select few and curse words at that?
I will say though, I have swore, but again only for the "time and place." At my school, I am a part of the pep band, and we are known for our witty cheers and banter. For example, in basketball when the ref just has done something absolutely astounding, we typically chant "Give me a Q...Q, Give me a Q...Q, Give me another Q...Q, Give me another Q...Q, Give me a R...R, Give me an E...E, Give me a F...F, What's that spell...4 Q ref" So as you can see, we come up with witty ways to say things. Our most black listed cheer (aka we can't say or speak of this) we say only in a certain place at a certain time with ONLY pep banders around. We actually survey the area to make sure it's clear of civilians (non pep banders) to make sure.
Therefore, I am more a fan of creative "cursing." Using our smarts and wits to say what we want to say when we can't say what we want to say. I don't mind if one swears, but by golly, use the word at the right place and the right time.