Since I was quite apalled by the AN staff to enforce profanity on groups and such, I would just like to arise the question why swearing is bad at all, and why particularly children must be protected.

Is it because they can hear "nasty" words connected to the human organs? I tell you, by the time a child is 13 they know most common swearing words. They didn't get it from TV or internet. They got it from their parents and friends. And what is the bad thing knowing the offensive version of male genitalia?

In themselves, swearing words are harmless. Swearing words are in fact, good words as such when we want to show that we are angry or put extra weight and importance to what we say. Sure, some of them are offensive, but that is only because we make them so. Eupheisms are made all the time. Look at the word toilet for example. At first it was water closet, then lavatory, now it's toilet.

Personally, language is language. You can do as much harm using no swearing words than if you do (sarcasm anyone?). I remember that when I was 4 or 5, I already knew words such as dick and cock. I also knew the meaning of it, in the harmless ways children know things at such ages. Instead of personally trying to hide such words for your children, you should probably discuss them as soon you find out they know them. As I said, words themselves are completely harmless. They are just abstract things in our heads. The more we try to hide and avoid certain words, the worse connotations they will get.

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I don't know why you say that I don't understand that words come after the speaker. I certainly do understand this.

I see what you mean, of course, and I agree that the word as it exists in abstraction is neutral. To children when first hearing a word, they may repeat this word without knowing its meaning. Or, as you pointed out, I may repeat the word värmlänning to you without knowing its meaning because this word is in a language that I don't understand. (Although there is a story about a criminal who I think has the name Värmlänning, so I may associate the word with a meaning that is completely opposite of what it means to you :)

But in any case, words are symbolic. They assume meaning from a cultural context that cannot be denied. That cultural context is what will determine the impact of the word. For example, using the word "colored" to describe someone who is of African descent is extremely insulting where I live. Using the word "black" is not as insulting. This is because of cultural context because where I live, the words "white" and "colored" were posted on signs for bathrooms, hotels, stores, restaurants etc. to segregate the people until about 1964.

This painful memory is still around and there are many people living here today who remember the civil rights movement and the violence and pain that was endured. There are also some older people around who still think in terms of segregation. So using that word "colored" is like pouring salt into a wound. If my son were to say that someone was "colored" I would quickly correct him.

The principles of communication are two directional. There is a message sender and a recipient. Communication does not occur without both parties involvement. So, I would argue that language is a medium, rather than a tool. If we compare this to art, we can say that the language paints a picture. The individual words may be like the individual paintbrushes as tools. On the whole, though, the language is a protocol or medium which facilitates communication by conveying a message.
I agree with most of what you say, but you also forgot that one-way communication is possible.

Actually, your picture is a little simplified. It's more like speaker -> carrier -> recipient. Speaker intents something, the carrier brings over whatever is being said, telephone line, a pen and paper if written down, or just our voices, then the recipient must interpret what the carrier tried to originally say. We know we can understand each other fairly well but a 100% interpretation is not possible due to subjective matter and how we do view language.

I find a word as lady very offensive, someone else sees it as a term of honor for a woman.

But to what I was trying to say, one-way communication can be to write a diary only intended for you alone f ex. Or even just talking to yourself. Ofc, some linguistics researchers do argue only 2 way communication is possible whereas I disagree. It would be hard to prove how writing a diary is 2 way unless the person writing a diary intends to let someone else read it.
Well said. My Dad was a miner and a railroader so you can bet he knew all the words. But, I never once heard him use profanity. He was not a prude -- he was suave and witty. But he had such a fine command of language that he could use words to wonderful - or devastating - effect without ever swearing.
I think the concept of profanity is outdated and outmoded. One can only offend if someone on the other end is willing to be offended. If you really have such a problem with a few phonemes stuck together then I really don't know what to tell you.

Well I could simply point out that most of the swear words have gone form being unspeakable to being commonplace in many settings. Ie more and more people are starting not to give a ___.
That is true. Profanity varies not just from ages to ages but from culture to culture as well.

Where "shit" is considered quite profane, in Greek it's quite mild. Where 100 years ago blasphemy was all the rage, now sexual and scatological words are "offensive"
It all has to do with how the recipient takes it.
I can't dissagree Nicholas, that is also true. However it's difficult to see how "doggonit" can be insulting now while 150 years ago it was a really profane word.
I reiterate, we must seperate language and words as being just language and words from what the speakers use it and how.

Linguistics is a huge and interesting subject, but it is also very much to the recipient whether he or she actually wants to be offended. If a female is repeatedly called bitch, using bitch as an insult will probably not affect her as much as someone who is seldom if never used to being called bitch.

In certain more prude families and countries, to say "go to the toilet and shit" is still quite a shocking thing to say, and most people would react in such a situation, but in such case rather with surprise than aggression, as well maybe with a slight feeling of disgust.

The reason why would be that normal bodily functions have for a longer amount of time been considered bad within the society. That goes for sex and other toilet activities as example. Others can be to vomit (just look how many versions we have for vomit, throw up to puke! Whereas the last one has a bad word range and throw up is considered rather neutral and vomit more on a acedemical level), fart or sneeze so others can clearly see the mucus.

Also, we must account the level of awareness of language itself. Some people hardly have any awareness of connotations, sublime meanings and the differences between synonyms. Someone who called a group "Fuck Christianity" must have a rather normal level of awareness of how the word "fuck" is used, since it's used as means to not maybe really shock, but rather to give a strong impression to the reader, "I mean real business here".

I remember I wrote a journal entry called Dissecting Melodic Death Metal (MDM being a music genre/style) and the keypoint was to as throughly as possible explain to new listeners what defined the genre and what bands were commonly accepted within it. Some guy took the word "dissecting" literary and pointed out that I never went into real depth, whereas I had to explain the reason why is because I still intended it as a newbie guide aimed at people with little to no knowledge about music than people who have actively been into the music branch for years.

I would say he had a lower language awareness than I had, since I chose the word "dissecting" rather carefully, but with a more generalized use.

Well, maybe we should make a new thread more discsusing the use of language by humans if we want to further dig into that topic?
The shame of swearing is one of those ridiculous social norms that the majority of people don't dissect. It's one thing to not allow a child to say something because of the meaning, but when you allow them to say synonymous words, it's just ridiculous. I remember growing up with my fundy parents and my mom would shit a brick if I were to say "crap," but it was ok to say "poo" or "fecies." It made absolutely no sense. But as far as swearing overall, I just don't get the problem. People are fairly easily trained and they simply think words are bad or inappropriate at certain times because they've been socialized to believe that way. I don't have kids, but if I did, I wouldn't swear around them until they were old enough to know who not to swear around. Then, I would teach them dirty words and phrases that would impress their friends. :)
This is an interesting discussion of profanity, but to specifically address LeaT's concern...

Several forums I belong to have restrictions on profanity, from outlawing it completely to discouraging its unnecessary and gratuitous use.

Chris had it right in suggesting the reason is filters, and not just library filters. Many schools and businesses also have filters on their networks. Profanity is excluded no matter the context. As a result, many members can't access the forum from school or work.

I might include a profanity in a post or comment to make a point or because I feel it's relevant to the topic, but most of the time I consider it a courtesy to those logging in from school and work to avoid profanity as much as possible and thus enable them to enjoy the forum from where ever they are.

Self-control isn't censorship.
No, it isn't, profanity would be profanity if a law or other kind of system where swearing in general would not be allowed by outside forces.

While I understand most schools etc have such profanity filters, it makes me wonder though why those schools and work places have them? Well, I guess most of you are Americans, you seem to take the profanity thing way further than we Swedes do. Never experienced a profanity filter when I have tried to access certain sites from school, or work for the matter. I know that certain communities have been closed down at my old schools but that was because of extreme class drama involved, people weren't allowed to access those communities at school so they could further insult and humiliate each other.

It was an attempt for the school to keep the drama down. I don't think it worked well though.
Schools and public libraries in the USA have filters first of all, because if they don't, they can't get government money for electronic access. And they really need every penny! Also some local jurisdictions demand them because parents get outraged if their child sees something they deem inappropriate. How well, or poorly those filters work is another long discussion.....

i got a two year old and bees swearin up a storm around her

she says OOOHHH GD all the time

gotta stop laughing at her


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