Sweary links #20

Linguist John McWhorter, the new host of the Slate podcast Lexicon Valley, chats with Benjamin K. Bergen about why so many swear words are monosyllabic. (We’ve already preordered Bergen’s new book, What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves.)

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Lorem fucking ipsum: the placeholder text for people who have some fucking passion.

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Swearing for new parents: “No-one expects you to just flip a switch and begin saying ‘oops’ instead of ‘cuntsponge’ overnight. Oh heavens, no.” (h/t @lexicoloco)

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How the Dreamworks animated film Madagascar snuck in a child-friendly swear.

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A Reddit thread on “the best swear words in your language” (includes Polish, Danish, Norwegian, Bosnian, French, and Irish).

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Language Log’s Victor Mair on “the most foul imprecations that can be uttered in Sinitic.”

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Lynne Murphy on the c-word (UK and US varieties) and mansplaining.

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Twitter account to follow: The Fucking News, “context and analysis of all the latest bullshit.” (They’re on fucking hiatus right now, but they’ll be back.)

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From Melissa Mohr, author of Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing, an even briefer history of swearing, from Latin obscenities (“in some ways much like our own”) to Irish and Québecois curses, which “draw on the power of God and the Devil.”

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On bullshit and Donald Trump.

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Getting to the bottom of some crazy-ass language.

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Technically, they’re ripe ’ass — short for Hass — avocados.

 

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When in Los Angeles, we always dine at Millie’s Cafe, whose slogan is “Service with a Fuck You.”

4 thoughts on “Sweary links #20

    • Nancy Friedman August 14, 2016 / 2:19 pm

      Thanks for the link, Patrick. Cuck is certainly an insult, and it rhymes with fuck, but is it a swear? Not so clear. In any event, I wrote about the term and its history on my own blog last year.

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      • Patrick Collins September 3, 2016 / 12:46 pm

        Interesting point. When it is pejorative and clearly untrue (not an actual accusation) is it not swearing? It is certainly a vulgarity. Does it have to be proscribed to be a swear? Do you have a definition of swearing somewhere on this blog?

        Good article, anyway.

        Like

      • Nancy Friedman September 3, 2016 / 2:26 pm

        Well, if you called Albert Einstein an imbecile, it would be pejorative and clearly untrue, but not swearing. Historically, swear words have been blasphemous (anti-religious) or obscene (morally repugnant, usually because of references to “disgusting” bodily functions). On this blog we explore both categories of swears. For more on the blasphemy/obscenity continuum, see Melissa Mohr’s Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing.

        Like

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