Sweary links #13

Headed back to school? Here’s your syllabus for Swearing 101.

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“For so universal an experience, a child’s discovery of curse words is the topic of surprisingly few picture books.” The New York Times reviews a new book that’s among the surprisingly fewLittle Bird’s Bad Word, by Jacob Grant.

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“Son of the illegal lottery!” sounds filthier in Tagalog, we’re sure. More at Foul Mouth: a website about Filipino dirty words.

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Sweary as fuck

A friend who attended one of the Grateful Dead’s Fare Thee Well concerts in late June came back with a fashion report. No, it wasn’t about tie-dyed peasant skirts or blinged-out Birkenstocks. It was about this T-shirt:

polite_as_fuck_tee

“Polite as fuck” tee from Buy Me Brunch.

Or maybe this one. (My friend didn’t pause in her revels to gather photographic evidence.)

polite_as_fuck_cursive

Cursive does seem well suited to the message. T-shirt from Amazon.

The sassy oxymoron—civility meets vulgarity—is what tickled my friend (and me). I hadn’t seen anything like it — but then again, I hadn’t yet made an effort. As it happens, the “X as fuck” construction is highly commercial.

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Accessible bowdlerization

I’ve been experimenting with screen readers as part of my research on creating accessible documents for people with print disabilities. Popular screen-reading programs include

  • VoiceOver, which comes free on a Mac;
  • NVDA, which is free to download for Windows; and
  • JAWS, a Windows program that costs $179 for a ninety-day licence or $895 for the home edition.

Of course, because I have the mentality of a twelve-year-old, the first thing I did was run VoiceOver on the Strong Language tag cloud, which the software recited with aplomb.

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