Sweary links #13

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


“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.


“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 from Buy Me Brunch.

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


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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