Why do we curse?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by John J. Bannan, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Its a sign that you're aggravated; which means you have no control over whats happening and no notion of how to deal with it, so you vent.

    Basically its a way of imposing an illusion of control where none exists.
     
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  3. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Or perhaps more like trying to fit in with their peers, with society?

    Just thinking about it, I know very few, if any, people who DON'T swear ...even if some do it only ocassionally, special situations.

    However, I know of lots of people who "claim" that swearing is a bad thing, or that people shouldn't do it. In fact, even many of the people who swear like sailors will often make claims that swearing is a bad thing. Hmm?

    Baron Max
     
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  5. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    What's that bullshit, Sam ....just more psycho-babble crap that you read somewhere and now think it's true ...and so you pass it on to us as if it were, in fact, true?

    Is that how old wives tales come into being ....just keep sayin' 'em enough and sooner or later, they'll all become "truth"? ...LOL!

    Baron Max
     
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  7. Nickelodeon Banned Banned

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    Hehe.
     
  8. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Let me guess, you don't need to be aggravated ot frustrated to curse.

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  9. Neildo Gone Registered Senior Member

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    Leave it to psychologists to over-analyze things, heh.

    Why do we curse? It adds emphasis. Good-fucking-luck. Fuck off? Same thing as Leave me alone, but if you said leave me the fuck alone, that shows you really mean it. Not really a curse, but since it has the F word in it, people think it is.

    Like Baron said, you can tweak the words all you want to make it sound nice, but you're still trying to insult someone or are making a generalized swear out loud. And then like Fraggle said, when you curse in pain, it's the same as an animal howling in pain, we're just able to do a more complex screech.

    But here, this explains it all:

    http://www.funlol.com/funpages/historyoffword.html

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    - N
     
  10. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Fuck no! Language is simply words that we put together to mean something to others. "Fuck" or "shit" or "goddammit" are some of those words, why the fuck not use them in communication?

    It's just like contractions .....it's, I'm, we're, she's, he's, it's, ....... those are words that we use every single day, thousands of times, yet when we write out sentences, we say, "I am going to the store, honey." instead of "I'm goin' to th' store, honey."

    Fuck, shit and damn, etc are just words ...no more, no less. Some people use those words in communicating, ....and some people don't like to hear those words. Big deal.

    I don't like Mexican-Americans using Spanish words, or Indian-Americans using Indian words, around me, so should I tell them to stop? Or tell them that those words are wrong?

    Baron Max
     
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Max really believes that comedy slogan, "Everything important that I needed to know, I learned in kindergarten." Anything that is taught in later years, particularly about relationships, he dismisses as psychobabble.

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    Max is always aggravated about something! Q.E.D.
    Most of us use contractions in notes or e-mail to our friends and family. The bar between formal and informal is set a little higher in writing than in speaking, but that's [edit--there I just wrote one myself!]typical of most people and most languages. When we set our words down in a permanent medium so that people outside our circle of intimates might come back and read them later, out of context, we tend to be more careful. As for spellings like goin' and th', those are just the way we pronounce those words. Most people don't deconstuct their language consciously the way we're doing, and don't even realize that they pronounce those words that way. Similarly, in recent years we've taken to writing "gonna" in dialog passages, particularly the Brits when they want to make fun of American speech. They also spell out our "wanna" and "I dunno," which we almost never do. We'd need a whole glossary to do that for their dialect: "Jawn, con't you heah muh-ee when I toke on the pheh-oon todie?"
    Living in Tejas, I should think with your penchant for profanity that by now your speech would be laced with words like puta and jodido. Ever since I fell out of my chair laughing when Chávez called our beloved Religious Redneck Retard a pendejo, I haven't been able to stop using the word.
     
  12. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    That's not comedy, Fraggle!

    Well, Fraggle, look at it this way - since the advent of "psycho-babble", and people learning all about, the problems of relationships, including marriage, has all gone to shit in a handbasket. In the days before the psycho-babble bullshit, marriages were pretty solid; children weren't taking drugs for depression at the age of five; people generally got along and formed pretty cohesive and peaceful societies. Perhaps we all should have dismissed all that bullshit psycho-fuckin'-babble, huh?

    And as usual, the rest of your long, involved post is nothing but bullshit to make people here think you know what the fuck ye're talkin' about. I.e., psycho-babble bullshit.

    See? That's why you have to type so much ...you can't just say what you think or mean, you have to cover it all up with ...bullshit.

    Baron Max
     
  13. shorty_37 Go! Canada Go! Registered Senior Member

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    lolol Just like that Dr PHIL I think he is full of what you call it baron
    psycho-babble bullshit. I agree some ppl talk too much just get to the point.
     
  14. ntgr Registered Senior Member

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    madanthonywayne what you said about ego-superego and cursing makes sense, I just never thought of it that way before that's why I thought it was interesting

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    And I agree that when we are very angry or experiencing very strong emotions our control and logic are minimum. A different part of the brain is used, which is much faster (in order to respond to e.g. possible danger) but also less intelligent. If anyone is interested in scientific proof of that there is plenty of research mentioned in Daniel Goleman's book about EQ.
     
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I've been trying to relate this to the difference between the brain hemispheres. Our speech center is in the left hemisphere, where thoughts tend to be processed in a linear, logical fashion. The thinking is more holographic in the right hemisphere, where most artistic processes are centered.

    It's hard to Google any good information on this subject related to swearing or impulsive speech in general. Perhaps I need to get an advanced degree and join a professional society first. I would hypothesize that the phenomenon we call "speaking without thinking" is the fast-track transmission of emotionally-grounded ideas from the right hemisphere over the corpus callosum into the speech center, shortcutting the left hemisphere's reasoning. This is consistent with the limited vocabulary we draw on in these situations. It seems like a verbal analog of our fight-or-flight decisions, in which there's no time for complicated reasoning. If that's true, it's an atavism, since there seems to be no advantage--evolutionary or otherwise--to speaking without thinking.
    One of the few things Max and I agree on is that life is too short to follow URLs in SciForums postings. So you can imagine how I feel about having to track down a book.

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    Nonetheless I did read the Wiki articles on Goleman and Emotional Intelligence. (Originally abbreviated EI, but a Dutch sci-fi author had coined EQ for the same concept twenty years earlier, so that abbreviation already had momentum outside the anglophone world.) My own hypothesis, deduced from what we all already know about the workings of the brain, so far does not seem to be inconsistent with his theory. And BTW there's some controversy over whether it's really "his" theory or is based largely on the work of others.
     
  16. sandy Banned Banned

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    I want to know how many infractions I would get for starting an FU thread?

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    I could say FU to all the personal attackers that WON'T stop. I could say FU to all the PMers who say nasty things.

    Does anyone know how many infractions would be given by a mod for an FU thread? Does it depend where I put it? Would it be deleted? Would I be banned?

    Almost serious here, folks. This is getting very old.

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  17. shorty_37 Go! Canada Go! Registered Senior Member

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    Try it out, don't be a chicken shit see what happens.
     
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I am the moderator of this subforum. We are free to discuss profanity, including spelling out the words and giving examples of their usage, since after all it is language and that's what we're here for. However, I edit profanity out of postings if it is an insult directed at a specific member, group or idea. Even when it's in a foreign language and is grammatically incorrect.

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    The majority of our members are young, and many are very young. I believe I speak for a consensus of the moderators (and I am paraphrasing one of them) when I say that we don't want a parent to ask his child why she is on the internet instead of doing her homework, the child to answer, "I found a great website where this really bright grad student is helping me with my linguistics project," the parent to say, "How wonderful, let me see what he's posting," and then discover that the subforum in question is peppered with spurious four-letter words.

    If your FU thread is about the origin of the term FU and the emotions it evokes in people to whom it's directed, that's scholarship and that's what SciForums is all about. If your purpose is 1. Not to add anything substantive to the scholarship on this website AND 2. Merely to provoke an angry reaction from other members, that is our definition of "trolling" and I will delete the thread.

    I'm pretty stingy with infractions, I've only given one or two in the months that I've been a moderator, and none in my own subforum. But other moderators are free to give infractions outside of their own turf, and we're reluctant to overrule each other. As for banning, the subject has come up three times since I've had the executive-restroom-key to the Moderators subforum and in all three instances I spoke out against it, but in one case I eventually changed my mind in exasperation. Nonetheless banning is more or less by consensus so it's not entirely up to me.

    Linguistics doesn't get a lot of action so I'm able to be a pretty hands-on moderator. If I don't like something I just go in and change it rather than complaining about it.

    As for your problem with personal attacks, I suggest that you read the name of the website: SCI Forums. We are currently working to make that emphasis on Science clear. Surely you've noticed that Free Thoughs has been demoted to the bottom of the table of contents. This is a meeting place for scientists and people who are interested in science. That includes off-duty scientists and future scientists seeking advice for the lovelorn, sharing their favorite music and shooting rubber bands at each other. But even discussions of art, history, current events and dating are expected to respect the principles of science, or at the very least not flout them. Occam's razor, peer review, disprovable theories, observation-based reasoning, etc. If you don't like our bias in favor of the scientific method and against non-science or sheer anti-science, such as religious fundamentalism and 19th-century theories of "racial" supremacy (both of which I personally define very broadly), I don't know what to tell you except that you may have come to the wrong website.
     
  19. ntgr Registered Senior Member

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    Fraggle rocker,

    I didn't say that EI is Goleman's theory

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    and yes, maybe he did try to take credit for it, I don't really know. However, he mentions dozens of other scientists and their work in his books as all researchers do.

    If you are interested in EI, there is an online book (free) by Steve Hein (not so much about brain function but very interesting imo):
    http://eqi.org/eqe96_1.htm
     
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    So do most people who swear. I didn't mean to blame the dog, exactly, just point out the parallel.

    There are people who regard swearing as more honest - more real - than other speech.

    As is a human's use of curse words ? In this limited context, I mean.
    Oh baloney.
     
  21. SagaciousMind Am User Registered Senior Member

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    People 'curse' because they don't have a big enough vocabulary to say what they mean, or they're just too lazy to say what they mean, or they think they become cool, or seem more threatening by doing so.
     
  22. SagaciousMind Am User Registered Senior Member

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    Also, resorting to sounding threatening to get your message across is another sign of lack of volcabulary and/or anything to back up what you're saying as right.
     
  23. Grantywanty Registered Senior Member

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    That's a pretty limited set of alternatives. People also curse when no one is listening. I know, I have. I was not trying to impress anyone or threaten anyone and my vocabulary is rather large. I also said exactly what I meant. The words have an expressive power. Sometimes they are an effective way to express how I feel. As far as content goes I could replace them with a long piece of psychological self-analysis of my mood, but there is no reason to. Language is not simply a container for information; it has an expressive role.
     

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