No, it's more than that. It has become a real question. Yes, passing quickly it looks similar, but negative and positive and neutral responses have meaning related to emotional states. When it is not in passing, when we have a minute or more, it is the opening of a real honest expression of that state and from there perhaps analysis, shared mulling, suggestions, problem solving, support etc. I see cursing a potentially much more refined tool and not limited to the uses you are saying here. A very simple example: I come home from work. My wife asks me how the day was. I say 'Shitty' and coupled with my body language she knows: 1) I had a real bad day 2) I don't want to talk about it now. 3) Give me some space for a while. On another day I come home. I answer with the same word, but tone has a hint of a whine. My body language is more open. She knows: 1) I had a bad day. 2) I want to talk about it. 3) I want her to ask questions. I could even take the body language differences out because she can tell the difference from another room. (And I can in relation to her.) And 'shitty' 'it sucked' 'SOS' and other signifying short phrases convey different things, just like other words do. This is a simple example, but for me it points out that curses can be effective parts of speech (or writing). I disagree. We are addicted to word thinking and communication. To speak on topic to an animal aligns our tone of voice and body language in ways that can be picked up by animals. (I also had a dog that could recognize and react separately to about 1 hundred words, so he, at least, might also get a few direct linguistic clues). I am sure one could substitute other words - like praise the dog while expressing in content distaste for racism - but I think it would be a struggle. I see the use of words in this context as a way of deepening the expressive non-word communication from our side. I agree. They are simply doing out loud what we all do mentally and/or subvocally. Since people do not seem to mind my hearing them talking into their cellphones about their bosses, their boy/girlfriends, their herpes, their..... and this list goes on, I have started to think of the situation as: the phone is an excuse to share with the community. It is the person on the other end of the line who is extraneous.