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Picture of jerry thomas
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The Supreme Court of the U.S.A. has refrained from discussing "the f-word" for thirty years, but due to some celebrities' recent careless use of the word, the Honorable Justices might renew the arguments and attempt to reach agreement as to the degree of the word's indecency and whether or not the Mass Media companies should be fined for allowing the word to be broadcast at certain times of day.
The little boys that I grew up with used the word "fuck" in all of its various senses and meanings, and everyone knew that it was a word whose utterance was taboo in the presence of adults. Meanwhile, recent informal surveys show that virtually all adults use the word and all agree that its utterance is taboo in the presence of children.

Can any of our resident authorities on child development tell us the exact nature of the damage that might be done to children if they were to hear the word used freely by adults ?
 
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Picture of BobHale
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I don't know if it damages the children but (in this one specific case) I think it damages the word. If people go around using "fuck" all the time like any other adjective it loses its shock value and then we'll be forced to find a replacement for it. I can think of a noun that still has considerable shock value but I can't think of an adjective we could use.
 
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Picture of Caterwauller
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I think it's more a matter of social acceptability or manners. I've taught my son that certain words are inappropriate to use in polite conversation, just as he knows that he should keep his lips closed when chewing food, and that he should hold the door open for the person walking into a building behind him. My own father taught me that using cuss words demonstrates a lack of both creativity and intelligence (he is pretty conservative about a lot of things!), and therefore forbade us to talk that way.

It's tricky, raising kids, to get across that fine balance that it's not appropriate to talk about private parts or sex, but that those things are bad or "dirty" in and of themselves.


*******
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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Picture of Richard English
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quote:
My own father taught me that using cuss words demonstrates a lack of both creativity and intelligence

I agree with your father 100%.


Richard English
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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Meanwhile, recent informal surveys show that virtually all adults use the word and all agree that its utterance is taboo in the presence of children.
Virtually all? I may have conservative colleagues, but there are a whole lot people I know who would never use this word, at least that's the impression they give.

My mother absolutely hated sewing, and got very frustrated at it. But she sewed a lot. When everything went wrong (and if you've ever sewn, it can be amazingly irritating!), she'd sometimes blurt that word out. One day, at about age 8, I said, "Mother, what does fuck mean?" She quickly said that it was a very naughty word, and I had better never say it. I don't think she ever said it again.
 
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Picture of Richard English
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She quickly said that it was a very naughty word, and I had better never say it. I don't think she ever said it again.

See my posting elsewhere about attitudes to sex.

Although I do agree about the use of swear words, I would prefer to call the gratuitous use of his word "inappropriate" rather than "very naughty".


Richard English
 
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Picture of arnie
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I don't think she ever said it again.
In your hearing, at least! Roll Eyes


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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Yes, arnie. Good point!

Richard, she only meant that it was a swear word, and I am very sure her comment wasn't about sexuality. For her day, she was quite sexually liberated.
 
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What, in fact, is an inappropriate word?

When, if ever, do substitutes become as inappropriate as that for which they stand?

I believe the original Russian word for 'bear' has been lost to usage, and the current word is derived from 'that which is not to be named.'

Also - in the SNL sketch "Coneheads," the parents would sometimes be so upset as to say "mebst." Would we tell a child never to use the "m" word?


RJA
 
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>Would we tell a child never to use the "m" word?

perhaps...

news release:
With the French government taking an official position of disagreement with the Bush Administration, one local French family spoke out in favor of their home government’s position. Interviewed as part of a local newspaper poll, they were asked if they agreed with the Middle East policy position of French President Jacques Chirac. “Mebst!” shouted the father of the family, who wanted to be identified only as “Beldar”. “Mebst! We have no hostile intentions toward your puny planet, and deny that we are scouting for a primary invasion force.”

When the reporter repeated the question, suggesting that perhaps the Frenchman had either misunderstood the question, or the publicly stated French position, the family’s mother (identified as “Primat”) spoke up. “What my spousal unit means to say is that we fully support our country’s policies. By the many moons of Meepzoar, we promise to rigidly enforce the ruthless will of the great Leaders of Remulak, er, I mean France.”

Then, the couple excused themselves to go consume mass quantities.
 
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Picture of zmježd
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bear

Bear in Russian, медведь (medved'), is related to the word for honey, мед (med, related to English mead). Bear in English is related to the word brown (cf. PIE *bher- (link).


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Picture of Caterwauller
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When I was teaching elementary school ( in a small, private Christian school) about 18 years ago, I used to ban the children from saying that things "sucked". Because of what the real meaning of that phrase implies, I felt it was inappropriate in polite society.

Boy - don't I sound snooty? It's the meaning of the phrases, though, and the impropriety of hearing such meanings come out of the mouths of young people - under the age of puberty, even. Also, I felt that the school setting should be - well - preparing students for the professional world, and it would be inappropriate in most professional places to speak in such a way. Don't you think?


*******
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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Picture of bethree5
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In the world-languages-for-tots department... I and some of my small charges were reviewing a Spanish-audio-track version of a "Dora la Exploradora" DVD. When foiled, Swiper the Fox ("Zorro") cries "¡Ah, r-r-rayos!"-- a very mild Mexican epithet, barely equal to 'oh, darn.' I foolishly asked the kids what they thought it meant, and a darling 3-yr-old immigrant from India smiled sweetly & said, "it means oh fuck."
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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Oh that is so funny. Big Grin
 
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