A Mythunderstanding of Slang and the Morality of Profanity

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by gendanken, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Gustav Banned Banned

    there are birds in both the bayi and balan categories (first two out of the four). they are generally held to be spirits of women so fall into the latter category. some however are found in the former since some birds were once men. or so myth says about willy wagtails and others.

    moving on to "women, fire and dangerous things" .....while women are the primary property of balan, the sun by virtue of being a female deity is also placed in that category. fire is related to the sun so is placed accordingly. since fire has the property of being dangerous, other dangerous objects naturally find it a good fit in the same place.

    assuming you buy into all that shit, do you still feel confident about associating women with poison?
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  3. Ripley Valued Senior Member

    It depends on the personality and the argument involved.

    I don't see much difference between a vulgarly rendered response during a heated exchange, and an inoffensively offensive one: both are brewed from the same abdicated sense for civil respect.

    However, being inoffensively offensive projects more of an acute insolence that is frustratingly condescending—which only serves to add fuel to the fire.

    But in such cases where opposition is profoundly expressed, the person is the circumstance!

    Again, depending on the personality and the situation involved. I'd give equal respect to Julian Assange faintly telling the paparazzi to fuck off, and to Dominique de Villepin self-confidently telling them to take a hike.
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  5. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    It does, depending on how we understand the system of word classes.

    Someone operating out of a traditional understanding of the system of word classes will perceive them in any language.

    It also depends on the direction from which the grammar of one language is explained.
    Explaining English grammar in English to English speakers is different than explaining English grammar in Chinese to Chinese speakers who are learning English. Etc.

    I've read a comment recently where a native speaker of English who learned Japanese for three years said that he has learned more about English grammar in those classes than he did in his English classes.

    I'm not Chinese, nor anything close to that, but this is how I understand adjectives too - a conglomerate of quality + the fact that it exists in relation to something.

    (In fact, in philosophy, they sometimes list three basic and inextricable categories: 1. thing, 2. quality, 3. relation.)
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  7. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    I intend to speak like the Irish and Latin, too! I like the clarity that comes with answering "I do," "I have," "I didn't," "I haven't" etc.

    It's not tragic, it's efficient!

    There is a French novel that contains no words with "s". A lisper could read it out loud and nobody would know he is a lisper.
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    No language is "weird" if one is born into it or is otherwise fluent in it.

    Unless, perhaps, one is a fraggle.
  9. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    How is it even possible to not be disrespectful of other persons and use swear words??

    Swearing is like farting: it may not be intended to offend anyone personally, but it does.

    Why would an intelligent person demean circumstances??
  10. scheherazade Northern Horse Whisperer Valued Senior Member

    One could broaden one's vocabulary.

    Less offensive when not directed at another person intentionally.

    Most often it is a combination of factors that brings forth the less admirable traits in ourselves and others. Those are the factors that require redress.

    It is also scientifically inaccurate to refer to someone as the posterior orifice of an equine.

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  11. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    I understand, more or less, the gist of what you're saying here.

    But you can't have it both ways-- what's a "lower form of consciousness"? Mold?

    Negroes and Jews were once perceived as having a consciousness so much lower than the White Man's that he used them as lab rats and mules.

    Children have historically been abused and neglected for the same reason.
    Women have suffered the same ridicule and exclusion because of ideas about her stunted psychology.
    Animals are tortured, maimed, tweaked, fondled a million ways a million times a day as their consciousnesses are considered so low they don't even have one.

    And last but not least, Lenny Bruce, a brilliant man who could use words like 'rodomantade' in his comedy and still be wise and hilarious was considered so low on his little consciousness that they'd throw him in jail for saying "cocksucker", which kept him pretty much poor all his life.

    An excerpt from someone who was actually at one of his many trials:
    - Stephanie Harrington, Village Voice

    That's insanity. "Fart", I hear, used to be considered a curse one couldn't say on American television.

    You can say "pussy" and "bitch" on the networks now, and its perfectly normal to see bush and tits on the big screen where only 10 years ago you'd be burned for it.

    This means someone is changing the rules.

    People can only change anything when they're in control of it.


    True, "deploration" is my word, but you did pen this:

    Surely the use of profanities while at a job interview would reflect on the low intelligence of the one using them.

    Why link profanity with low intelligence?

    Richard Fenynman was a brilliant physicist who could turn the air blue with his mouth and while no one would actually printed it, I'm sure a surly temperament like Hume's or Newton's included cursing at a naughty maid or a rival who disagreed with them.

    I understand the physics of censorship, can understand the available stupidity required to enforce it, but why an otherwise intelligent person accepts this mentality is interesting to me.

    If I agree that 'boobookittyfuck' is a priori a bad word for bad people, that "asshole" and Ebonics is a sign of ill breeding, then I'm no different than the Jew rocking back and forth to the Torah believing that eating cheese with milk simultaneously is a sacrilege that makes him better than gentiles.

    In other words, dumb arrogance.

    That was a joke.

    Like I wrote up there, it's a form of narcissism.

    The best way to contour the human ego is to define what its superior to.

    The easiest way to do that, for those with the acumen of a sock, is to take offense at someone's language.

    I remember the first time I realized this was with the sibling at Target, shortly after she began crafting her New Intellectual Personality by reading deeeep philosophers like Nietzsche and Oprah: she frowned ever so delicately and said in the phoniest repugance that I 'cursed' too much.

    Simple, wasn't it? It was like a dwarf looking down on a giant simply because he belonged to the court.

    I don't believe any of you get offended or insulted at the word 'fuck".
    Hearing it, reading it, seeing it doesn't make your food blander.
    Your bed colder.
    Your job worse.
    Your life doesn't change an iota at being called an "assmunch" as it would if you secretly believed you were one.

    That repugnance people evince around you for cursing is a form of control, an ego imposing its fat body on another and to accept it is to suffocate.

    A form of slavery.
  12. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    Know what I consider a far more telling form of dilettantism?

    I can't put my finger on it, but its something about the way scheherazade is writing in here that screams of it.
    Its in her excessive use of 'one' in place of first person singular, as in here:
    "One could broaden one's vocabulary"- scheherazade

    Or choosing to refer to a horse's asshole as the "posterior orifice of an equine".

    What is it? I can't articulate it. Well, I can but I've just burned my diodes trying to read a large chunk of Gustav's link.

    Its like she's trying to showcase how gracefully she uses her gloves when handling shit.
  13. scheherazade Northern Horse Whisperer Valued Senior Member

    Nice choice of word, gendanken.

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  14. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    A buck says you've lost interest by now, but I took the time to read what you linked til my eyes crossed.

    Its becoming clear that fundamental to categorization is understanding the relationships. In other words, try building a motor without appreciating its function within a system and it will never go anywhere.

    I've also found that Leikoff is considered a kook in the linguistics community so I must defer.
    I'm usually leery of exotic claims made about such langauge have 'no words' for such and such and usually resarch it for myself, but this morsel was tasty and good for the shnackings.

    However, I have found source after source citing the Dyirbil language classing women as inanimate things. And that, dear sir, is quite interesting.
  15. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    Please elaborate.

    One must use one's utmost skill in one's glottic endeavors to communicate to one's audience one's penultimate thoughts on the state of things, such as it were.
  16. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    The thing about such rules that splits the educated from the ignorant is that educated people know the rules. The really educated ones also know when it is ok to break them.

    Cursing can usually be put down to a lack of imagination and/or vocabulary on the part of the speaker/writer, or else to an attention-seeking ploy (e.g. an attempt to shock readers). One exception, of course, is in fiction where it is a trait of the character being portrayed. Another is in reportage of certain types.

    Most style/grammar guides these days aren't in the least concerned about split infinitives, either. That "rule" only developed because English is a Latinate language, and it is impossible to split an infinitive in Latin.

    You realise that the entire book was tongue-in-cheek, I hope.

    Repulsion is one thing. That's allowed. It's when you start systematically discriminating against people because of your repulsion that there's a potential problem.

    A better comparison would be Ms Truss refusing to sit next to the sign-writer (or the guy who wrote the stuff for the sign-writer to transcribe onto the bus).

    Blame society.

    Over the centuries, the particular words considered taboo morph. Even the categories considered taboo evolve. And it varies from culture to culture.

    Like it or not, the habitual use of profanity is a class marker. If you knowingly choose to overuse profanity, you'll inevitably get a label for yourself.

    I guess what it comes down to is whether you want to be in the "in crowd", or if you prefer to be a "rebel" - perhaps one without a (worthwhile) cause.
  17. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

    How about..."oh baby, you're so fucking sexy"?

    /Advance apologies for offending one's sensibilities.
  18. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    I don't think you do.

    One that is not intent on going beyond suffering.

    That is a sad mistake, to identify a state of consciousness with the person or being who is currently having it (or who is supposed of having it).

    Your house is on fire: Do you first go to pick up your toothbrush and only then hurry out?

    Using profanity at a job interview is indeed a sign of low intelligence.

    If you haven't read it already, you might like it: Measuring the world.
    (Of course I read it in German, I have no idea what the English translation is like.)

    You don't think there is a difference between me and a prudish socialite?

    Oh, but I meant what I said.

    It can be that.
    It can also be a simple expression of selectiveness. Everyone is selective.

    You think I would do that too?

    Well, that is a point too.

    Sure, it can be that.

    For me, the discomfort upon seeing foul language is tied in with a basic existential fear and sadness.
    I think that people who are intent on making an end to suffering, and people who are happy, do not curse or use foul language.
  19. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Reference, please. He is certainly seen as controversial and eccentric enough by some, but not dismissably crazy.

    Can you give some example of how the native speakers of Dyirbal understand the concept of being "animated"?

    I can't see everything in the Googlebook that Gustav linked to, but I have page 308 available where the four classes are lsited, and it doesn't say there that women are inanimate.
  20. Ripley Valued Senior Member

    You and others here who think similarly are predisposing there, James R—an otherwise unflattering component to bigotry.

    At least a prudish socialite as a hostess is graceful enough to clink cocktail glasses with the likes of any vulgar but impressionable bohemian who doesn't quite know—and who couldn't care less—about which fork to use at the dinner table.

    I can imagine her home: squeaky clean and claustrophobic.
  21. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    And yet she probably earns more money than you will ever see, has a good retirement fund (and proper health insurance) while you don't, and has no real enemies and you do.

    Frankly, I, too, would like to unlock her mystery.
  22. scheherazade Northern Horse Whisperer Valued Senior Member

    You have arrived at a conclusion by means of insufficient evidence.

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    This open concept log cabin is not self cleaning and is presided over by two disrespectful felines, making it nigh impossible to maintain to triple A standards.
  23. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Indeed, grace, I lack.

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