Do you swear?

Discussion in 'General Language' started by Ceit, Feb 18, 2006.

  1. Ceit

    Ceit Well-Known Member

    This question occured to me in another thread, in another topic, but I think it's best asked here. Although we English speakers swear all the time, we don't have that many swear words. We just get a lot of use out of them by using them as much as possible and in as many variations as possible. Some can be almost every part of speech. Other languages have thousands of different words and phrases that express varying degrees of vulgarity or anger, Spanish for instance. Where does Czech come in? Do you have a few well-used words or are you more imaginative? And if you're more imaginative, do your words and phrases tend to focus on a particular act or body part, or are they pretty general? To give an example, Spanish has a wide variety of ugly things to say, but a lot of them have to do with excretion. I know this is an all-ages forum so I'm not asking for publicly posted examples, I'm only asking about the concept of swearing.
  2. czechchris

    czechchris Well-Known Member

    I beg to differ. Not all English speakers swear. Many of us swear not at all, and actually find swearing offensive. Generalities can be misleading.

    By all means swear if you wish; I feel it demonstrates a limited vocabulary. I would much rather increase my vocabulary than rely on swearwords in order to communicate.
  3. Majkl vP

    Majkl vP Active Member

    Thank God, Czech language is very rich and flexible in swearing. There's an unimaginably wide amount of swearing phrases. And when talking about flexibility, it means that you even can swear the way you've just made up in a few seconds - so you use the phrase no one's heard before, nevertheless, everybody understands that you've just sweared. 8)
    And last but not least, there are some old swearing phrases which find their origin in the Monarchy. Because of our olden coexistence with the Austrians, they originate from German.
  4. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Once I heard that the biggest repertoire of swearings is in Dutch and Czech.
    Maybe it's really because of number of loans (not only of German origin, Majkl :wink:).

    BTW, what kind of swearing is discussed? What's the exact meaning of "to swear"?
  5. Ceit

    Ceit Well-Known Member

    Sorry to offend, czechchris. Yes, I was using a generalization, although I am well aware that there is a large segment of the English-speaking population that prefers not to swear. But I would love to hear what comes out of those people's mouths when they, say, smash their finger in a door. Maybe they're just lucky enough to have lives that give them no unpleasant surprises. :roll:
  6. Majkl vP

    Majkl vP Active Member

    I didn't say all of them are of German origin only.. But there was a plenty of them.. In fact, the young generation of ours does not use them anymore - we don't need them.
    In my opinion, the number of Czech swearing phrases is uncountable, as the new and new expressions are still coming to existence. 8)
  7. czechchris

    czechchris Well-Known Member

    I do not take offence at your comments, Ceit, I merely wish to set the record straight. (I actually take more offence at the use of the swearwords themselves!)

    Unfortunately, we who prefer not to swear do not have such lives. However, the unfortunate circumstance you describe tends to cause, first, a sharp intake of breath, and then that is followed by long, loud "Owwwwwwwwww"s.
  8. Majkl vP

    Majkl vP Active Member

    2 Czechris> Oooowww? Who do you want to believe this? :D I'm thoroughly convinced that after you have your finger(s) smashed in a door, you scream out your ooowww word followed by another sh-beginning term (or even worse). Or are you about to claim that you're averse to the "folksy tongue"? 8)
  9. czechchris

    czechchris Well-Known Member

    Majkl vP, I really don't want anyone to believe anything they don't want to. I merely state the truth. I do not swear, have not sworn for 35 years, even under the sort of situations you describe. That is the simple truth. You may believe it or not as you wish.
  10. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    The funniest swear word in English is _hell_. The first time I was told it was a four-letter word, I thought they were pulling my leg. When I realized they were sincere, I found it so amusing.
    Try and use the equivalent term in other languages, and nobody will know you are swearing. :lol:
    In French, the closest equivalent is found in the mouth of Capitaine HADDOCK, Tintin's friend, who sometimes shouts: "Enfer et damnation!" (Hell and damnation!) Of course nobody finds it offensive.
    French Canadians are also fun with their _tabernacle_ (ditto).
    Has the Czech language similar taboo words connected with religion?
  11. Majkl vP

    Majkl vP Active Member

    Living in the Czech Republic is religion unbound, so it's hard to talk about 'taboo words' to this effect. But several swearing expressions and phrases contain the religion ground constandly. Some of them are connected to Jesus Christ. Also the word 'krucifix' is a swearing word for Czechs. Many Czechs swear 'krucifix' without knowing what this word originally stands for. 8) (I don't know how the krucifix looks like either. ;-) )
    The word 'Hell' is very interesting as well. Actually, the English 'hell' has more sincere meaning than the Czech synonym 'peklo'. Neither are Czechs afraid of the devil - for us, the devil is only a fairy tale figure and no personification of evil at all.
  12. Ir

    Ir Well-Known Member

    I disagree that there are few swear words in English - there are loads! And especially in Irish English, we have loads of extra ones. The F word is the most common swear word, and in Ireland there is a very similar word, 'feck', which is used in almost exactly the same way without anyone getting offended. 'Feck' is from the Irish exclamation 'feic' ('look'). On TV and radio in Ireland and England it is completely acceptable to say, 'Oh Feck' or use 'feckin' as an adjective.

    Equally there are many levels of swear word in English - 'sod' or 'git' are mild whereas 'tw*t' and'c**t' are progressively more offensive.

    I swear quite a lot depending on the context - obviously less so in formal company and more so in all-male close-friend surroundings in the pub etc. Swearing is a linguistic way of communicating intimacy or closeness/friendliness in certain environments where other (eg physical) forms of intimacy/closeness would be inappropriate.

    The most common Czech swearword is 'do prd***' isn't it? Is it mild or strong, what do people think?
  13. Eva2

    Eva2 Well-Known Member

    >Has the Czech language similar taboo words connected with religion?<

    Curiously enough, not that many. Anguish or bad surprise bring up Jesus and Maria. The older swearing expressions which involve religion like "himmelhergot" are of German origin.

    Vulgarities include sexual organs and body waste and they are not very different from other languages. Vulgarity in Czech is far more digusting to me than in English or French. Czech bad words have a peculiar resonance!

    You are right, Qcumber: French Canadians, heavily oppressed by religion in the past, have developped a special way of swearing by simply naming religious objects: tabernacle, calice, etc.
  14. Majkl vP

    Majkl vP Active Member

    As you've already written, this is a highly used expression - that's right. Strong or mild - compare it - it's a synonym to the English "oh sh*t", but maybe a bit stronger. Literally it means "into the arse". However, some savvy Czech people can replace the arse-word by another one being not so meaningful, but having a similar sounding - the effect stays the same, but such swearing looks more elegant and sophisticated. 8)
  15. Ceit

    Ceit Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah, the regional swear words. I don't think they have quite the same impact outside of their area though, I mean, people would know you're swearing, but they wouldn't feel the same emotional charge...

    Interesting that religious swears remain in use, even when the original context is gone. I find the idea of atheists saying "Jesus Christ!" (or something similar) quite amusing. If the name doesn't mean anything to you, how can it be a swear word?? :lol: I guess these things just have deep cultural roots.
  16. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Majkl vP, generally, swear words refer to taboos associated with excretions, sexuality and religion (see Eva2's posts). Originally to swear was to use a forbidden term to show that you had the courage to do it, and to prove that nothing would happen to you (you did not drop dead).

    Hence the fact that, in the development of individuals, rash small boys are quick to use swear words while cautious little girls wait and observe the result :) .

    As historical time goes by, swear words become integrated in the general language, lose part of their offensive power, and their relationship to ancient taboos is forgotten altogether.

    Whether you are an atheist or not, Majkl vP, does not matter at all. Like money, language is a code. You can't open a bank and circulate your own money. You have to use the money of the country you live in. Similarly you have to use the words of the common language with the values attached to them whether you believe in them or not.

    The clerics of the three Middle-Eastern religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - have always tried to control humans through barbaric punishments for those who did not accept their rule. And their rule is based on a certain number of taboos. So using taboo terms was very bold in the Middle-Ages. Not nowadays, at least in the Western World.

    In the case of Christianity and European languages, most of the taboos were developed during the Middle-Ages. Modern users often do not know why this or that term is a swear word. For example I wonder how many native speakers of English know _bloody_ as in _bloody fool_ comes from a reference to Jesus-Christ's blood, that _hell_ as in the _the hell with it_ was a metaphor for a female's vagina and _devil_ for a male's penis, etc., the basic principle being to humiliate men in their sexuality because of the myth of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit thus committing the original sin.
  17. Majkl vP

    Majkl vP Active Member

    2 Qcumber> What an impressive explication. :) I was just writing of how Czechs swear nowadays. I didn't think you wanted it this detailed. 8)
  18. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Yes, I tend to be verbose. :) Sorry.

    BTW. A short list of the most common swear words and idioms in Czech (without those stupid ***) would be useful.
  19. gypzy

    gypzy Well-Known Member


    I totally agree with czechchris. I can't say I've been an angel all the time with my language but I try. I hate when certain men use certain words with dual meanings. For example; couple are in a bar,pub, klub, whatever, man in the couple gets drunk and p****d off at another man and says things like "I hate that f****n c**t Ill kick that stupid f****rs a**, b*****d! Ok, now the couple goes home. He's feeling horny (can I say that?). Now time for those "romantic words" :roll: , "Hey baby I want to f*** you,....c***...., you have a nice a**" then silently his attitude is "I don't care if we make little b****** of our own, the state will pay for it." There was a time in which women would not let men get away with this. This is just one of many bad products of feminism. Many states in the US had anti swear laws on the books. In fact Michigan never officially erased theirs. A few years back a sherriff was out fishing when some boys in a boat full of teens were swearing and the boys were arrested for swearing in front of females and possibly where minors could hear. I think the case was thrown out, not sure, but at least this sherriff had backbone. Well before I get too off track....

    By 4 Now
  20. Eva2

    Eva2 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the lesson in English, Qucumber! I always wondered why bloody and hell were considered such strong words. An interesting post.

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