10/10/2007

Different ways in which we swear

Generally, I avoid swearing and hearing expletives during a conversation is a big-turn off. This does not mean I am above using the 'f' word. Somehow I am partial to it and I have been told that I use it for all the wrong reasons.

This led me to wonder why we swear:

There is cathartic swearing, as when we slice our thumb along with the bagel. There are imprecations, as when we offer advice to someone who has cut us off in traffic. There are vulgar terms for everyday things and activities, as when Bess Truman was asked to get the president to say fertilizer instead of manure and she replied, "You have no idea how long it took me to get him to say manure." There are figures of speech that put obscene words to other uses, such as the barnyard epithet for insincerity, the army acronym snafu, and the gynecological-flagellative term for uxorial dominance. And then there are the adjective-like expletives that salt the speech and split the words of soldiers, teenagers, and Irish rock-stars.

Going by this analysis, I can say my swearing falls in the first category, a letting out of steam and to some extent an expression of joy.

However, the question I have upper most in my mind is, do we need to swear?