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Americanisms

Postby Slava » Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:09 pm

As an American, I'm afraid I don't get why some words are considered vile. Any suggestions?


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/14130942
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:46 pm

Probably convention. For example, we could use a good short word for sexual intercourse. The available words don't work well for a loving mating. Mating itself sounds clinical as does intercourse. Likewise for defecation and excrement. The available words sound either pedantic or crude. No idea why. BEyond convention.
Of course some other words no longer seem vile, such as damn and hell used as expletives.
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Postby Slava » Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:52 pm

Here's an update from the Beeb:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14201796

It's user submitted words and phrases.

Here's a slight debunking from the Economist:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/johnson/2011/07/peeves
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Postby Slava » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:58 am

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Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:53 am

After several weeks! I finally went to the link and found my post came from a misunderstanding of Slava's question. After reading, it occurs to me that equally wide variations occur from all dialects. The article refers to "guys" as applying to both sexes, for example. But until I spent a couple of years in California 50 years ago, I had only heard it referring to males. One could probably make an equally long list of variant usages from various parts of the US. See the Yankee/Southern test, for example.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:57 am

I've often wondered why (without reading all your
citations above, folks) why the names of all the
parts of our body, other than the genitalia, are
from the Anglo-Saxon. The genitalia are Latin based.

{Now I stand to be corrected on this, but so I have been
told}
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Britishisms

Postby Slava » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:07 pm

Slate.com has a reverse take on the influx of words:

http://www.slate.com/id/2302356/pagenum/all/

I say we all just get over it and deal.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:56 am

LukeJavan8,

You asked about non-Anglo Saxon words for genitalia. “Genitalia” is one such word.

Tender sensibilities are protected by guarded speech. Euphemisms are used and they must be changed as they become vulgar in turn. The practice extends to other body parts, to many bodily functions, to certain activities, to certain items, to certain social and personal proclivities, and to certain professions. These are not all sexually related. We should first note that this is only the case in “polite” society, whatever that is. I actually heard a sermon in a large church (one of those mega-churches we have discussed in another thread) in which the preacher said he knew a person “who thought his own s*** didn’t stink.” Let me hasten to tell you that, since I travel in “polite” circles, this is a church I would not recommend. Some of my really redneck relatives use all these Anglo Saxon words in ordinary conversation every day. My sainted grandmother could spout a few such words, although she usually kept that a secret, as she did her snuff dipping. We were always amused that she apparently thought she had us all fooled.

This form of speaking has been styled Victorian, although I am sure only the crème de la crème ever actually practiced it consistently. In Victorian times, polite people pretended that women did not have legs at all. When legs must be discussed they were called “limbs”. Some sensitive souls covered the legs of furniture so that idle minds would not stray. The word “bull” was forbidden since everyone knew, not just etymologists, what that really meant. A bull was called a “gentleman cow”. Some people are shocked at calling a young man a “stud” when they only mean he is handsome or talented.

There is much more, but I think I have given the subject a fair introduction.
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