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Americans and "the f-word"  
von MartinKr, 2017-09-13, 09:26  like dislike  Spam?  185.145.66....
I try to figure out the somewhat strange relationship Americans seem to have to the word "fucking". The media treats "fucking" as a total breach of p.c., at least a phrase like "the f-word" suggests this (like "the n-word"). While there seems to be a wide social consensus that saying "nigger" is not appropriate, there are a lot of people who use "fucking" quite a lot in spoken language - as an intensifier or spoken exclamation mark in every second sentence ("my fucking car did not start this morning"). And they do not seem to bother at all.

Then I recently listened to a discussion where an older lady got upset about this word and reacted with "stop swearing". Now I would make a clear distinction between vulgar/ raunchy language and swearing - for the latter you need a religious reference. Isn´t that a clear distinction for Americans also?

Would love to hear what Americans think about this topic.
von Windfall (GB), 2017-09-13, 10:00  like dislike  Spam?  
I'm not American, but "fucking" is definitely a swear word. I've never heard that swearing needs a religious reference. Perhaps it did originally, but that's not what "swearing" or "swear word" refers to nowadays.
Oxford defines a swear word as an offensive word, used especially as an expression of anger.
von uffiee, 2017-09-13, 10:25  like dislike  Spam?  80.144.119...
an interesting little tale from one of my (grown-up) sons. He was with friends and family. As soon as the older people (35+) left, the language became a lot more "earthy". Before it was quite neutral, afterwards it was effing this, effing that etc. He said the change was quite abrupt.
von uffiee, 2017-09-13, 10:26  like dislike  Spam?  80.144.119...
.. in the UK
it's strange: What's placed under a taboo are not so much the words themselves, but ...  #878492
von anon., 2017-09-13, 10:33  like dislike  Spam?  92.72.2...
... but the mode of conveyance of their meaning. It seems more or less (well, a little less so) alright to say
"f-word" or "c-word" even so the brain of a listener immediately knows what is meant (and the speaker knows what he explicitly thinks). But dare you say "fucking" or "cunt"! The effect is definitely the same - the listener thinks what he is supposed to think.
drinking alcohol in public from a bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag isn't much different ....  #878494
von anon., 2017-09-13, 10:38  like dislike  Spam?  92.72.2...
von uffiee, 2017-09-13, 11:45  like dislike  Spam?  80.144.119...
non-natives should be aware that sensitivities vary greatly, between countries, social stras. age groups and gender. Although TV and the media have made greater use of swearing, at the end of the day, it can still be offensive and give a very very bad impression of the speaker.
Non-natives should proceed with extreme caution.
von uffiee, 2017-09-13, 11:45  like dislike  Spam?  80.144.119...
Grammar refers to expletives  #878514
von Proteus-, 2017-09-13, 13:10  like dislike  Spam?  194.118.54....
Generous use of expletives indicates a marked lack of linguistic skills, let alone elegance.
E x p l e t i v e  #878515
von Proteus-, 2017-09-13, 13:14  like dislike  Spam?  194.118.54....
von callixte (US), 2017-09-13, 14:13  like dislike  Spam?  
US Americans may be reluctant to weigh in here, because any generalization will almost certainly be met with an unending stream of exceptions.  But a few observations may clarify things.

The media may seem to equate the f and n words, out of fear that they would be found offensive.  But that doesn’t make them equally objectionable.   I suspect people in the media privately use the word  “fucking” but shun the n-word, just as the rest of us do. In my experience  “fucking” is commonly used as an intensifier, but only when the speaker is sure that it will be found acceptable (or at least overlooked).

I agree with uffie.  Non-natives should  proceed carefully when using expletives.
von alex-k (DE), 2017-09-13, 14:18  like dislike  Spam?  
4;MartinKr zwei Anmerkungen:
1) Das N-Wort solltest Du nicht über den selben Kamm scheren wie z. B. F und C. Es ist so aufgeladen mit ungerechter bis abscheulicher Geschichte, dass man es als Mensch mit weißer Hautfarbe am besten gar nicht gebraucht (außerhalb einer linguistischen Diskussion). Menschen mit schwarzer Hautfarbe haben diesen negativ besetzten Begriff für sich zurückerobert. Salonfähig ist er dadurch nicht. Als bleichgesichtige Langnase gilt hier absolute Vorsicht. Auch in den USA geraten Menschen, deren Vorfahren mal Sklaven gehalten haben könnten, immer wieder in schwieriges Fahrwasser, wenn sie das N-Wort in den Mund nehmen (zuletzt Bill Maher). Im deutschen Sprachraum ist dieses Tabu weniger stark ausgeprägt, was ich persönlich nicht i. O. finde.
2) Der Gebrauch von Schimpfworten bringt einen in DE weniger schnell in die Bredouille als in Amerika. Und auch innerhalb der Vereinigten Staaten gibt es Unterschiede, z. B. je nachdem wie religiös ein Gegenüber ist oder wie gut man ihn kennt. Simpel heruntergebrochen gelten im höflichen Umgang mit Menschen, deren Toleranz zu Schimpfworten man nicht genau kennt, die Regeln der Federal Communications Commission fürs frei empfangbare Fernsehen (Wikipedia(EN): Seven_dirty_words). Diese Regeln gelten nicht für das Kabelfernsehen oder VoD, weshalb dort mehr geschimpft wird.
Thanks for your feedback, guys!  #878565
von MartinKr, 2017-09-13, 21:52  like dislike  Spam?  185.145.66....
Now this definition of swearing (=fluchen) windfall linked to actually surprised me a lot:

Being raised in a German christian family in the 70s, there was a big distinction between "expressing anger with vulgar language" (f.e. shit / Scheisse), and swearing, which was clearly defined as "expressing anger to god" - common examples would be "Kruzifix" and "Herrgott Sakrament". This was 10 out 10 in offensiveness - all non religious words where only 5 out of 10. But I am not sure if there are even good translations for these words in english, and I never noticed that someone uses these type of swears in english. So ok, "effing = swearing" - got it (still a bit strange).
oh, what about "Jesus!" or "Jesus Christ!"  #878567
von MartinKr, 2017-09-13, 22:06  like dislike  Spam?  185.145.66....
Would people categorise these words as swearing, if used in a context of expressing anger? Again, in the value system I was raised, offending people with vulgar language is one thing, offending people with any kind of religious reference is a different level (and should be avoided at all cost).

And of course I am aware that in the US, the number one no-go offensive area is race, which is based on history, religion seams to be an area that declines.
von Windfall (GB), 2017-09-13, 22:21  like dislike  Spam?  
It's probably cultural and probably also partly depends on the family you were raised in and their religious views. I find "Jesus" and its abbreviation "jeez" and also "bloody hell", which has a religious origin, much milder than "fucking hell" or "fuck". UK society is generally less religious than US society, but I'm not sure that it's much different for people in the US.
LINK  #878574
von Proteus-, 2017-09-13, 23:06  like dislike  Spam?  193.83.1....
Thanks guys!  #878584
von MartinKr, 2017-09-14, 01:12  like dislike  Spam?  185.145.66....
von uffiee, 2017-09-14, 11:24  like dislike  Spam?  80.144.119...
agree with Windfall. But I believe it's quite different in the States.

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