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Joined: 10 Feb 2010
Age: 44
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Location: still in ninja land

14 Aug 2010, 8:11 am

Some languages don't have curse words. The closest concept is saying extremely demeaning or rude things to someone, but there are no taboo words. That leads me to think cursing is more cultural than linguistic, especially considering what people choose to use as curse words.

And regarding cursing in a Buddhist context, there is a story about Geshe Langri Tangpa, a Tibetan teacher and fully enlightened being (a holy being in the tradition) who lived about a thousand years ago and one day while he was sitting in a cave above a river he heard a potter down below. The potter was trying to cross the river but kept slipping on the rocks and breaking his pots. Each time he would yell out "Oh Langri Tangpa!" in frustration. The Geshe found this very funny and laughed out loud, one of the very few times he did so.

Other than that, in Buddhism, the Buddha does not damn things, so there isn't really a basis for cursing in his name.


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Joined: 3 Jul 2010
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16 Aug 2010, 3:21 am

i totally forgot i posted this.

But i swear that swear words do stem from one culture being swarmed into a bigger culture, and thus their language becomes demeaned, and a long way down the windy road of tradition, we have what swear words consist of today. It might not be the germans, but one of the pre-new world groups, at least.

The only word that is TEXTUALLY considered a swear word in religion is the word God. (At least i'm pretty sure) I know in the hebrew bible, he wasn't even known as God, he was known as el, or some other word similar to el. Which means The, pretty much meaning that he is everything, and nothing, but by personalizing him and giving him the name of God, that word becomes damning because we see him as a named person.

Anyway, i may speak like all of this is one hundred percent correct, but that's sort of my thing, and i took these classes long enough ago, that i probably wouldn't argue these points too aggressively.

Tho i do swear (no pun attended haha) that swear words stem from a demeaned culture. I only took linguistics last semester. and i found the topic interesting, and would have thought i remembered it correctly.


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Joined: 19 Jun 2010
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16 Aug 2010, 6:56 am

corr i love linguistics


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Joined: 28 Mar 2009
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16 Aug 2010, 7:45 pm

My opinion:

There are two (main) different types of swears - the ones relating to bodily/sexual functions (or just "dirty" names for sexual organs, i.e. "penis" = "d**k"), and the ones that curse in the name of a deity/-ies.

The reason why I think people swear by those particular kinds of things?!'s difficult to guess, but I think nearly all of them at least started out as ways of provoking deeply religious people. The "f word", for instance, seems to have its very BASIS in how sex is a "dirty" activity (its origins date back to a German word meaning "to penetrate", hence the reason why "screw" is frequently used as a euphemism for the word). "Making love" does sound more wholesome than "screw" (or "penetrate", for that matter), doesn't it?!

And of course, if someone says "G*d d*mn it to h*ll!", it's definitely going to stir up some religious wrath from somebody!! The reason people curse in the name of religion?! Probably because a lot of them thought the whole idea (of religion) sounded so fantastical that they wanted to convince the more religious folks that "nothing bad would happen" if they swore in the name of a deity/-ies.

Being an agnostic with a slight basis in Buddhism, I pretty much see no reason to swear (unless you're so angry you feel like the Incredible Hulk, lol). Perhaps nothing SUPERNATURALLY bad would happen to me if I swore, but I think socially it has its harmful side effects (of course, we MADE these "side effects" happen OURSELVES, but such has become the way of the world so I might as well deal with it). If the only thing a swear word is good for is making the more saintly folks among us angry, then what's the point?! My relatives (and the ones I get along with BETTER at that) are mostly Mormon, and despite the fact that I don't agree with them on everything regarding their religion, I'm not just gonna try to make them angry for my lack of understanding/appreciation for it! :x I think the best thing to do is just let them be!! All this anger is just holding us back from (emotionally) evolving! At least that's what I think...