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29.3.06

Not so solemnly swear 

A nice context for an earlier post I made: Andrea Weckerle has a good summary of an MSNBC piece on at her blog today. I was surprised to note that there was a majority of people using , yet also a majority of men and women who felt bothered by it. Therefore, there must be a group of people who both and yet don’t like hearing , which seems a tad hypocritical.
   It may depend on one’s standards as well. I covered bloody hell not too long ago, words which are pretty tame here, but not so in the UK or Canada. are known for being honest and outspoken anyway. However, given the standards in the US over , then I would say the f word hasn’t quite crossed into common, regular usage like the words saucepan or copulating—even MSNBC considers it the ‘gold standard’ of .
   To those who use it and are bothered by hearing it, you can make the first move. Just stop using it. Easy. You’ll either find that (a) your becomes better as you are finding alternative ; or (b) your speech becomes more economical because you have been using the f word as a filler like um or er. Since the majority of people are bothered by it, why not reserve it for those whom you know are OK with it?
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After decades of watching British sitcoms, I've picked up "bugger" and "bloody hell" as - to me - very mild swear words. But it occurred to me that, in other countries, they might be VERY BAD swear words. Now that I work for a company run out of London, I'm trying to wean myself off of them just in case I mutter the wrong imprecation within earshot of a visiting VIP.  
Hi Wade: thanks for commenting. I still think these are fairly mild. When the Australians did their ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’ campaign, British test audiences didn’t have a real problem with the phrase. The advertising standards’ body was probably more conservative than the regular public. ‘Bugger’ is probably rarer there than it is here, but I wonder just how bad it is to British ears. Still, your technique is wiser: better not utter them as you never know who might be offended. Those advertising bodies are still run by their own countrymen—so there must be a sizeable, if not a majority, of Britons who feel uncomfortable with those words.  
Although it is more acceptable here in the North East than other parts of the UK there are a lot of English people who don't consider 'bugger' a mild word - I would advise caution! I can think of other words that are reasonably acceptable in some parts of the UK but fairly offensive in others so, unless you have a local knowledge anyone working in PR is advised to be cautious. Without sounding like a complete fuddy-duddy(!) no-one ever upset anyone by not swearing..  
Philip, they would have hated this commercial from New Zealand.  
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Entries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
   With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.


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