Nanowrimo-ing Monkey #4 – Swear Words

Hidey Ho Scribblers!  J Monkeys here looking at the back side of Nanowrimo 2012 day 23.  I have 33,076 of 46,000 words written so far.  Don’t know about Nano check out my Nov 3rd post here.

Last week, I wrote about that hated bit of grammar, homophones.  I suppose comedians don’t hate homophones.  They do make great puns.  This week I’m tackling the other common topic around my household – Swear Words.  Capitalization intended.

We have 3 little kiddies running around here at Monkey Manor and mommy has a potty mouth.  Well, I used to.  When kiddie numero uno came along, I quickly realized that quitting the use of swear words was not gonna happen.  So I changed them to other words, that wouldn’t shame me when my kids repeat them in public.  Or at church.

For this to work, I found that I needed to maintain the flavor of the word, as it rolled off the tongue.  Some of the same consonant sounds were important and it had to be the same number of syllables as the original.

  • So that guy who cut me off on the highway – he’s a “Dill Weed” instead of that other d-word ending in “head.”
  • When I’ve put all of the groceries into the car, strapped the children into their car seats and I’m running late already, but realize there is a small hole in the bottom of the last gallon of milk and I have to get everybody back out of the car and drag my late butt back to the store to make an exchange…that calls for the big guns, “Butter Lover.”  Same syllables as mother@#$%er, without the shame when it’s repeated at school.
  • Now last but not least, the big guy – also a favorite of mine – had to find similarity in an obscure way.  Fudge was just too close to the original, so I use a different yummy home-made candy: Peanut Brittle.

In addition to changing the curse words I use at home, I’ve adopted another practice my Peacock friends use.  It’s a word rating system.  All words find their place in the system, somewhere between 1 and 5.  I’ve introduced this to my second grader and she gets it – she just wants me to tell her all of the #5 words which, of course, I can’t because they are un-utterable.

  1. All normal words are ones.  All the everyday words and in fact all of the words in this blog so far (well, at least the words that actually appear – those alluded to are 3’s or 4’s) are ones.
  2. Number two words are the little kid “bad” words – pee, poop, butt, boob – those kinds of things that my 4 year old boys think are hysterical.  These are those words that we probably want to think twice about using with our great Aunt Susan, for example or Father McKestry at Catholic School, but otherwise they’re ok.  He-he.  I said “but”.
  3. Number 3 words are not nice words that find themselves on the lower tier of the adult swears.  Interestingly enough, like many of the number 2 words, many 3’s are also bathroom words or body parts, just not the nicer, more g-rated terms.
  4. Fours are the big guns when it comes to swears – many of them beginning with F.
  5. Fives are the un-utterables.  In my mind, these words should never be uttered by anyone except perhaps by history professors or linguists in a lesson on how words can be hurtful for generations at a time.  Quite frankly, if I hear my children utter one of these, they are very likely to get their mouth washed out with soap – even if they are 35 years old when it happens.  These words are ugly racist terms, misogynistic terms, hate filled words.  You know the ones I mean.

The plan with this rating scale is to help my little ones learn that most words are perfectly fine to use but that there are some others that are more powerful and need to be used with care. 

Today’s secret: If I call you a dill weed or other herb, it’s not complementary.

Today’s question: Do you swear?  Do you use the real thing or like to substitute?


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