Saturday, January 13, 2007

Thoughts on Language

Yesterday Little Squid asked what a "cuss" was. He heard the word in a movie (Because of Winn Dixie) and did not know what it meant. I admit it, my kids have been sheltered. Neither Mike nor I have ever used "bad" language extensively so cleaning up our act when we had kids was not too trying. The occasional f-word or s-word comes out of our mouths in times of extreme stress -- dropping an anvil on ones toe qualifies but misplacing the car keys does not. My feeling is simply that one can use nicer language to express the same feelings. Sometimes it is just a dumb substitution like saying that Mommy is a softie and not a sucker. Other times I try to be more colorful and descriptive -- and usually fail. Usually though, I just say nothing. I am not perfect and the occasional explicative does come out of my mouth after a so and so cuts me off.

Working in a high school can either numb you to the presence of a certain group of words (all starting with F) or get you angry that these kids can't be more creative. Why not, instead of calling someone a "bad" name, use a variation on those great ethnic curses. "So and So isn't fit to clean up after my camel!" "That piece of lace looks like it was used as a washrag for my pet walrus."

Can we start a movement here? If you stumble on a post where "common" language is used, leave an affirmative comment such as "you are so right, that son of a turtle herder isn't fit to clean your cookie jar." Or "I bet with some blocking that sweater will no longer look like the bottom of an orangutan."

Anyone with me?


fillyjonk said...

Another good source of "creative" language is the Tintin books - Captain Haddock's "Cercopithecus!" or "Bashi-bazouk!" or "Blazing blue barnacles!" (that one is a personal favorite).

I've also adopted, from the Coneheads, "Mips! Mips! Mips!" I've used that one many times when I'm in traffic and someone does something boneheaded. Another good thing about it is that it usually makes me laugh, which defuses the anger I feel towards the turtle-herder who ticked me off in the first place.

I do try to use "creative" rather than "common" language but do not always succeed.

Warrior Knitter said...

Nertz! is a another good one from the "olden" days. I like your idea & it challenges you to be creative when you least likely want to be. I'm in.

If you could figure out how to pronounce some of the word verifications they'd interesting substitutions. I've got "tluiarp" this round.

I'm still celebrating Delurking week. I'm one of your regular readers although I don't post often. Great blog!

Sprite said...

You know, you're so right! Somet
imes I am so good at creative discriptions rather than course words and other times, I seem to fall into a rut. (usually if I'm too fogged out or tired to let the creative side in and my brain takes a short cut to the small minded words)

Sometimes I have to pull a few words out of my mouth to *shock* my clients so they *listen*. Sort of getting on their level. At work everyone is surprised if I come out with a colorful expletive. I'm certainly not perfect, but I try and be careful. I think in my blogging, sometimes I can get lazy or immune from hanging around other blogs.. lol *rolls eyes at self*

Good reminders and good rules to live by.

Sprite said...

ummmm.. ok... and teacher, teacher... you will excuse all those typos, won't you? Honest I still have a fever. *laughs at self and rolls eyes* Don't ask me why I didn't proof read before I posted - but there ya have it - a blonde brain that's over heated. *g*