Taboo Language

Topics: Profanity, Fuck, Obscenity Pages: 8 (3048 words) Published: February 12, 2013
Taboo language: FUCK
Is it no longer obscene?

All languages have words that are considered taboo – words that are not supposed to be said or used. Taboo words or swearwords, can be used in many different ways and they can have different meanings depending on what context they appear in. Another aspect of taboo words is the euphemisms that are used in order to avoid obscene speech. This paper will focus on the f-word which replaces the word fuck, and as the study will show it also have other meanings and usages. First, it is a fact that from now on the use of curse words have become part of male and female’s everyday language. No longer is it uncommon to hear a person use an offensive word to express their emotions. Not only is it unusual to hear in general, but it has become normal to hear cursed words that can be either obscene or profane. These two words do not mean exactly the same thing but are both considered as taboo. Not to be extremely precise but just to give a general insight, obscene depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, while broadly, the word profane refers to irreverence towards God or holy things, particularly to the blasphemous use of the name of God. So it seems that what first refers to foul language actually gathered together blasphemy and an unholy manner to talk about sex, that is to say that both words clearly appear to be linked to religion. No matter whether they are profane words (ex. Damn or hell) or obscene words (ex. Motherfucker, cunt, pussy or wanker) they are all considered as part of taboo language. Yet, this kind of language, these forbidden words undergo some change through time because their use depend on the people and their culture. Furthermore, as the time goes, new data enter into account as the difference in use between genders for instance: is girls using less bad words than boys? It has come to my attention through the media and listening or participating in everyday conversations that cursing has become something that was once a taboo to socially acceptable for both male and female. So, first, to begin with, we shall search and understand the meaning of the word “taboo”. A taboo (tə'buː, tæ'buː) is a vehement prohibition of an action based on the belief that such behaviour is either too sacred or too accursed for ordinary individuals to undertake, under threat of supernatural punishment. Such prohibitions are present in virtually all societies and all cultures. The word has been somewhat expanded in the social sciences to include strong prohibitions relating to any area of human activity or custom that is sacred or forbidden based on moral judgment and religious beliefs. Thus, what counts as taboo language is something define by culture, and not by anything inherent in the language. Etymology:

The term "taboo" comes from the Tongan tapu or Fijian tabu ("prohibited", "disallowed", "forbidden"), related among others to the Maori tapu. Its English use dates to 1777 when the British explorer James Cook visited Tonga and made a linguistic discovery: the term taboo. Describing the Tongans’ cultural practices, he wrote: Not one of them would sit down, or eat a bit of anything.... On expressing my surprise at this, they were all taboo, as they said; which word has a very comprehensive meaning; but, in general, signifies that a thing is forbidden and

When anything is forbidden to be eaten, or made use of, they say, that it is taboo. So the term firstly meant “to forbid”, or something “forbidden” and was then translated to Cook as "consecrated, inviolable, forbidden, unclean or cursed”, eventually it was described by Europeans in use as “the common expression when anything is not to be touched”. Moreover, the Tongans used tabu as an adjective. Cook, besides borrowing the word into English, also made it into a noun referring to the prohibition itself and a verb meaning "to make someone or something taboo." From its origins in Polynesia the word...
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