Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Excuse Me!

I would love to see the day when people stretch on fine Italian leather couches sipping a martini and smelling fish, paying an extra for stale ones.
I would love to see the day when people would give up that Italian leather for sewn cotton wool from a mechanic's garage.
I would love to see the day when people would give up that martini for lizard barf!

And why not? I am sure that day will come, especially when the today is the day when people prefer to foul mouth rather than speak clean and clear. It is extremely annoying when people find it fashionable to give a fine cloak to their inadequacy in holding a decent verbal conversation. Nowadays it is considered fashionable to swear. Of course, it is ironic when the same intent is communicated in, say, Hindi or Tamil or Marathi and it is termed vulgar. Pray tell me how does it get to be vulgar when its English cousin is still quite fashionably smoking a thin Camel on the arm of a bachelor armchair?

I am not ignorant of the terms employed to describe various things. When I was in Lucknow, I used to write poetry with the most vulgar words. I was 11 then and had the least clue about what these meant beyond being something hush-hush. I think that was my last year of swearing. I do not claim to never swear beyond that point in history. I do. I do say "shit" and occasionally make the heavens cringe by saying "Holy shit!". But I am holding myself against the firing squad as well.

A language is for communicating the true intent of the speaker. Slang is out. I do not understand what slang has in a place strictly for communicating. If it is a fun party with a lot of boisterous young lads and lasses, then communication is not the focus and hence anything is fine. Hence, I fail to see why slang enters conversations. Abbreviations and shorter words aren't really slang. They are primarily convenience. How many people would say International Business Machines? How many people would say television? How many people say refrigerator?

In places where communication is not the primary focus, slang is permissible, but why foul mouth. What follows is not advisable for the weak hearted. You are welcome to read other posts/blogs.

I hear people say "Shut-the-f***-up" Doesn't make sense no matter what you try to glean from it. It is terribly saddening to find people at the loss of words on such a simple matter. All it would take is to memorise "Shut up" or "Shut your mouth".

The word "Bastard" has a clear meaning. I suppose it was once slang but is no longer that. And its origin is not American. Its usage to a clinical case of illegitimacy or of suspect origin, is fair. When used to rebuke someone, it makes less sense. When used to happily greet someone, it makes least sense!! :-o

Ass, which once was a cousin of the horse, is the American version of a British slang of arse (we cannot help en-slang a slang word further with the hope that two negatives would in some generation - maybe this one - make it a positive) is so often used that I wonder whether it has taken the role of some unknown punctuation mark. Everyone unacceptable is an ass**** and everyone cute is also the same. In certain programming languages we have the concept of run-time-type-information; this appears to be the case of RTTI in real life!

And then there are words used to describe parts of the male and female anatomy. Frankly, I do not know why we need more words than what already exist. And the new words are not phonetically very inviting nor are their origins (and they are bastards in the true sense) very clear in capturing the purpose. A typical case of imagination running haywire.

I doubt whether it would be possible to eliminate slang entirely from our vocabulary as most of us do not consider it time well spent to research it. At times it is more colourful and adds a touch of spice and tang to the atmosphere. Scuzzy is fun to hear instead of the post's title. Yo is livelier than Hello. But we cannot eliminate proper usage and speaking a language (any language) correctly. It is appalling when one hears a bunch of teenagers talk amongst themselves. A generous touch of 2-3 languages well shaken to produce a language exclusive to themselves. Mails carry SMS-ese and I spend an extra few minutes trying to decode them.

Why can't we respect the language that we love to employ for communicating, and speak it correctly?
Has communication become something to "get-it-over-and-done-with"?

You might want to read this rather amusing article.

2 comments:

  1. iniya uLavAga innAtha kURalkani iruppak kAy kavarnththaRRu - Tiruvalluvar. Glad to know there are moer people in the club of non-swearers. This is a post after my own heart man!!!

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  2. @Eroteme:
    I think you don't understand nor have experienced the immense satisfaction that swearing gives me/many others, or such-words-as-are-anathema-to-you, give me when I use them for what they are meant for - to express my frustration or anger at a situation against which I have no control, and which is quite beyond my power to change.
    The satisfaction is satisfying, and the relief from the tension and stress of a hopeless situation, even better...

    Obviously the choicest members of your dripping-honey-not-words-club will show me the door, if my own inveterate habit of foulmouthing hadn't already done so!
    :-D

    Cute post...

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