Cursing has lost its sting


By Lyndsi Winfield , Business & Social Media Director

Just walking through the hallways here at Fairmont, you will realize that profanity in this generation has become a part of normal language. Profanities, also called curse or cuss words, bad words, foul language or swearing, are used so much that it has lost its effectiveness in spoken language.

As children, we are taught that swearing is unacceptable and inappropriate, but personally I find this hypocritical since we are raised listening to it in our music, television shows, media and sometimes out of our parents mouths themselves.

“The reason that a child thinks the F-word is a bad word is that, growing up, he or she was told that it was a bad word, so profanity is a cultural construct that perpetuates itself through time,” said Dr. Bergen, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego. “It’s an affliction of its own creation.”

Cursing is a construct of society, and without the look down from society on these terms, they would be used in normal language everywhere. Somewhere down the line, swearing lost its sting and has become a social norm.

The use of swearing in language has changed. Maybe the “inappropriate” side of cursing is losing its punch because many people use these words as emphasis words or just a way to make the sentence stronger.

Swearing can be used in many ways. According to Steven Pinker, a cognitive scientist and professor at Harvard, in “The Stuff of Thought,” there are two different types of swearing. There’s emphatic swearing which is used to highlight a point, and dysphemistic swearing, which is meant to make a provocative point.

Dysphemistic swearing is where the culturally negative concept comes from. By using curse words to harm others, it has become culturally unacceptable.

Yet, cursing has its benefits as well. It is proven that swearing helps relieve stress when in pain, and other types of stress alongside this. This may be why the average American uses profanities 80 times a day.

Nowadays, your use of swearing can be an easy way to track your intelligence. The “old-school” belief is that the use of curse words shows illiteracy or signs of lack of verbal intelligence. Although, today the use of swearing has been learned to show an extensive vocabulary of non-swear words which might mean that those who cuss are actually more intelligent than those who are anti-swear.

Use of profanity can also show your ability to filter your words depending on who you are around. Curse words are not considered “professional speak” so the use of them around those who may judge you for your language is obviously not recommended. Being able to filter these words out around professionals, teachers or parents shows a great amount of respect. Even though they are considered normal and no one blinks an eye when it’s just you and your friends.
Social media has a huge impact on the speech of preadolescence and the adolescence themselves. While swiping through your social media of choice, you may see over 100 swear words within minutes.

Social media being our generations culture, of course cursing has become a big part of it as well. The more we are exposed to this language, the more it loses its potency.

Although punishable here at Fairmont, we still hear these terms coming from the mouths of students and sometimes teachers.

The student handbook even state’s, “No student shall use profane, vulgar, coarse, abusive or other improper language or gestures.” Yet, this doesn’t seem to stop anyone.

Students don’t see the problem in this because almost everyone around them uses these words and most of the time they aren’t used in a negative way.

Almost every book I have read here as a student at Fairmont has included cuss words or other “insulting” slang. But without this, books wouldn’t share the same message. The curse words they use help exemplify the meaning behind their words and make students pay attention.

Now this has us all really wondering … what will cursing be like in 10 years? Will it finally be appropriate and used casually? Only time will tell.