Our language is beautiful in many ways: It’s flexible, lush with foreign root words, and there are thousands of words to convey our thoughts – so why should we debase it with vulgarity?
Today I spoke with one of my colleagues in Miami. During our conversation, he gave me one of the nicest compliments I received in the past month: He thought my use of rarely-heard words made our conversation so enjoyable, that it was “fun, in a retro way” to hear my playful use of clean language such as “swell” and “o-kee-do-kee” during our dialogue. In fact, he laughed, saying he hadn’t heard those types of words in over thirty years. For me, it’s been par for the course over a lifetime.
I grew up in a house where my parents and extended family didn’t use swear words. None. And yet, we kids received a rich education in words and usage. Yiddish words and expressions were such a norm, that I didn’t realize their origin until high school. (“His spiel is schmoozing with the schmo down the street.”) Even hip lingo made it under our roof (“Slap me five and give me some skin!”), and expressions dating from the 1920s (“She’s a hot tomato, but he’s a wet blanket!”) was the norm. A “fag” was a cigarette, and a “yo-yo” was someone who was out of touch, or crazy.
To this day, I use much of this slang, depending upon the situation. When I know someone well, and when the environment is relaxed, I’ll use it. Conversely, when I’m in a more formal setting, my words are more decorous. In fact, it holds true that when I’m speaking in certain circumstances, I allow my obvious combination of a Chicago accent-Polish dialect to bloom; yet in more formal settings, I tone it down.
I won’t use vulgarity in any setting, particularly swear and curse words. I cringe at hearing them, and I will stop reading when I see they are loaded within an article or in comments. I find that speaking without swearing projects a happier, positive mood and response. The other way – no.
Our language is too beautiful and the words too vast to slip in expletives every third word or so –
And I believe it’s more refreshing, too.
©Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.