Other countries' attitude to swearing

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by nickyboy, 16 Apr 2018.

  1. nickyboy

    nickyboy Norven Mankey

    I enjoy a good swear but I know where the line is drawn in the UK regarding daytime TV swearing

    So imagine my surprise watching TV in Australia this weekend...interview with an Aussie commonwealth games athlete having just won:

    "So can you let us know how you're feeling right now?"

    "How do you think I'm feeling, I've just won the f***ing gold medal"

    I nearly fell off the sofa. But not even a blink from the interviewer. Most definitely no "return to the studio and profuse apologies from the host broadcaster"

    I asked a colleague here and he said it was fair dinkum and showed she had "ticker". Clearly a very different attitude to UK. Not saying who has it right or wrong, but interesting none the less
  2. Chris S

    Chris S Veteran

    I've heard the 'MF' word casually used on Dutch daytime TV.
  3. smutchin

    smutchin Cat 6 Racer

    The Red Enclave
    I've always found it hugely perverse that our newspapers will happily fill their pages with the most tawdry, salacious, unhealthily prurient gossip about the private lives of individuals, usually accompanied by unpleasantly voyeuristic images, often of young people barely over the age of consent, but the moment anyone says a slightly "naughty" word, the asterisks are out in force and public decency is deemed to have been kicked in the balls.

    Brandane, mustang1, C R and 15 others like this.
  4. Pale Rider

    Pale Rider Guru

    Correct outline of the circumstances, but wrong conclusion.

    The reader - generally - is not offended by the gossip and images.

    Quite the reverse, readership surveys indicate this stuff is popular.

    The reader - generally - does not want to read swear words in the paper.

    Far from being 'daffodils' the journalists/editors are complying with their readers' wishes.

    Because, of course, that sells more papers/gets more internet views.
    BoldonLad likes this.
  5. Drago

    Drago Guru

    I found Australia's attitude to racism similarly disturbing.
  6. swee'pea99

    swee'pea99 Legendary Member

    I believe I'm right in saying that English is pretty much the only language in which swearing is dominated by sexual and scatological imagery. Almost all continental languages' oaths are religioncentric...they find our obsession with sexuality/bodily functions baffling. Why would you root your most toxic terminology in pleasurable activities?
  7. srw

    srw It's a bit more complicated than that...

    I suggest you watch Spiral*. The three most common swear words used refer to defecation, consensual sex and prostitution. The subtitlers don't tend to follow suit.

    *It's a drama series set in Paris, m'lud. Out of deference to the roolz I won't quote the words in French. Or comment on the best known German swear word, which starts Sch.
    C R, gavroche and theclaud like this.
  8. deptfordmarmoset

    deptfordmarmoset Full time tea drinker

    Armonmy Way
    French uses sexual and scatological gros mots at will. Foutre*, merde, petit con, etc,

    *A French friend, completely familiar with expressions like fout le camp (F off), c'est foutu (it's fecked) had no idea that foutre has sexual origins (le foutre = sperm) because the word is in such constant use.
    robjh, theclaud and User259 like this.
  9. Drago

    Drago Guru

    My ex wife was Greek, and much of the swearing she trotted out in her native tongue were to do with poo or homophobia.
  10. Tim Hall

    Tim Hall Guest

    I used to work with a young woman from Provence. Between talking to her and watching Spirals, I extended my vocabulary no end.

    (Do French people snigger over the close match between the name of the President of Russia and a Rude Word in French?)
    C R and gavroche like this.
  11. smutchin

    smutchin Cat 6 Racer

    The Red Enclave
    The danger in literal translations of foreign swears is that they don't always carry the same cultural weight. The French 'con' being the best example of a word that isn't sweary in its native language, though its literal translation is deemed highly offensive here.
    gavroche and palinurus like this.
  12. smutchin

    smutchin Cat 6 Racer

    The Red Enclave
    Yes and no. I take your point that they reflect public attitudes to some extent, but I disagree that they are giving readers what they want. Readers don't know what they want most of the time, and most of us tend to choose papers that reinforce our underlying prejudices regardless of general content.
    C R likes this.
  13. swee'pea99

    swee'pea99 Legendary Member

    ...shows how much I know :rolleyes:
  14. deptfordmarmoset

    deptfordmarmoset Full time tea drinker

    Armonmy Way
    Yes, translators match linguistic registers as much as actually translate the literal meaning of the words. If it's earthy but not shocking in French, it shouldn't be translated into something shocking in English.
    robjh and smutchin like this.
  15. Oldbloke

    Oldbloke Guru

    Mayenne, France
    My local supermarket in France has background music playing which regularly includes hideous rap featuring frequent use of "motherfu88er", only the Brits in there seem to notice
    User259 likes this.
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