“The indications are that swearing preceded the development of cursing. That is, expletives, maledictions, exclamations, and imprecations of the immediately explosive or vituperative kind preceded the speechmaking and later rituals involved in the deliberate apportioning of the fate of an enemy. Swearing of the former variety is from the lips only, but the latter is from the heart. Damn it! is not that same as Damn you!” – Ashley Montagu (The Anatomy of Swearing, ch. 3)
Today I sought out to find a good quote on cursing. What I found was a lot of people, especially writers, that vilify the use of curse words. And as much as I would like to learn how to stop swearing all together; and want to make it as wholesome a world as possible for my daughter in which the ‘f word’ stands for Friday, I am fully aware that this is unrealistic. I even have the opposite opinion of many, where I will try not to get too upset if (and when) she does start letting a curse slip.
Lesson – The lesson gained from the quote above from Ashley Montagu (a social biologist) is that there are differences in swearing that should be observed. It should not be malicious or pointed at a person, that would be bullying (by today’s standards). But if you are to swear, use the word appropriately and sparsely. Effectiveness wears off when a curse word is used instead of a superior vocabulary.
This is a constant struggle for me that I often slip with in front of my daughter. I am fully aware that she will begin swearing one day and my goal is to make it as sharp-witted as possible. I’ll let you know how it worked out during her teenage years.