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Comments about ‘Joseph Cramer, M.D.: What if negative or obscene words just disappeared?’

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Published: Monday, Dec. 9 2013 3:20 p.m. MST

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1.96 Standard Deviations
OREM, UT

I got taught the old fashioned way as a kid -- a bar of soap right in the mouth and scraped onto my teeth if I said something inappropriate. It was a very effective teaching method, and looking back, I am glad my parents were firm with high standards of language! Wholesome language is very important.

Uncle Gadianton
Salt Lake City, Utah

What if negative or obscene words just disappeared?

If obscene words disappeared, I know several people who would no longer be able to speak!

Mukkake
Montreal, QC, 00

Dr. Cramer might be a fantastic pediatrician, but he is completely out of his depth talking about language. Some of these statements are almost embarrassing.

"the evolution from Latin to French to early English."

English is a Germanic language, it has borrowed a lot of French and Latin words, as well as Greek and just about every other language it has come in contact with, but it is still a Germanic language.

In fact, a lot of the current 4 letter words are artifacts from pre-Latinate contact. Many were the everyday term for such things until England was conquered and French became the prestige language, with older Germanic terms being associated with the peasants and then becoming "taboo" and "obscene".

Taboo language is a part of every language's development.

[“I can’t tell you how much I love you.” Guess how that makes a child feel?]

Perfectly happy from what I remember. So long as the child is familiar with the language/culture in which such an expression is used, which is the case for any expression.

[Flip.]

Given enough time even this bowdlerized exclamation could become "obscene".

spring street
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

While the Doctor offers what maybe an mildly entertaining intellectual exercise I wonder who would get to decide what words and phrases qualify as vulgar, rude, profane, blasphemy, and what qualifies as verbal bullying?

theSkeptic
CLEARFIELD, UT

It seems to me we are already trying to make words disappear. We are labeling them so that society ostracize us for them, such as 'racism' and others. Too, we are making words disappear in the interest of fairness to one gender or another so certain words, such as waiteress, mailman, and that ilk are unacceptable. Finally, consider disallowing the use of phrases similar to 'illegal alien.'

I've noticed that language is becoming more useless because it cannot describe what needs description since we might offend some race, religion, nationality, or political entity.

Perhaps we'd be better at being less sensitive since all of us would eliminate certain words according to our own ideals.

Erika
Salem, Utah

@ SpringStreet - The point, evidently, when reading in context is that it is not only the words themselves, but the meanings implied that would render speech impossible upon an attempt to utter. If you were to make up your own swear words, they would disappear on the spot. It's imaginary. I think it would be so funny to see a video short about such a moment.

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