Linguistic Oddities: Part Vier

Otherwise known as: on the four-letter (swear) word.

These are the words that our society deems verbotten–we cover the ears of children when they are uttered in a movie and do not dare to say them around our grandmothers for fear of a stern look. There are at least seven that cannot be uttered on the air or the FCC has a shit fit.

What they are: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. With the exception of cocksucker and motherfucker they are all four-letter, one syllable words. To that list I’d like to add two more–bitch and ass(hole).

My theory why most of the basic cuss words are one-syllable words is simple: they are words that can be spit at someone. They don’t require forethought or any other kind of complex thinking. Just something one can say in anger or frustration–emotions that generally do not coexist alongside rational forethought. Insults are scatological and/or sexual in almost every language

As for the longer words, well, the only reason I can think of for their existence is that they are combinations of shorter words–cock and suck, mother and fuck and are therefore easier than non-combined words (can’t think of the linguistic term right now) to say. Anybody have an alternative suggestion?

If you like it, tell me why. If you don't, tell me why.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s