Tag Archives: language.

Zounds! And Other For Fun Ventures.

I’m very aware that there is a time and a place for language. With my brothers, I tend to be much more apt to curse than with my Mom IL, for instance. I rely heavily on minced oaths, which is basically euphemistic cussing. Frick instead of fuck; criminey instead of christ; etc. I love coming up with creative ways to express your displeasure and excitement, even as I relish the more traditional ways.

Fuck is one of my favorite words. It feels like everything one expresses with it. The sensuality of the ‘f’ sliding across your almost bitten lip surging into the slightly guttural ‘uh’ and suddenly finding it’s end with the finality of the “ck” is amazingly comprehensive in what it covers. I’ve used fuck to cover ever emotion I’ve ever had, I think. Recently, I’ve been mucking about with it by saying things like ‘fuck-a-doodle’ and ‘fuckity fuck fuck’.

As for the minced version, I tend to stick with frig or frick. I’ve also been known to throw down ‘fridgedaire,’ similar to the old refrigerator company Frigidaire. If I’m especially frustrated, it may even come as freakanomics.

I’m also really bad about calling people in my acquaintance twats if they annoy me. My Mom IL didn’t realize what twat meant, and so thought it was a cute little word that I had just come up with, and had even started calling other people that as well. That is, until I called someone a cunt, and she got very upset with me. I asked her what the difference was in me calling someone twat and someone else cunt, and she almost imploded, poor dear.

I picked up crikey after Steve the Crocodile Hunter became popular, and criminey after too many episodes of Scooby Doo or something. Zounds from Shakespeare, and beach and a half from someone who lived near the ocean.

I know crikey and criminey are supposedly adaptations from christ, and beaches is a fairly obvious substitution for bitches, but zounds has a little bit more history to it that I find interesting. You see, back in the medieval day, when people cursed, they cussed generally by ‘god’s fill-in-the-blank’. But as that was blasphemous, they began shortening the phrases to more socially palatable ones. By god’s wounds! was shortened to zounds, which was itself minced later as people remembered where it came from originally.

I love learning about these terms and where they come from. Though I’m not christian, I am always amused to see how much of my language has been shaped by those in the faith of Christianity and by it’s pervasiveness in my culture.


Language Fun.

I’ve decided to commit myself to language again. I’ve studied several for small periods of time, but I’ve never actually put in the effort that it really deserves. To that end, I’ve decided I really am going to strengthen one of the languages I have previous experience with.

I had been thinking of this off and on for a while now. Part of college that I really loved was learning the basics of Latin and seeing how that language, which so many call dead (a misnomer if ever there was!)*, shaped English, my native tongue.

I haven’t decided what language I’m going to pursue. Spanish would probably be the most useful for the area I’m in. It isn’t the language I’ve had the most classes in, but I have a decent grasp of the basics at least.

Also, I need to figure out how I’m going to teach/be taught. Rosetta Stone is supposed to be great, but it is incredibly expensive. Learning on tape/cd was apparently popular at one point, but I feel like that would miss the conversation aspect of the learning process. I could try to devise a learning schedule, but I don’t know how well that would work for me.

There are a lot of options; maybe too many for my crazy, indecisive self!

I did find this LifeHacks article about learning (though not mastering) a language in literally an hour, and becoming conversational in less than a year. The premise is interesting, and I love that there is science to back it up. If I end up teaching myself, I think I’m going to have to go this route.

*A dead language is one that is gone and buried, never to be used, but that isn’t the case with Latin. To this day, it is still used for current publications and discussions, as well as evolving with new words and phrases.


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