Foul Mouths

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Do Americans use foul language more than other English-speaking nationalities? I’m merely asking. Someone, someplace must have done a study? (Somebody always does a study.)

I have found that while bad language – the “F” word especially – is heard in Britain of course, it does seem less common than in the U.S. However, “America” is probably too wide a description. My personal experience is, naturally, rooted in what I’ve heard where I was born and raised: downstate New Yorkers, including Long Islanders, and New Jerseyans, seem to have an infamous reputation – deserved or not – as “foul mouths.”

Perhaps that’s due to impressions conveyed through books, TV, and movies – especially those involving organized crime and cop stuff? Yet are they encouraging its use, or merely conveying it is routinely used? Which comes first?

Whatever the reasons, it is common to hear, for instance, the “F” word used not just as a swear word. It is also routinely dropped into ordinary conversation – as in, say, “That’s f-cking great!” Really? Uh, is it?

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Or maybe I’ve just become more aware of it? My (English) wife abhors bad language. As a result, I almost never use it. Indeed, if I do – even in momentary anger in a situation one might consider “justifies” it, such as a death – she pulls me up on it.

As a result, I suppose I’ve backed off from foul language in my writing too. It’s probably safer to err on the side of not using it. It likely offends some readers, while avoiding it seems unlikely to offend anyone.

Further thoughts?

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