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Gender, Sex and Rude Words
PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 9:34 am Reply with quote
Regina
 
Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 8
Location: Berlin, Germany


What I always found intriguing about rude words is how they are related to sex, either the act itself (in some form) or the genitals. And most of these words cannot be applied to both men and women. At least not in the same way and not with the same effect and degree of offensiveness.
Can you think of any examples?
Also, there are changes occuring all the time which I'd be interested in.
For example, can you call a woman a wanker (I think this rude word is especially popular in British English)? I have heard that but I think it is quite odd.
In German you cannot really call a man F****, the equivalent to c***, but in English it is probably even more common to use it that way.
Hope you can find more examples not only for rude words of this kind but also for their gender-related usage.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 1:40 pm Reply with quote
Dave
 
Joined: 08 Jun 2006
Posts: 357
Location: Washington, DC


Ah, yes, but now I'm having to simply guess at what you mean when you say "F****"! I can guess, being a fluent speaker and listener of rude English, that c*** probably refers to the word that may be the strongest sexual taboo in English, "cunt", but I really can't think of what the other "F-word" is.

Don't be shy about typing the rudest of rude words here. Only mature students of linguistic rudeness are supposed to be here, anyway!

I find that after my most recent visit to Germania (the great word our tour manager used to describe German-speaking Europe), I have picked up on several new and really rude words in German. And yes, most of them are sexual or gender-related. For example, it was in an interview with a madam (eine Bordellbetreiberin) that I learned the use of the word "französisch" to refer to oral sex.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 2:20 pm Reply with quote
Regina
 
Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 8
Location: Berlin, Germany


So for everybody who doesn't know German, the word I was referring to is "Fotze" which is extremely rude in German and my shyness is due to that. Embarassed I haven't used it in ages and I think I'd have to be really very angry about someone, a woman, to do so. I never heard it to refer to a man. I don't have the same problem saying "cunt" in English, but that's because it's not my language. Actually, I tend to swear much more in English.

"Französisch" (French) is quite a nice way of referring to oral sex but I think it has become slightly old-fashioned. I think that most people below 30 wouldn't use it anymore. However, it can still cause some confusion and giggling when Germans hear the English word "French kiss" because in our ears that sounds like something slightly different...
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 1:41 pm Reply with quote
felika
 
Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 32
Location: Cologne, Germany


i always thought there was a difference in using swearwords between the german and english usage: classic german swearwords seem to refer more often to excrements, english to sex. (arschloch, scheiße, verpiß dich vs. motherfucker, fuck, fuck off etc.). nowadays i see a tendency of using formerly english expressions in german, like e.g. 'verfickte scheiße' which definitely evolved from 'fucking shit'. verfickt wouldn't mean anything in german without the crossreference to english. you can also hear stuff like 'geh ficken', which also seems to be translated from english.
obviously 'asshole' also exists in english, but it always seemed to be quite a 'cute-rude' word compared to the sexual ones.
anyway i agree about the 'fotze', which feels incredibly insulting in german - i can't think of the last time i used or heard it, and i'm not generally abstinent of rude words at all.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 2:59 pm Reply with quote
thegooseking
 
Joined: 10 Sep 2006
Posts: 64
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland


To be honest, the acceptability of swearing in foreign languages is one thing that's always rather puzzled me. It's often seen in science-fiction TV. Farscape, for example, included the made-up words 'frell' and 'dren' in its lexicon - from context it was fairly obvious that they meant 'fuck' and 'shit' respectively, but they're used liberally throughout the show. In Star Trek: The Next Generation it was okay for Captain Picard to say 'merde', but no character could say 'shit'. In Firefly, they could swear as much as they wanted in Mandarin, but had to be careful what they said in English. And that's what rather baffles me: that it can be the word itself, rather than the intent of the word, that's seen as offensive.

On the other hand, I am against everything we're shown on TV being completely safe, but that's another story...
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:18 pm Reply with quote
felika
 
Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 32
Location: Cologne, Germany


i guess when you say something in a foreign language, you just don't feel it so much, meaning that a foreign language usually feels a bit more distant than your native one (or the one you live and talk in on a everyday basis). using many rude words in english definitely feels much less rude to me than using the same words in german.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:19 pm Reply with quote
Dave
 
Joined: 08 Jun 2006
Posts: 357
Location: Washington, DC


felika wrote:
i guess when you say something in a foreign language, you just don't feel it so much, meaning that a foreign language usually feels a bit more distant than your native one (or the one you live and talk in on a everyday basis). using many rude words in english definitely feels much less rude to me than using the same words in german.

This is a very apt observation, felika. I think it takes an awful long time for non-native speakers of a language to begin to perceive the strength of obscene or profane words.

Here is an example that Germans will appreciate: I am a huge fan of the Washington Nationals baseball team. On our team there is one older player who is brought in as a substitute late in many games, to play several different positions. He has been around the game for awhile, and has many friends and acquaintances throughout Major League Baseball. He is known to his friends and teammates as a good, fun-loving, hard-working player.

His family name, alas, is a very rude word in German. I am speaking of the utility infielder Robert Fick.

Last Tuesday I went to a game with a teacher colleague, her husband, and some German guests of hers who are both teachers. Sure enough, late in the game, Robert Fick came in to play first base.

The husband of the German couple got quite a charge out of being permitted to shout "Fick! Fick!" at the top of his lungs. Our player's name, of course, meant nothing to the Americans in the stadium. But for Heinz, it was the (other) "F-word."

Heinz's wife Birgit got a chuckle out of it for a couple of minutes, but after awhile it just became too much for her, and she tried to change the subject.


Last edited by Dave on Tue Aug 07, 2007 10:21 am; edited 1 time in total

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 9:31 am Reply with quote
felika
 
Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 32
Location: Cologne, Germany


dave, i can absolutely picture that. let me add a story to that, even though it's leading away from the initial subject. i have a friend - in germany - whose family name is 'ficken' (this is, for those who don't know german, the 'f-verb' in german). now most of the family members have changed their name - which is not an easy procedure in germany, as you have to prove somehow that you're suffering from your name, which, after all, can't be too hard in this case. anyway, he still goes by the name ficken and he can tell all kinds of funny stories of what happened to him because of his name. for example, going to a doctor, the assistant will call you in at some point by your family name - like 'schmidt, please'. appareantly noone ever dares to do that with him, so they end up calling him by his first name, which is totally unusual in germany. anyway, now being an adult seeking for jobs his decision to keep his name pays off: applying for jobs along with another 200 people gave him many a chance to get an interview - and a job, actually. appareantly people are very curious to meet somebody who dares go through life by such a rude name! i must admit, it still feels weird, even though i know about that, standing next to him when he answers his phone, saying, 'ficken' - it always makes me shrug a little, and i could see myself blush if i ever had to introduce him to somebody by his family name.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 4:03 am Reply with quote
Bloomer
 
Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 136
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA


And how about those poor Americans with names like Fokker, Dick, and Fuchs? At some point, genealogic pride might just have to give way to good old practicality, no?
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Gender, Sex and Rude Words
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