Real talk about Bad Language Is it really always bad?

Some may find it curious to speak about bad language in these trying times when there is so much polarization. My answer to that is the same as always, communication is key even outside one's comfort zone. But how can we get past bad language?

Frankly, as a rapper, I am not ashamed to admit that I have used and have heard an abundance of what would be considered bad/ foul language to most "decent folk". Though I had never used the N-word until after 15 years into my rap career and it is not in my active vocabulary I harbor no ill will towards those that use it. But that term of endearment to some and source of pain for others will receive a piece dedicated solely to the term itself in another post where it will receive the attention it deserves. However, I consider it one of the words to be taken into consideration when reading this post along with all the other usual suspects; the F-word, B-word, C-word, etc..

It may come as a shock to non-native English speakers around the world to hear that despite its omnipresence in American films and music, curse words still hold the power to shock. Perhaps that is the reason they remain so ubiquitous in American art culture, we love a good shock. There is a notion that the use of "swear words" or "curse words" is simply a demonstration of the user's lack of ability to articulate their emotions or to adequately express themselves. I do not subscribe to that notion. Before I am flooded with emails, texts, and calls, hear me out. I do not condone the gratuitous use of swear words nor am I implying that they are part of the social norm in The USA. Like I said they are still used in modern pop culture because they have not lost their shock value and for lack of a better term, their appeal.

Having said that, when one is truly embraced by a group of individuals in North America one should not be shocked to hear the use of such words. When one does not feel the necessity to demonstrate one's own prowess with one's own language and one feels as if one is in the company of one's true friends then one might use one or two of the aforementioned "swear words" in order to convey one's joy, excitement, frustration, etc... to one's friends. Wow, that was a lot of ones.

There are some that would disagree wholeheartedly with my take on the use of swear words. They would say that there is no place for them in society and they are never acceptable. I would not use a swear word around such individuals but I strongly disagree.

When course participants use swear words in English courses. I immediately alert them to the fact that this kind of language is very inappropriate and should be used very discretionally if at all. They are sometimes confused by my reaction and they inevitably allude to a film where they picked up the term or expression. We usually end up having a conversation about the relationship between the characters and the context in which the term was used. It is almost always a scene from a film involving the closest of friends and in many cases family members. One course participant said, "but he said it in a business meeting". In the course of the conversation, it came out that the culprit in this particular situation was talking to his best friend and business partner. I explained that in the real world these lexical choices are sometimes an indication that there is a level of depth and trust and the speaker is in fact showing his/her own vulnerability/ exasperation by resorting to such language.

I advise all of my students to avoid the use of swear words even when they hear them being thrown about. But I also tell them not to apologize too profusely if one slips out! A simple, "please excuse my French " will suffice. I imagine that I am going to get a lot of angry posts for saying that. However, in Lucky Mushroom courses participants are confronted with English the way it is used and spoken in the real world. We don't dumb down for comfort.

Please excuse my French is a term used in North America to preface a statement involving swear/ curse words or to apologize after their use.

I may have stepped on a few toes or rattled a few feathers but I stand by everything that I have laid out in this post. Language is alive and can be colorful at times. I am not an advocate of banning words but I do believe in respecting the wishes of those who do not wish to be confronted by what feels like a phonic assault.

Colorful is a euphemism that is often used for bad language. Sometimes that is exactly what it is. It's simply colorful and can even be entertaining. But don't just take my word for it ask Samuel L. Jackson or look for Osho's use of the colorful language on youtube.

There is one final note that I would like to add. I know that I am going to get some heat for this, but here goes. It is simply fun to use colorful language from time to time especially in one's tightest circle of friends where the ears are less judgmental and the minds are more open and there is little doubt about one's ability to articulate. One of the most powerful expressions in the English language can be summed up with one simple abbreviation IDGAF and the energy behind it has been felt by idiots and astronauts, fools and wise men. Thanks for reading and if you have a different opinion I would sincerely like to hear it. If you don't like mine, IDGAF.

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