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August 01, 2012

Swearing At Work?

Perhaps the biggest difference in learning a language formally or informally is the inclusion or exclusion of...

...swear words.

It is legendary that swear words are among the first words learned - and, for whatever reason, swear words tend to be the easiest both to pronounce and remember.

Even Shakespeare used, made up and allowed for swear words. Consider this quote from the Bard -
"When a gentlemen is disposed to swear, it is not for any standers-by to curtail his oaths".

I must admit that I get weary of the same few Anglo-Saxon swear words. I almost always wish the vocabulary of my nearest cursing person was a bit richer.

In fact if you want to insult (or curse) someone with classic Shakespearean style, take a look at this insult generator - http://www.museangel.net/insult.html.

But in a professional setting, remember to be extra-prudent at work. Check out this article for some details - http://www.theworkbuzz.com/news/job-surveys/swearing-at-work-may-be-stalling-your-career/?siteid=20100309_CRM_OFF-MARKET.

Among other things, consider these excerpts from this website "half of workers (51 percent) reported that they swear in the office. Ninety-five percent of those workers said they do so in front of their co-workers, and 51 percent swear in front of the boss. However, workers were the least likely to use expletives in front of senior leaders (13 percent) and their clients (7 percent)".

Keep in mind that most people were more reluctant to swear in front of their customers than their boss. That makes sense to me. In most businesses, the customers are far more important than the boss.

And how about this excerpt; "Eighty-one percent of employers believe that the use of swear words brings the employee’s professionalism into question, 71 percent believe swearing indicates a lack of control, 68 percent say there’s a lack of maturity and 54 percent say swearing at work makes an employee appear less intelligent".

I don't know about anyone else, but I usually want my peers - and certainly my boss to think I am more - not less intelligent that I really am.

I rarely swear. My sense is that the words are tedious and redundant. Try a Shakespeare curse instead!

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


Also, Morf just might be available to visit your school or agency this coming September. You can contact him at mmorf@mail.com. He's always interested in talking about words, films, music and American culture in general.

Posted by mmorf at August 1, 2012 11:23 PM


Morf- I am with you! I will admit that occasionally a word slips through my lips- not often, and usually only if I am totally upset. My oldest- as a child- knew that when I said- "Do I have to say Damn it?" that he was in trouble. I found early on that it was much easier to use words other than curse words than to remember to guard my tongue- especially in the classroom.

Posted by: Bonnie at August 7, 2012 01:13 AM

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