Bloody ‘Ell, Slayer!

The muse slept in this morning, after I’d planned some writing time for her. She did, however, flood me with ideas in the shower - she seems to like times and places where there are no pencils or keyboards around, probably because it means no immediate work for her. Lazy muse. I cornered her on the T, though, and made her add her new ideas to the opening scene of The Wrong Novel. She’s pulling in some stuff from The Wrong Prequel, both to set up later events and to justify the opening blood and gore. Maybe sleep is the secret to getting more out of her.

Lori, source of all blog content, blogged about curse words. I’m also a known fan of the English language, so I have to point out that curse and swear and cuss and execrate all mean pretty much the same thing, and do not refer, technically, to foul (a.k.a. vulgar) language or dirty words.

These two families of words split up cleanly: in the foul court, we have fine old words like the f word, which are undeserving of their current dishonor, as well as obviously dirty words like the sheeeee-it word, body parts like ass (which picks up subtones from its donkey sense), and other riff-raff like Micro$oft.

The world of true cursing, however, involves blasphemy, oaths, or wishes for damnation. Here we find damn, its brother darn and its cousins hell and heck, all invocations of deity from jeez to Kahless, and some mysterious old words like bloody (which is, to my knowledge, a particularly Christian oath abbreviated from God’s blood).

Darning them all to heck, in other words, is not vulgar but evil, yet it’s hard to curse when you don’t believe in cursing or the second commandment. So curse words degenerate into just so many more dirty words, but deep down you know bloody isn’t saying much to the listener - hence the preference for dirty dirty words rather than dusty swear words.

Following more Lori links, I found a good word in the pseudodictionary: truline, for that opening line that truly says it all. I wonder if I’ve coined any non-Romulan words I can submit.

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