Sweden just lost the hockey game against Czech Rep. so I used a few, Swedish profanities. They won’t go on to the finals.
This happened to coincide with a blog post in WordPress Daily Post about swearing. I’ve had all the good reasons to think about that subject, as swearing is so different in different languages. Even if I translate our [Swedish] swear words to English, they don’t have the same power! I just said «Hell!» to Gerry, and he didn’t raise an eyebrow … not «Satan» either.
To once again connect to the hockey theme, there was a player in the Boston Bruins named Satan, and in the beginning I found that funny to see a guy with Satan on his back, sliding along on the ice! This is one of the more serious swear words in my native tongue. ‘Hell’, is really bad too [helvete in Sw.]. Imagine, you English-speakers, if you were to see the name B*st*rd! 😆
When I came to Canada, eight years ago, I thought I had a reasonably, good command of the English language. That may have been true … up to a point, but I had a lot of stuff to penetrate, and still do. Swearing being one. I knew the words, but not the ‘seriousness’ of them. Another thing that was new to me was the habit on TV to use terms like «the F-word». At first I didn’t know what they meant with those ‘letter-words’. We don’t have that in Sweden — either they say the real word or they don’t. Not the beeping for censored words on TV either.
I now live in North America, so I’ll act accordingly: The F-word has made it big time into the Swedish language [and probably many other, European languages], but it’s being used very lightly and even by little children. It has less ‘power’, compared to our native swear words.
Quebec, where I lived for five years, has its own set of French swear words … a French person from France finds them funny or ancient sounding, I’ve been told (I don’t speak French at all). They don’t have any power at all to the people in France…
The Devil is frequently used as a swear word in Swedish, and it’s a bad, serious one. Even though many hockey teams in Sweden have taken on English names [Timrå Red Eagles, for example], something corresponding to the New Jersey Devils would never fly … I do think that would be off limits. The actual word for it [djävulen] is often used in an altered form [jäklar], which is much ‘milder’. This is similar to when people here say ‘darn’ instead of damned.
This part, about altering the words, leads me to when I was reading a whole series of novels … a word kept coming back, I didn’t understand it, but it had no importance for the context so it took very long time before I even brought it up with Gerry. I just kept reading these books at night, and the characters kept saying ‘dadgummit’?! It was just a funny-sounding word to me, and I would never, ever have figured out what it was they really meant, had I not asked.