Swearing in English


Swedish swearwords (or profanities or cursing if you prefer) tend to seem quite mild compared to the English. They tend to reference hell and the devil whereas the really bad English swearwords tend to reference sex. When hearing very young Swedish people (I’m talking 8 or 9 years old here) dropping the F-bomb left right and centre I wonder often if they think our swearwords are as mild as theirs. I think in 90% of cases, Swedes do not realise how visceral a profanity, the word fuck is.

There was also the Swedish movie Fucking Åmal, and the ad above is on all the underground trains at the moment. There is also a website with the same message.

Note also that some cultures swear more than others, and that it is also related to upbringing, geography, age. So if you tend to learn by mimicking, avoid doing it with profanities. Also, swearing can become a bad language habit (like ‘um’ and ‘like’) that you don’t even notice you are doing so watch yourself if you are speaking English for work.

I have no problem with swearing per se unless someone does it with every second word. I don’t do it habitually but I curse like a sailor when I am angry. It’s not like me so people tend to know when I am really angry by the bad language that comes out of my mouth…

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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