Yes, that “F” word.
Watching TV the other night, I started thinking about the fact that the majority of television programs don’t allow the use of the word. And do you miss it? No. You still know when a character is angry or frustrated. You can still tell that something bad has happened and someone is upset. But the lack of the word doesn’t make the conversations sound any less realistic, as far as I can tell. Or maybe we’ve just become used to a Pollyanna version of life?
While literature can span the gamut of clean speech to text riddled with swearing, once again, it isn’t needed. So why do we hear it used so often in everyday life? (Okay, I’ll admit, I probably go a few days without hearing anyone utter the word, but you get the point.) Why do we develop these types of words in our language and what purpose do they really serve? Are they just words that undereducated people use? Hardly. So, why do they even exist?
The F-Word has been around since the 15th century, in a variety of versions. The taboo nature of the words make them powerful, but it doesn’t explain why people use them in everyday conversation, especially when a strong moment isn’t needed. However, linguists believe people use them when speaking to one another (especially friends) to give some intensity to their conversation. We get the point when someone says ” That was a great concert.” But, it has no emotion. Pop in the “f” word, and it becomes description that gives more emphasis to the sentence. If someone is willing to cross acceptable social boundaries to use the word, their idea must be important, right?
But then, how do they get around not using it on TV? We’ll probably hear it pop up as time goes on (it seems that TV becomes more “realistic” all the time), but for now, they’ve proven we don’t need it. And there are many substitute words that work just as well.
Do you think the F-word would just phase itself out of our world if we didn’t use it? Or would we just come up with something else instead? Does it matter? Is it an important word, or just a word that needn’t be discussed? I haven’t decided yet.