[2017 4-25] Words

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[2017 4-25] Words

Postby HikaruYami » Tue Apr 25, 2017 5:05 pm

http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/words

Wherein Zach tries to make the case that he is simultaneously getting old and travelling back in time?

It's nice that the bonus panel shows off the mother's hypocrisy, but the mouseover text seems intent on betraying Zach's agreement with the mother.

Regardless of the actual chemical reaction I get when I casually use a word like "fuck" (which I do, in normal speech and even at work; I do not half-ass speech with replacement words like feck, or darn, or heck, or whatever else), I can still hold the ideal that there should _not_ be taboo words (the claim that there are such "words" in every language/culture is patently false. For example, Japanese has "impolite modes of speech", and a child could be "punished for talking to their teacher in a very impolite way", but the idea that a word could be censored on a children's television program is laughable), and it seems like the only way to push that ideal is to casually apply the words until they are _not_ considered taboo. Convincing kids that there are words that shouldn't ever be said is a waste of everyone's time. You merely need to teach kids that they should not say those words "in the presence of adults who simultaneously wield power and archaic ideals", such as teachers. If all kids believed that the swear words themselves weren't bad, but that they should merely avoid getting in trouble by saying them to e.g. their teachers (and in some locales--luckily not mine--their future bosses) then the entire system would be so much easier to manage. The entire concept of taboo is dumb. Is the very concept of being naked taboo? You need to shower or bathe sometimes, right? But you can still teach kids to not randomly get naked in public.
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Re: [2017 4-25] Words

Postby Kit. » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:22 pm

HikaruYami wrote:Wherein Zach tries to make the case that he is simultaneously getting old and travelling back in time?

It's nice that the bonus panel shows off the mother's hypocrisy, but the mouseover text seems intent on betraying Zach's agreement with the mother.

Regardless of the actual chemical reaction I get when I casually use a word like "fuck" (which I do, in normal speech and even at work; I do not half-ass speech with replacement words like feck, or darn, or heck, or whatever else), I can still hold the ideal that there should _not_ be taboo words (the claim that there are such "words" in every language/culture is patently false. For example, Japanese has "impolite modes of speech", and a child could be "punished for talking to their teacher in a very impolite way", but the idea that a word could be censored on a children's television program is laughable), and it seems like the only way to push that ideal is to casually apply the words until they are _not_ considered taboo. Convincing kids that there are words that shouldn't ever be said is a waste of everyone's time. You merely need to teach kids that they should not say those words "in the presence of adults who simultaneously wield power and archaic ideals", such as teachers. If all kids believed that the swear words themselves weren't bad, but that they should merely avoid getting in trouble by saying them to e.g. their teachers (and in some locales--luckily not mine--their future bosses) then the entire system would be so much easier to manage. The entire concept of taboo is dumb. Is the very concept of being naked taboo? You need to shower or bathe sometimes, right? But you can still teach kids to not randomly get naked in public.

You're not more enlightened about language. You're more ignorant about social cues.
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Re: [2017 4-25] Words

Postby PD » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:47 pm

Apparently there are devices used to keep birds away from buildings/airports/other that play bird distress calls loudly at random intervals. The devices worked fine in North America, but when they sold some in China, the devices failed to keep birds away. It turns out that birds (even of the same species) have different distress calls there, and when newly-recorded local distress calls were used, it worked again. When birds from China were raised in North America, they responded to the North American distress calls.

It's likely that swearing is the human equivalent to these calls.

From this, I'd argue that the exact sequence of syllables is unimportant, but they have to be known by the relevant population, and they can't be used except when distressed. If they are used inappropriately, the "boy who cried wolf" effect quickly makes them useless and new ones need to be generated, shared, rehearsed, and guarded, such that the first (and probably last) thing you shout when you're confronted by (for example) an angry bear is instantly understood by everyone within earshot.
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Re: [2017 4-25] Words

Postby jgh » Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:54 pm

Nuns! Nuns!!! Reverse! Reverse! Reverse!
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Re: [2017 4-25] Words

Postby Epithumia » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:35 pm

jgh wrote:Nuns! Nuns!!! Reverse! Reverse! Reverse!


I wondered when the first Father Ted reference would be made. 8)

Image

Epi
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Re: [2017 4-25] Words

Postby Epithumia » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:49 pm

PD wrote:Apparently there are devices used to keep birds away from buildings

..snip..

an angry bear is instantly understood by everyone within earshot.



Excellent idea. Thank you.

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Re: [2017 4-25] Words

Postby codetaku » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:01 am

Kit. wrote:You're not more enlightened about language. You're more ignorant about social cues.


Yes, yes, you're very adorable. If only you had anything of substance to back up your trite quote of the comic.

PD's point is actually interesting, but even if there's a possible evolutionary basis for taboo words in the cultures that do have them, I personally don't feel that there's any value for modern society in assigning such taboo statuses to words. Now, things necessary to keep society stable, like murder and stealing, sure, but words? Why? The fact that the current status is empirically structured this way (in some cultures) is not a reason for it to be kept this way. I haven't heard a convincing argument from anyone for why that status quo is *good*.

But then, I also don't see a reason for it to be taboo to be naked in public. That doesn't mean I'm going to move to a nudist camp, or rebel by streaking in a non-nudist society, because I appreciate and in fact gain great value from other parts of modern societal conveniences, much of which I would lose by moving to a nudist commune or, say, going to jail. But it does mean that I'm going to publicly *say* that I don't think there's a point, and on a related note, since swearing luckily *isn't* illegal, I'm totally going to continue swearing in public because I think the fact that it's taboo is fucking stupid.
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Re: [2017 4-25] Words

Postby Kit. » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:29 pm

codetaku wrote:
Kit. wrote:You're not more enlightened about language. You're more ignorant about social cues.


Yes, yes, you're very adorable. If only you had anything of substance to back up your trite quote of the comic.

Doesn't the comic itself provide enough keywords to start educating yourself on the subject?

No?

Then try this: https://harvardsciencereview.com/2014/01/23/the-science-of-swearing/

codetaku wrote:PD's point is actually interesting, but even if there's a possible evolutionary basis for taboo words in the cultures that do have them, I personally don't feel that there's any value for modern society in assigning such taboo statuses to words. Now, things necessary to keep society stable, like murder and stealing, sure,

What makes you think that they are necessary to keep society stable?

codetaku wrote:But then, I also don't see a reason for it to be taboo to be naked in public.

Pinker speculates that it's because human females tend to feel insecure when observing naked penises of male non-relatives.
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Re: [2017 4-25] Words

Postby Passing Through » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:56 pm

Words pertaining to sexuality are censored on japanese television and are generally avoided in conversation. While there are no proper swear words to speak of, they have similar taboos.

Telling a kid not to say something is a lot easier than trying to get them to understand every nuance of it at once. They'll get it by themselves. You're getting worked up over a non-issue.
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Re: [2017 4-25] Words

Postby GollyRojer » Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:07 pm

codetaku wrote:I'm totally going to continue swearing in public because I think the fact that it's taboo is fucking stupid.

What's stupid is using word whiskers--adverbs and adjectives with no meaning, like "totally" and "fucking". Why not say what really goes there: "uh..."
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