It was just another word to them. The Spanish language is peppered with colorful and delightful obscenities, and the same word can often have different cultural meanings depending on where you are in Latin America. Meanwhile in Brazil, the wrong body language can get you into trouble.
Obscenity laws tend to be strict in Africa, and in some conservative circles, modern music and homosexuality are often looped into the fray and actively persecuted. If you really want to drive it home to someone in Mandarin, you could curse their ancestors to the 18th generation. These types of insults are more commonplace in societies that favor big, extended families versus nuclear families.
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The same goes in Turkey. In Japan, where societal pressures to succeed are strong, calling someone an idiot is considered fairly offensive. Indonesia has been stepping up its internet censorship efforts lately, threatening to block apps like WhatsApp. In Singapore, political dissidence can count as obscene. In , a teenager posted a video criticizing Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of modern Singapore, and was convicted on charges of obscenity.
Over in France, lobbing F-bombs is rapidly becoming the vulgarity of choice. French people are peppering their speech with the F-word as much as English-speakers do, and it appears uncensored in English-language TV shows and newspaper headlines in France. The story in Denmark is similar, according to a Danish Reddit user.
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One would suppose those two things are separate, but perhaps it depends on who you ask. This has the interesting effect of making these words even more cringe-worthy, however. Try the demo! Try the Demo. Learning Tips.
Culture and Travel. He also gently chides his fellow-linguists for their inability to present convincing arguments in favor of vernacular language. However logical, examples like these have failed to garner respect, because to most Americans grammar does not inhere in linguistic rule-following generally but in a set of specific rules that they have been taught to obey.
The Case for Black English | The New Yorker
His smirking and somewhat subversive accommodation to this Pharisaism is to emphasize the ways in which Black English is more complex than Standard English. In the years that he has spent popularizing ideas hatched in the halls of the academy, he has honed a friendly prose style. It also helps McWhorter slide past the aspects of Black English that cannot be so cheerily explained. This thinking has slipped further out of fashion in recent years, as smartphones around the country have delivered the bad old news about blacks and the police.
He writes about race less regularly these days, and, when he does, it is often to dismiss the new mood as a kind of cult, long on shibboleths and pieties but woefully short on methods for bettering the lives of black Americans.
Something similar happened, and keeps on happening, with hip-hop, many of whose practitioners use the N-word as a kind of challenge to white enthusiasts. The emergence of Black English is owed in part to straightforwardly linguistic factors: McWhorter convincingly cites the phenomenon of recently enslaved adults straining to learn a new language, plus a syncretistic importation of vocal gestures picked up along the trail of forced migration. But it also developed as a covert, often defiant response to the surveillance state of slavery.
The humor associated with black language play—with jokers like Pryor and Bernie Mac—directly descends from this multivocal tradition, and from the trouble that made it necessary. But he concedes, in the end, that elements of black speech remain mysterious. All of its facets come together in a manner that can seem inexpressible, a point he illustrates with an essentially artistic analogy: once, watching a group of young black girls execute a dance routine, he noticed something off—inarticulable, but off —in the moves of the one girl who had grown up mostly around white people.
Something beyond rhythm; something like style. Whatever this quality may be, it operates as well on Sunday morning as it does on Saturday night. Consider the voice of Martin Luther King, Jr. His rich, swooping Baptist cadences, almost musical in tone, have become part of the American soundscape.
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