Swear words – most of the time they pop out without thought – you drop a can of beans on your foot, and it’s magical. Kids learn them faster than they learn aything else. Say “shit” just once in front of your toddler, and he’ll repeat it perfectly first time, unlike the words you’d been trying desperately to teach him: “Grandma is nice. Repeat after me, Junior. Grandma is nice! Ow, shit, that can of beans hurt!” (You know what junior is going to say, right?)
What’s more – you can tell where people are from by their swear words. For example:
If it sounds like part of a kid’s nursery rhyme, it’s English: The English swear words are adorable. Someone yells at you, “You utter wally wanker blighter numpty plonker!” You beam and say “So Cute!!”
If it sounds like something you’d order in a restaurant, it’s Italian: “Yes, I’d like a Leccare il culo, with a side order of Andare a puttane, followed by a mi rompete i coglioni. And for dessert, some Vaffanculo.”
If it’s kind of sexy and has the word merde in it, then it’s French: “Merde, c’est de la merde, putain de con de merde, je n’ai ras le cul de ce merdier!”
If you want to put it in a song and sing it, it’s Spanish: Tonto del culo, hijo de puta! Qué Cabrón! Qué Cabrón!
If it sounds like the person had a few too many beers, it’s German: Arschloch! Du blöde Kuh! Verpiss dich! Fick dich!
If it sounds Chinese… it’s Chinese: Ta ma de, shǎ bi, bèn dàn, wang ba, wo cao!
If it sounds like the person can’t decide what word to choose so they just mash them all together, it’s American: You stupidassmuthafucker, fuckinmotherfucking, goddamnasshole!
So, why this post about swearing? Because people swear all the time, Expletives are creative & descriptive. Shakespeare invented many of them, they spice up films and songs, and kids love them (much to our embarrassement when they cheerfully call out “Hey motherfucker!” from their stroller). And in my next book, “A Remedy in Time“, my heroine, Robin, swears fluently. In the future, Chinese and French swear words are used liberally, so brush up on your wo cao merde, you plonkers! Language is fun!
A Remedy in Time – coming January 2021 from Hachette Headline (cover reveal coming soon!)