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Cultural differences in language and acceptable behavior

Discussion in 'Fairy Land' started by Shyftcode, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. Shyftcode

    Shyftcode Member

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    I definitely swear more online than I do irl. I don't have a problem saying words like *ss, s**t, b**ch, but draw the line at the F-Words and words considered racist or overly sexual.

    Where do you guys stand on swearing? Do you swear alot? What words don't bother you, and what ones do?


    This is kind of an edgy topic, so don't actually type out the words, do as I've done with the '*', because I don't know the censoring on this forum.
     
  2. Cyrilshark

    Cyrilshark Active Member

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    Re: What's your stand on swearing, irl and online?

    Please don't take anything I say as offensive.

    I swear on very rare occasions, and it would only ever be d**n, and never in an attempt to attack somebody. This is only for online - I never swear IRL.

    To me, swearing looks very immature, except for an occasional use of the d word if attempting to intensify (couldn't think of a better word...) a certain emotion. I understand un public schools people are around that a lot, and it's truly disheartening to me.
     
  3. Shyftcode

    Shyftcode Member

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    Re: What's your stand on swearing, irl and online?

    I see no reason to take anything you've said to date as offensive ^_^
    I was raised in an area where swearing, from a young age, was something that was just part of growing up around there. I'm kind of a techie redneck, though I dislike either term. I didn't swear anywhere, especially online, until I was about sixteen when I first attended community college. There I basically caved in to swearing and started up myself. Though I don't swear alot, I do swear on occasion (more than you, obviously :p ) and I was considered the clean person among my group of friends, they were sailors and teamsters, if you get my drift.

    Also, diggin the new avvy, Cyril.
     
  4. Cyrilshark

    Cyrilshark Active Member

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    Re: What's your stand on swearing, irl and online?

    Let me tell you, there's nothing so powerful (and hard) as not swearing around people who do. It helps them not, a lot. Ask my coworkers. :)
     
  5. Arzoroc

    Arzoroc Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: What's your stand on swearing, irl and online?

    Because Cyril also did so, here's the disclaimer: I don't wanna insult you, your country, your believes or whatever you have that I could possibly insult.
    Also, this is a pretty long response and neither proofread nor organized properly(it's 1:44 AM here), so please ignore the mind jumps and grammatical errors that may occur.
    I'll say what I experienced here, and I hope Roma (and vT for some parts) can back me up on this:

    Here in Germany, we pretty much don't care about many many things you discuss a lot in america.
    Swearing? Nobody cares, it's just words that express anger.
    Homosexuality? Some few (mostly old) people care, the others are just fine with choosing whatever you want. Some of our biggest politicians live in a homosexual relationship.
    Abortions? Again, if you want it you're good to go. If you don't like it, you don't do it.
    Religion? Nobody cares. You believe in something, it's fine. You don't believe in something, it's fine. I've met several people with Thor's hammer around their neck, and still nobody cares.
    There's plenty more things that I found during the last years of browsing mainly American sites. And one of the main things I found was that you have a pretty big "black and white" view when it comes to main arguments. Many (again, based on my experience) say XYZ is BAD or XYZ is GOOD and are strictly against any other view. We seem to be more apathic when it comes to these questions. Sure there are idiots around here but there's more of a "I think my stuff and you think yours. We can discuss it and it's fine" mentality.


    Ohkay, so back to swearing:
    As you may see, I really don't care. It's a question of being polite or impolite really. If you're at another family's house or at a business meeting, you don't do it. If you're with your friends, your own family, your co-workers (depending on business), on the street or whatever, then nobody that I ever met in my life said anything against the use of swearwords. Many TV shows have swearing, and it's not bleeped out. However, they don't use it on the news, and serious shows (mostly from the public-sector broadcasters, as they have the image of being the best channels when it comes to seriousness and independant broadcasting). Funnily enough, when songs with English swear words come on the radio, we mostly get the censored versions (like "Forget you" instead of the other F)
    It basically all comes down to politeness. You don't use harsh language in front of small children, as they might pick it up. You don't insult people directly of course. But emphasizing or showing your anger? No problem, even in more serious environments. It's really just a part of our everyday language, nobody even sees them as "bad" language really. I couldn't tell a friend who's using "clean" language because it doesn't even stand out. One of our Profs at my University once used a swearword in front of 800 people. He basically said "Now we want this... S**t-thing, you could say, out of this equation". We had some giggles, because of the unusual-ness (?) of the situation, but that's it. He's not less respected now or anything, let alone being called immature.
    As a last point, I think it does not make me a better person if I say "Thrust your copulatory organ up your own intestinal-regions." or "Go F yourself". The point that comes across does not always have to do with the wording. On the same side, if my mother asks me something and I reply with "No, shut up", I'm being disrespectful and rude without the use of any taboo language.
    Mind you, I've gone the highest educational road you can go in Germany, visited 2 universities now, and I've never seen it any different. Others may have other experiences, that's why I'd love to hear vT and Roma tell me their perspective.
     
  6. Cyrilshark

    Cyrilshark Active Member

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    Re: What's your stand on swearing, irl and online?

    It's fascinating to hear such a different lifestyle from you Baum, in comparison to America!

    Some things that stand out to me:
    You mentioned many times, people in Germany don't care. But that's completely contradictory to 'not using language in professional environments' and 'not using language in front of children'. Because if the above statement was absolutely true, they would (because like you said, it's part of your daily vocabulary). Instead, from what you're saying, it seems swearing is unprofessional (which I agree with wholeheartedly), and to an extent, crude. I mean, why on earth should you care if your children pick it up any more than them learning basic vocabulary words?

    I'm not trying to pick a fight or anything! Just sharing my thoughts :)
     
  7. Arzoroc

    Arzoroc Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: What's your stand on swearing, irl and online?

    Of course you are :D [after re-reading this sentence, it sounds quite sarcastic. it isn't meant to be. I really like such exchanges, and I'm glad for every opinion I can get on these things ;D)
    The thing is, I may have chosen wrong words. We do not NOT care, but we care less. Some people of course care. And if there's something we care about here, it's politeness, or maybe rather social correctness (just remember that we have 2 forms of "you", one of wich is basically "they". So if I really respected you, like an elderly person, I would say "Cyril, would they pass me the sugar please?").
    So keep this in mind, and then look at swearing next to kids. I don't say it's not happening, but it's considered to be quite rude of course. Same with a professional environment (like for example a job interview). If the other person sees that you can't even behave in an adequate way, showing respect to the other person by dressing correctly and doing everything right, including your language, why would they assume you could be a good addition to their firm.
    So it's basically like this:
    You're free to swear in every occasion where you're not expected to show big responsibility, professionalism, and politeness, like at your new girlfriend's dinner table with her parents, in a job interview, working with customers in a company, or when little children are around.
    Other than that, with friends, family, people that you barely know but talk to, you're free to go.
    I hope this clarifies. It's pretty hard to find the right words in another language at 2 am :D
     
  8. sky-fyre

    sky-fyre Active Member

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    Re: What's your stand on swearing, irl and online?

    Of course, I don't know German, but perhaps you mean that there is both a singular and plural form of "you", and not "they"?

    On the topic of "things not cared about", I have this to say: I was never really aware of religion and racism until I moved to the US. Maybe it was just in my city, or maybe I was just young, but in Canada I had alot of Christian--primarily Protestant--friends, and I had no idea they were religious in the slightest. I was raised an atheist, so religion wasn't part of my personal life, either. It just wasn't talked about. Racism? Most of my classmates were Caucasian. I'd sometimes notice if someone wasn't, but it was no big deal. (Ironic, perhaps, since I, myself, am not Caucasian)

    As for swearing, I don't give a f-. People who don't know me think I'm quiet, and for some reason they will go "Oh my god she swore!" and I look at them funny. I agree with Baum. I use it when I'm with my friends and peers. I even have a smattering of non-English profanity, and I will say the "R-word" and g** but I avoid racial slurs and the like.

    Overall, from my experience, Americans are more touchy touchy than Canadians, and more outspoken about/proud of their private lives.
     
  9. Cyrilshark

    Cyrilshark Active Member

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    Re: What's your stand on swearing, irl and online?

    This is quite fascinating - thanks for clearing that up Baum, I think I understand. :)
     
  10. Arzoroc

    Arzoroc Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: What's your stand on swearing, irl and online?

    Not really. So.. German grammar/society lessons in English, I'll give it a try :D

    In English, as you know, you have the pronouns as follows:
    I
    You
    He/She/It
    -
    We
    You
    They

    So you use "you" in 2 forms, second form singular and plural.
    In German, we have these:
    Ich
    Du
    Er/Sie/Es
    -
    Wir
    Ihr
    Sie

    So we have two forms of "Sie", one is used whenever you in English say "She" and one is used whenever you say "They". Those two can however not be mixed up by accident, as the use of either one changes the attached verb in a way the other one can't (as in English with "he goes, they go")
    (quick trivia: the old English had, as far as my knowledge goes, similar pronouns as the German ones. For example, "thou" and "thee" as "du" and "sie". The "th" sound is made with a similar tongue placement as the "d" and the two "s" sounds in your mouth, the TH being a dental fricative while the S tones are alveolar fricatives. The "ou"/"u" as well as the "ee"/"ie" sound the same in both language respectively. So "Sie" is pronounced as "see" or "sea", but with a softer "s" tone)
    Okay, so far for the bakground information. Now comes the social part.

    So usually, when I am speaking with you, I call you "You" (obviously). For example: "Can you hand me the sugar please?".
    Now in German, the same applies if you know the person well: "Kannst du mir bitte den Zucker geben?".
    However, if I don't know a person well, or if I do but the other person is respected by me (my boss, my teacher/professor, a customer I work with etc), I switch to another way of talking to them. Instead of saying "Can you repeat this?", "Kannst du das wiederholen?", I switch into saying "Can they repeat this?", or "Können sie das wiederholen?". This is always done when you want to be polite/professional. However, once you said "Du" to someone, you don't go back to the "Sie" for politeness reasons unless being asked to do so. People under the age of ~25 don't use this rule when they meet a stranger their age, however older peole usually "siezen" ("they-en") other equally old strangers. It's kind of complicated now that I think of it, but you get born into it and you really don't have to think alot.
    If you however use the wrong pronoun, you lose a lot of respect instantly. If you come to your job interview and say "Du" to the opposite person, you're basically gone. If however you say "Sie" to a person you are allowed to say "Du" to, you only get weird looks. Usually, the more powerful person sets the rules here. If I would go up to someone from higher social power or someone who's a lot older than me, I should play safe with "Sie" until they offer me the "Du".
    All of this is pretty much comparable to the "Mr." or "Mrs." in English. You say "Hey Mr. Smith" to which they may reply "Please, call me Tom!", offering you the informal way. If you call your boss by the first name in a job interview, you're out as well. This social correctness is kind of highly set in Germany. This being said, I don't really know how detailled I have to explain this, as nobody really asks for this stuff around here.

    Alright, now for some more semi-knowledge trivia:
    All this was even worse a few hundred years ago, when there were bigger social gaps (slaves and masters, kings and farmers etc.). Just by choosing the right pronouns, you made the social statusses very clear. Some of this was also present in English. For example: A lower citizen had an audience with the king. The king would not even directly approach him and ask "What do you want" but instead say "What does he want?", furtherly increasing the signs of superiority.
    The same was present in German some hundred years ago: "Was will er?". However, we also had a second degree respect pronoun back then, which was ihr, as in "Würdet ihr mir helfen?", "Would you help me?". As you see, your second person plural is also "you" so it's kind of hard to explain this to an English native. The "Ihr" was an ancient form of today's "Sie", used when you met the king, the pope, a knight, your "master" etc. As far as I know, slightly altered rules applied then as apply today with the "Sie": Knights or kings among each other would use that pronoun to show respect, if you're however speaking to a lower-powered person, you use lower language, while they keep using the respectful one.
    This is what I meant with us "caring less" ;) We're just more... apathetic when it comes to opinions (except racism, because... you know.. history :D). If we're asked, we share our views, but we don't hit you in the face with it all day. Especially in the past weeks/months when it came to voting, sites like reddit were almost unvisitable due to the huge amount of hatred spread around.

    Edit:
    Also, is the thing with spreading political and religious views on facebook really that big? Because I know exactly 1 person who posts political stuff on facebook, and he's somewhere on my ignore list.
     
  11. sky-fyre

    sky-fyre Active Member

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    Re: What's your stand on swearing, irl and online?

    Ah, sorry :D I thought there might have been a possibility that you mean plural "you", since French and (I think) the other Romantic languages use it that way. But then, German is Germanic and French is Romantic. So I guessed wrong. xD

    Still, I think French is more similar to German than English (because English lacks so much grammar that I actually work it out using my French knowledge).

    By the way, I think you mean more like Shakespearan or possibly Middle English. Old English is from about 400-1000 CE, I think.

    I know that's what you meant :D I just wanted to share my experience as a Canadian expat.

    As for politics and religion on Facebook.... Well, I live in a very Jewish area, so I've got a bunch of Jews on my Facebook. As well as Christians and a couple politically inclined classmates. So yes, I do see a lot of shared photos on which is written things about Jesus and God and whatnot. Also saw a "Happy Channukah" status. Then there's the politics...state governor, Obama... I just ignore it. The religious pride sometimes grates on my nerves. (no offense intended)
     
  12. Shyftcode

    Shyftcode Member

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    Re: What's your stand on swearing, irl and online?

    I've got alot, and when I say alot, I mean ALOT of religious and politically active friends. They're posting crap to facebook and the internet constantly, most of which I ignore since I am neither religiously outstanding, or politically active.
    I loved the lesson on German, Baum, I always enjoy hearing about other languages and how they differ from English, the only language I know (besides computer languages).
    Going back to the swearing bit, most Americans anymore don't give two hoots about it, they cuss up a storm whenever they like, but as Baum said, you wouldn't do it around young children, your boss, or in a family or political setting. There are people in America, however, who will get angry if you swear in public, a friend of mine learned that all too well. He said the F Word when talking about an ex, and an older gentleman stopped as he walked by and began scolding him for his foul language. But as in that example, older folk in America are really the only people who are 'offended' by bad language (there are of course exceptions to this).
    But over to the regional differences in language and culture (I think the thread should be renamed so we can keep going like this, and stay on topic). Cyril, you live in the US as well, correct? I'm sure you know what I'm talking about with the older generations being offended by what is now considered 'common'. But what about in other countries? Do the older generations feel differently than the younger ones (Like mine and by cousins' generations, 18-28)?
     
  13. Cyrilshark

    Cyrilshark Active Member

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    Yep, good old Michigan.

    Swearing is totally commonplace nowadays. I do think it's rude to use bad language in public, though, because there are people who would rather not hear it, especially every other word like most young people these days.
     
  14. Shyftcode

    Shyftcode Member

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    Aye, I never swear around people I don't know or am not comfortable with (besides the slipped d-word should I break something). Most of the time I swear, its with a group of friends in private, or under my breath so eavesdroppers don't hear.
    Aye, it is commonplace, you should hear my 'uncle' (he's not married to my aunt, but they've been dating for years and years), he literally says the F-word every sentence, and when I say literally, I'm being literal; every sentence. And that's mixed in with other swear words. It seems that in normal speech, swearing, especially the F-word, has become a filler to give the speaker time to think, instead of saying uhm. Its no longer regarded as taboo as it used to be, to alot of people, though I still cringe a bit whenever I hear it.
     
  15. Arzoroc

    Arzoroc Moderator Staff Member

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    Just seen this image while browsing reddit before uni, I'll leave this here because it somehow fits the discussion: (warning, NSFW, bad language/swearing included. Funny though.)
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Cyrilshark

    Cyrilshark Active Member

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    Excuse me? Excuse me, sir? Lol.
     
  17. Shyftcode

    Shyftcode Member

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    This job sucks... I love a challenge!

    I love this pic XD
    But I agree with it, swearing in the workplace is inappropriate and unprofessional. (Well, aside from some of the hard labor jobs like construction and pipefitting and such)
     
  18. sky-fyre

    sky-fyre Active Member

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    Great laugh :D Reddit gold right there.
     
  19. virtualTune

    virtualTune Active Member

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    I am quite sad I see this conversation so late. I don't have much time right now, but I will surely come back to this and voice my opinion. As Arzoroc is basically "representing the popular opinions of Germany" and I am very patriotic, I feel it is my duty to join in. =D
     
  20. Arzoroc

    Arzoroc Moderator Staff Member

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    Yea, as I said I'd love to have someone back me up here :D
    Personal opinions may very (and regional ones as well I guess, since you and I live quite a bit away from each other), but you can probably do the comparison with the US in greater detail, as you've lived over there for some time if I recall correctly.
     

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