Thursday, December 4, 2008

Potty Mouth

Michael has a bit of a potty mouth, if only accidentally. He is having some trouble getting his two-year old tongue wrapped around words like fork, chips, and soup, which all come out as swear words. However amusing it is, (I admit that David and I had a laughing fit the first time he called soup by a more uncouth name) we are working daily to add the right sounds in the right places, correcting him each time he says something the wrong way. And hoping he can say these words like a pro before his Grandma comes to visit and has a heart-attack when her sweet little grandson asks for his silverware.

Of course, all this potty talk could just be something Michael picked up on the street. The language I hear as I walk around this city would have made Jezebel blush. The most common word, the infamous F-word, is used in pretty much every sentence, spoken by pretty much everyone. It doesn't matter whether the person is a fifty-something professional, an eighty-something grandma, a teenager, a construction worker, a policeman, you name it. If I tried to count how many times I hear the F-word in one trip to the grocery store I'd run out of numbers. People use it to add emphasis to every sentence they speak. (Which brings up the question, is it really emphasizing something when you use it seven times per phrase?) People even use it when they mean to compliment you. Just put the word in place of "very" and you've got yourself a glowing commendation. Gee, thanks... I think.

Of course, I say that the F-word is the one I hear most often, but in reality there is one phrase that is used even more - you can't go anywhere without hearing someone say "Oh my God." About anything. And everything. It was even shortened to the cutesy, blonde-ish "omigod" and then to the even more cutesy, teenaged text-friendly "OMG". It's on T-shirts and cell phones. You can't watch anything on TV without hearing it, or go anywhere or do anything without being smacked in the face with it. And since a recent poll showed that 92% of Americans believe in God, I find it disheartening that we have sunk to throwing His name about as if it were nothing more than a brand of cheap perfume. Forget about reverencing or honoring the name of Deity. We throw it in the gutter and stomp on it.

Of course, I'm pretty sure most of these people don't have any idea what they are saying and what it implies (about themselves more than anything). Even the most devout believer seems to forget that whole third commandment thing, or at the very least disconnect it from what is coming out of his or her mouth. People use God's name out of anger and frustration or disbelief, but they also use it to express excitement, gratitude, or any other happy emotion that they are feeling. It's the ultimate all-purpose word. It's even a filler-word, as in, I don't know what to say so I'll just put this word here while I think about it.

It's no wonder that the still small voice has a hard time getting through to anyone. How can it possibly be heard over all the disgusting trash coming out of peoples' mouths?

I guess that's just all the more reason to make sure that these words can never be heard coming out of mine.


mathmom said...

OK, being the clean-minded person that I am, I can't figure out the soup one. Fork and chip are clear to me. When Samuel was little, he had trouble with corn and put a "p" at the front of it. He would say, "I love corn!", but it didn't sound like a good thing.

MyDonkey Five said...

I remember the first time I heard the "f" word in Indiana and it took me a second to figure out what it was because I hadn't heard it for so long. Ugh.

Sometimes kids can be so cute when they are being innocent, but end up scandalous. Cute Michael.

Sara said...

Woodstock puts a hard C in place of the S in sock. It's humorous until you've heard it 742 times.

I agree. People don't pay attention to what they say. I'm of the opinion they have limited vocabularies to the point of not being able to come up with proper words, so they use the f-word as adjective, adverb, verb, noun and anywhere else it might fit.

fiona said...

Fortunately for me, I don't know those words in Spanish, so even if they were said around me, I'd have no clue! Wait, no...I do know one.

Sadly, in high school, I honestly thought using bad words was something people would finally grow out of for the most part, but entering the "real world" out of BYU clarified things. It's ridiculous.

Sarah said...

All I can say, is never visit Britain! The language here is deeply offensive... even school children as young as 8 or 9 are using these phrases especially when an adult (me) walks past because they think (I assume) it makes them sound and feel grown up because they are following the example of the adults in there lives. Although, you may get "lucky" in that if you do visit, you may be in an area with a heavy accent and therefore you may not understand a word anyone is saying!!! (Even I struggle in some areas of the country!!)
Although even now Ana, who is four, has a very short pronunciation for the word shut (as in the door is shut) and to the passer by it sounds as if pronounced with an i instead of a u.
Not bad when heard in context, you think it is a trick of the ears. However, one day in Asda (Walmart) the following situation took place: She was standing looking at the automatic doors and calling out when they were shut. So, there she was standing in the middle of the shop calling out, "shut! shut! shut!" Over and over again. I was mortified because it wasn't until I saw her waving her hands as if to control the doors by magic that I realised what she was doing.
One woman laughed and said it was the funniest thing she had heard all day and it would keep a smile on her face for the rest of the week. Again, I was mortified and felt to tell her that it couldn't be what she was thinking because Ana had never heard that word. In which case she looked at me like a freak and left.
This is one of the reasons I sent Ana to welsh school so the children won't "share" their knowledge of such words as readily with her... I am sure it will take more than a couple of years to gain the fluency and knowledge of language that it requires to come across swear words. (I hope)

Stephanie Black said...

Cute little Michael. That's too funny about the inadvertent "swear" words.

How weird that the F-word can be used as a compliment.

Megan B said...

Yeah, we have struggled with forks as well. Though, I'm with Mathmom in that "soup" is making me rabidly curious...

I really do live in a bubble out there, I realize. I never thought I'd appreciate it, but I'm glad we don't have to hear that filth every time we walk out the door.