Benewah Diaries: Who needs Swear Words?

swear words
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Swear Words.

Who needs swear words? I have been thinking about this lately. The English language has evolved a great deal and now, it’s so common to hear all manner of swear words as part of speech. You can even get a dictionary on swear words online.

Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t define swear words.  Swear words are #!!#$%^& (I hope I spelt it right)   I am sure this definition was right on point. No?

They’re obscene words- Rude and offensive.  As far back in the 1800’s, in the United States of America, a child who used a swear word was likely to have his mouth washed out with soap by his mother.

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Now, swearing is the in-thing. People swear when they‘re excited, furious or just having a normal conversation with their peers.

These obscene words serve as punctuation and extra vocabulary.

So then, why didn’t our English teachers take the pains to teach us the alternative vocabulary and punctuation? I am sure that if they did, they would have realized that some students were not as dull as they seemed.

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In spite of the argument that swear words bring the meaning home, they have the propensity to heighten tensions.

One Saturday, as I waited under a hot canopy for my vehicle’s Road Worthy Certificate, I heard raised voices.

It was an argument between a coconut seller and an embittered client.  The client felt that GHS 2.00 for an otherwise stale coconut was grand theft.  The Coconut seller thought the client was a royal pain and let him know it.

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Apart from livening up the wait, it just proved that swear words served as fuel to an already tensed situation.  It was the client’s obscene words that escalated the argument but for the timely intervention of onlookers, it would have been a fist fight.

Perhaps, the client, should have held his tongue, especially as the mantra, ‘the customer is always right’ does not work with a roadside vendor in Ghana.

And to satisfy your curiosity, the client had not even made payment or taken the coconut.

Let’s move on to our beloved action-packed movies.

Almost every Hollywood movie has a generous helping of choice oaths and curses. That’s what seems to make the movie work.

Watching without subtitles, one wonders why there are so many but when the subtitles are on, you’re surprised you missed about seventy-five percent.

Do we really need all that?

I watched Edge of Tomorrow on DSTV.  Though the swear words were muted the story was not lost. The script writer did not depend on them to make the story progress.

Unlike, The Wolf of Wall Street that had the same four lettered expletive used 506 times.  In the Middle East were the obscenities were muted, a viewer complained that It made it difficult to understand every single sentence.

To think Swearnet knocked The Wolf of Wall Street off the pedestal with a record of 868 expletives to get into the Guinness World book of records is amazing.

Why am I going on and on?

I am trying to understand. Why do we attempt to censor language in movies and indicate ratings? Why do we avoid swearing in front of youngsters or persons we deem too noble to be exposed to such lewdness? Is it that we are uncomfortable or even ashamed to use such words or are trying to paint a picture of ourselves that isn’t real?

If we are successful in conveying exactly what we mean without swear words when we choose, then I’ll leave you to answer the question, who needs swear words?

By Benewah Gyekye Bannermann

(Beanie-waa, Jie-chi, Banner-mann)

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