1. tasjess
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    tasjess Active Member

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    Using naughty words in writing (may contain ripe language)

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by tasjess, Jul 25, 2015.

    I posted a story in the workshop today and got a bit of helpful feedback. In the story there is an exchange where a frustrated mother uses the phrase "...bloody well..." in an exchange with her 12 year old daughter who comes back with "Language!"

    I'm middle class-ish Aussie and if any of my pre-teen kids used the word "bloody" as an adjective I'd probably correct them although they have undoubtedly heard me use it occasionally (because double standards that's why - plus my mother in law would pass out if it happened in front of her). Even my own Mum, who is a highly educated middle class woman and can swear more creatively than anyone I know (farmyard poultry get involved often) would be shocked if my kids said "bloody". I know some people who use it as a comma though, and that's in polite company (around mates it's f**k and f**kin').

    So - bloody - is it a swear word? Does it make sense that my MC's daughter is pointing out the use of the word? How regional is swearing? Do non-Aussies use "bloody"?
     
  2. Stacy C
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    Stacy C Banned

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    We don't hear it much in the US, and few would think twice about its use. I've always thought of it as British.
     
  3. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think bloody is very borderline as a swear word in Britain. Ron Weasley uses it in the Harry Potter films. (and possibly the books)
    I've never considered it a swear word myself though I've heard of people that do.

    What someone considers swearing depends on region and upbringing in general.

    I've seen debates on Ass, Damn, Crap, Hell and Bugger.

    When I was at Catholic primary school, one of our teachers was a nun, and would even tell people off for saying blimey. (because it means god blind me)
     
  4. Christine Ralston
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    Christine Ralston Active Member

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    There are far worse swear words than "bloody." (some you'll find in my own novel) Never really even thought of this as a swear word. I guess some would. I've always thought of it as more British, too.
     
  5. DeadMoon
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    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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    For me "Bloody" (usually in a British accent) is one of those words that sounds better as a swear word when it is heard as opposed to when it is read. Still I think it would be fine to use it in your book. Thru the use of mass media and the internet everyone has or at least can be exposed to multi cultural ....... everything including language.
     
  6. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    I wouldn't say bloody is a swear word, but it's definitely an informal word; you wouldn't walk around work or school saying it.

    I agree with @DeadMoon with it sounding better when spoken than read. I feel it relates to British and Aussies more than Americans as well; I've never really heard Americans use it.

    Bloody hell (or bloody-ell to us proper English speakers) just refers to being in a 'bad place,' as in a 'bloody hell.' Though, it's often used hyperbolically; for example, Paul accidentally drops his book on the floor. 'Bloody-ell,' he huffs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2015
  7. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    My online interaction with Americans was always one of confusion when I said bloody - as mentioned above, it's just plain not used in that context, apparently.

    Brits for sure use it.

    To my mind, the exchange as you have written it makes sense, and people would pick up legitimacy from the context even if it didn't fit their own curse word list.
     
  8. tasjess
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    tasjess Active Member

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    Interesting! I didn't realise American's don't use the word much.

    Where I live in Rural Tasmania, as I said, there are people who use it as a comma in polite company. As in:

    "What the bloody hell are we going to make for bloody lunch d'ya reckon mate? Should we chuck a few bloody snags on the bloody barbie ya reckon? Grab us a bloody tinnie will ya mate there's some in the bloody fridge there."

    In less polite company replace the bloody with f**k or f**kin'

    If one of my kids said "What the bloody hell are you doing?" or something of the like I'd probably say something classy like "Oi, language!" because it's not polite. If they were to "proper swear" I'd probably react more strongly. So it's a really mild swear word but still not polite here. I think of it as more of an Aussie word because I've grown up around it in very common use but when it is said with a British, Scottish or Irish accent it sounds much classier I must say - but doesn't everything?
     
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  9. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Where the bloody hell are ya? :D

     
  10. DeadMoon
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    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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  11. Stacy C
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  12. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Of course!

    To the OP, my father appeared in a play where he declined to speak a line including "bloody", replacing it with "ruddy". This was back in the 1950s, though...I think that it's been overtaken - as the default adjective among those who don't even know what an adjective is - by f**k.

    Nowadays, it hardly raises an eyebrow in adult speech. I think, though, that it wouldn't be so tolerated in children.
     
  13. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Out of all the swearwords out there, 'bloody' is pretty tame. Yeah, you probably don't want to shout it out in a polite society that treats that word like a swear, but there are worst things to call someone.

    @tasjess - To us Americans, 'bloody' is something the British use. If a Yank says it, we'd think he/she was pretending to be British. Though a liberal watching of British shows have incorporated it into my vocabulary. :p I'll bloody thank them for that. :p
     
  14. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, a Brit would say "I'll bloody well thank them for that".
     
  15. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    But we wouldn't use double quotations for it. :supergrin:
     
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  16. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    All right.

    “And you can bloody well thank those Brits for putting that word into my vocabulary. Now I have to careful less I convince the Americans I'm trying to be a Brit. Or from Wales to be precise because not all are from England.”

    :p
     
  17. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    I don't think the word 'bloody' is a swear word but hell I use Ikida Mud Dog as a swear "word" in my book so it all depends on what you're writing.
     
  18. ToeKneeBlack
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    In my first work, aimed at readers 12+, I've got swearing in another language (one of the characters has picked up a little Russian), a swear-word interrupted by static ("sh-") and the word "bloody" used by an irritated antagonist. But these are used sparingly.

    I do have a work planned which uses a lot of double entendres. The setting is a world populated by vegetables, in which there is a hospital. Various different species work there, including a "pea nurse". As you may expect, the target audience is very much older than my earlier work. I'm thinking of using an alias for this one.
     
  19. Song
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    Song Active Member

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    Most swear words have a sexual connotation or refer to sexual organs or bodily functions which this could come from the idea of blood i guess. Some people think it comes from the blasphamous catergory like 'christ' and 'damn'. They think it is in reference to the virgin mary. I always figured it was a distortion of the idea of drenched in blood (e.g World War 1 was a really bloody war). Although Wiki also says it could come from a Dutch word 'bloote' meaning completely.

    Personally I think its highly unlikely that parents would let their kids (little ones) use it with them, and teachers wouldn't. However it really is so mild, they had it in Harry Potter after all. I think the whether it is or isn't a swear word is likely to come from a social and situational context. Each family is different, I know families that use the word 'fuck' like it's a regular adjective. I have also met others that think the word 'damn' is a punishable offence. It's just another one of the complicated things we need to think about as writers when we build our book worlds.
     
  20. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I never think of "bloody" as a swear word, but I live in the U.S.
     
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  21. tasjess
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    tasjess Active Member

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    @DeadMoon Well everything's even better on Buffy/Angel :p
    @Aaron DC Hilariously, there were some Australians offended by that campaign because of the "bad language"
    @Song My husband was saying last night that he thought the origin was a reference to 'the blood of Mary" i.e. the menstruation of the Virgin Mary. Not sure how accurate that is, but gross!

    My MC does swear like an average Aussie (the longer story springing from the original short is set in Sydney) and her daughter pointing out her very mild 'bad language' is as much to describe their relationship as anything. I know my kids have heard the odd bloody, the occasional shit and plenty of bugger but it's fairly rare for me to let slip a fuck or anything of the like in front of them and some of them would be shocked if I did. The truth is though,I used to swear like a drunken sailor and given my apprenticeship to my own mother, I'm quite good at it! As the story progresses they will both grow to learn about other aspects of each other. Given what I'm reading here American readers will likely miss or be completely confused by the bad language exchange.

    Language is a funny thing!
     
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  22. Song
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    Song Active Member

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    Wiki does suggest it's one possible origin, but it's inconclusive. Here is the link to the page:-
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloody
     
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  23. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    This thread is bloody interesting. :supergrin:
     
  24. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    About bloody time you used the phrase, mate. ;)
     
  25. tasjess
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    tasjess Active Member

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    Too right mate, bloody oath it is ;)
     

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