Swearwords. US vs. the rest

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eringayles
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Swearwords. US vs. the rest

Post by eringayles » March 5th, 2010, 10:09 am

I'm Australian. Let's say I use swearwords in a story. I know that the 'big guns' (the four-letter horribles) are used internationally, but it seems anomalous that swearwords that even posh ladies (like me) use, are considered nasty in America.
Even when I'm praying, I use: 'bloody', 'shite', 'damn' (I've been told that's a huge no-no in America -Goodness, even God uses it) 'bugger', 'hell', and 'roots'.
Now which of these should I trash when I send my blockbuster to the US?
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Eringayles.

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Re: Swearwords. US vs. the rest

Post by taylormillgirl » March 5th, 2010, 10:19 am

What does "roots" mean?
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eringayles
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Re: Swearwords. US vs. the rest

Post by eringayles » March 5th, 2010, 10:27 am

taylormillgirl wrote:What does "roots" mean?
I hope I don't DAMN you to HELL by telling you, Taylor, but it means (whisper) 'having inter. . .' you know what.

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Re: Swearwords. US vs. the rest

Post by r louis scott » March 5th, 2010, 11:53 am

Well by Boudicca's buttocks, such a topic to tackle so early in the day! I don't know where you are getting your information, eringayles, but really, most Americans aren't too prudish when it comes to the printed word. I wouldn't worry too much about it, and if there IS something terribly offensive, your agent and editor will point it out to you. I think a bit of local flavor in the use of proper cussing adds to the story, this I swear by the sweat of Minerva's nipples.

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Re: Swearwords. US vs. the rest

Post by taylormillgirl » March 5th, 2010, 12:02 pm

eringayles wrote:
taylormillgirl wrote:What does "roots" mean?
I hope I don't DAMN you to HELL by telling you, Taylor, but it means (whisper) 'having inter. . .' you know what.
Ditto the previous poster. Most Americans--at least the ones I know--don't balk at foul language in books as long as it's consistent with the character.

As for roots, I still don't get it! Does it mean you've been f*cked?
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Re: Swearwords. US vs. the rest

Post by Nick » March 5th, 2010, 1:52 pm

Shite, bloody, etc. and other Britannic swears don't really get used excepts by weirdos like myself and immigrants, so really most people probably won't even blink an eye at those. Actually most people won't really react to anything. In my experience we Americans tend to be game on violence and swearing, and deliver a big fat Hell No to coital relations of the homosexual variety, while moderating the straight sex. In our mainstream entertainment, of course. Cursing in books, so long as it isn't out of character, usually isn't an issue. Some people like my hyper-conservative grandmother take issue with it (which is why I will make every effort to keep her from reading my book -- dear lord the mouths on my characters), but most people couldn't really care. If I swear, why shouldn't a character, y'know? And oh dear I'm doing that repeating myself thing again. Short form: Don't worry about it.

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Re: Swearwords. US vs. the rest

Post by LGS » March 5th, 2010, 2:55 pm

Roots? Really? I've never heard that before in my life. Of course, I've never been to Australia either.
Last edited by LGS on March 6th, 2010, 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Swearwords. US vs. the rest

Post by aspiring_x » March 5th, 2010, 3:16 pm

i'm not a person who curses in everyday life (only when i'm very angry or in a lot of pain.)
but i can't think of any words that would turn mainstream america against your novel.

but you do need to watch out.
profanity is like salt. it spices up the language, gives it more appeal.
but too much and...
the other flavors in your book get lost
the readers get thirsty for something else to wash away the taste of your writing
it gets on the readers' nerves and their blood pressure goes up.

just saying, be careful that when you use profanity you have a good reason for it.

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Re: Swearwords. US vs. the rest

Post by Nick » March 5th, 2010, 4:50 pm

aspiring_x wrote: but i can't think of any words that would turn mainstream america against your novel.
Certain C word might. Only seen that turn up in one non-erotic piece of literature, and that was by a Brit. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen, but that is one that definitely does not come up a lot, American literature or otherwise. Actually I'm almost tempted to use it in a story one of these days, just to see what the publisher persons say. That is definitely still a big no-no in a lot of places.

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eringayles
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Re: Swearwords. US vs. the rest

Post by eringayles » March 5th, 2010, 5:51 pm

taylormillgirl wrote:
eringayles wrote:
taylormillgirl wrote:What does "roots" mean?
I hope I don't DAMN you to HELL by telling you, Taylor, but it means (whisper) 'having inter. . .' you know what.
Ditto the previous poster. Most Americans--at least the ones I know--don't balk at foul language in books as long as it's consistent with the character.

As for roots, I still don't get it! Does it mean you've been f*cked?
Yep, Taylor, you dirty old woman, you got it in one!
It's not yet my family's wake-up time (they sleep in on Sat mornings) and I let out a huge belly-laugh when I read your question. Everyone came running down to give me mouth-to-mouth.
Regards,
Eringayles

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eringayles
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Re: Swearwords. US vs. the rest

Post by eringayles » March 5th, 2010, 5:59 pm

aspiring_x wrote:i'm not a person who curses in everyday life (only when i'm very angry or in a lot of pain.)
but i can't think of any words that would turn mainstream america against your novel.

but you do need to watch out.
profanity is like salt. it spices up the language, gives it more appeal.
but too much and...
the other flavors in your book get lost
the readers get thirsty for something else to wash away the taste of your writing
it gets on the readers' nerves and their blood pressure goes up.

just saying, be careful that when you use profanity you have a good reason for it.
Gotcha.
I've written a few novels, which were published in UK, but never submitted to US. I find that I use 'damn' quite a bit, because here in Oz, and in UK, it's not even mildly offensive, but I've been told that in the States it is. Didn't think so, but had to check.
Thanks for answering.
Regards, Eringayles.

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eringayles
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Re: Swearwords. US vs. the rest

Post by eringayles » March 5th, 2010, 6:03 pm

r louis scott wrote:Well by Boudicca's buttocks, such a topic to tackle so early in the day! I don't know where you are getting your information, eringayles, but really, most Americans aren't too prudish when it comes to the printed word. I wouldn't worry too much about it, and if there IS something terribly offensive, your agent and editor will point it out to you. I think a bit of local flavor in the use of proper cussing adds to the story, this I swear by the sweat of Minerva's nipples.
And I swear by Titania's titties that you're a funny bugger! :)

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eringayles
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Re: Swearwords. US vs. the rest

Post by eringayles » March 5th, 2010, 6:08 pm

Nick wrote:Shite, bloody, etc. and other Britannic swears don't really get used excepts by weirdos like myself and immigrants, so really most people probably won't even blink an eye at those. Actually most people won't really react to anything. In my experience we Americans tend to be game on violence and swearing, and deliver a big fat Hell No to coital relations of the homosexual variety, while moderating the straight sex. In our mainstream entertainment, of course. Cursing in books, so long as it isn't out of character, usually isn't an issue. Some people like my hyper-conservative grandmother take issue with it (which is why I will make every effort to keep her from reading my book -- dear lord the mouths on my characters), but most people couldn't really care. If I swear, why shouldn't a character, y'know? And oh dear I'm doing that repeating myself thing again. Short form: Don't worry about it.
Thanks, Nick.

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Re: Swearwords. US vs. the rest

Post by taylormillgirl » March 5th, 2010, 8:10 pm

eringayles wrote: Yep, Taylor, you dirty old woman, you got it in one!
It's not yet my family's wake-up time (they sleep in on Sat mornings) and I let out a huge belly-laugh when I read your question. Everyone came running down to give me mouth-to-mouth.
Regards,
Eringayles
Oh my gawd...did you just call me an old woman? That's worse than telling me to go root myself. (Did I use root correctly in that sentence?) ;-)
Author of hot & humorous romances, debut novel coming in 2012 from Sourcebooks!
http://macybeckett.com/

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Re: Swearwords. US vs. the rest

Post by victoria » March 5th, 2010, 9:50 pm

hahah nice try!!!

I'd never thought that the word damn would be an offensive word (seeing as how much it's used here in aust) and hadn't really thought much about AUS vs US lang use - so thanks!!!

But on that point eringayles, I've always been mindful of not using aussie slang unless I was pitching here - and then I'd proudly call my MC a bogan!! ;)
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Sharing my research on how teens read and applying it to the process of writing.

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