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View Full Version : southerners/country folk: how do you swear? (lots of swearing, NSFW)


Spice Weasel
10-15-2007, 08:09 PM
Okay, so I just wanted to do a little poll for some fiction I'm writing.

I really only know how I swear, but I was born and raised in Southern Michigan, so I imagine there has to be some change-up in the pattern depending on the region you're from.

For example, I curse like a sailor, liberally, and often attach no import to the use of swearwords.

Examples:

Fuck yeah!
What the fuck are you talking about/What the hell are you talking about?
Give me a fuckin' break.
What the fuck is up with this shit?

those are a few examples of phrases that frequently come out of my mouth when I'm conversing with my peers. To a lesser extent, I might say damn or bitch

(though ''bitch'' is really a verb) -- i.e. he/she bitched me out

One thing I suspect might separate me from my southern brethren is the fact that these swears are often accompanied by a lot of other words, kind of in a ''ranty'' way, whereas I'm guessing rural/southern folk might use words more sparingly in general.

For example, I can see the single exclamation, ''Hell!'' as having more meaning than it would in the Midwest. But I don't really know. Which is why I'm asking you, fair Dopers of the south! How do you swear? What would a total temper tantrum sound like where you're from? How about casual swearing among friends? What if you were threatening to kick some guy's ass in a bar?

I am really sorry if I offend anybody with this thread--it is all language to me, and all language is a tool, so I will find your responses very valuable. I swear! :D

percypercy
10-15-2007, 09:32 PM
I'm the same, but I was born and raised in Memphis, which is Southern, but urban. My parents swear, but certainly more sparingly. They're not likely to use profanity in conversation, but say if my mom drops something on her foot... she wouldn't be shy about using a damn or fuck.

They both loved Deadwood and Sopranos. My dad is obsessed with the Wire right now. Neither of them have virgin ears. They've just tried hypnosis to stop smoking. It's working on my dad great, thankfully, but the guy couldn't get my mom to relax. She does, however, claim that she's been cursing like a sailor ever since. :)
-Lil

Liberal
10-16-2007, 06:14 AM
Ah'm sick 'n' tahd of all this Yankee-fahd po-liddicly co-rrect bull shit. Som-bitchin' Yankee politicians jess rahl mah aayuss. A cuss awn the basstuhd spawn o' them unrahtchess Yankee cuhds, suckin' the lahf outta owuh Gawd-given Southuhn hehutage. Gitchuh asses in geah, you Yankee tuhds, and head the fock back nowuth.

Slithy Tove
10-16-2007, 06:54 AM
In the Midwest werhe I was raised, "That's Bullshit" had equal stress on "that's" and "Bull," with the "shit" coming out as an unvocalized "sht" as if out of reticence on the swearer's part.

Down here, there the mountians meet the piedmont, you can tell at what elevation someone was raised by their pronunciation:

"Thah-yet's BOW-SHET" from someone closer to the Atlantic seaboard

"Thet's BUHL-SHEE-YET" from those of the more hillbilly persuasion.

Zsofia
10-16-2007, 08:53 AM
My dad, like many men of his age, does not swear. When he drops a hammer on you he shouts "DADGUMMIT!" really loud. That's "goddamn it" spelled sideways.

Zsofia
10-16-2007, 09:10 AM
I forgot, he's also fond of "God Almighty!"

Litoris
10-16-2007, 09:18 AM
Well, I grew up in the South (TN to be precise) with liberal travel to Michigan. My dad never swore, and my mother tried not to but when she did it was pansy swearing. I, however, have turned it into a fine art.

For me, a typical sentence might be:

"How the fuck are our guys supposed to fucking do their gotdayumed job over there? I mean, if they fucking try to shoot the fuckers to save their own (or their comrades') life, then it's "murder"? Fuck that bullshit! What the gotdayumed fuck do these pussies think those assholes are doing to us -- kissing us? Fuck that shit."**

Now, I don't speak like that in professional settings or around other people's kids, but in private conversations, yeh. The thing is, having lived all over the place, I don't really see a big difference in how people swear other than I think here in the South people tend to insert words into the middle of other words more than in other parts of the country. Examples include "unbefuckinglieveable," "imfuckingpossible," and "refuckingdiculous."

**cut and pasted from an IM with my husband a few moments ago.

Flipshod
10-16-2007, 09:56 AM
In the deep South here you can skip some of the non-curse words, lengthen the vowel and add a diphthong or two for emphasis.

So, "That's bullshit." becomes "Buuulll shieeyet." If you lengthen the vowels in both words and emphasize the u in bull, its more of a dismissive statement like catching someone in an obvious lie. But if you if emphasize the vowel in shit and raise the inflection at the end, its a precursor to further explanation of whatever it is that's bullshit.

Similarly the u in fuck in the phrase "fucked up" can be lengthened and modulated to change the meaning and tone (generally the longer and more modulation, the more serious the situation--e.g. I can use the word fuck with the u comprising two syllables for extra emphasis)

Sorry, obviously not a linguist here, but I do cuss in the South.

Knowed Out
10-16-2007, 10:02 AM
You put on a stern face, take a quick breath, and let loose slowly but purposely.

BULL, FUCKIN', SHEEEIT!

Then you launch into your tirade as to how the previous person is wrong.

It's all in the delivery. The potential cusser will forcefully pull a cigarette out of his mouth, left the bill of his cap, or take it off entirely, before he exclaims "Well GOD DAAMMMMMNNNNN!" Depending now hick the cusser is, "damn" can have two syllables.

A southerner who can't think of a good retort will usually draw out a simple "Fuck yewwwwww." Plus, the short fuck is really more like fuh-uck. When expressing disappointment, that's the long fuck. IE: "Fuuuuuuuuuuck!" with a really hard F.

Shit is pretty popular, as in "Ain't that some shit!" "I shit you not!" and "You shittin' me?"

And of course shit can be expressed as disappointment, as in "Sheeeiiiiiiiit."

Ass is also good, but you gotta say it almost like ice. Begin with a as in fact, then up to a long e as in feet[/i]. Like, "Git off yor aiss and git back to work!" "Kiss my aiss!" and "I'm gonna kick yor aiss if you don't shut up!"

Kuboydal
10-16-2007, 11:29 AM
There is also a fair amount of durn burn, dang, that-so-and-so going on amongst those attempting to function within polite company.

Harriet the Spry
10-16-2007, 12:41 PM
In the Bible Belt part of the South, "God damn" is considerably stronger than just plain "damn". And "Jesus Christ," which was hardly considered a real swear in my midwestern upbringing (unless you included one of His more colorful middle names), is definitely a real swear in the Bible Belt. This has to do with people being serious about not taking the Lord's name in vain. So your Southern characters might be more likely to hold back on those two in the presence of their elders or people they know to be Christians. And the more outspoken Christians will call the cussers out on it if they are offended.

Liberal
10-16-2007, 12:47 PM
Definitely. A "Jesus Christ" here is tantamount to "please shun me for the rest of my life".

AuntiePam
10-16-2007, 01:09 PM
In the deep South here you can skip some of the non-curse words, lengthen the vowel and add a diphthong or two for emphasis.

So, "That's bullshit." becomes "Buuulll shieeyet."

Like this? (http://youtube.com/watch?v=HrfCixsd2N8)

Edited to add: NSFW, probably.

jackelope
10-16-2007, 02:05 PM
How do I swear? Loud and often.A "Jesus Christ" here is tantamount to "please shun me for the rest of my life".I've actually heard someone here in Memphis say, "Those motherfuckers better not give me that G-D story again." Apparently this guy who would drop a casual "motherfucker" was afraid to say "God-damned."

Ogre
10-16-2007, 02:28 PM
My favorite: an outraged response to something his good ol' boy buddy told him (overheard outside a bar):

"That's fucked-upper'n sheeeit!"

I, of course, use it all the time now.

lobstermobster
10-16-2007, 02:40 PM
nashvillian here. Only difference I can think of is my parents will say "good god damn" instead of the plain "god damn"

Also, depending on how backwoods it is I would toss in a few "niggers" My grandmother literally said "its raining nigger babies outisde"

chaoticbear
10-16-2007, 10:35 PM
Well, I live in the South (south Arkansas), but I don't know if I count as "country folk". I use a lot of "Jesus (fucking) Christ!", "Holy freaking Jesus!" and "Goddammit!" My dad uses "Fuck!" a lot. Even when it doesn't make sense.

Sierra Indigo
10-16-2007, 10:45 PM
How do I swear? Loud and often.I've actually heard someone here in Memphis say, "Those motherfuckers better not give me that G-D story again." Apparently this guy who would drop a casual "motherfucker" was afraid to say "God-damned."

I heard something similar watching TV today.

A cop was shot at by some perps with a semi-auto. First off he comes out with "Gosh damn!". Then they shot at him again whilst speeding off in their truck. The next words out of his mouth were "Gosh damn MOTHERFUCKERS!"

Pine Fresh Scent
10-17-2007, 01:30 AM
I was born in SC, raised in TX and Florida, graduated from ECU (aww shaddap)

I have taken strides to curb my swearing in the past few years, not 'cause it 'aint fun to swear, but I believe that to really express displeasure at a person or situation, less is more.

I admit I have practiced a few phrases should I ever need them. One of my favorites is "you have a fundamental misunderstanding of how things operate here". I especially like the way "fundamental misunderstanding" rolls off the tongue. Haven't used it yet and I'm not big enough of a dick to actively look for an opportunity to use it.

If I'm truly pissed "Jesus God" slips out a lot as does "What the F**K Over?" as if spoken through a CB radio - "Good Lord" and "That's Bullcrap" too. I say "Bullcrap" over "Bulls**t" because "Bullcrap" sounds so 3rd grade and drives home to me how stupid swearing can sometimes sound, especially over minor annoyances.

"Unbelievable" is a good one too - it's all in the delivery. Multiple syllables to roll around the tongue. In my work hierarchy jerk < asshole < jackass < clown. Kind of a work culture thing. A clown is an asshole who doesn't care he's an asshole = completely worthless. I'd rather be called an asshole than a clown. Hope this helps. If'n it don't then faaawk yeeew!

Litoris
10-17-2007, 07:46 AM
I just wanted to add that ever since she saw an episode of Futurama in which Bender used the phrase my daughter (who is areligious like I) has been using "Oh your god!" as an exclamation. She thinks it conveys a lot more offense than any other, considering how extremely religious the people at her school are. We are zoned for one of the wealthier school districts in the area, which also happens to be very redneck -- rich + redneck = militaristically religious!

Oh, and just wanted to add that, yeh, a Southerner can make "bullshit" a 12 syllable word if the situation warrants. You want to know just how badly you pissed me off? See how long it takes me to finish 1 curse word :D

OneCentStamp
10-17-2007, 08:02 AM
Transplanted Yankee living in the South here.

- As has been pointed out upthread, a lot of what makes Southern swearing is not what you say, but how you say it. In much the same way that Paula Deen manages to make oil and egg into three-syllable words, a true Southerner can make god damn last a good five seconds.

- Things that are untrue, or just not very good, are "some bullshit," which comes out sounding like "Them pancakes was some BOOL-sheeeeeeyiiiit!"

- In much the same way that you never come across sodium in its elemental state in nature, you rarely see the f-word by itself in the South. It's usually compounded into motherfucker or motherfuckin'. And in my observation, Southerners don't spray that one around quite as liberally as people from other parts of the country.

Spice Weasel
10-17-2007, 09:10 AM
Hey, I really appreciate your input here.

You guys are the SHEEEEEEEEEEY-IT! ;)

OneCentStamp
10-17-2007, 09:12 AM
Hey, I really appreciate your input here.

You guys are the SHEEEEEEEEEEY-IT! ;)
Fuck all y'all, I'm from TEXAS.

SnakesCatLady
10-17-2007, 09:28 AM
Don't forget "Bless your heart". That's a non-profane way of telling someone they're dumber than a tick on a dead dog.

Also useful is "That's Nice" instead of "who gives a fuck, bitch?".

Difference between a Northern fairy tale and a Southern fairy tale:

A Northern fairy tale starts: "Once upon a time...."

A Southern fairy tale starts: "Ya'll ain't gonna believe this shit..."

Famous Southern last words: "Hey Ya'll - watch this!"

Flipshod
10-17-2007, 09:34 AM
Fuck all y'all, I'm from TEXAS.

'at's some fu-ucked up sheeyit raht 'ere. Fuck you too, cowboy. :D

OneCentStamp
10-17-2007, 10:21 AM
'at's some fu-ucked up sheeyit raht 'ere. Fuck you too, cowboy. :DThat was actually more of a black Houstonian locution I was offering up - it's actually the caption of a t-shirt popular around here. :)

Playkcab
10-17-2007, 10:52 AM
Until now I didn't think there was a thread that could make the south seem more stoopid and uncouth. I've lived in Texas all of my life and I have yet to pick up any southern accent. It was a conscious effort on my part not to sound like my dad, an Italian guy that grew up in NYC, or like my mom, a country girl from Kentucky. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I DO NOT say bull-sheeeyit.

OneCentStamp
10-17-2007, 10:55 AM
Until now I didn't think there was a thread that could make the south seem more stoopid and uncouth.That certainly isn't the intention here. Southern profanity is unique, not necessarily more stupid or uncouth (though, if we're talking about intentionally crude language, wouldn't more uncouth actually be better?).

Actually, I grew up in Maryland myself, and to me there is no more grating sound than a woman from New Jersey cursing out her significant other in public. It sounds like the aluminum being stripped off the outside of a rusty trailer with pliers. In comparison to that, Deep South invective goes down just like syrup over waffles. :)

Ogre
10-17-2007, 11:08 AM
Until now I didn't think there was a thread that could make the south seem more stoopid and uncouth. I've lived in Texas all of my life and I have yet to pick up any southern accent. It was a conscious effort on my part not to sound like my dad, an Italian guy that grew up in NYC, or like my mom, a country girl from Kentucky. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I DO NOT say bull-sheeeyit.My goodness. Aren't we the uppity little buzzkill?

SnakesCatLady
10-17-2007, 11:13 AM
Until now I didn't think there was a thread that could make the south seem more stoopid and uncouth. I've lived in Texas all of my life and I have yet to pick up any southern accent. It was a conscious effort on my part not to sound like my dad, an Italian guy that grew up in NYC, or like my mom, a country girl from Kentucky. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I DO NOT say bull-sheeeyit.

And we are so glad you couldn't possibly be mistaken for a Southerner. Bless your heart.

Kuboydal
10-17-2007, 01:29 PM
And we are so glad you couldn't possibly be mistaken for a Southerner. Bless your heart.

I reckon that's the funniest thing I'll hear all day.

Happy Scrappy Hero Pup
10-17-2007, 02:22 PM
Until now I didn't think there was a thread that could make the south seem more stoopid and uncouth.

(bolding mine)


Well, at least you're doing your part for North-South intellectual parity...





...bless your little heart.

LouisB
10-17-2007, 02:50 PM
NOT SAFE FOR WORK

I quite often substitute "horse pucky' or "horse sheeeiiiiitttt" for "bull shit." "Fuckin' Hell" gets a lot of use, too, as does "Holy fuckin' God." "Bull Fuckin' Sheeeiiit" gets a lot of use when I think someone's statement or story is absolutely whacked.

I once worked with a guy whose absolutely favorite indictment of a person, place, or thing was "God Damn Mother Fuckin' Baby Rapin' Jug Fuckin' Banjo Eyed Son-of-a-Bitch." He was big enough and mean enough to get away with it. He was also a good ol' boy from rural Oregon.

Little Plastic Ninja
10-17-2007, 03:18 PM
(bolding mine)


Well, at least you're doing your part for North-South intellectual parity...





...bless your little heart.

I'm sure Playkcab is a perfectly nice person...

:D

I always thought the genteel Southern curses (not the glistening invective I've heard, but 'that's nice' and 'sweet' and 'cute' and the kiss of death, 'bless your little heart' were not serious. But not only did I learn otherwise, I learned just how astonishingly harsh they can really be.

Liberal
10-17-2007, 03:25 PM
Until now I didn't think there was a thread that could make the south seem more stoopid and uncouth. I've lived in Texas all of my life and I have yet to pick up any southern accent.You just keep lying there till the fever passes, son. We'll bring you a plate home from church.

Sampiro
10-17-2007, 04:03 PM
I'm a major devotee of the F word and other "standard" cursing fare as are most of my southern/country born&reared friends, though my sister has a definite Southern streak in her cursing. Her favorite oath, said very fast (remember that there are several distinct southern accents and they are not all slow), is "SHIT GODDAMN MONKEY-PISS N*GGER HELL'S BELLS MOTHERFUCKER!" (As for the racial slur, before assuming she's a racist, remember she contains it with her most extreme curse phrases including GD, which she believes is not just a dirty phrase but a sin.)

My grandmother, raised in the early 20th century by a well-to-do socially prominent family where ladies didn't curse, used to preface her invective with words to the effect of "As a sinner with lower breeding and a fouler mouth than I have once said, Fuck that bunch of bullshit". (In other words, she'd give that preface and then turn the air blue with drunk sailor language.)

Also: in my middle class southern family, you did not swear in public- it was the nadir of manners. OTOH, at home, one word was as good as another in conversation- cursing was as casual as Kathy Griffin says it is to her Catholic family.

beanpod
10-17-2007, 04:48 PM
From rural Baptist farmers in Kentucky:

"Fuck" is the be all and end all unforgivable word around my family--as in, "I'm 35 years old and if I said that word in front of my Mommy, I'd still expect her to slap the livin' shit outta me."

"Shit" is acceptable from adults under extreme provocation. It is hissed, yet violently, loudly, and disdainfully all at once.

For the Christians (who, in that area, are legion) all variations on "goddamn" are strictly frowned upon. I've encountered this in people of all ages.

Restrictions are looser depending on the crowd. Cursing in "mixed company" is frowned upon--mixed company meaning either mixed ages or genders or other groups. You do not curse in front of an old lady unless you want to be whacked. Teenagers, in my experience, have no shame or limitations among themselves. I guess the differences would mostly be with regional accents.

As for unique turns of phrases, my dad has one that I often remember with joy and nostalgia: "Shit fire and save matches," pronounced in a crescendo: "Wull sheeit FAHR and save matches!" It was often said after burning himself with a soldering iron. If I think of more unique variations, I'll post them.

Sampiro
10-17-2007, 05:37 PM
For the Christians (who, in that area, are legion) all variations on "goddamn" are strictly frowned upon. I've encountered this in people of all ages.

At the conservative Christian school I went to we weren't allowed to say "Jesus Christ" as an oath, which made sense/fair enough, but they also banned "Jiminy Cricket", "Sheez", "Cheese Grits"[?], and "anything with the initials JC" a all were evidently clear synonyms for Jesus Christ.
Since my first two names are Jonathan Carroll, I became the swear word for a while because they could then swear "we were just calling Jon!"