All this news about the Cursing Canoeist in Michigan* left me with a question: Who decided that the F-word or S-word were so offensive that uttering them is abhorrent?
I don’t have an OED but, as far as etymology, Merriam-Webster gives me:
Fuck – akin to Dutch fokken to breed (cattle), Swedish dialect fokka to copulate
Shit – (assumed) Middle English, from Old English scite; akin to Old English -scItan to defecate
Now, I think a college prof told me one time that curse words goes back to the Normans after they invaded England. What ever the heck language the Normans spoke became the language of England. And whatever the heck language the conquered people spoke (Angles? Jutes? No idea here) was considered barbaric and therefore offensive to the Normans. The “rhymes-with-puck” and “rhymes-with-spit” curse words came from this “barbaric” language.
Now this was explained to me about 7 years ago and I think it’s apparent that my knowledge of both European History and Linguistics approaches zero. Has this been discussed before? Anyone have any ideas? Was my old college prof full of “scite” or what?
- If you haven’t heard of the Cursing Canoeist, check out
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/od/ story.html?s=v/nm/19990612/od/cussing_ verdict_1.html
[NOTE: Broke up the url so it wouldn’t supersize the page. your humble TubaDiva]
[Note: This message has been edited by TubaDiva]