How do you say F*ck?

Friday, February 21, 2014

1 Comment

Written by Alice Lin

As an immigrant, one of the first questions that I get asked about is whether or not I speak English or Mandarin at home. For your information, it’s a mix of both. Sometimes, we call that “Chinglish”.  This is often followed by the response “...that’s interesting. Can you teach me how do you say f*ck?”

I understand that this may be just out of curiosity, but have you heard of Google translator? Truth is...I had never been given much thought about it until just of late. My cousin, who is from overseas, recently came to Canada on an English language learning experience trip. She is participating in this program along with many other international students and inevitably, they all started to learn to swear in a multitude of languages before they can even speak English. One of her peers had learned something from another Mandarin speaking student and they approached my cousin and said “Hi, I want to f*ck you, can I touch your boobs?” in Mandarin.

Needless to say, she was pretty offended. When is it ever okay to say something like this? (Please do not try to answer this, it is a rhetorical question). Where do we draw the line? (Now you can try to answer this).

Profanity is profanity. Regardless of what language it is, it is rude. I suppose there are times that are appropriate for profanity...but must you really need to know how to say this in multiple languages? Personally, I think this ends up reflecting badly on my language when others know how to say things like “fat girl” rather than “beautiful lady”.

Being a Chinese immigrant, there are already a handful of negative stereotypes associated with my culture. I’ve overheard people say Chinese people are dirty, try our best to rip people off, and don’t care about the environment...etc. Stereotypes that had made me feel ashamed to be Chinese when I first came to this country. Why the heck would I want to be associated with any of those traits?

We know that stereotypes exist for other cultures, groups and individuals as well. We learn this in our journey through the education system, that breaking stereotypes is a very difficult thing to do. To build and grow to be more accepting of differences, regardless of where someone came from, what they believe in, or what their sexual orientation may be, we need to put these stereotypes aside.

I am not attempting to claim that by not cursing, we can all suddenly be happy, peaceful and sing Kumbaya around the campfire. I am proposing though, for you to refrain from learning how to curse in other languages. As human beings, language is the main method in which we communicate to one another. Indeed, in order to build towards a more tolerant and accepting community, we need to learn to speak positively to one another.

So let’s all do everyone a favour. If you speak a language other than English and when someone asks you how to swear, please don’t. Instead, tell them how to say something nice, complimentary, and positive.

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  1. Posted by: Mike on Mar 23, 2014 @ 12:38pm

    Loved this. :) What is it with people and wanting to learn how to swear in other languages? This has happened to me before too. Must be people's inner 5-year-old naughty curiosity still kicking in...

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