[Lit&Lang] Language_In Defense of Swearing and Emojis

If you know me in real life, you would know that I swear quite a bit.

Fuck, shit, damn/dayum are my frequent choices of words.

I have restraints, of course. I don’t swear in front of children, nor do I swear to deride a person. I also think words like cunt are too vulgar for my taste (ha!) and derogatory. I generally swear as a modifier, for the most part.

And that’s what I like about modern-day swearing—the potential words like bloody, fucking, or shitty as modifiers.

I personally believe, and woe, that form and structure in terms of Language/Literature no longer matter anymore to the general public. If they do, it is for the sake of fastest delivery and appealing to customers. But they really don’t become artful or complex. I might just put it out like a child on tantrum: nobody really appreciates language, poetry, or prose anymore. (I personally believe that the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, the winner being Bob Dylan, is just another defeat against upholding the values and beauties of Literature.)

So within the general public who I believe have lost touch with the subtleties of language, if there is one way they are able to demonstrate almost a literary sensibility of form and structure, it is their awareness of diction and syntax when using swearwords.

Of course it is not the hardest sensibility to display. It only requires connotative and denotative understanding of few words, a lot of them deriving from “fuck” too. But still, it makes one consider the desired strength of a swear, and the placement of it. For example, what should come before horrible? Fucking? Bloody? Nothing, because it’s not that horrible, or convert the whole expression to “shitty” for a more casual but muted expression than “fucking horrible”? Or, should one use “fucking” before a name or in-between a name, such as “Severus fucking Snape” for comic emphasis? One does not have to necessarily be extremely aware of their word choices and placement (basically, diction and syntax), but one nevertheless understands the nuances naturally.

I wonder if people naturally show their sensibility because swears are supposed to be “emotional” or something like that. Of course, this is a wild conjecture, and without proper basis… but diction and syntax can be instinctive—at least for me. Certain emotions and situations that I associate with certain words. Feeling the rhythm of expressions! Yes, it’s important that I am able to put my perception into analytical words, but it doesn’t change the fact that diction and syntax, or more generally, form and structure, are things that touch me in the heart as well and not just in the brain. (And that is why I don’t intend to study linguistics, perhaps dabble a bit in it. Language is more of an art than science to me…)

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That’s where emoji comes in, because people demonstrate a similar kind of literary sensibility in the use of emoji. Each emoji has a set meaning—for example, a simple smiley face 🙂 expresses moderate happiness. But depending on placement, context, and consequently, connotation, the smiley face can mean something very different—that is, it can be used ironically. Little Facebook posts of what to reply to a girl/boy and if one should include emoji or not (if so, which one) amuse me. That deliberation in constructing a message! Even if the intended message are not nuanced or varied as Literature, there is definitely a kind of instinctive literary sensibility…

P.S. While I don’t necessarily buy the idea of emoji replacing words (because how sad will that be? what loss?), I can see emoji becoming somewhat like a language. The grammars are not sorted out yet, but there are certain customs of how emojis are used. Doesn’t that establish quasi-grammar? (It was only last in the few centuries that grammar was fully established for English!) And think how universal emojis will be! Even if complex communication won’t be possible, it will be easier to learn than Esperanto 😛

I guess the only thing that irks me is that the placement of punctuation(period) is not fully settled. Before or after the emoji? Or none at all? None at all, because having one looks awkward… But how can one eliminate the period in writing?

P.S.S. I thought the emojis looked really old-fashioned. Something I would see in some late 90s-early 2000s phones 😂