By By Atty. Romulo P. Atencia
Profanity is in the air
posted 13-Aug-2016  ·  
3,993 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

Profanity, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is "an offensive word" or "offensive language". It is also called bad language, strong language, coarse language, foul language, bad words, vulgar language, lewd language, swearing, cursing, cussing, or using expletives. This use is a subset of a language's lexicon that is generally considered to be strongly impolite, rude or offensive. It can show a debasement of someone or something, or show intense emotion. In its older, more literal sense, the term "profanity" refers to "offensive words, or religious words", used in a way that shows the user does not respect "God or holy things", or behavior showing similar disrespect.

********

To prevent profanity from being inadvertently broadcast on radio or television, programs are usually pre-recorded or a broadcast delay device used to screen for, and possibly delete, profanity before it is aired. Although mass media still tries to edit out expletives when high profile personalities use four-letter words in public, anybody watching TV knows what President Duterte and PNP Chief Dela Rosa and others are saying when the words “P.I.” are bleeped out from their statements. Indeed, profanity is in the air and has gone viral.

********

But people don’t seem to really mind. Profanity appears to have “gone viral” a long time ago. Coarse language is what one hears everyday in the streets. the Filipino cuss-words “P.I.” and the Bicol word “B…” (referring to the female organ) are now systematically (as opposed to occasionally, or casually) used to embellish communication between two persons. Some of us even blurt out expletives once in a while, like when we accidentally fall on our ass on the stairs after stepping on a misplaced object left there by the housemaid.  It is very common to hear quite a few Catandunganons decorate almost every other sentence they utter with a well-placed “B…”.

********

It has been reported that analyses of recorded conversations reveal that an average of roughly 80–90 words that a person speaks each day – 0.5% to 0.7% of all words – are swear words, with usage varying from 0% to 3.4%. Swearing performs certain psychological functions, and uses particular linguistic and neurological mechanisms; all these are avenues of research. Functionally similar behavior can be observed in chimpanzees, and may contribute to our understanding, notes New York Times author Natalie Angier. Angier also notes that swearing is a widespread but perhaps underappreciated anger management technique; that "Men generally curse more than women, unless said women are in a sorority, and that university provosts swear more than librarians or the staff members of the university day care center". Keele University researchers Stephens, Atkins, and Kingston found that swearing relieves the effects of physical pain. Stephens said "I would advise people, if they hurt themselves, to swear". However, the overuse of swear words tends to diminish this effect. The Keele team won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for their research.

********

A team of neurologists and psychologists at the UCLA Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research suggested that swearing may help differentiate Alzheimer's disease from frontotemporal dementia. Neurologist Antonio Damasio noted that despite loss of language due to damage to the language areas of the brain, patients were still often able to swear. A group of researchers from Wright State University studied why people swear in the online world by collecting tweets posted on Twitter. They found that cursing is associated with negative emotions such as sadness (21.83%) and anger (16.79%) thus showing people in the online world mainly use curse words to express their sadness and anger towards others.

********

The expression “P.I.” is a common enough utterance in this age that is more often just an expletive that punctuates one’s statement. At its worst, it is just an expression of displeasure which is not necessarily designed to threaten or to insult anybody. Even the Supreme Court recognizes this when it ruled almost 50 years ago that “P.I.” is just an expression of one’s feelings of resentment and not necessarily to insult another.

********

True, cuss-words, by themselves may not constitute a crime. But it is another thing when they are directed at a particular person for the purpose of maligning the latter. That is the crime of oral defamation or libel. It may also result to administrative sanctions. It was held in a case that the use of the foul and vulgar statement, “P.I.,” against complainants several times, and the referral to the same person as “Gago” is very unbecoming for one who is Acting Chief of a division in government. As an administrative officer, respondent should be courteous both in her conduct and her language towards her co-workers in order to have a smooth and efficient flow of work. She should refrain from conduct that demeans her office, remembering always that courtesy begets courtesy. The Supreme Court pointed out that it is not for a government functionary “to hurl vile epithets at her co-workers like some common fishwife in a fit of pique”. Prudence, restraint and sobriety are traits expected of those who occupy supervisory position, albeit in an acting capacity.

********

How about the President of this republic – an icon representing the Pilipino people, and a role model for the youth? Hmmm….. 

0 comments
new to catanduanestribune.com?
connect with us to leave a comment.
connect thru
Cancel
Cancel
Cancel
Other Some Random Thoughts articles
home home album photo album blogs blogs