One day, I was discussing the role of religions, humanity and the existence of God in our lives, with a friend. After a while, something popped into my mind and I expressed it very spontaneously: the F-word followed by a ‘LOL’ and a grinning smiley. My friend asked me very calmly as to why we use our lips to utter such profanity when it is not even required, instead of finding better expressions to express our thoughts. Had the idea kicked a brainstorming session for my mind? Yes, it was food for thought and hence, a catalyst for composing an article for Vibrant Echoes.
Conventions rule the world of meanings and expressions. Blue is associated with boy and pink with a girl. Right is right, left is left and not the vice versa. If the word for ‘Left’ would be ‘Right’, then that ‘Left’ would have conveyed the meaning same as that of what we know as ‘Right’. A child’s first school of language is home. Whatever he/she learns about words is by listening to parents and other members. Then comes into play, an associative memory which grows sharp every single day. When we hear a word, it creates an image in mind, associative to that word.
Being a part of society, a child learns good and bad things. Here, once again, convention rules or morality rules define what is good or bad. Swear words, profane language, vulgar gestures etc. make an image in a child’s mind at the initial stage when he learns those words and gestures. If something is ‘bad’ and we visualize that in mind at that point of time, that has the potency to pollute minds and hence mindsets. Sometimes, the same words and sentences convey different meanings when spoken in varying tones. Now that proves, intent and purport are what make a word come alive. Words are like body, intent is like soul and grammar of a language defines the anatomy of the body.
People say that swear words add spice to conversations. Doesn’t that mean, the intellectual quotient of society is now depreciating at an alarming rate? They can’t add zing to the conversations by using language and its adorning tools. They feel enlightened and adventurous when learn new vernacular lingos, jargons and slangs. In the name of development and 21st century, have we not entangled ourselves in a cobweb where we do not have much time to crawl easily? Time is of the essence, they say. When it comes to save time by abbreviating what we speak, it is dearly paid at the cost of elegance of expressions. Can we say that the essence of time has gone far away from our fast-paced lives? So, we do not have time to convey our thoughts in properly strung beads of language, adorned with fitting figures of speech and that is how slangs, jargons and abbreviations come to be an indispensable part of our daily conversations.
Surprisingly, in new, cut-short elements of language, slangs define lot of meanings by a mere change in tone. Then slangs, swear words, vulgar gestures become handy tools to cut short the time of conversations and provide to-the-point accuracy and assertiveness. Moreover, to threaten, to use puns, to add spark and spice to conversations, to be cool and hip among friends, to shorten sentences- we resort to graphic profanity.
Virat Kohli, Indian cricketer, an easy scapegoat when it is about using slangs when all others are also culprits, more or less. If Kohli reads this, we might hear some ‘%$@@!&’. The front page of The Times of India‘s Delhi Times published an article last year when Kohli played a whirlwind innings to overcome a huge total that Australia had managed, well under 40 overs. Kohli had fumed to the dressing room after hitting the winning shot, saying, “Who the hell ‘%$@@!&’ told me to get past total of 500?” When he affronts a reporter who asks about his girlfriend, when he hits a boundary, takes catch, drops a catch, wins the match, makes a century, abuses the opponent, celebrates a dismissal- lips roll in same fashion with same aggressive gesticulations. Life, so simplified!
At AIB, celebrities used hardcore slangs and words to showcase their coolness among fans and audience. AIB is the latest cult show among youth and adults try to sneak in as well. Are they trying to define the new shortened version of 21st century intellectual levels? Oh, they are so cool and jazzy!
At social networking sites, the masses follow what celebrities do. Don’t celebrities do what is already there in the society as they also come from those very social circles at one point of time? These days, people fail the test of patience very easily and vent out their fury, then and there. What’s in the fury: ashes and lava? No! 80% of content vented out is nothing but the swear words. The recipient takes that as lava and volcanic ash. What if the recipient does not react? The fuming person will be forced either to calm down or charge up more aggressively. But it does not happen most of the times as we tend to visualize and imagine in our minds, what the other person has hurled at us.
When we enter our home thresholds, an automatic setting disables our lips to curb our unrestrained language of outdoors. Most of us maintain dignity at homes, in company of elders and kids. Once we go out and join colleagues and friends, ‘F’ flows like anything and there is spice all around. Does it happen to most of us? Introspect. Try to experience this daily experience to check if it is liberating you from shackles of language. Maybe it is either a liberation or a hindrance. Ponder over.