7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Proof that swearing can be big and clever.,
This review is from: Filthy English: The How, Why, When and What of Everyday Swearing (Paperback)
It's odd that much of the content of this book is unable to be quoted here. Why is swearing censored? Which swears are the worst? Why are English swear words different to others around the world? And why is it so very difficult to swear properly in another language? All these and many other questions are, if not answered fully, certainly pored over with the punctilious obsession of one whose trade uses the currency of language. This is not a small book, and will take you a while to work through. Not because it's dull: far from it, but because the amount of material is incredibly densely packed. Each page has at least one juicy morsel to chew on (usually more), pulled in from a mixture of memory, conversation and academic investigation.
The topics run from the biological to the profane, taking in Pompeian graffiti (including the rudest Latin swear word, landica), why there aren't that many swear words relating to the female form and the origins of the "Yo' Mama" swear. In between we see the differences in the mechanics of black and white US swearing, a brief history lesson about Aztec Mexico and trying to find out when the first f- word in recorded music turned up. All are fascinating, frequently witty and written with a certain lightness of touch that, in the hands of another, could have made for a rather leaden read. But it really isn't: it's a riot, and frequently illuminating to boot.
Well worth the money.