Obscenities

I only feel deeply offended when someone insults me with a truth, or something I believe is the truth. “Te estás poniendo gorda”, “te estás poniendo vieja”, “loca como tu madre”, maybe they hit home. And yet I’m pretty sure they are not obscenities. By definition, an obscenity is an “extremely offensive word or expression”. Since 2019 people get offended really really easy. Being confrontational or sincere equals to be insensitive. If I say someone “tienes que usar desodorante”, they will likely get offended, extremely. Hurt. But they are not ‘bad words”. Now, if I say “mierda, coño, polla, tetas”, that is swearing. And yet they are just words, I don’t know why they scare us so much, or alarm us so much.

Probably these ones in particular provoke an unwanted mental image. “Death, hunger, sickness” are also ugly realities, but are not improprieties. It’s a mystery to me. I can understand what I shouldn’t say in front of children, but I don’t know why.

¿Any ideas?

te estás poniendo gorda: you’re getting fat (f)
te estás poniendo vieja: you’re getting old (f) –> it is true, but it doesn’t really offend me.
loca como tu madre: you’re crazy like your mother
tienes que usar desodorante: you need to use deodorant
la mierda: excrements, shit
el coño: (ES) a woman’s genitals, not as strong word as ‘cunt’ but stronger than ‘pussy’
la polla: (ES) a man’s genitals, dick
las tetas: breasts

I just noticed that ‘coño’ is a masculine word and ‘polla’ is a feminine word. It makes no sense. I’ll have to do some research.

Photo by Alexandru Rotariu on Pexels.com

Everything started with the word ‘culo’

I am Angela and I love words. I teach Spanish online for a living, I learn languages as a hobby.

The thing with Spanish is that it is used across a vast territory, and in different countries we use it differently, or very differently. I’ve lived in Uruguay, Argentina and Spain. Some words are used in everyday life in Spain are vulgar in Uruguay and Argentina, and viceversa. When I moved from Uruguay to Spain, I was in a bad place mentally (I also used to be a bit of a prude) and swore to myself I’d never use the word ‘culo’.

In Latin America we say ‘trasero’, ‘cola’, ‘asentaderas’, or whatever we need, in order to not to say ‘culo’. You only hear ‘culo’ together with the words ‘romper’, ‘roto’, ‘gordo’, ‘sucio’, or in the expression ‘tiene el culo lleno de papelitos’. ‘Culo’ is a bad word there. So, I moved to Spain, and in the aquaerobics class the instructor said that we had to ‘mover el culo’. The doctors call it ‘culo’. There was no way around it. Everybody said ‘culo’. It wasn’t a bad word. I gave in, and started to have ‘dolor de culo’ if I sat for too long, or went to a spinning class. From there everything went better. I’ve got interested in the different ways that Spanish people insult and swear, and talk.

We have such a rich way to express our frustration (‘me cago en la mar’, Spain), our joy (‘me partí polla de risa’, Canary Islands, Spain), our anger (‘la concha de tu hermana’, Uruguay, Argentina). I love the subject, honestly. Every time I teach my students to swear we have such a great time. I intend to deeply research it and interview natives from different countries, and expand my insulting and swearing knowledge into more languages. I intend to write about it and share it with the world. Not only swearing and vulgar insults, but smart, acid insults are also beautiful. Things like ‘if you are planning to keep talking about your boring stuff, please let me know so I can harakiri’. Then I will get famous and publish a book, and finally do what we all want: have passive income. Also, famous writers usually also enjoy a ‘normal’ life, without bothering paparazzi, so I could also be famous. People would recognize my name and say that I pretend to talk several languages but probably is not true. Sponsors will offer me deals and I’ll succumb to corruption for a box of cookies or something else, very cheap.

But truth be told, I am not so stable about my goals. Let’s see what happens. In any case, I will publish ‘cunt’, ‘puta’ and ‘cojones’, in the name of linguistics and I’ll have a little chuckle alone about it.

I plan to make mistakes in every language, but English is not my first language, so please, when you find a mistake, let me know. I don’t want to pay Grammarly.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.