Codeswitching

The f-word is wearing out. It may still have the power to shock some people, but in general, it seems to be moving into the mainstream, following in the muddy footsteps of ‘damn’ and ‘shit,’ which have become almost acceptable (except in Judge Judy’s courtroom).

There is no longer an ‘f-bomb’ – it’s becoming just another filler word like… well, ‘like.’ Or ‘um’ or ‘you know.’ These are verbal tics; we don’t realize how often we’re saying them until students start keeping track and reporting back to us.

But unlike “like,” f*ck is versatile, providing verbal, adjectival, and nominal uses. There is rarely a sentence that can’t be augmented by one f*cking profanity. I am convinced that this is a big part of its popularity.

I’m not morally opposed to profanity; I just can’t use it. My mother would be disappointed in me. I know she can’t hear me, but whenever I use those words, my ears start to turn red. More

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