The simplicity of swears

The above poster says “Dick” and below it the message states “we do not swear.”

I suspect that this poster is a parody to what may be in an office to announce the rules.

What is representative of Russia? Is it their beautiful women, their Soviet regime, their love for vodka, or may it be their distinguished language and art of swearing?

This is a video I found on rutube.ru (Russian equivalent to youtube.com) from something called “nasha Russia,” which literally translates into “our Russia.”

I thought this video was great because of the amount and complexity of swears the Old Lady uses.

This video is basically a journalist interviewing a resident of a building as to why a fire started. She seems to be the one who started it and rambles on a while about getting wasted with her neighbors.

When the journalist further questions her, she explains a discussion that she had with the fire itself about sharing vodka. In the end the Old Lady states she was not home when the fire started and does not know what happened.

In this video she uses exaggerations and and had her own way of talking. Much like other people globally she uses certain words to express herself, even though most of them are swears. I can compare her language to a way a Southerner would use slang, something we can refer to as hill billies. They of course have their own dialect and way of saying things, just like this old woman does. Many people speak like this, but just like everywhere in the world not everyone uses exaggerations.

Russian swear slang is really hard to translate since there are no words for some of it in English. It would be like trying to translate ebonics to a person in the Middle East or Asia. They can basically ad on a few prefixes and syllables and make a simple word a swear.

One saying that comes to mind for me is “Ta pishla von” which literally means go over there, but translates into f*** off.

This article explains that Russian swears are even sometimes a form of philosophy. It also talks about how Gorbachev tried to make one uniform proper Russian language.

“Mat” literally means swear and it is what many people use.

This Newsweek article I found explains that some cities in Russia are imposing an anti-swearing campaign. They can fine people up to $33 for swearing in the streets and people can be jailed for up to 15 days. One librarian went as far as getting rid of all the books in the library that contained profanity.

In Russia, different villages will have different ways of saying a swear or using a different pronunciation. The same goes for the United States. Just look at the way people in Texas say something as opposed to people in New Jersey.

There is an online dictionary dedicated to deciphering the different terms people have come up with in the past for the United  States.

Take for example the term “cougar.” According to urbandictionary.com this means

“Noun. A 35+ year old female who is on the “hunt” for a much younger, energetic, willing-to-do-anything male. The cougar can frequently be seen in a padded bra, cleavage exposed, propped up against a swanky bar in San Francisco (or another city) waiting, watching, calculating; gearing up to sink her claws into an innocent young and strapping buck who happens to cross her path. “Man is cougar’s number one prey.”

This term and definition is the way some people use words in the United States today. Although it is not a regional term, this is the way some people speak. This definition of cougar is not the same as the animal but rather a slang that has been created.

So what do you think? Does having a diversified slang characterize a certain place? Why and how do you believe it evolves over time?