Is the use of swear words in a narrative piece considered a language technique? If so what would the technique be?

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    Derogatory doesn't mean using swear words, just expressing a low opinion of someone or something. – Kate Bunting Aug 12 '20 at 10:32
  • If you are asking about using this in a piece you are writing, it is probably better on our Writing site. – DJClayworth Aug 12 '20 at 15:56
  • A technique is always, by definition, a technique for achieving some goal. Whether something can be called a technique therefore depends on whether the context makes it clear what the relevant goal would be. – jsw29 Aug 12 '20 at 16:18
  • You’ll need to be more precise. Anything in communication could be branded a technique. – Lawrence Aug 13 '20 at 5:21

This is from Matthew: 5:34 - 5:37. KJV:

"But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil."

I had religious friends in high school who convinced me for a time to not use swear words in my speech, and part of the argument was that if I couldn't get my point across without relying on them, then I had a weak argument. It's called 'swearing' for the reason that you are drawing the force of what you are calling out to your disposal in the discussion, I believe. That's a technique, sure. It's also a stylistic choice. Derogatory implies having a negative implication. Some people might see so called 'foul language' as merely colorful, or even friendly. It depends on knowing your audience, and how they will take it.

Make note that the Bible verse above is directly prior to the 'eye for an eye' passage, so make of that what you will.




3. Filthy literature.

1887 G. Saintsbury Hist. Elizabethan Lit. x. 370 A large quantity of mere scatology and doggerel.

1959 N. O. Brown Life against Death xiii. 179 The most scandalous pieces of Swiftian scatology are..The Lady's Dressing Room, Strephon and Chloe, Cassinus and Peter.

  • One would not label 'pornography' a 'technique', any more than poorly written literature. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 12 '20 at 10:53
  • @EdwinAshworth Do you see a distinction between scatology and pornography? I see pornography as dealing exclusively with literature, style or description that is designed to excite voluptuous [usually sexual] pleasure or emotions. Scatology can be used to effect without sexual connotation and is often mere oaths and obscenities used for emphasis and/or to give colour.to a character. – Greybeard Aug 12 '20 at 11:57
  • I don't see scatology as a chosen style or genre. Mere poetry? Mere science fiction? Mere personification? But mere scatology / filth. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 12 '20 at 14:12
  • @EdwinAshworth I am disappointed that you did not answer my question. Maybe the following will help you to see the difference and the use of the term: One of the most grotesque users of scatology is Michel de Ghelderode. While Ostorne’s implication that the Protestant movement was based on Luther’ s inability to shit is a Rabelaisian joke, Ghelderode’s use of scatology to attack the Church is much more savage and blasphemous. Scatology in Modern Drama By Sidney Shrager (1982) – Greybeard Aug 12 '20 at 16:58
  • I'll concede that it's a niche usage, but the default meaning is 'filth'. Dictionary.com lists (1) study of and (2) preoccupation with obscenity. Not my downvote, by the way; on balance, a fair answer. I'll upvote if you add the above reference (there's an incitement if you like!) showing a genre usage. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 12 '20 at 19:12

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