Mấy lần đi xem rockshow thấy cả rockfans lẫn rockers nhà ta đều “f***” tứ tung mà chưa chắc tất cả trong số họ đã biết hết ý nghĩa của từ này. Nếu đã là rockfan thì chắc chẳng ai còn lạ gì những “swearword” (chửi thề) kiểu này. Đối với các rocker thì nó là “một phần tất yếu” mà “có tiếng” nhất về cái khoản “chửi hay như hát”có lẽ là 2 “đại gia” Metallica và Ozzy Osbourne (không tin cứ mua thử vài cái VCD diễn live của bọn hắn thì biết). Còn trong tiếng Anh thì có hẳn một lĩnh vực riêng về “taboo word” (từ cấm kỵ) và “swearword”. Là dân ngoại ngữ, tôi cho rằng khi chúng ta học bất cứ một thứ tiếng nào mà lại không biết “chúng nó chửi nhau ra sao” thì không thể nói rằng chúng ta đã hoàn toàn biết ngôn ngữ đó. Là một rockfan, tôi chỉ muốn chúng ta, những rockfan chân chính hãy có trách nhiệm với những gì mình nói và quan trọng hơn là phải biết rõ chúng ta đang – nói – cái – gì.
Vì rất “khó” dịch nên bài viết sẽ được giữ nguyên bằng tiếng Anh.
Check it down!
Taboo words and swearwords
1 Taboo words
Many languages have words which are considered dangerous, holy, magic of shocking, and which are only used in certain situations, or by certain people. For instance, in some African tribes the names of dead chiefs must not be said; in many cultures, words associated with religious beliefs are used only on religious occasions, or by priests. Words of this kind can be called “taboo words”.
English has three groups of taboo words and expressions:
1. A number of words connected with the Christian religion (e.g. the name "Christ", "God") are considered holy by some people. These people prefer to use such words only in formal and respectful contexts, and they may be shocked by their “careless use”.
2. Many words relating to sex (e.g. "****", "balls") are regarded as shocking. (Until recently, some of these words could not be printed). In polite or formal speech, and in writing, these words are generally avoided or replaced by other words and expressions (e.g. "make love or have sexual intercourse").
3. Some words referring to the elimination of body wastes (what one does in the lavatory) are also regarded as “dirty” or shocking (e.g. "piss", "****"). They are often replaced by more “polite” words and expressions with the same meaning (e.g. "go to the lavatory", "urinate", "defecate").
Because taboo words are shocking, they are often used in situations when people want to express powerful emotions by using “strong” language. This is called “swearing”. When people swear, taboo words usually change their meanings completely. For instance, the literal meaning of "****" is “have sexual intercourse (with)”, and piss means “urinate”, but if one tells someone to "**** off" or "piss off", the meaning is simply (in a more violent form) “go away”. The strength of the taboo words remains, but the original meaning disappears.
List of some taboo words:
****, crap: excrement, defecate
Prick, cock, balls, bollocks: man’s sexual organ
Cunt: woman’s sexual organ
****, screw: have sexual intercourse (with)
Bugger: have anal sexual intercourse with a person or animal; person who does so homosexual (abbreviation of "sodomite"; rare in literal sense)
Most of the words in the list above are used in swearing. (In addition, in British, there is a swearword that has no modern taboo meaning – bloody***). The meaning of a swearword is always different from its literal (taboo) meaning and often changes with its grammatical form. For instance, "piss off" is an aggressive way of saying “go away”, "pissed" is British slang for “drunk”, and "pissed off" (American pissed) means “fed up”. Swearwords are often grammatically very flexible. Bloody (and several other words) can act both as adjectives and as intensifying adverbs (e.g. "bloody fool", "bloody good", "bloody soon", "it’s bloody raining", "bloody well shut up"); they are the only words in the language that can be used in exactly this way.
The following list shows some of the most common expressions used in swearing; they are grouped according to their meaning.
a. exclamation of annoyance
Damn (it)! God damn (it)! (especially US)
My God! Jesus! Christ!
Jesus Christ! ****! **** (it)!
Blast (it! Bugger (it)! Sod (it)!
Christ! It’s raining again!
Oh, ****! I’ve lost the address.
Damn it! Can’t you hurry up?
b. exclamation of surprise
God! My God! Jesus!
Christ! Jesus Christ!
God damn! (especially US) Well, I’ll be damned
Damn me! Bugger me! Sod me!
**** me! Well, I’m damned!
Well, I’m buggered! Well, I’ll be buggered!
My God! Look at those tits!
Well, I’m damned! What are you doing here?
Bugger me! There’s Mrs. Smith – I though she was on holiday.
c. surprised question
What the hell…? Who/Where/How/Why/When the hell…?
What the ****…? Who/Where/How/Why/When the ****…?
What the hell do you think you’re doing?
Where the **** are the car keys?
d. insult (noun)
prick cunt bastard
****er **** (GB) sod (GB)
bugger (GB) wanker (GB) asshole (US)
You bastard! He’s a prick! Stupid ****er!
That guy’s a real asshole!
(Note that these words have no real meaning; they simply express an emotion such as hatred, anger or contempt).
e. insult (imperative verb + object)
Damn… Blast… (GB) Sod… (GB)
Bugger… (GB) ****… Screw… (especially US)
Screw the government! Damn that child! **** you!
f. insulting request to go away
**** off! Piss off! Bugger off! (GB) Sod off! (GB)
“Can I have a word with you?” – “**** off!”
g. expression of unconcern (= “I don’t care”)
I don’t give a damn. I don’t give a ****.
I don’t give a ****. I don’t give a bugger. (GB)
“Mary’s very angry with you.” – “I don’t give a ****.”
h. violent refusal
(I’ll be) damned if I will! (I’ll be) ****ed if I will!
(I’ll be) buggered if I will! (GB) Stuff it! Get stuffed!
“Give me a kiss.” – “Get stuffed”
“Mr. Parsons want you to clean out the lavatories.” – “****ed if I will”
i. expression of defiance
Balls! Balls to…! Bollocks! (all GB)
“You are afraid to fight!” – “Balls!”
Balls to the lot of you – I’m going home!
j. intensifying adjective/adverb (used to emphasize an emotion such as surprise, anger,
damn(ed) goddam (US) blasted (GB) bloody (GB)
sodding (GB) bleeding (GB) ****ing
Where’s the bloody switch?
Put the ****ing cat out!
It’s bloody raining again.
That car’s going damn(ed) fast.
She’s a ****ing marvelous singer.
When these words are used before verbs, the word well is often added.
It’s bloody well raining again!
I’m not ****ing well paying this time.
I damn well hope you never come back!
**** (up), screw (up) and bugger (up) (GB) can mean “ruin”, “spoil” or “destroy”.
You’ve buggered my watch!
Somebody’s ****ed up the TV.
****ed and buggered can mean “exhausted” (GB).
“Want another game of tennis?” – “No, I’m ****ed.”
Screw (especially US) can be used to mean “cheat”.
Don’t buy a car from that garage – they’ll screw you.
Cock up (GB), balls up (GB), **** up and screw up can be used (as verbs) to refer to mistakes of organization.
That bloody secretary’s ballsed up my travel arrangements.
The nouns cock-up, balls-up, ****-up and screw-up are used in the same sense.
Sorry you didn’t get your invitation to the party – Mary made a balls-up.
The conference was a complete ****-up.
Balls (GB), bull**** (US) and crap are used to mean “nonsense”.
Don’t talk crap!
“What’s his new book like?” – “A load of balls.”
Bugger all and **** all are used in British English to mean “nothing”
There’s **** all in the fridge. We’ll have to eat out.
Pissed means “drunk” in British English, and “fed up” in American English.
One glass of beer and she’s pissed.
In British English, pissed off means “fed up”.
I’m getting pissed off with London.