Some time ago, an online review site reviewed – quite favourably – The Shadow of Tyr, which was great. However the reviewer also added this:
“I must assume that Ms Larke is a polite and well-spoken woman. She certainly does not know how to curse!” She then gave a little lecture on how to write a curse. She objected to curses more than one syllable long (what about words like “sonovabitch” or that good old English expression “Bloody hell!” There’s actually a stack of multi-syllable expletives when you think about it.)
She also made an assumption that all societies are like hers and follow Eurocentric conventions.
Nope. I have lived 30 plus years in an Asian society. Swearing is frowned upon, regarded as crass, bad-mannered and inappropriately vulgar. That’s if you swear in English. When it comes to swearing in the local language, you run into an even worse barrier – they don’t have swear words.
The most they can manage is a mild equivalent of “damn”. You can call someone a pig, which is pretty bad to a Muslim, or you can say they are “badly taught”, which is also considered a very impolite expression. The idea of using bodily functions and sexual or religious expressions? – nope. (I checked with my husband for this – and he went to an all boys boarding school. One would assume that he’s heard about anything there was to hear.) If they call on God, they mean it. None of this taking the Lord’s name in vain…
And yeah. Hate to disallusion anyone, but when my computer crashes and I am alone in my study, the walls blush.
Ditto when I drop a hammer on my toe in public.