english-second.jpgFirst of all, I apologize to my readers (you know who you are) that the theme for my site keeps disappearing and now seems to have vanished. So the site doesn’t look the way it should, and I will have to spend some time someday getting it back to normal.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.


If you don’t know what I think is the best word in the English language is, then you have not been paying attention, have you? That word would be “fuck.” This is an amazing word that can be a noun, verb, adverb, adjective (okay with “ing”) — yes, pretty much every part of speech *and* it always packs a punch. It’s wonderfully versatile and expressive simultaneously. In fact this is all well documented in a favorite book of mine, English as a Second F*cking Language. I bought that book at least ten years ago and it is still great fun to read.

Still, I didn’t really appreciate the wonderfulness of this word until the other night. When K & I watch a DVD at home that’s in English, I’ve taken to subtitling it in French if the option is available. Because that’s what nerds do.

This evening we were watching a film Cadillac Records which has quite a bit of cursing in it. After a while I noticed that in French there is no distinction in the translation between “asshole” and “motherfucker”. There seems to be only one word for this category of insult; there is nowhere to go when you wanted to add some emphasis. To me, there’s a big, big difference between the two. Asshole is pretty casual, but I would only use motherfucker under extreme circumstances. In fact, I can’t say I’ve ever actually said it to another person; I’ve only used it to speak ill of someone *not* in the room, and even then, very rarely. Or at least I’ve used it a lot less since the Obama administration began.

Further, I noticed that there is no adjective/adverb like “fucking” or “the fuck”, i.e., “What the fuck is this?” Or , “Are you fucking crazy?” If you want to add emphasis/be vulgar, you have to use variations on words like whore or shit. Let’s face it, those words just don’t carry as much weight. After a while of this, I felt pretty sorry for the French. I am very fond of their language, which is why I’m killing myself trying to learn the damn thing, but their cursing just seems, well, lame.

Now, admittedly when someone has limited vocabulary in general and uses “fuck” and variations thereof as every other word, it loses its power and just sounds bad. Be that as it may, when it comes to cursing, ENGLISH FUCKING RULES.

Today’s French lesson

*not to be confused with canard which means duck


4 Responses to “The best word in the English language”

  1. E on February 22nd, 2010 8:00 pm

    Robin thinks he could have written that book!

  2. the nerger on February 23rd, 2010 8:26 am

    I don’t doubt it. Perhaps he can pen a sequel during his convalescence.

  3. E on February 26th, 2010 6:16 pm

    This is the second reply I’ve read!!!

  4. ROCK! : the nerge on April 15th, 2010 10:57 am

    […] Last weekend blew my mind. I don’t know if that phrase is au courant, but I don’t know how else to say it. I realize some of my vocabulary is very 1975. I also realize that if the word “cool” goes out of style, half of my vocabulary will be lost. (The other half is the word “fuck” as noted here). […]

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