Have you ever wondered why good teachers urge pupils to read not only textbooks but also for pleasure?

Reading builds our vocabulary. If you just muttered something along the lines of “Who cares” or “I don’t like to read,” conversations with you could cause brain damage for your conversation partner. People who do not like to read pepper what passes for conversations with F-bombs, you knows, and a plethora of ums.

For example, based on observation and experience, this writer acknowledges F-bombs are versatile little buggers, but they are crutches for the inarticulate or vocabulary challenged. However, recent studies attempted to prove otherwise.

In the February 2, 2017 edition of “The Conversation,” a network of not-for-profit media outlets which publishes articles by academics and researchers, Richard Stephens wrote a piece entitled, “Swearing is Actually a Sign of More Intelligence – Not Less – Say Scientist.”

Mr. Stephens stated that studies “found links between how fluent a person is in the English language and how fluent they are in swearing.” He goes on to say “swearing may, in fact, display a more, rather than less intelligent use of language.”

According to those studies, there is “a two-way relationship between swearing and emotion.” Well, all we can add is duh.

Have you come across many people who spew swear words in a calm, rational manner? If one is not wound up by emotion, one should be able to articulate his response to a situation with something other than an F-bomb.

It has always been this writer’s contention that a person endowed with an extensive vocabulary and a vivid imagination could swear creatively. If you doubt this, check out our hero and mentor, William Shakespeare.

When his characters swore, the words used were spot on and descriptive. Compare any of them to the handful of swear words used by folks today. Sadly, even the posteriorly pinched Victorians could do better. Go to http://doyoupunctuate.com/3977-2/  and check out “Victorian Vulgarities and What You Can Do With Them.” Those supposedly prissy Victorians could twang your tympanic membranes with a few choice words.

Aside from using sarcasm, which is the go-to form of communication this writer prefers, there are times when euphemisms are a better fit. For example, instead of calling a female a hooker, we may refer to her as a pavement princess. The phrase elevated her to a confusing level that may take some folks a while to decipher. By the time the descriptive meaning becomes clear, the conversation and the people have moved on to other possibilities.

One further example of using euphemisms is when folks talk about death. Some say the person “kicked the bucket,” while others use gentler terms such as “passed” or “left,” a term this lady prefers using when speaking of a gone loved one instead of died.

While conversing with family and friends the other day, this lady realized she had mistakenly referred to her bird watching activities as “watching the raptors.” When she became aware of and acknowledged her error, the lady’s mind did what it has done all her life, she proceeded to hold a rational discourse with herself. Over the years, such entertainment kept her sane while wending her way through the daily joys of rush hour traffic.

Consequently, she concedes that birds can also be called fowl, game, or feathered creatures. Not quite as robust a word as raptors. On the other hand, there are plenty of raptors on the Funny Farm.

Some of the resident raptors include the opportunistic vultures incessantly circling overhead, to the point one wonders if they are omens of things to come. Then there are this writer’s personal favorites, the majestic hawks.

Did you know raptor is a derivative of the Latin word “raparer,” which means to seize? It makes sense because birds of prey do, in fact, rob smaller creatures of their lives. They plunder a nest and abduct the inhabitants for a necessary repast.

This writer spent more time than she wants to admit observing a resident hawk and a chubby squirrel, wondering when the raptor will pounce.

 

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