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Bad language in the media

Thinking about the kids

post 3.Feb.2013, 11:34 AM
Post #1
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 7.Feb.2006

Hi, Brought this up before once or twice but looking for some opinion and guidance...

My kids love to watch their family TV which is something I've learnt to put up with.

We tell the our kids not to swear, and as a Brit, it's a sign of class and good manners that you don't swear in front of kids or in front of other adults you don't know as well. This is not the case in Sweden. Example. My kids love Wipeout and Gladiators. On the UK version of these shows, even when the contestants are under extreme press, they can express themselves without any need to swear. But on the Swedish shows, and in the case of Wipeout, the commentators too, can't describe any action without the obligatory "fan, jävla, skit" etc etc.. Same on talk radio all times of the day etc.. Don't get me started on English swear words...

My kids hear this and show discomfort in my presence . Just wondering whether to give up. Am I out of touch??
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post 3.Feb.2013, 12:10 PM
Post #2
Location: Halmstad
Joined: 22.Jan.2012

This is a pretty big cultural difference that is hard to adjust to at first. There have been so many times where I hear a song in Sweden that I've listened to on the radio in NY for years and never even realized there was cursing in it because its all censored out. You don't even realize it until you see both versions of the same movie: "penis" to "thing" and "balls" to "nuggets" just because it was the US version - buy the movie in Sweden and you get the real script. Here in Sweden, nothing is censored - curses, nudity, sex.

It's a pretty pointless battle if you are going to be living in Sweden as curse words are a normal part of speech here. They don't hold the same value as when you curse in Brittan or the US. The curses are also a little different meaning wise, as they are not as vulgar and usually have to do with heaven and hell. The contestants in the gladiator show don't express themselves differently; plenty of Brits curse up a storm - they are told not to because its not allowed on tv, or when they do its censored out. It's a whole different process.

My Swedish husband and many Swedish friends can hardly have a conversation without describing something with a curse, it doesn't have the same heavy stigma. When my husband speaks English he has to be careful not to curse as much because he knows it is disrespectful, rude and offensive especially in front of family, where as his family curses all the time in Swedish when speaking to each other.

You're kids are going to pick it up regardless just from the Swedes they will come in contact with, just tell them that you don't want it in the house, in front of family or in English. Teach them that there is a difference and continue to hold your values and not curse in front of them, but they will pick it up eventually especially in Swedish. You won't find any radio or tv channels censored in Sweden so there's not much you can do regardless.

Lycka Till!

Meg ~ Something Swedish ~
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post 3.Feb.2013, 12:29 PM
Post #3
Joined: 28.Jul.2011

When I was a kid, my parents never swore, so consequently, I didn't either. Once I went to school, all the other kids swore like little drill sergeants so I taught myself to cuss so I could "fit in." Wish I never would have learned those words because now, whenever I drink too much or am tired or angry, they slip out.

Bottom line, some of your values will rub off on your kids but, as they grow, they will become their own people and decide for themselves how to conduct themselves. All we can do as parents is to try our best and usually things work out alright.
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Abe L
post 3.Feb.2013, 01:03 PM
Post #4
Joined: 20.Jul.2011

QUOTE (Beef @ 3.Feb.2013, 11:34 AM) *
But on the Swedish shows, and in the case of Wipeout, the commentators too, can't describe any action without the obligatory "fan, jävla, skit" etc etc... Am I out of touch??

The average Swede can't utter a single sentence without at least using either of those three words. When you try to discuss this behaviour with Swedes they are extremely good in rationalising as to why this is ok and perfectly normal. Despite the fact they are saying, hell, fuck and shit an average of 1500 times a day. They will just discard that opinion and put you away as non compliant. smile.gif

You're not out of touch, I think most immigrants from civilised western countries stumble over this, or simply have a very hard time dealing with accepting this way of communicating. To me it just feels like Swedish is an extremely underdeveloped language that could really do with an update.
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post 3.Feb.2013, 01:14 PM
Post #5
Joined: 23.Jul.2008

And as you progress in learning a foreign language, you know that that language has its own slang and swear words and that understanding them and the ability to use them if the occasion demands will be part of total fluency.

There was an excellent guide by Santesson to cursing in Swedish but its not on the net anymore. Santesson pointed out how its the religious words that are bad in Sweden, sexual stuff does not have the power to shock, so the English f*** in film and song titles get used openly. You know the examples. Whats most tricky to start with is seeing that literal translations are not reliable to how severe a swear word is in the other language. I often wince at the translations of Swedish into English in subtitles which I am old fashioned enough to think too strong.

Now to save this becoming long winded, just a few thoughts. Swedish "skit" translates to crap in English in its severity, eller hur? Even in England / USA, the use of ass in place of a**** has made the use of both more common? And if the population at large think the words are ok, is it still swearing or have they become just slang, and is it hence just you ?
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Bender B Rodriquez
post 3.Feb.2013, 01:23 PM
Post #6
Joined: 25.Mar.2006

QUOTE (Abe L @ 3.Feb.2013, 02:03 PM) *
The average Swede can't utter a single sentence without at least using either of those three words. When you try to discuss this behaviour with Swedes they are extremely g ... (show full quote)

What a load of horse shit smile.gif
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post 3.Feb.2013, 02:31 PM
Post #7
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 7.Feb.2006

Thanks for the comments. I guess, I'm looking for some kind of consistency. ie, I say, as do other parents, don't say this, that and the other. I know they'll pick up the words. I just don't understand why family viewing has to ram bad language down our throats.
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post 3.Feb.2013, 02:42 PM
Post #8
Location: Västra Götaland
Joined: 5.Jul.2012

All that said, it still does not prevent posters on The Local falling into the same pitfalls and using profane language. That is unless you are Swedes of course.

When I came to Sweden, without the language, I carried a little pocket dictionary round with me, and if I could not find the words in there, I did not use them. There was no SFI back then, only Swedish for Foreigners - without any bonus.
I still have that little dictionary - from 1960 - and what held then is generally still good for me even today. I despise the use of foul language, both on TV and in everyday life, but here in Sweden anything goes, especially the English stuff, since Swedes do not appreciate the meanings from the English point of view, and like the 2nd amendment gunners of the NRA - you can't tell them anything since they know best.

American TV is worst, and of latter years the British TV is little better, and so-called comedians in such programmes as 'Live from the Apollo' are unable to tell a joke without below the belt references or other swear-words. They are pathetic.

OK - so I am an oldie - but brought up to certain standards that precluded foul language among other things, and I shudder to think of the rubbish that the young children of today are subjected to, thus lowering their own standards. It hurts to know that their future will be so tainted, but due to my age, I am glad that my time left is relatively limited now, such is the current trend.
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post 3.Feb.2013, 02:52 PM
Post #9
Location: Västra Götaland
Joined: 5.Jul.2012

Mark Levengood has remarked that the Danes are wont to swear a lot, too, but added that so would he if he had to speak Danish ! ! ! tongue.gif
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post 3.Feb.2013, 02:58 PM
Post #10
Joined: 2.Mar.2008

just realise the more swear words are used in every day language, the less effective they are.Putting empahasis on not saying certain words as bad ones is just highlighting them.When it comes to teenagers anything you tell them not to do, they will want to do the opposite, so being so obsessed with these words just makes them more potent.
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Bender B Rodriquez
post 3.Feb.2013, 03:14 PM
Post #11
Joined: 25.Mar.2006

Yes, swear words are only ugly because the listener has been brought up to think they are so. There is nothing inherently 'bad' with a particular word. What is considered classy today was probably considered very rude and uneducated a century ago.
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post 3.Feb.2013, 05:35 PM
Post #12
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 5.Sep.2012

I agree, I was surprised at the use of bad language in the media... Though really it is becoming quite common generally.

As a young person, or rather young adult. I would say that I've developed a filter for such language myself. I simply don't hear it anymore, as though bad language were a form of background noise. I think the more it is used, it will simply develop less meaning for younger generations. Perhaps best not to place much emphasis on it and try to instill good manners I think.

My mother hated bad language and took to feeding me soap whenever I would use such words. You could use this method but... It really isn't very pleasant -.- I would advise against it... Now when I swear... I have the taste of soap in my mouth O.o
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Gamla Hälsingebock
post 3.Feb.2013, 06:14 PM
Post #13
Joined: 21.Dec.2006

Freedom of speech?

Social degradation?

Changing moral values?

What will our children find offensive in their children's exposure to public speech, like we do to ours today?

Times change, so do perceptions of correctness...sigh...just remember what got you here and hold on to that, while the world goes to hell around you.

Then again, it's all in the *ear* of the listener...isn't it?
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post 3.Feb.2013, 09:06 PM
Post #14
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 7.Feb.2006

So can you explain the history? Seems that it's ok today to use "fan, jävla, helvete, skit" in front of kids. Are you saying that it wasn't a generation ago? Is this progress?

You mention freedom of speech. Where do you draw the line?

I'm asking here, not judging. I live in Sweden and as I stated from my opening post I'm looking for guidance.. I can only conclude that I think it's totally unnecessary for example, Wipeout Sweden, Gladiators, Idol etc.. to have commentators using the above words during a show which is AIMED at kids. Some have posted about UK swearing etc, but those shows are not aimed at kids and viewed a 7pm. As I said, I'll just have to learn to live with it but I'll never use those words in front of mine or any little kids in any language.
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post 4.Feb.2013, 07:41 AM
Post #15
Location: Sweden
Joined: 12.Sep.2011

Living up North, swearing is just a part of the everyday pool of words that folk here use to express themselves.. Here there seems to be two strands of usage:

1. Half the population curse frequently and in fact can barely utter 10 sentences without a single curse. It is not seen as impolite as such... more as uneducated I guess.

2, The other half rarely if ever curse. My wife's parents and family NEVER curse... ever! There are many like them. They don't so much as twitch if they hear another person curse and never tell others to stop cursing either... but they never use that language to express themselves.

Just as an anecdote, I recall getting a tyre changed a while back in a local Mom&Pop shop. The guy there had the thickest Norrlands dialect I had ever come across. I had extreme difficulty in understanding what he was saying. I asked him explain how the rim protection works on a specific tyre I had in mind to purchase, he didn't know but tried to explain it with a string of expletives... something along the lines of.. "The damn lip on the fu****g tyre hangs over your fu****g damn wheel and stops the bloody thing from having the sh*t scraped out of it"'

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