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Old 06-19-2011, 01:38 AM   #1
Rocket Man
Petitioner: Word of IN Filk
 
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Location: Longmont, CO
Default Seraphim and Profanity

Assume for a moment that a Seraph, unlikely as it sounds, has a Role as a gang member, a wiseguy, or some other occupation where profanity is a near-mandatory first language. How close can the Most Holy fly to the wind without being caught in the literal meaning of the expression?

Can he call someone the classic MF title, even if he knows the person has never comitted incest with the appropriate parent?

Can he shout at someone to "Open the F'ing door," even though it is impossible that the object has ever been used for copulation?

Can he shoot down a lie by saying "That's (bull excrement)," even though the words bear no actual resemblance to pastoral manure?

For that matter, can he call someone an S.O.B (unabbreviated), despite the fact that there are no canines anywhere in the individual's ancestry?

In short, where do you draw the dissonance line?

It's an odd subject, but as strange as my group gets, it may come in handy someday ....
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Old 06-19-2011, 06:17 AM   #2
William
 
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

His instinct would be to avoid doing so, I would think. If he must, it would probably take deliberate efforts to compose the proper sentence rather than reflexive cursing.

To some extent, this should match with his stance on metaphor. If he is comfortable calling a liar a two-faced scoundrel (the second face is a metaphoric mask), he could be equally comfortable calling someone a b*st*rd even if they're not, because listeners understand that he's referring to personality rather than ancestry. This is a subtle point for Seraphim without Earth experience.

Btw: a man who has fathered a child is a mofo. Instead of saying "that's bullsh*t," he could simply utter the word, "bullsh*t." The same applies to other non-sentences, such as "You *ss." He could have a quirk of "Be nice to mommas. I never call someone a son of a b*tch unless I happen to know their mom really is that nasty."
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Old 06-19-2011, 07:10 PM   #3
Matthias Wasser
 
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

Quote:
Originally Posted by William View Post
To some extent, this should match with his stance on metaphor. If he is comfortable calling a liar a two-faced scoundrel (the second face is a metaphoric mask), he could be equally comfortable calling someone a b*st*rd even if they're not, because listeners understand that he's referring to personality rather than ancestry. This is a subtle point for Seraphim without Earth experience.
If vernacular English is the first form of English the Seraph has learned, I don't think even this will be a problem. If Seraphim are particularly averse to the use of standardized expressions then there are many languages, like French, which they're almost guaranteed to hate (this could of course be an interesting flavor choice.)
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Old 06-20-2011, 01:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

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Originally Posted by Matthias Wasser View Post
If vernacular English is the first form of English the Seraph has learned, I don't think even this will be a problem. If Seraphim are particularly averse to the use of standardized expressions then there are many languages, like French, which they're almost guaranteed to hate (this could of course be an interesting flavor choice.)
In that case, I'm glad that none of the players in my Sweden-based campaign chose a Seraph character; most "metaphorical" profanity in Swedish centers on Hell and the Devil. Imagine a Seraph who picks up Swedish as a second human language (not native to his Role).
  • Does he gain dissonance for calling an ordinary human thief den dumma jäveln ("that stupid devil", roughly the same as "stupid bastard/SOB")?
  • Does he gain dissonance when he's frustrated with an ordinary, Shedite-free and non-Vapulan machine...and says Någon borde stänga av den där jävla datorn? ("Someone should turn off that devil computer"...the equivalent of describing it with the F-word or "bloody" in English.)
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:00 AM   #5
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

I think Seraphim (and angels serving more proper Archangels like Dominic) would avoid using profanity that refers to damnation, Hell, or such--that's simply not a laughing matter, and even though an experienced Seraph would know that shouting "damn it!" at a wall after stubbing one's toe isn't in English an actual condemnation of the object to Gehenna, the word probably has uncomfortable Symphonic undertones.

Since almost no one uses certain cursewords in their literal sense (I don't think I've ever actually meant to imply someone had no father), they're fair game. Others are more likely to be used literally ("why did you f'bomb my wife, Tim?"), and in that usage a Seraph is bound as by any other verb.

I imagine any Servitor of Destiny avoids heavy profanity usage, as it cheapens the meaning of real words and often inflicts long-term self-esteem issues, which might lead someone to his Fate. On the flip side, I'm sure the Groves see their fair share of Malakim jerking into being next to their Hearts with a 100% truthful, honest frustration manifesting in the divine language:

Quote:
A dark-winged being, still cringing with the pain-echoes of a corporeal death-blow, appeared on the grass in front of Jiniviel, Elohite of War. "Intense, emotionless copulation!" the Malakite sang in frustration.

Jiniviel blinked, amethyst eyes wide as he cocked his head to one side. "Calabim again, eh?
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Last edited by Acolyte; 06-20-2011 at 07:03 AM.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:39 AM   #6
JCD
 
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acolyte View Post
I think Seraphim (and angels serving more proper Archangels like Dominic) would avoid using profanity that refers to damnation, Hell, or such--that's simply not a laughing matter, and even though an experienced Seraph would know that shouting "damn it!" at a wall after stubbing one's toe isn't in English an actual condemnation of the object to Gehenna, the word probably has uncomfortable Symphonic undertones.

Since almost no one uses certain cursewords in their literal sense (I don't think I've ever actually meant to imply someone had no father), they're fair game. Others are more likely to be used literally ("why did you f'bomb my wife, Tim?"), and in that usage a Seraph is bound as by any other verb.

I imagine any Servitor of Destiny avoids heavy profanity usage, as it cheapens the meaning of real words and often inflicts long-term self-esteem issues, which might lead someone to his Fate. On the flip side, I'm sure the Groves see their fair share of Malakim jerking into being next to their Hearts with a 100% truthful, honest frustration manifesting in the divine language:
That's funny. I'll have to remember that.
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:43 PM   #7
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

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Originally Posted by Rocket Man View Post
Can he shout at someone to "Open the F'ing door," even though it is impossible that the object has ever been used for copulation?
Isn't the original verb "ficken" Anglo Saxon for "strike together"? In that case I think it might be a fairly literal description of how a door relates to it's frame.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:05 PM   #8
Rocket Man
Petitioner: Word of IN Filk
 
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

Quote:
Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Isn't the original verb "ficken" Anglo Saxon for "strike together"? In that case I think it might be a fairly literal description of how a door relates to it's frame.
Depends on which etymology you follow. One route traces it back to Scandinavia, rooted in the Norwegian or Swedish word for "to copulate" (and possibly a Swedish dialect term for the male genitalia). Another possibility goes through Germany, where the root word meant to move about restlessly, fidget, or make quick movements back and forth. (It could also refer to scratching an itch, which became a euphamism of its own!) Either way, I think it would be a little difficult to apply a literal usage to the door, though not necessarily impossible.
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“It's not railroading if you offer the PCs tickets and they stampede to the box office, waving their money. Metaphorically speaking”
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Old 06-21-2011, 01:33 PM   #9
Matthias Wasser
 
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

Well, etymology isn't semantics, which is the point, no? A Seraph isn't going to have any more of a problem with "open the ****ing door" than "I don't know nothing!"

Last edited by Andrew Hackard; 06-22-2011 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:05 PM   #10
Rocket Man
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Default Re: Seraphim and Profanity

And in some cases, the profane statement might be gloriously True. Picture a Seraph demanding entrace to an infernal Tether:

"Open this damned door!!"
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