Peter Silverton writes that swearing is sacred - now that’s damn good news


We all probably do it, even if we think we shouldn’t, and many of us try not to.

Swearing, it seems, has become a universal phenomenon.

What’s more, as language evolves, people across the globe are finding new ways to hurl abuse at each other. Author and blogger Peter Silverton investigates why in his book Filthy English: The How, Why, When and What of Everyday Swearing (Portobello Books Ltd).

In it he examines swearing and the impact of its increasing acceptability on our language, manners and society. He considers how we have become more openly emotional, yet more wary of insulting others, and how it is apparently acceptable to come out with some profanities but not others.

Mr Silverton, 56, who used to work at the Guardian, tells People: “Swearing exists at a very deep level within us — at the heart of what it means to be a human being. Swear words sit in a different part of the brain to the rest of our language. It’s the way we express the most sacred part of ourselves.”

There is a section in the book on swearing in Yiddish and Hebrew, among other languages. He says the British have a pretty good swearing repertoire. German swearing, however, “is far more boring”. Verdammen Sie (Damn).

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive