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culturally different offensive words

i just learned that the word 'spaz' which is a mildly offensive term in the US is a highly offensive term in the UK. i get the impression that it's not offensive of the curse-word sort like "fuck" or "shit", but rather that it's a categorical offense like a racial slur would be ("nigger" or "chink") except towards the mentally challenged.

wonder how it is anywhere else.

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petal_abstract
Jun. 30th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
English speakers seem to always think the German word 'scheise' is their version of 'shit'. It really isn't. It's more like 'poop', so you hear 5 year olds using it on the playground.
girfan
Jun. 30th, 2009 09:22 pm (UTC)
You should join brits_americans...
lifeofmendel
Jun. 30th, 2009 09:26 pm (UTC)
had that recommended to me by someone else, so i joined. thanks. :)
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marseille
Jul. 1st, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC)
My generation used to use the word "retarded" in a different sense than its actual meaning; I have a co-worker who still says it sometimes, and while it sounds awful in today's context there are situations where it is the exact right term within our experience and memory.
lifeofmendel
Jul. 2nd, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC)
yeah, when i was growing up we'd use the word 'retard' as a common dig against someone. no one batted an eye at using the term.

and context is always important. sometime maybe eight months or so ago, one of the music history profs here who is a super nice guy in his 70s was talking about some asian food we were eating and he said rather innocently, 'we used to call this chink food.' it didn't occur to him that the term chink might be offensive, and as a result, it just wasn't.
miss_skillet
Jul. 5th, 2009 11:29 pm (UTC)
See Gran Torino yet? Clint Eastwood's character is too old to rethink racist slurs even though he befriends a clan of Hmong. "Now let's go get us some of that gook food!"
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