Just a word, or so much more? (Editorial)

Heidi Heinlein

More stories from Heidi Heinlein


Gwenyth Almeida

Words’ meanings have changed a lot over time. Today, many of the curse words we use have lost the harsh undertones they are paired with and people aren’t as bothered as they used to be.

During our childhood, we hear about the ‘forbidden’ words. These words may include phrases like “shut up” or “crap,” but they are all words we are not allowed to say. Over the years, these prohibited words have grown more and more common, and people have grown more and more used to it.

When walking the halls or any crowded area, you’ll overhear many conversations and in most, you will hear some form of ‘bad’ word. Nobody seems taken aback by this either. This could be because of many reasons.

For younger kids, these words represent rebellion, a secret form of speech. And, as we age, more people begin using them to seem cool. As a listener with a young mind able to be manipulated, you might see it as okay and cool as well. 

Besides the status these words give, they have just been used so casually that it has become ordinary. A new 2018 song called “Plug Walk” by Rich the Kid fits into the popular type of music genre students listen to nowadays. There are about 21 swear words in this song, depending on what someone might consider one of these swear words to be.

There are many other songs, just like this one, that are played constantly. With this type of exposure, it is hard to even notice one is being said.

These words are also used so often because they have been given different meanings. They are no longer used by their correct definition but more as general insults to offend someone. Because it is no longer so specific, they can be used on many different occasions. They don’t even have to be insulting either, depending on who it is targeted at and the tone of voice, it can be friendly.

However, one important aspect of the whole situation is that it is not just this generation’s fault. The current students have been small children not many years ago and kids notice things. In another editorial written by child phycologist Travis Wright, Wright said, “most people curse when they are frustrated, shocked, thrilled, or otherwise emotionally charged… children are like language vacuum cleaners.”  

What he means by this is that children look up to the adults as their role models and as they do this, they take in every little aspect and do the same themselves, especially with language. They do not need to know the definition to use the words. As a result, these children will start to use the words as well. Even if it is said by accident, because of pain, or otherwise, it is heard and stored in the brain for later use.

No matter the circumstance or setting, curse words have lost their shock value on everybody. Whether it be blamed on parenting, music, social status, etc., there is no more surprise. It has become a common thing that most people participate in although it should be held to a higher standard. These words are meant to be negative and they can still have that impact.

Disclaimer: Articles designated as “Editorial” represent the views and opinions of the author, not the 2017-2018 Periscope staff, CHS Administration, or the CHS student body.