When I was a child I had an Uncle who was terribly capricious, a real joker (he still is until this day) and he took great pleasure in teaching my brother and I all the colourful Italian swear words possible.
My Uncle thought it was all terribly funny and hoped we’d use them in front of our mother who as a former primary school teacher would be appropriately shocked.
I recently read an article which suggested people who use swear words have down to earth, truthful and logical personalities and using bad language has nothing to do with being bad-mannered as traditionally thought.
Cussing is really about being to the point and realistic and simply being rude. This is an interesting take on the subject and I have found people I know who use ‘colourful language’ are genuinely no-nonsense types who cut through political correctness with a knife and get to the rough truth below ornamental politeness.
I’m not looking for an excuse to launch into a litany of four-letter words but when it’s needed and apt ‘cuss’ can be more powerful than all the words in a thesaurus.
I have discovered Sicilians have a particular flair for inventing swear words, curses and such phrases, mixing everything with a pinch of blaspheme for good measure.
My education in vivid ‘Siculu’ cursing has come about thanks to the Sicilian men surrounding me, who could probably write many volumes dedicated to this particular lexicon!
I have heard swear words that are so offensive they would make a sailor blush, I have even heard women use particular words regularly which refer to male and female genitalia.
Sicilian and Italian swearing combines the holy and profane which kicks and spits out venom onto Saints, the Virgin Mary and God himself. I am not going to write any swears here but I will filter them to give you an idea of what I mean (people easily offended can skip the following paragraph.)
When things go wrong Sicilians curse the Saints and certain body parts (usually genitalia), the Madonna and certain animals (mostly pigs) and if they want to be particularly offensive it gets more personal with references to ‘your sister’s privates.’
There I said it, I have never heard such colourful cuss words as here in Sicily, it’s ‘profanely’ confusing!
Thanks to the Sicilian’s curses I’ve learn the filthiest words possible about certain body parts, the names of animals, apparently, animals with horns are particularly offensive as they refer to ‘cuckold’ men (an archaic term in English referring to a husband with an adulterous wife). Ridiculing Saints seems to be a popular way of insulting others and letting off steam when things are not going your way.
Images c/o: http://youngadventuress.com/ and http://italianowithjodina.com/