Swearing as catharsis

You know, saying shit feels good. Actually, I think this has been proven, but I am too lazy to look it up. Some scientists (probably Americans!) monitored the level of endorphins (I have picked this word as it sounds right, but it may be something else) and they go up when you curse.

So there, next time you are down, you should have a good swear. It’s like medicine but cheaper!

I also read (again ages ago) that the Finnish language has no swearing. Apparently when they get frustrated they say something like “rallesandro” which means “in the restaurant”.

Bizarrely, the scientists (possibly different ones, possibly Finnish) found the same effect on the Finns’ serotonin levels (I have changed to serotonin in the hope that one is right) when they said “rallesandro” as when the “normal” people swore…

I would like to learn this so I can give up swearing. Sadly I don’t think you can learn to consider “in the restaurant” rude.

Right, class dismissed.


9 thoughts on “Swearing as catharsis

  1. i like to swear. when used approrpiately, i think it conveys an additional layer of meaning that can’t be elucidated through politically correct speak.

  2. I will never remember that it’s ‘rallesandro’ and not ‘Allesandro’.
    It’s not a very aggressive word, is it? When I stub my toe (or when my housemate hasn’t washed up AGAIN) I like aggressive words. Can you do some further research please?

  3. Endorphin: one of a group of peptides that occur naturally in the brain and have pain-relieving properties similar to those of opiates
    Serotonin: … Serotonin…acts as a neurotransmitter and its levels in the brain are thought to have an important effect on mood.

    I need to get me a new dictionary: one that says “endorphins calm you down; serotonin makes you happy” or something like that.

  4. Since I was last here lots of stuff seems to have gone on and it is a bit scary. Oh well, Chris has written me a whole new thing, which is exciting for me.

  5. Yes, Juliet, there has been a bit of rowing (not as in Oxford and Cambridge – the other kind) but I think it is sorted out. It would be a shame if you were scared off.

    I don’t know, Mars, I have heard some pretty imaginative swearing!

    “Donkey ramming ass spelunker” possibly being my favourite, but let’s not turn this tulip into a potty mouth convention.

  6. Really?! Bah! This is the problem with reading books; they are full of crap! I am relying on the internet from now on!

    I am going to find my source and name and shame it.

    PS Those fishwives, eh? There is nothing worse than when you have someone important round (for example the Mayor) and some old fishwife is there saying “shit” and lowering the tone.

    That is the third time I have been wrong in my life (and the third time it has been someone else’s fault…) – the feeling doesn’t get any better.

    I’m angry now!

  7. Me again!

    It was Bryson, damn him! In Mother Tongue. Lots of it is incorrect apparently.

    Find out more here.

    Here is a commentary on the offending bit:

    Bryson simply does not understand how languages work, and whatever his sources are are frequently wrong. My favorite mistake is when he claims that in Finnish, there is only one swear word, ravintolassa, meaning “in the restaurant” (page 214). Now, ravintolassa DOES mean “in the restaurant,” but that’s ALL it means. Finnish has plenty of native swear words (saatana, perkele, vittu, jumalauta, and more), and I still cannot imagine how Bryson came to the conclusion that, not only did it have only one, but that it was the word for “in the restaurant.” It’s truly mind-boggling.


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