A highland fling

our wee adventure on the Black Isle

Swearing and the oddities of language

When I was washing the dishes tonight, I was thinking of language differences. The things they don’t tell you in your Spanish or English class!

In English, some swear words are very much worse than others. The “c” word, the “f” word, for example – both very bad words indeed. You’d never use them when speaking to your mother! I could go on, but that isn’t the point.

In Spain, swearing is very different. The Spanish equivalents of those words are not considered rude. It’s hard to get used to. You can imagine my utter shock one morning when I heard one middle-aged woman shouting “Que coño” to her friend across the square. I turned to see what her friend did – scream in horror, throw up her hands, call the police? None of those, she thought nothing of it!

I later learned that the most common use of this word is as a general exclamation, not meaning much. But I made the mistake of telling our friend Manuel that it is a very rude word in English, that a nice woman would never use that word. He found that hilarious, and often makes a  point of using the word in front of me, then throwing an evil grin my way! He likes to make me blush.

Manuel also said that very few words are bad in Spanish. The true insult is to say something rude about someone’s mother, for example to question someone’s legitimacy.

Every day I learn something new and interesting, don’t I?!


Author: Ann Larson

One-time IT executive who lives on a 22 acre olive farm in Spain with husband Kenton and 2 boxer dogs. We make Yunquera Gold olive oil, and soap and skincare products from same. We aim to make natural, fresh, and handmade products at affordable prices!

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