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Nice Words VS. Cursing
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[0호] 승인 2005.07.07  
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Shin Dong-won
Junior Reporter

No one who speaks a language can say they have never cursed. Children also picks up swearwords when they are learning the second language. That makes their parents worry about it which is worrying parents. It is often swearwords that people learn first. Thus, cursing is an essential method of linguistic expression. Someone cannot speak unless they swear.

This article will consider what is the meaning of swearing, what influences someone to curse, and what the latest swear words mean.

The meaning of cursing

Youk is a shortened form of youk-sal. Youk-sal means to speak ill of someone or to use abusive language. Youk is similar, that is to dishonor, or speak ill of someone. People think of it as cursing and disgracing someone using abusive language which people find offensive. It is like youk ha da. Thus youk is expressed by someone who has negative ideas and feelings.

Why do we curse?

People have offensive and brutal feelings about cursing. These feelings are stronger when someone is hurted or experiencing stress from their surroundings. Someone’s offensive and brutal feelings are expressed when his or her injury and stress are out of control.

Then cursing goes overboard. But it is different depending on each person’s personality. Some people express their emotion through violent action, if they are very outgoing people.

People have a vengeful psychology when they are hurted by someone. However, their revenge sometimes outweighs the hurt they have received, their spirit of not wanting to lose stirs up this overreaction. So people look for a weak point to press and win over others.

Methods of cursing

Swearwords related to sex
Sex is taboo in Korea, so it is hard to talk about sex. But we do talk about it.

For example, jolla(jonna), ssibsaekki refer to the sexual organs. These swear words are used to put down other people and their personality. Today jolla means ‘very or extreamly’. But you would not say it, if you knew its original meaning.

Animals that appear in curses

People often swear when they disparage others. For instance, Koreans say: “You are a dull bear.”, “You look like the head of a cock and...”, “That man is a wolf.” and “That woman is an old fox.” These involve the characters of animals we know in general.

We think people who behave stupidly look like a dull bear and people who forget something easily look like the head of a cock. Some men look like wolves, and some women look like foxes. Because a wolf has the meaning of a wily schemer, a fox has the meaning of a trickster. Are you a wolf or a fox?

Swear words in their times

Youk is a part of language, so it also has a history. That is, the meaning of youk is reflected in its times. For example, “Jenjang majeul nom(taejil hal nom)”, “Kyeongeul chil nom”, “Yuksilhal nom”, “Osalhal nom”, “Urajil nom(olajil nom)”, “Ttegal nom”, “Jurireul teul nom”, “Chidogon majeul nom”, “Kkeulneun mul-e salma jugil nom(ukjangnael nom)”. These are common expressions that the older people use.

Also these originated from tae, jang, do, u, sa in Korea during the Chosun dynasty.

“You are like Ohno.” You know Kim dong-sung and Apolo Anton Ohno. Also you know they raced against each other at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Then Ohno commited a foul to get a gold medal. This matter makes some people swear. “Gold medal around Ohno’s neck.”, “You look like Ohno!”, “You are Ohno?” etc. Firstly, it means a disharmonious situation.

And it also refers to Ohno’s mean behavior.
Youk is one method to reduce one’s stress. But if you hear youk, you should not repeat it. So you should be careful about when you use swear words. And when you do swear, see if you can change it to nicer words.
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