Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

"
If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"
Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot,
by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse.
" -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Friday, July 14, 2017

Cursing

I was browsing around the local library the other day. They had a copy of Terms of Enlistment in the new book section. Which I thought was very cool.

But I digress

I checked out a copy of Still Life. It's a murder mystery by Louise Penny, set in Quebec province. The fictional town is in the Anglophone area of Quebec, very close to the American border. So the residents are all primarily English speakers and the detectives, who have to come down from Montreal, are Francophones.

One of the cops' favorite curse words is "tabernacle". Which seems odd. But one of the miracles of this modern age is the ability to research almost anything at any time from anywhere. I remember as a kid, having to go to the library and then go through periodical indexes, encyclopedias and then the books on the shelves in order to learn things. It could take hours to find something and then maybe there was some reference that the library didn't have and none of the other works referred to. All that is in the past.

Sorry.

So yes, I looked it up. Quebec French has a whole series of religious-themed curse words that make our use of "Jesus Christ" look amateur. The Catholic Church controlled much of civil life up until the 1960s, when people began to be aware of the fact that the Francophone kids were, in the main, poorly educated compared to the Anglophone kids and that if the Quebecers wanted to control their own destiny, they needed to break the iron hand of the Church. Which they did.

Going back to the early 19th Century, religious-themed profanity was sort of a bit of an act of rebellion. They became very popular. They're even more popular. now, long after the provice has become secularized.

So yes, "tabernacle" is a heavy curse word in Quebec.

"The Mormon Fucking Choir."

This world can be wonderfully strange.

3 comments:

CenterPuke88 said...

One wonders about the overall effect of the rat holes of the Internet. Wonderful little digression there, madam!

Doug T. said...

I love the Louise Penny series. I want to move there. As the detective did.

M. Bouffant said...

I heard about this difference in swearing modes in a Harry Turtledove book, in which a French-Canadian mused that most American profanity seemed based on bodily functions, not sensible religious stuff.

And now, yrs. later, through the randomness of the iNternet, I am directed to a Wiki entry on the very subject.

Merci!