Friday, September 2, 2011

Language: What the "heck" is a minced oath?

Our in-house linguist here at Laredotejas has a tendency to avoid spewing profanities and thus chooses to use the PG-13 version of name-brand bad words or maldiciones. The title of this post uses one such example. Other typical examples include dang for damn and shoot for another favorite. Well, it turns out these examples of "polite profanity" are known as minced oaths. Yet another well-worn freakin illustration of this would be, of course, the word "freakin" or "friggin": both forms of which are acceptable.

Not to be outdone, our rich Spanish language has its own list of minced oaths.  How many times have you heard someone exclaim Chihuahua!, chinelas! or simply chin! instead of the more visceral Chin*@^#

Similarly, a series of popular commericals for Pronto Insurance makes use of the same principal. In one commercial, a girl, notices how buffed her friend's derrier has become and exclaims "Nalgame" cleverly used where "Valgame" would normally have been appropriate. This is a minced oath-but sort of in reverse.  In another Pronto commercial, one character displays his bulging biceps as his stunned freind proceeds to yell out "A Cabr....unintelligible" in sheer astonishment.

See for yourself, the ingenious use of such minced oaths in action.

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