RE: RARA-AVIS: Language

From: John Williams (
Date: 24 Mar 2005

Jack wrote

Damn if I know, unless it's a writer does what he has to with language to make it work in his books or stories and that reality can be tempered with a genuine love of the language. One "fuck," well placed, is worth a dozen sprinkled around for reality.

I'm with Jack on this. I think the argument for swearing is to do with authenticity, which is fair enough up to a point. That's to say that to eschew the use of 'fuck' entirely is absurd these days (at least in most kinds of crime stories). But use it as much as some people - especially, say, teenage boys - actually use it, and you end up with something almost unreadable. Just as if you included all the sort ofs and you knows that people actually sort of say when they're kind of, you know, trying to sort of get the point over, if you know what I'm saying.

Simply put, authentic tape recorder dialogue is unreadable - what Higgins and Leonard did was to take the vernacular and impose rhythm and sense and even a cerain poetry on to it, and that does indeed involve strategic rather then authentically profuse use of, er, Anglo-Saxon oaths.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 24 Mar 2005 EST