Learning Curse Words in a New Language: Dirty Everyday Slang

dirty everyday slang

It has been an intense week for the human race. A plethora of juicy expletives and vulgarities have no-doubt been cast around the globe. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, though, I think everyone can agree that it’s time for some new dirty everyday slang! And perhaps some slang that is not-so-everyday.

Expletives: something most of us use more often than we realize – or probably should. Those things we have to remind ourselves to avoid when the grandparents are over for the holidays. We try to keep them out of schools, away from kids, we consider them to be disrespectful but despite all of our efforts they continue to pervade society as a string of subconscious guilty pleasure.

Curse words are fun, easy and actually play an interesting role in our cultures and our languages. While I don’t usually recommend them as the first thing someone starting a new language should learn, most people seem to do it anyway.

So if you’re going to be one of those people who swears up a storm and is itching to know the dirtiest, most insulting words, slang, idioms and other naughty phrases that your new language has to offer; I’ve got exactly what you need.

Let’s get D!RTY: Dirty Everyday Slang

Despite being one of my favorite book series for language fans, “Dirty Everyday Slang” still probably isn’t going to be the most practical piece you’ll buy for your language projects this year, but it could be the most entertaining.

I purchased the Russian version a while back and have been nothing but pleased. Believe me, Russian is certainly one of the more colorful tongues when it comes to linguistic swordplay and I’ve been entertained not only with the content, but the ways in which it is presented.

The “Dirty Everyday Slang” series is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, and if you’re looking for the dirtiest of curses, idioms and conversation pieces it really delivers.

This fiery line of books functions as a segmented dictionary dedicated to informing you of only the most raunchy, insulting and otherwise vulgar terminology and wordplay that your new language and culture has to offer.

When I say that they’re vulgar, I’m not just talking about your run-of-the-mill four letter expletives. No, we’re talking about the hardcore stuff. The things you feel uncomfortable thinking about let alone speaking out loud. These books have words and phrases that would make even the most grizzled pirate blush – some of which don’t necessarily have an English language comparison. In those cases the authors were kind enough to explain in graphic detail.

But don’t worry – reading these books won’t make you a bad person. It might set you down the dark and twisted path that leads to bad person-hood, but for now it’s just edutainment. Just, you know, don’t use them outside your closest group of friends. Even then, be careful.

I can’t say that these books are the best gift for “any” learner, but I’m willing to bet that you know at least one or two people who would love to get their filthy hands on this series.

The books are segmented into chapters and cover topics ranging from hardcore sex to softer dating or romantic terms. It includes your standard curse words, bathroom humor and even gets into racist/sexist and otherwise socially unacceptable and non-PC content.

The “Dirty Everyday Slang” books are small enough to make great stocking-stuffers or even serve as a gag-gift for your white elephant party. Personally, I don’t support excessive censorship of children, but if you do – this is really not something you want to place on the shelf next to Dr. Seuss. Still, your adult friends will most likely get a kick out of this – even if they aren’t a serious language learner.

The books are available in Spanish, Italian, Russian, German, Chinese, French, Japanese, American Sign Language (ASL), Portuguese, Hungarian, Korean, Greek, Yiddish, Czech, Polish, Dutch and Tagalog, and should be available in most countries.

Dirty Spanish also has an accompanying workbook for those who are so into naughty Spanish that they want to actively study it with over 101 exercises! Unfortunately, the workbook appears to be only available in Spanish, for now.

We all know that you’re just itching to learn the best slang and curse words, whether you’re starting a new language or are a veteran speaker or polyglot. There’s something for everyone inside.


 

So, let’s talk about cursing and language learning

Honestly? Don’t actually apply this stuff to real life. You never know what kind of fire you’re playing with if you’re not extremely well integrated with the culture. Even then, you’re playing with a dangerous tool.

Using vulgar language is kind of therapeutic sometimes. Personally, I always feel more at ease around new people when they start to swear casually. It humanizes them to a relatable level and gives me the opportunity to then speak naturally myself without feeling either inappropriate or uptight. Swearing in front of someone invites comfort, familiarity and also turns what could be a tense professional encounter into something more casual. This is not true of all people, though.

As an example: if an employer giving an interview swears subtly and casually during the interview, it can put the person being interviewed into a more comfortable state of mind. That’s not to say that you should start cursing up a storm at your next job interview, but if you are the person giving the interview or another such formal meeting, sometimes a tastefully inserted “shit” could put people at ease.

And yes – I did reread that last sentence a few times.

This may not be true of everyone – many people do not appreciate vulgarity and cursing in their vicinity, and those people should have their space respected. I’ll probably receive a little bit of flak from readers myself simply for promoting this piece.

I am not suggesting that by buying these books – or pursuing the “swear words” in your new language that  you should actually be using them in every day life. In fact, when it comes to learning a new language I always recommend very strongly that you avoid most cursing entirely until you’re fluent or nearly fluent as well as deeply familiar with the culture.

In English, many of our classic four letter words have begun to lose their punch in modern society. We now say them casually with our friends, while walking around in public, and even at work. These words tend to have a direct translation in other languages, but the gravity  of those words can vary considerably from language to language and culture to culture. Many English insults involve animals, relating people to dogs or pigs or something along those lines. These comments are almost always casual or semi casual. and are rarely actually offensive.

However, there are cultures where these things are actually incredibly insensitive or taboo. Equating someone to a pig, for example, isn’t nearly as cool if you live in certain communities. Discussing certain topics that we may think of as benign may be more of an issue than you think. This is why it’s essential to know a thing or two about the people you’re going to be speaking to, before you cry havoc and let slip the words of war.

So again, my advice to most is to just avoid excessive (or any) profanity entirely. If you move abroad or are spending a while traveling or otherwise surrounded by the language you’re learning – you’ll pick up on these things naturally and learn how to add these words to your vocabulary in a much more natural (and gradual) way.

Pricing

The Dirty Everyday Slang series of books is quite affordable for just about any budget. The books range from between $8 and $15 USD for paperback copies on Amazon.

These books are also available on Kindle for even less.

Quick plug: If you’re not using Kindle yet, you really should be. It’s totally free, available on all of your devices – phone, tablet, and even computer. You don’t even have to own an actual Amazon Kindle device to use the app, making it perfect for anyone who likes books or magazines. The Kindle store is also equipped with thousands of free books – particularly “the classics” – in a number of languages other than English. I’ve used it in the past for Russian language reading.

If you sign up for a Kindle account by following this link, LATG will actually earn a small $3 commission.  This doesn’t cost you anything at all and you’d be helping to support this site!

In case you missed it before, the Dirty Everyday Slang series offers books for Spanish, Italian, Russian, German, Chinese, French, Japanese, American Sign Language (ASL), Portuguese, Hungarian, Korean, Greek, Yiddish, Czech, Polish, Dutch and Tagalog

 

Conclusion

When it comes to a fun, interesting language learning book, it’s hard to go wrong with the Dirty Everyday Slang series. It’s definitely not going to make you fluent, and probably won’t become your next primary companion, but it’s a great way to bolster your vocabulary and earn yourself a few laughs.

I highly recommend this series to anyone with a bit of a dirty mind or who knows a language learner who might appreciate a good dose of the profane and vulgar. They’re great as a seasonal or birthday gift as well as for your own personal use.

Have you used the Dirty Everyday Slang books before? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment!

 

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  • Andrew Sutton

    LOVE Dirty Chinese!

  • David Cooper

    How do you find lists of available Kindle books in other languages? I’ve tried searching for “books in russian” and “classic books in russian”, but most of the results are in English. Using “кгиги па русский” returned no results at all.

    • Hi David,

      If you visit the Kindle Store, on the left hand side should be a genre list. If you go to Foreign Languages (there should be over a million titles) it will give you a further drop-down menu with a list of major languages (and an additional list with “other” languages).

      In order to find the freebies and classics and such, simply go to the upper right and select “price: lowest to highest” and it will start with the free books.

      This is a link I made directly to the Russian section. http://amzn.to/2eVYNFu

      If it’s not working please let me know and I’ll try to figure out what’s going on.

      • David Cooper

        Thanks Brian – that’s solved the mystery. The problem was that my Kindle’s tied to my account at the dot co dot uk version of Amazon rather than amazon dot com. The British version of Amazon doesn’t provide the same options, so there are no lists of foreign language books available there. However, you’ve provided me with a workaround – I can browse for books at the dot com version of Amazon, then search for them at the dot co dot uk site, at which point they show up individually and I can download them to my Kindle. Война и мир awaits!

  • Brian, you’ve nailed it with the advice you’re giving to learners.
    I always compare cursing with Uncle Ben’s quote from Spiderman. The big responsibility that comes with it is knowing when to use it (and with whom and where). Some people may use swear words in most situations, but they’d be deeply offended if a foreigner that is not acquainted with the culture uses it without knowing its context.

    • Though I’m curious to know your perception when English learners use “fuck, “shit” and such language that is picked up from songs or movies without being aware of their context.

      • Well, speaking for English – those words are pretty generic and are extraordinarily flexible. They’ve also lost a lot of their taboo-ness and are no longer as harmful as our kindergarten teachers would have had us believe.

        For the most part, there are terms that English learners should avoid – but these are pretty common and mundane these days. In fact, “fuck” is one of our only “infixes” and can be inserted into words, used as an adjective, verb, noun, as a positive or a negative. It’s amazingly flexible and you pretty much can’t mess it up unless you start throwing it around in an elementary school.

        Shit is similarly flexible. These are really on the lower end of severity when it comes to dirty language. They’re probably not especially professional, but nobody is likely to get highly offended – they might just think you’re weird or stupid if you use them at an inappropriate time.

        These are words that are unlikely to get you into serious trouble. Don’t hurl them at the cops, but otherwise do what you want. The worst case scenario here is that you look like a moron as you clumsily try to fit them into every day speech.

        Any time you would say “mierda” you can say “shit”.

      • There are some cultures that are less tolerant of profanity, but the Anglosphere is pretty tolerant, flexible and so used to it that it often goes unnoticed in casual conversation.