Speaking of bodily functions…

What does it tell us about the English that we have no words for bodily functions that are not either coy, childish, clinical or obscene?

I discussed this with my Spanish brother-in-law some years ago, and he literally could not believe that such a language existed. Certainly there is something repressed about English attitudes to the body, but I would have thought we were not much different from other Europeans in that respect.

It may be an interesting measure of whether we are actually finally getting over this perverse attitude if such words start to enter the language. Certainly it is much easier to talk about sex, defecation and all the rest now than when I was a child, but relatively few of the words seem to have changed their register. Perhaps ‘gay’ is a good counter-example, but I can’t think of many others.

More of RJ Robinson at http://richardjrobinson.blogspot.com/

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