Posted in Education, Entertainment, Health, news

The Science of Swearing

Having gotten in trouble my whole life for doing so, I thought it was about time I investigated what is “swearing”, why it comes so fluently and why we frequently choose to do it. So lets break down the science of swearing…..

What is the definition of a curse word?

Most dictionaries define a curse word as a “profane or obscene word.”  But I disagree with this definition.  “Profane” comes from the latin root “profanus”, or “unholy”, and Oxford Dictionary defines “profane” as not relating to that which is sacred or religious; secular, (of a person or their behaviour) not respectful of religious practice.  

But many of us who use these words when you say “I just stepped in dog $%&t” aren’t referring to religion in any way, shape or form.

“Obscene”, when defined by multiple dictionaries, alludes to terms of a sexual nature.  Again, complaining that you just stepped in dog $%&t has nothing to do with sex.

So I define a swear/curse word as one that society deems to be off-color and not appropriate in public and professional settings….a word that has plenty of other socially acceptable alternatives used during anger, excitement, or awe.

When was the first curse word spoken?

According to historians, the first curse words originated in the 15th century.  I’m sure horses were just as messy as our dogs.  But as you can see by my definition, curse words must have had their origin in caveman days as humans developed language.  Rocks were dropped, people slipped and fell, and some burned themselves on early fire so I seriously doubt that only grammatically acceptable words and phrases were used in times of accidents.

Where did specific curse words originate?

Although a good old-fashioned four letter word seems as American as they come, most originate from foreign sources.

The “S” Word

According to Business Insider, the noun nods to Old English scitte, meaning “purging, diarrhea.” And just the basic form of excrement stems from Old English scytel. The action, however, has a much more widespread history — Dutch schijten and German scheissen. The Proto-Indo-European base skie conveys the idea of separation, in this case, from the body.

The “F” Word.

 According to the Huffington Post, the f-word is of Germanic origin, related to Dutch, German, and Swedish words for “to strike” and “to move back and forth.” It first appears, though, only in the 16th century, in a manuscript of the Latin orator Cicero. An anonymous monk was reading through the monastery copy of De Officiis (a guide to moral conduct) when he felt compelled to express his anger at his abbot. 

“Ass”

Comes from the word “arse” and used as early as the 11th century when referring to an animal’s anatomy, and then later to humans.

The “B” Word

Having Old English and Germanic roots, the “B” word represented a female dog.  By the 1400’s, however, it became a “term of contempt to women,” according to Business Insider.

 

So why do we curse?

There are various theories as to why people would choose a word that may offend others.  Here’s mine:

  1.   The words are easy to say.  Four letter words seem to be the most popular and can be spewed out with ease when in pain or in anger.
  2. The words inspire an emotion.  When we communicate we need a reaction to what we say, and curse words seem to elicit some of the strongest of reactions, hence reinforcing our belief that we are effectively communicating.
  3. They’re weapons.  When we get mad at someone and want to avoid a physical altercation, we weaponize our words instead, inflicting as much verbal hurt and pain as possible. One rarely finds themselves in jail after launching a full foul word offensive.
  4. They allow us to rebel. If curse words are not allowed in a school, work or professional setting then our use demonstrates our autonomy.
  5. They convey meaning that other words cannot.  The F word, for example, is one of the most notorious and ubiquitous, with movies, books, and speakers having validated its use so many times as a noun, adjective, or verb, that it has its own character and conveys a meaning, no matter how it’s used, that society easily recognizes. In fact, it’s so notorious that the F word is recognized by those who don’t even speak English.

 

What are “fake” curse words?

“Fake” curse words are terms we use to convey a curse without acutally swearing.  Commonly used alteratives to swearing include:

  • Flip
  • Flipp’n
  • Frick
  • Dang
  • Heck
  • Witch
  • Shut the Front Door
  • Son of a Motherless Goat
  • Son of a gun
  • Dagnabbit
  • Beeswax
  • Holy shitake mushroom
  • Wuss
  • Pluck it
  • Yuk fou
  • Fire truck
  • Donald Duck

 

Is cursing/swearing ever considered “good”?

In 2017, a study from Stephens et al, from Keele University in the UK, found swearing to increase strength and power performance when working out.

Previously, in 2009, the same researchers found men who were allowed to swear while immersing their hand in cold water could maintain it twice as long as those who had to keep their language clean.

So if we perform better while cursing, will it ever become acceptable to curse?

Society seems to already accept many curse words, even on prime time television, a barometer we use to determine if a word is OK to say out in public.  However once we take a four letter word and “legalize it”, people will gravitate towards words that aren’t acceptable because of the aforementioned reasons.  We want to be rebellious and demonstrate our feelings in times of pain and anger.

So for those of you who find this unacceptable, I really couldn’t give a flipp’n cluck.…..

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Education, Health, news

Las Vegas Schools to Remain Open after Police Arrest Suspect Accused of Sending Threatening Texts

Wednesday evening police investigated an anonymous text sent to high school students in Las Vegas that threatened multiple school shootings.

Students contemplated whether the text was a hoax or not, and parents throughout social media deliberated sending their kids to school on Thursday.

The Clark County School District posted the following on their Facebook page:

Update: Clark County School District Police Department and local law enforcement investigated the threat circulating on social media yesterday, and they do have a person in custody who was arrested overnight.
Thank you to law enforcement who work hard every day to ensure our schools are safe. School will be in session today.
A reminder: All threats made against schools will be turned over to law enforcement for investigation, and making threats against a school is a serious crime.

The poorly written text below, threatening a shooting at Centennial Hills High School, and then targeting “all” schools, prompted immediate investigations by local law enforcement and school district officials.

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Fortunately for Las Vegas students, law officials acted quickly and a suspect was arrested within hours of the threatening communication.

Chilling text messages have shut down school districts recently in other states.

In March of this year, three Berkley County, South Carolina schools were on lockdown when a text message perceived as threatening was received by a student.

On Tuesday, Johnston School Districts in Iowa closed multiple schools as a result of text threats.  After investigation by police, the messages were not deemed “credible threats” and classes resumed Wednesday.

In Maine, Machias Memorial High School and Rose M. Gaffney School closed on Tuesday after a threat was received.

On Wednesday, classes were shut down in Plattsmouth School District in Nebraska after a threat from a student.  Classes were set to resume the following day.

In mid September, 30 schools closed in Northwestern Montana after several emails and threatening texts were received.

Usually the threats end up not being credible, but the fact that person choses to scare thousands of individuals means law enforcement is dealing with an unstable individual to begin with.  Could a person making a fake threat later choose to execute it?

Las Vegas is still recovering from a mass shooting that killed 59 people and injured 527 when a real estate investor, Stephen Paddock, opened fire from a hotel room at Mandalay Bay targeting the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival across the street.

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Education, Health, news

Texts Threatening School Shootings Plague Multiple States, Now Target Las Vegas

Police investigated an anonymous text sent to high school students Wednesday evening in Las Vegas that threatened multiple school shootings.

Students contemplated whether the text is a hoax or not, parents are deliberating sending their kids to school on Thursday.

Local law enforcement has arrested a suspect, as reported by the CCSD.

The Clark County School District posted the following on their Facebook page Wednesday evening:

CCSD parents and students: Some of you have reached out to us about an unsubstantiated threat that has been circulating online about a possible school shooting this week. We are working with our local law enforcement partners to investigate this threat. It appears similar threats have been made in five other states. At face value, we don’t believe the threat to be credible. However, the investigation is ongoing and we are working with our local partners to expedite the investigation. It is already a difficult time for our community — thank you for your patience and support.

By Thursday, they gave the following update:

Clark County School District Police Department and local law enforcement investigated the threat circulating on social media yesterday, and they do have a person in custody who was arrested overnight.
Thank you to law enforcement who work hard every day to ensure our schools are safe. School will be in session today.
A reminder: All threats made against schools will be turned over to law enforcement for investigation, and making threats against a school is a serious crime.

The text comes from an out-of-state number and warns “Don’t you go to Centennial HS”. The confused recipient asks “Yes who is this?”  The sender replies “We shooting up your school tomorrow no one safe.  Every school in Las Vegas getting blew up”. The recipient replies “Umm I’m calling the cops”, to which the sender writes “See you tomorrow”.

22141087_10214783541809022_6255560792456841825_n.jpg

Chilling text messages have shut down school districts recently in other states while officials investigate.

In March of this year, three Berkley County, South Carolina schools were on lockdown when a text message perceived as threatening was received by a student.

On Tuesday, Johnston School Districts in Iowa closed multiple schools as a result of text threats.  After investigation by police, the messages were not deemed “credible threats” and classes resumed Wednesday.

In Maine, Machias Memorial High School and Rose M. Gaffney School closed on Tuesday after a threat was received.

On Wednesday, classes were shut down in Plattsmouth School District in Nebraska after a threat from a student.  Classes were set to resume the following day.

In mid September, 30 schools closed in Northwestern Montana after several emails and threatening texts were received.

Usually the threats end up not being credible, but the fact that person choses to scare thousands of individuals means law enforcement is dealing with an unstable individual to begin with.  Could a person making a fake threat later choose to execute it?

Las Vegas is still recovering from a mass shooting that killed 59 people and injured 527 when a real estate investor, Stephen Paddock, opened fire from a hotel room at Mandalay Bay targeting the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival across the street.

This is a developing story.

 

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Education, Health, news

As Back To School Approaches, Teachers Need Help Preparing Too

The new school year is approaching quickly.  And as parents start to prep their kids with new clothes, shoes, backpacks and supplies, teachers are feeling the pressure of preparing too.  Not just for one child but for ALL their students. So what do teachers need?

Whether its school supplies, health advice, or just outright community support teachers need our assistance on multiple levels.  Let’s break it down.

Many teachers need to purchase their own supplies

In 2016 the Education Market Association reported nearly all teachers come out of pocket at minimum $500 for school supplies for their classrooms.  School district budgets allow for supplies but not enough for many classroom’s needs.  And low income districts see families who can’t afford school supplies, hence the teachers supply the students with as much as they can, again from their own pockets.

Bonnie Palbaum, a second grade teacher at Hinman Elementary, states she needs to purchase multiple school supplies for her students including pencils, pencil boxes, desk bins and more.

Jolette May, a high school teacher at Del Sol Academy for the Performing Arts, states she spends approximately $2000 each year on her classroom, providing her students not only with supplemental school supplies such as pencils, paper, lead refills, notebooks (to name a few) but water bottles, tissue, hand sanitizer, and snacks on a monthly basis.

She states, “Every year, before school starts, I usually buy a case of paper, pens and pencils for student use, both a desk and dry-erase giant calendar, folders for organizing my class periods, about 30 composition notebooks, manila folders for kids who can’t seem to stay organized, novels for kids to read, a giant bottle of hand sanitizer, dry erase markers of multiple colors, Sharpies, skinny dry erase markers for the wall calendar, and giant class charts for keeping data on tests, grades, etc.”  May continues, “We have to have data walls for all to see, colored paper, colored pencils, lined paper for kids to use, giant packages of Post-It notes, academic, and non-academic posters for my walls, colored pens for my own use (I color-code my classes for organization), medium, and giant, Post-It notes, M-cups for coffee, throat coat, snacks for kids who are starving, cases of water for students, Tylenol and Excedrine, Pepto, staples, paper clips, binder clips, rubber bands, lead refills, and Kleenex.”

Teachers say “no” more often than they wish to when it comes to behavior issues that when a student needs something to help him/her learn demonstrating positive behavior, no educator wants to deny them, nor should.  This leads teachers to go into their own pocket to supply their class.

Teachers face health risks

In 2006, a study published in BMC Public Health, found teachers to suffer more from ENT (ear, nose and throat) ailments, dermatitis, bladder infections, bronchitis, conjunctivitis and varicose veins than those who work in other professions.  Teachers are on the front lines when it comes to cough and cold season as they come into contact with hundreds of children a day, many of whom are contagious prior to knowing they are symptomatic. Once the fever shows itself, parents may keep the child home but the student already exposed others earlier in the day.

Standing on one’s feet for extended hours does a number on the peripheral vascular system, manifesting in leg swelling and at times, varicose veins.  And when breaks are infrequent, bladder infections brew since one can’t visit the bathroom when they need.

Long work hours during the week prevent many educators from seeing a health care provider and many health plans don’t have providers who work on the weekends.  Teachers can very easily put their own health care needs on the back burner during a long school year.

Violence in increasing in schools

Many teachers are victims of threats and violence in the school setting.  According to the US Department of Education and the American Psychological Association:

  • 20% of public school teachers reported being verbally abused.
  • 10% reported being physically threatened.
  • 5% reported being physically attacked in schools.

This is unacceptable.  Its only a matter of time when those who have entered the noblest of professions will need to find a healthier, less costly and safer alternative.

 

tools

 

In Las Vegas, we created Tools4Teachers, joining forces with Albertson’s and Vons Supermarkets, Steinberg Diagnostic Medical Imaging, and Storage One Self Storage to collect school supplies and provide help for local teachers.  Its the tip of a much needed iceberg but something so many cities can participate in to help those who dedicate so much of themselves to our children.

To help your local teachers please visit here.

                                                                       LearnHealthSpanish.com

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician