c-word – (en)

Unless it’s already out of the news forefront, you’re probably aware that in the wake of last Sunday night’s Academy Awards, the official Twitter of news-satire website The Onion fired off a tweet (since deleted), the crux of which was declaring that Quvenzhané Wallis -the 9 year-old Best Actress nominee for Beasts of The Southern Wild- was “kind of a cunt, right?”.
The questions of comedy and its limits (or lack thereof) is endlessly interesting -to me anyway. So, alright, let’s talk about the Cunt.
Geoffrey Hughes wrote in his book Swearing, there were many such colorful names, but “the days when the dandelion could be called the pissabed, a heron could be called a shitecrow and the windhover could be called the windfucker have passed away with the exuberant phallic advertisement of the codpiece.”
Indeed we are in a time when few formerly naughty words still pack a potent punch, but “cunt” still holds a unique position. The C-word is one of the few remaining monosyllables in the English language with a genuine power to shock. In a BBC study of the most offensive words, it ranked No. 1, ahead of motherfucker, fuck, and even nigger.
Has that word always been so patently offensive?  The answer is definitely: No!  The word became offensive over the centuries.
Why has cunt become so much more taboo than, say, snatch or pussy? The main reason may simply be that it’s blunt. Linguists note that, unlike those other words for the female genitalia -whose origins are all Latinate, euphemistic, or diminutive- cunt is plain and Anglo-Saxon. There is also the sound of the word. Many of the most taboo words are monosyllables with short vowels, such as shit, piss, fuck, and cock. These are considered more offensive than words of the same meaning, like poopy, pee, screw, and willy. In fact, one of the only other words to share many of these characteristics is twat, which is also often considered highly offensive.
So … here is, in a ludicrous affectation of delicacy, my free translation of a poem from William IX, Duke of Aquitaine, also known as “the Troubador”, as my contribution to the vindication of the word “CUNT” -with sarcasm and humor.
Comrades, I’ve been all torn up, all fuck up and so upset
I can’t do any other song, and for sure I’ll regret
as I want no one to know what I usually secret.
And my thought I will soon tell you what is all about on this:
I don’t like camouflaged cunts nor more than lakes with no fish
or the praise of the wicked acting out their disbelief.
Lord God, who’s in the world the master and is of the world the king,
at the first to kept the cunt, how was chastened not condign?
Neither official nor guard ever came with such hoodwink.
But I tell you right away what is the law of the choot
as a man who has done wrong there, but also was there put:
With the use all is depleted, but improves instead the cunt.
And to whom won’t are to understand my,
go to see it in the forest, in a clear you would find it:
for every tree that is felled, always sprout two or three.
And when the forest is felled stronger is growing back,
and the owner loses there no interest, no gain, nor reward,
but he is unreasonable weighting about a later charge.
Wrong to mourn the logged forest as there won’t be any charge.
You could find here infinite uses of another colorful word: Enjoy “FUCK” !
C-word – By Dugutigui and the -spiritual- collaboration of William IX, Duke of Aquitaine

About Dugutigui

In the “Diula” language in Mali, the term « dugutigui » (chief of the village), literally translated, means: «owner of the village»; «dugu» means village and «tigui», owner. Probably the term is the result of the contraction of «dugu kuntigui» (literally: chief of the village).
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6 Responses to c-word – (en)

  1. El Guapo says:

    Wait – a duke wrote that?
    Wow, what a…jerk!

    • Dugutigui says:

      Or what a cunt!
      To honor the truth, the poem is a rather free translation of the original piece, which is quite different in content. Only the background idea is intact.
      Thanks for your comment.

  2. Sandee says:

    Middle English cunte; akin to Middle Low German kunte female pudenda
    First Known Use: 14th century

    • Dugutigui says:

      You are right…

      In Middle English the word could be used as a standard term for the female genitalia, in a manner that was quite matter-of-fact. The earliest instance of the word recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary is actually from the name of a 13th-century London street, Gropecuntelane. The name appears to have been quite literal, and there was at least one other red-light district of the same name, in Oxford. One of the next recorded uses of the word comes from a circa-1400 surgery manual and uses the word much like vagina might be used today: “In women the neck of the bladder is short, and is made fast to the cunt.” Others have noted that some people in the 13th and 14th centuries also had the word in their names, in a way that seems unlikely today: Some men and women at that time included Bele Wydecunthe, Robert Clevecunt, and Gunoka Cuntles.

      The word became more offensive over the next few centuries. While Chaucer used the variant quaint in both the Miller’s Tale (“he caught her by the quaint”) and the Wife of Bath’s Tale (“you shall have quaint right enough at eve”), Shakespeare dared only to slyly allude to the word. In Hamlet, for example, when Ophelia tells Hamlet that, yes, he can lie on her lap, Hamlet puns in his response: “Do you think I meant country matters?” In Twelfth Night, Shakespeare finds a coded way to spell out the word, when Malvolio recognizes his lady’s “C’s, her U’s, ‘n’ her Ts.” (“Thus makes her great P’s,” he continues, in what amounts to an elaborate potty joke.)

      If in Shakespeare’s time the word was becoming too obscene to utter in public, by the end of the 18th century it was truly taboo. When Robert Burns’ printed the old Scottish folk song “Yon, Yon, Yon, Lassie,” in 1796, the word appeared only as “c—t.” In his 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, Francis Grose defined “c**t” as “a nasty name for a nasty thing,” while elsewhere he bleeped it out entirely (“****”), or referred to it only as “the monosyllable.” (Lest you think him just a prude, Grose noted that others went even further, rendering the word constable as thingstable. By the early 20th century, cunt had begun to be used as an insult, and it was also around this time that language taboos shifted from religious profanity to vulgar sexual and scatological language. This perception that it’s one of the most taboo words continues today.

      Thanks for your comment!!!

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