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Old 09-05-2008, 09:46 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
"twat" is a very rude word for a portion of the female anatomy; it's a word that you DON'T use in "polite company" (or indeed, ever, for most people). "twit" just means "foolish" or "silly" - it's a very mild word indeed.
Thank you.

I have got a polite dictionary, I think.

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Old 09-05-2008, 09:50 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
It is, I think, reasonable to assume that books aimed at young children will not contain obscene language. It's not a matter of "freedom of speech", but what sort of language you'd want your own children to learn is appropriate to use. Children of that age are not in a position to judge for themselves what is, or is not, good language use - how many 10 year old are going to know what the word means, do you think? Isn't that one of the reasons that we encourage children to read, to improve their command of the language?

If you buy a children's book it's perfectly reasonable to assume that it won't contain sex scenes, strong language, extreme violence, etc, IMHO.

I have no issues with the use of such language in books aimed at an adult audience, obviously.
I completely and totally agree with Harry. My last teaching job (before I moved to Peru), was teaching 8th grade Reading. There's quite a difference between Freedom of Speech and language that is inappropriate for adolescents within the context of a book they are reading.

Nicely worded, Harry.


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Old 09-05-2008, 09:55 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
"twat" is a very rude word for a portion of the female anatomy; it's a word that you DON'T use in "polite company" (or indeed, ever, for most people). "twit" just means "foolish" or "silly" - it's a very mild word indeed.
Some dictionaries list as first meaning "1. a man who is a stupid incompetent fool [syn: fathead]".
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:23 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
It is, I think, reasonable to assume that books aimed at young children will not contain obscene language. It's not a matter of "freedom of speech", but what sort of language you'd want your own children to learn is appropriate to use. Children of that age are not in a position to judge for themselves what is, or is not, good language use - how many 10 year old are going to know what the word means, do you think? Isn't that one of the reasons that we encourage children to read, to improve their command of the language?

If you buy a children's book it's perfectly reasonable to assume that it won't contain sex scenes, strong language, extreme violence, etc, IMHO.

I have no issues with the use of such language in books aimed at an adult audience, obviously.
Going to step on many religious toes here, but if that is your criteria for bad reading for children perhaps you'd better keep your kids from reading the Bible (and probably other religious books) because you will find that type of thing there, especially the extreme violence.

I find it interesting what some people allow because it is "sacred" or "recognized as 'Great' literature" but find fault with when it is "mundane".
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:28 AM   #20
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At 9yo my daughter read a novel for school that had mild cussing in it. No f bombs or the c word but some d*#$ and s^$*. The language was totally in context and necessary for character development and my daughter knows what is considered appropriate and the difference between fantasy and reality. Said daughter is now 10yo and if she picked up a book with sexual content she would most likely immediately put it back down because she thinks sex is "icky" (her word).

Our school district is pretty conservative, parents regularly try and get books removed from the library shelves. I know parents who won't let their kids read Harry Potter because of religious convictions. I let my kids, 10yo and 14yo, read whatever they want and encourage each to discuss the contents with me. I don't read every book that they do but I have a good idea what the books contain.

I'd rather my kids read books with cussing than see it on television and the movies.
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:31 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by TallMomof2 View Post
Our school district is pretty conservative, parents regularly try and get books removed from the library shelves. I know parents who won't let their kids read Harry Potter because of religious convictions.
You've lost me slightly there. I don't recall any mention whatsoever of religion in Harry Potter - or is it that which is perceived to be the problem?
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:42 AM   #22
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Do you read in advance every book that your children get their hands on to make sure that it's appropriate for them?
No, Harry, I did not (my youngest is now 27 so I'm speaking in past tense in this regard). What I did do, however, was teach my children that what was appropriate conversation among friends was not necessarily appropriate elsewhere.

My children at ages 7 and 8 would come home from school having learned the latest 4-letter word on the playground. It would have been futile to complain to the school because the school cannot monitor every moment of every child's being. Instead, I took it upon myself to teach my children the rules of civilization.

I view the language used in books the same way. When my children would point to a passage in a book as support for their use of certain words, I would ask them to come up with an alternative way to get across the same message. I also would point out to them that there is a lot of difference between reading to oneself words that one finds acceptable and orally using those words with people who are offended by them.

My children learned pretty well.
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:46 AM   #23
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We must agree to differ, I'm afraid, Richard. I completely agree with you that children are going to hear such words in the playground, but that doesn't mean that I also want to see them in books aimed at young children. I'd like to be warned in advance if a book does contain such language so that I can make an informed choice about whether or not to buy it.
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:48 AM   #24
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Some dictionaries list as first meaning "1. a man who is a stupid incompetent fool [syn: fathead]".
I believe that was the original meaning of the word. However, in today's usage it definitely is not the first meaning or the meaning that usually comes to mind.

OTOH, the language of cursing has changed significantly over the years and what was a mild reproach 50 years ago can today be considered a great insult.

One of the columnists in my local newspaper was discussing today how insulting many women found it when Sarah Palin was called a "young lady" by someone 25 years her senior and how Joe Biden was castigated for being condescending when he described Barack Obama as "clean and articulate."

Different strokes for differently offended folk!
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:50 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
We must agree to differ, I'm afraid, Richard. I completely agree with you that children are going to hear such words in the playground, but that doesn't mean that I also want to see them in books aimed at young children. I'd like to be warned in advance if a book does contain such language so that I can make an informed choice about whether or not to buy it.
Now THAT I can agree with... If there was a warning that said "This book conatins language that may be deemed inproper" or something such. Sort of a rating system like there is for movies and games. But I still have problems with an author going back on his/her written word as such, and changing a story after publication just cause a few people find it offensive.
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:56 AM   #26
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I believe that was the original meaning of the word. However, in today's usage it definitely is not the first meaning or the meaning that usually comes to mind.
Maybe. But for example:

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/books/20...g_already.html

claims that the meaning has changed and that the current meaning is more like "twit". And that:
Quote:
First things first, the word "twat" has an interesting derivation. It's probably linked to the suffix "thwaite" that appears on the end of place-names. Somewhere in the mists of Germanic linguistic time, it had the sense of being a piece of land that had been delineated by humans, cut off from the uncultivated land surrounding it. At some point, this was also used familiarly to describe some or all parts of a woman's part, if you get me. (Yes, I know I'm being euphemistic here).

Feminist criticism could have a ball here on interpreting this metaphorical use as a piece of male ideology whether that's because there's something "cut off" about female genitalia, or that it's a place that is to be ploughed and settled on.

Then, as with many other sexual parts, male and female, it became a word of insult. And then, in time (and this is crucial for the Jacqueline Wilson case) the word is used without people knowing that it's linked to the sexual part. Robert Browning famously used the word in a poem, clearly not knowing either of these meanings, while Henry Miller used it over and over again in the sexual sense only. Jacqueline has some interesting precedents.
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:57 AM   #27
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:57 AM   #28
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You've lost me slightly there. I don't recall any mention whatsoever of religion in Harry Potter - or is it that which is perceived to be the problem?
The HP books didn't mention religion but here in the States many conservative religious groups tried to ban the books because of the use of witchcraft and "other satan-inspired" things.

I have participated in discussions with a few local religious fundamentalists who have point blank told me that I will be damned for eternity because I let my children read books other than the Bible.

I kind of threw a monkey wrench into the works when I asked which version of the Bible was truly the word of God, especially as we know that the King James version was written by a group of appointed men (no women) of a particular religious persuasion who argued over the meaning of various phrases and ending up deciding by consensus/compromise.

I've often wondered what they do about printing errors

I have also often wondered what they do with all of the begets and begots and the extramarital sex, and . . .
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:58 AM   #29
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I don't have a problem with parents choosing to let their children read books with such language... but I think Harry is right that certain expectations have been established by publishers about what will and will not be in books marketed to children. If the language described is necessary for the character, perhaps the book might be marketed towards teens instead, or perhaps it might have a "language" warning on the back, as suggested.

I've routinely let my kids read books that were considered "too old" for them, again encouraging them to talk with me if they have questions or if anything makes them feel uncomfortable. But I appreciate the heads-up that the categories give me, so I can keep an eye on what they're reading, generally (without having to wade through angsty teen romance vampire stories myself ).
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Old 09-05-2008, 11:03 AM   #30
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The HP books didn't mention religion but here in the States many conservative religious groups tried to ban the books because of the use of witchcraft and "other satan-inspired" things.
Fair enough . I see - thanks!
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