Can anybody tell me the difference between “rough,” “crass,” “crude language” and “profanity?”
You know, I’ve always wondered that myself. I’m sure there is some sort of system, but I haven’t been able to figure it out exactly (except that I think you have correctly put them in order from least offensive to most offensive).
You might try either contacting the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) or CARA (The Classification and Rating Administration) for more info on the various degrees in terms of their “rating reasons”. I perused both websites, but couldn’t find a nice chart that spells it out. Maybe a phone call or an email would yield more fruitful results.
If you find anything, let me know!
Not official in any way, but my understanding is this:
*]“Rough”, “crass” and “crude” I would classify together, under what I was taught as “vulgarity”. Typically, “Anglo-Saxon” (for lack of a better qualifier) words for body parts, or acts of a sexual or excretory nature.
*]Maybe “rough” does not even fit there – It would encompass the use of insulting epithets like “whore” or another-word-for-a-female-dog (or the “son of” one)?
*]“Profanity” is a vain reference to something sacred. I cannot think of any common American English examples, but for instance the stereotypical French excalmation *sacre bleu! *is literally a reference to the “sacred blue” of Mary’s veil. British English “bloody” is a reference to the blood of Christ (I do not know if it is still, but even in recent times this word has been more shocking to Brits than many of the vulgarities common in America). Antiquated English that many people do not realize are the likes of “zounds!” (a contraction of “God’s wounds”) and “gadzooks!” (“God’s hooks”, ie the nails fixing Our Lord to the cross).
*]Worse than these are “cursing” – “damn”, literally asking God to consign someone or something to hell – and “swearing” – Taking the Lord’s name in vain.
At least that is what I recall from junior high morality.
Not without using some of it, I can’t.
LOL! That’s probably why it’s not spelled out on the MPAA website!
The concept of gradations in bad language reminds me of an anecdote that I read a loooooonnng time ago in Reader’s Digest.
It seems that the commander at a certain military establishment had decided to try to clean up the language on his base. To accomplish that, he had put up a list of forbidden words and the fines that would be attached to them. This list ranged from “hell” and “damn” at a dime apiece to some real humdingers that would cost the utterer a whole dollar. At the bottom of the list someone had penciled in, “Special today: ‘Damnyankee,’ 3 for $.25.”