The profanity and slangy disrespect of youth

TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD.

Sir, – I notice in the current correspondence upon “Australian English,” a letter signed E. C. Sloper introducing ” Australian slang,” and I for one am very glad, there is someone who has the courage to do so; and in so sensible a letter, every word of which I can bear out in even stronger tones ; indeed such huge proportions has the disgusting habit of slangy mid coarse expressions obtained in this colony – that to a mind not, utterly lost to decency and purity of speech – it is excruciating in the extreme.

Not only have I repeatedly heard the vulgar expressions quoted by E. C. Sloper towards parents and superiors, but ” cow,”       ” sow,” ” bird,” and the like are the common expressions of children and youths whose parents are beyond reproach, and whose homes and surroundings are all that could be desired. I would that your correspondents enlighten me as to the cause of this almost universal bearing of disrespect and profanity of speech found in the Australian youth.  I am thankful to note that the subject has been introduced, and I trust it will be taken up by abler pens than mine. I rejoice greatly and join very sincerely in E. C. Sloper’s admirable appeal to the heads of public colleges to check the profane habit of slang and disrespect, and to instil into youthful minds a deep love and admiration for that purity of thought which can produce nought but purity of expression.

I am, &c, ,

M. A. LAWSON.

October 11.

Sydney Morning Herald – 17 October 1891


Words : bludger

Next time you hear the word bludger or are tempted to use it to describe someone, think about its derivation (now obsolete in usage).

The entry for bludger in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable reads

(Aust.)  Originally (19th century) a pimp, but later any scrounger or one profiting without risk.  In World War I to bludge on the flag meant to slack in the army.

The Australian National University’s Australian National Dictionary Centre has a most comprehensive derivation, description and history of the word bludger.