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nedius
15-02-2013, 10:05
Hi there,

Ok, initial disclaimer: Please do not swear in the thread - this is not about which current swear words I could choose to use in relation to the 40k universe, but what phrases that are not swear words to us but would be in the 40k setting.

I'm dabbling with some fan fiction, and came to a scene where I wanted a character to swear in anger/frustration.

Got me wondering, how would they do that? I can imagine that after 39,000 years words that are considered swearing will have changed. Swear words develop out of topics that are considered socially inappropriate - bringing into question the marital status of a person's parents was once a significant insult and social stigma, but now less so, and so the swearword assositated with that status has lost most of it's impact. Today, most sear words have religious, anatomical, excramental or reproductive origins, each of which stem from something that was socially inapporpriate to be, do or discuss. However, as language changes over the years, so will the foul language.

My question, therefore, is what words or phrases would be swearing in the 41st millenium?

Religious is easy enough. Taking the Emperor's name in vain would be swearing; so 'Throne' and 'Empror's Blood' as exclamations of anger/frustration would be swearing to them.

Other than that, I'm not sure what would be socially unacceptable to be/discuss from which swear words could develop. Their big no's seem to be heresy and trechary, but those things have been disapproved of for centuries and I'm not aware of any swear words developing from those topics. However, I imagine that they could develop into 'intensfier' swear words. Where today we might call some one an "a CENSORED idiot", I can imagine in 40k terms they might be a 'traitorous idiot', or a 'heretical' idiot - as those acts are the a social stigma of the time; an act not discussed. But I wonder is that too harsh? Current 'intensifiers' are usually based on acts that people do, are not illegal, but are not usually discussed in polite conversation.

So, what fluff examples are there of 'future' swear words?

Note to mods: I have done my best to abide by what I believe to be forum rules here, but if this thread is deemed not appropriate I appologise - I thought that this would be a valid topic given the depth of the universe and the characters commonly encountered in it.

iamcjb
15-02-2013, 10:49
Probably the plural 'Gods', as I'm sure Chaos Gods are considered a curse.

Also the Primarchs could be considered swear words eg Horus could be a name for a traitor.

m1acca1551
15-02-2013, 11:08
Depends on the planet, the regiment and upbringing. Much the same as it is today.

A civilised planet would have a soci economic factors like ours in which the "less civilised" people would have slang and curse words and swear words would be more common place as opposed to the "civilised" person or high born that curse words and swearing would be reserved for private conversation and if spoken would be in an attempt to publicly slur or add that extra force (shock factor).

On shrine worlds i would highly doubt the presence of curse words or swearing would exist due to fear of drawing censorship or becoming condemed by your fellows, curses would be seen as deeply unlucky as superstition would dictate that in doing so draws the gaze of the dark gods.

Death Worlds and hive worlds well... they are not the most glorious place to live so i can imagine curses, swear words would be highly prevalent as when confronted by a huge acid spitting snake or a ambushed by a rival gang the words being used would be far from "oh heavens those chappies have us ambushed" or "oh no that snake just ignored by las shot, boulder -dash" the words would be far more how to say vulgar.

Military units of the Imperial Guard again depending on home world and unit discipline vulgar language would vary, from my own personal experience in the Australian Military i can tell you, swearing becomes second nature and for some they are unable to complete a sentence with out resorting to swearing or cursing.

Mentioning the dark gods is simply a big no no... you wouldnt even mention it as a curse, in an empire where such knowledge is kept hidden from the masses, acknowleding the gods opens you to a quick tour of the local arbites cell follwed by the inquistors torture room. Knowing too much is really not beneficial to your health in the Imperium.

TheDungen
15-02-2013, 12:28
'throne' is like 'oh my god' in the HH series, also used much in the same context as 'light' is in wheel of time.

I'd just use present day ones if you really don't want t then use frack and other common sci fi replacements.

I often use "Emperor on terra" for non space marines used as one would use 'god' again. more of taking the lords name in vain than a swear word of course.

Referring to chaos gods should be kept to a minimum since beyond knowing that there are dark gods (and that it is only the god emperor that protects them), the common imperial citizen known nothing about them.

calling someone traitor or heretic i suppose if the worst thing you can say. But its also a serious accusation.

Comparing someone to a xeno is propably not very nice either. neither in specific form (brutish like an ork) nor in nonspecific form (calling someone 'xeno collaborrator' for an example)

Loginis
15-02-2013, 12:36
Other than that, I'm not sure what would be socially unacceptable to be/discuss from which swear words could develop. Their big no's seem to be heresy and trechary, but those things have been disapproved of for centuries and I'm not aware of any swear words developing from those topics. However, I imagine that they could develop into 'intensfier' swear words. Where today we might call some one an "a CENSORED idiot", I can imagine in 40k terms they might be a 'traitorous idiot', or a 'heretical' idiot - as those acts are the a social stigma of the time; an act not discussed. But I wonder is that too harsh? Current 'intensifiers' are usually based on acts that people do, are not illegal, but are not usually discussed in polite conversation.

.

I don't think they just call someone a heretic or traitor just out of frustration. It would be like calling someone a selliar killer, paedophil, or something like this.

Also, there is the general answer: it's a big universe with hundreds of thousands of planets, all of them have their own different cultures and often languages. And "intestellar" swearing needs interstellar people. Apart from the Navy and the Guard, it means the crew of civilan vessels and those who interact with them, like people working in a space dock. Of course it can have some impact, but again, it depends on the planet.

nedius
15-02-2013, 12:39
'throne' is like 'oh my god' in the HH series, also used much in the same context as 'light' is in wheel of time.

i'd just use present day ones if you realtl dont want t then use frack and other common sci fi replacements.


The problem I have with invented ones is that every swear word has a traceable back story - a reason why it has become offensive. Just making up some sci-fi collection of letters to represent a swear word seems out of place. Let's face it, the guys in 40k aren't speaking English, but are probably mostly speaking gothic, high or low, or their own language.

I know that the Imperium is a diverse culture, and as such different words will find words varyingly offensive. I imagine that on worlds ruled over by the mechanicum organic words are likely to be most offensive - refering to adepts as being organic lover would probably be offensive, whereas a shrine world taking the emperor's name in vain would be so offensive as to warrent extreme centure.

Zenithfleet
15-02-2013, 13:12
Dan Abnett uses planet-specific curses in the Gaunt's Ghost books. 'Feth' for the Tanith and 'gak' for the Vervunhivers. (They serve together and after a while start using each other's swearwords, which Gaunt takes as an encouraging sign :) )

There's often medieval-style profanity concerning the Emperor's various body parts in the official rulebooks... e.g. a Battlefleet Gothic captain seeing a massive wave of incoming fighters and exclaiming "Emperor's teeth, where do they get them from?"

Apologist
15-02-2013, 13:16
While many taboo words, including curse words and swear words, have a traceable etymology, that's not the case for all of them (either lost or obscure). The origin of 'curse' itself is not certain, for example.

In addition, many rude exclamations are simply onomatopoeic. That's an excellent excuse for just gathering some good sounds for foul language. Alternatively, you could develop soundalikes of existing foul language.

Take two excellent examples from Abnett 'feth' and +scrapschunt+. Both words have the characteristics of angry curses: they're short, punchy and can be exclaimed loudly and easily. On top of that, Abnett has combined elements of existing swear words to make his. These combine to make believable swearwords. Abnett has also introduced characterful etymologies for these words (in the Gaunt's Ghosts series and Titanicus respectively) to help develop the illusion they're 'real' foul language.


Today, most sear words have religious, anatomical, excremental or reproductive origins, each of which stem from something that was socially inappropriate to be, do or discuss
Yes, that's true. Regardless of the language, many taboo words are amongst the oldest words whose etymology we can trace. The reason for this is that because they're only (or at least, traditionally) used in extreme cases, rather than the everyday, they're less subject to linguistic mutation or development. 'Fart', for example, is likely to be little changed from its Proto-Indoeuropean roots.

From this we can make a few assumptions, amongst which is that human nature has developed many cultures that see bodily and religious functions as so important that they can be enshrined as special, mysterious and precious which makes their use in curses and oaths (i.e. swear-words) particularly powerful. I imagine it's this (and his obvious love of words) that inspired Abnett for his primal Chaos word magic Enuncia used in quite a few of his books.

Enuncua itself is an interesting facet, as it introduces to the mythos the idea that language is literally part of creation; of the universe and the warp itself. With this borne in mind, swear words and oath words could have a very literal meaning and would imply a universal proto-language, and hence foul language.

+++
Across the Imperium, I doubt there are many universal swearwords linguistic diversity is just too great. I'm sure that there would be some common ground in meaning, as explained above. but the differences in individual worlds (and countries, hives, districts, even streets) would render the idea of a universal swearword known to all the facets of unenlightened, degraded mankind moot.

Bearing that in mind, and coming back to your original question:

My question, therefore, is what words or phrases would be swearing in the 41st millennium?
None universal, but regional foul language would almost certainly still be tied to excretory, sexual or religious functions, just as they are, and have been back to the development of speech. For all its alien nature, the Imperium of Man suffers from many of the hang-ups, problems and repressions that have dogged mankind through its history.

+++
Edit:
I'd forgotten 'gak' thanks Zenithfleet! That's another good example of a short, punchy word that shares elements with a real world swearword.

Consider also other sci-fi properties 'drokk', 'smeg', 'frak' for more examples.

Apologist
15-02-2013, 13:38
I know that the Imperium is a diverse culture, and as such different words will find words varyingly offensive. I imagine that on worlds ruled over by the mechanicum organic words are likely to be most offensive - refering to adepts as being organic lover would probably be offensive, whereas a shrine world taking the emperor's name in vain would be so offensive as to warrent extreme centure.

This is true to an extent, but I think the point to take is that the Imperium includes so many millions of cultures that it's impossible to make any but the most bland generalisations. One Forgeworld might be offended by reference to being organic, but another (particularly members of the Divisio Biologis) might take it to be a compliment.

On that note, it's worth clarifying that the Adeptus Mechanicus don't hate or fear the flesh (that's the Iron Hands' 'thing'); they simply regard it as a type of machine that's not naturally particularly great at maintaining sentience and human knowledge (which is holy to the Mechanicus). They're quite happy to be unenhanced if the replacement bionic is inferior for purpose. It's simply the case that human bits tend to be weaker, less precise or simply wear out that they're replaced!

To offend the Mechanicus, you might go for blurts or inloads that suggest that the target has a faulty memory, makes things up, or is otherwise poor at preserving/conveying/storing knowledge. Note that this would probably be equivalent to a vicar calling another 'lazy', or a scholar insulting another's research as suspect: i.e. fairly mild.

I'm sure some members of the Priesthood of Mars (let alone the mass uneducated laity of the Forgeworld's populace) are not above 'classic' denigrations of the individual's worth, or comparing him to something vulgar.

Coming back to language, you hit it on the button with:

Let's face it, the guys in 40k aren't speaking English, but are probably mostly speaking gothic, high or low, or their own language.
There's an out-of-universe note in the back of Rogue Trader to the effect that High Gothic is the common root language to humanity's first diaspora into space in the Dark Age of Technology; and as such it's an amalgam of Pacific Rim languages, English, Spanish and other real world languages. In this way, High Gothic is roughly analogous to the real-world proto-Indoeuropean; a partially reconstructed language based on etymological comparison of hundreds of languages.

In other words, High Gothic is to the average denizen of the Imperium as proto-Indoeuropean is to most members of Warseer a composite language reconstructed from languages being spoken today. I believe the note goes on to say that High Gothic is represented as pseudo-Latin precisely because it evokes the idea of a faded Golden Age to modern Western readers.

Low Gothic is simply a catch-all term for any of the millions of languages, dialects and pidgens spoken on any individual planet.

This gives you some idea of the scale of diversity you're facing when constructing foul language for your own stories you literally have no constraints. As long as you can give it an etymology you find believable, anything goes. :)

theJ
15-02-2013, 18:06
I don't think anyone's mentioned "sorcery" yet. The worlds of the Imperium has few things in common, but superstition is one of them. Any word or phrase connected to the supernatural or unknown would be considered taboo in the Imperium, and most taboo words or phrases tend to be considered swear words.

Another thing to note is the difference between using phrases and single words. IRL, we usually use single swear words and think disturbingly little of it, while in 40K, full phrases, memorised prayers or even several sentences long chants seem quite common - obviously still varying from world to world.
Which brings up an interesting question - what kind of character are you writing about? If you're writing about a guardsman, then Abnetts work mentioned earlier could be a great source. If you're going the marine route, however, then consider a stricter oath or chant. That's just how they roll.

carlisimo
15-02-2013, 19:35
Aside from religious or sexual swear words, different worlds' colloquialisms probably wouldn't have much in common with each other. A lot of the words I use in Spain don't work in Mexico, and when I worked in New Zealand I was surprised by just how much English I learned... and those are all on the same planet!

theJ
15-02-2013, 22:20
@carlisimo:
Sexual ones aren't universal either. Just a dosen years or so ago they barely existed here in Sweden, it wasn't until cable became standard that it became widespread(I blame the americans, personally), and I gotta say, they felt really weird to hear at first :p

Honestly, I doubt there's really any universal swear words at all...

baphomael
15-02-2013, 22:21
This is true to an extent, but I think the point to take is that the Imperium includes so many millions of cultures that it's impossible to make any but the most bland generalisations. One Forgeworld might be offended by reference to being organic, but another (particularly members of the Divisio Biologis) might take it to be a compliment.

On that note, it's worth clarifying that the Adeptus Mechanicus don't hate or fear the flesh (that's the Iron Hands' 'thing'); they simply regard it as a type of machine that's not naturally particularly great at maintaining sentience and human knowledge (which is holy to the Mechanicus). They're quite happy to be unenhanced if the replacement bionic is inferior for purpose. It's simply the case that human bits tend to be weaker, less precise or simply wear out that they're replaced!

To offend the Mechanicus, you might go for blurts or inloads that suggest that the target has a faulty memory, makes things up, or is otherwise poor at preserving/conveying/storing knowledge. Note that this would probably be equivalent to a vicar calling another 'lazy', or a scholar insulting another's research as suspect: i.e. fairly mild.

I'm sure some members of the Priesthood of Mars (let alone the mass uneducated laity of the Forgeworld's populace) are not above 'classic' denigrations of the individual's worth, or comparing him to something vulgar.

Coming back to language, you hit it on the button with:

There's an out-of-universe note in the back of Rogue Trader to the effect that High Gothic is the common root language to humanity's first diaspora into space in the Dark Age of Technology; and as such it's an amalgam of Pacific Rim languages, English, Spanish and other real world languages. In this way, High Gothic is roughly analogous to the real-world proto-Indoeuropean; a partially reconstructed language based on etymological comparison of hundreds of languages.

In other words, High Gothic is to the average denizen of the Imperium as proto-Indoeuropean is to most members of Warseer a composite language reconstructed from languages being spoken today. I believe the note goes on to say that High Gothic is represented as pseudo-Latin precisely because it evokes the idea of a faded Golden Age to modern Western readers.

Low Gothic is simply a catch-all term for any of the millions of languages, dialects and pidgens spoken on any individual planet.

This gives you some idea of the scale of diversity you're facing when constructing foul language for your own stories you literally have no constraints. As long as you can give it an etymology you find believable, anything goes. :)

I seem to remember, wasnt the RT era language yiu described called "Tech" rather than high gothic? Noted as the old language of technology? With that in mind high gothic could be a different language entirely (whether taken literally or figuratively as a latin analogue)

aa.logan
15-02-2013, 23:29
I understand why people go to the effort of creating new obscenities for use in works of fiction; they certainly add a layer of realism (and perhaps more socially acceptable for a younger audience)- I actually used 'Feth' once or twice out loud after ploughing through one of the Gaunt's omnibuses, BUT it is ultimately redundant- every word of dialogue is ultimately 'translated'. If making up one or two words, why not a whole language? (obviously it isn't done because it would be stupid)

To clumsily paraphrase Pratchett, however rich your world, Grox meat between two slices of bread is still a 'sandwich'

Imperialis_Dominatus
16-02-2013, 00:32
Vandire's oath! has always seemed an evocative expletive phrase to me.

FarseerMatt
16-02-2013, 15:47
Also the Primarchs could be considered swear words eg Horus could be a name for a traitor.

Since Horus has probably mutated into a sort of Satan figure on many Imperial worlds, I can see people using "Horus" the same way we would use "devil" (though likely with more impact than the word has today). For example, one of the characters in Damnatus asks "Where the Horus are we now?"

Kamin 989
16-02-2013, 16:02
In Ciaphas Cain they also say "Horus take the hindmost" so yes, Horus is used as a curse.

HBT
16-02-2013, 17:16
If I remember rightly, Dan Abnett also uses a couple of well known swear words in Ravenor. They're ones that we would recognise and might find offensive, so throwing in the odd current curse word into your stories wouldn't be unrealistic.

Makaber
16-02-2013, 18:25
I belive they swore "Throne on fire" in the last of the Night Lords novels by Aaron Dembski-Bowden.

childsoldier
16-02-2013, 22:46
"Warp consume you" is one I used before, or "Warp take you" or something like that. I'm not such a big fan of inventing words (although I do quite like "feth"). I agree with aa.logan that ultimately we understand a word, like "feth", in relation to an analogous real-world swear word and so I always try to use real-world phrases "translated" into the 40k universe. Vandire's Oath is a nice one! As is the use of Horus as a Satan-figure.

Inquisitor Engel
17-02-2013, 04:08
Anything, literally, ANYTHING they use in 40k is better than the made-up swear they use in the Star Wars expanded universe.... "Stang."

Askil the Undecided
17-02-2013, 10:58
Basically to make up slang curses or nicknames just imagine that in the 38,000 years between now and then that every irritated utterance has occured somewhere and just about any noise you might make when you stub your toe or are simply too angry to make an intelligible word is probably in common usage somewhere.

It really depends how distant from the general "low gothic" norm the locales dialectic idiosyncrasies are. You can find a huge number of examples in pre-watershed Sci-fi tv shows.

Frell, Dren and Yotz are favorites of mine, thanks farscape.

Bitterman
17-02-2013, 12:18
I remember reading "B*lls of the Gods" in Blood Reaver. Also, "Blood of the Father" is a common one. In Lord of the Night they used "warpsh*t" quite a lot, too.

TheDungen
17-02-2013, 18:55
The problem I have with invented ones is that every swear word has a traceable back story - a reason why it has become offensive. Just making up some sci-fi collection of letters to represent a swear word seems out of place. Let's face it, the guys in 40k aren't speaking English, but are probably mostly speaking gothic, high or low, or their own language.

I know that the Imperium is a diverse culture, and as such different words will find words varyingly offensive. I imagine that on worlds ruled over by the mechanicum organic words are likely to be most offensive - refering to adepts as being organic lover would probably be offensive, whereas a shrine world taking the emperor's name in vain would be so offensive as to warrent extreme centure.

Spoken gotic untranslated seems to be latin so why not dig up some latin swear words?


How common knowledge is the names of the fallen primarches? how common is knowing about the heresy even in a diluted form?

Nazrax
17-02-2013, 20:35
I would think that anything having to do with the Emp or Golden throne would be about as "common" as you could get in 40K. It seems that the Emp is the one universal "thing" that all Imperial world hold in common. I would also think that most words or phrases having to do with the warp would also be somewhat common especially amongst those who spend alot of time traveling around the galaxy. The names of any (in)famous heretics, traitors and aliens would also be usable as swear words or curses. So you could make up proper nouns that could be used as foul language and use any short simple fluff as reason for it being so. Referring to people as somehow similiar to an alien race in someway also could work as foul language or curse. On the more advanced and educated worlds the names of the traitor primarchs could also be used as a very very bad curse.

I think as examples I would use:

Warp take you!
Holy Throne!
By the God Emperor!
You smell like an Ork. Or something along those lines
As devious as an Eldar witch!
Emperor's Balls!
Sweet Emperor's Teeth!
You worthless Hrud lover!
Angron's beard!
Draigo's ****!
Mortarion's bleeding heart!

etc. etc. etc...


I think it could be great fun to come up with some interesting and unique curses and foul language in the 40k universe. There are endless possibilities and the more imaginative the better. It will really contribute to the character and flavor of your story if you do add in your own curses and foul language and that is always a good thing imo.

Chem-Dog
18-02-2013, 02:43
I'm dabbling with some fan fiction, and came to a scene where I wanted a character to swear in anger/frustration.

By far the easiest solution would be to simply say that the character is swearing or did swear.


Religious is easy enough. Taking the Emperor's name in vain would be swearing; so 'Throne' and 'Empror's Blood' as exclamations of anger/frustration would be swearing to them.

One idea I quite like is where a majority of a world's vulgar terms within a religious context would stem from ancient pre-Imperium belief systems, invoking ancient spirits, ancestors or deities. Initially these would be used as a show of defiance (although, given the way the Imperium stamps down on things, a sotto voce show of defiance) but as time progresses and the old ways are forgotten, they would remain offensive to some degree.

I don't think the really has a whole "Taking the Lord's name in vain" style stance, on the most basic level it isn't his name but also it is deemed to be a very real ward against evil.


Other than that, I'm not sure what would be socially unacceptable to be/discuss from which swear words could develop. Their big no's seem to be heresy and trechary, but those things have been disapproved of for centuries and I'm not aware of any swear words developing from those topics.

Infidel, although not, strictly speaking a profanity is still often used as an invective. As you say qualifying an insult with faithless, heathen or heretical intensifier (expletive attributive) would be much the same, certainly an insult and, in some circles, quite wounding.


The problem I have with invented ones is that every swear word has a traceable back story - a reason why it has become offensive. Just making up some sci-fi collection of letters to represent a swear word seems out of place.

I agree, though it is fun to try to develop some etymology.



Take two excellent examples from Abnett – 'feth' and +scrapschunt+.

And Ninker, don't forget Ninker.



many taboo words are amongst the oldest words whose etymology we can trace. The reason for this is that because they're only (or at least, traditionally) used in extreme cases, rather than the everyday, they're less subject to linguistic mutation or development.

More than that, I think expletives are often the relics of a previous regime, belief or value system and they become offensive as such.
Take the big bad C-Word as an example, it was common and accepted enough to be used across England, puritanical minds (and their attitudes towards sex in general, let alone prostitution) were responsible for the decline of it's use.
>This is a wikipedia link, it contains multiple uses of the C-word in an article detailing it's use in place names in medieval England. I'm putting up in case anyone is interested in a wee bit of information about what I'm talking about. If you're offended by the word don't click. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grope****_Lane)

I think it's a great example of how changing values can affect how a word is perceived.



Consider also other sci-fi properties – 'drokk', 'smeg', 'frak' – for more examples.

Drokk (and Stomm, for that matter) are specifically stated within the setting that uses them (Judge Dreadd, if you didn't know fact fans) are state sanctioned swear words that don't actually mean anything.




There's an out-of-universe note in the back of Rogue Trader to the effect that High Gothic is the common root language to humanity's first diaspora into space in the Dark Age of Technology; and as such it's an amalgam of Pacific Rim languages, English, Spanish and other real world languages.

So, Esperanto then? :)


Low Gothic is simply a catch-all term for any of the millions of languages, dialects and pidgens spoken on any individual planet.

As I understood it, High Gothic was contextually similar to Latin use in Medieval England (kept for the priesthood and ruling elite) and low gothic was the simple version for common communication between everyone else. Septimus of Aaron Dembski‑Bowden's Night Lords trilogy certainly seemed to think of Low Gothic as a distinct and different thing from his native tongue (i'm sure there are other examples I've seen, but can't remember any right now).


BUT it is ultimately redundant- every word of dialogue is ultimately 'translated'. If making up one or two words, why not a whole language? (obviously it isn't done because it would be stupid)

To clumsily paraphrase Pratchett, however rich your world, Grox meat between two slices of bread is still a 'sandwich'

I get where you're coming from and, to an extent I agree but certain expletives, especially religious ones wouldn't be relevant and the creation of ones that do flesh out the setting with some lowest common denominator that's particular to the setting.



Spoken gotic untranslated seems to be latin so why not dig up some latin swear words?

As most European languages owe a sizable chunk of their language to Latin, it's possible that you'll find some very unsatisfying results.


How common knowledge is the names of the fallen primarches? how common is knowing about the heresy even in a diluted form?

Knowledge of the Loyal Primarchs is very common (Sanguinius is second only to the Emperor in veneration) and there are a few examples I can think of where they are used in oaths (Bones of Russ!).
My favourite is Gregor Eisenhorn (I think) declaring he will descend upon someone like the Wrath of Dorn.
So though not necessarily profane, references to the Primarchs and their defining characteristics (Dorn, post Siege of Terra was incredibly wrathful) would be a way to inject some invective without having to invent actual swear words.
The traitor Primarchs are possibly a different matter, if there is knowledge of their existence it's probably not wise to say them out loud (if for nothing else than each of the survivng Primarchs is essentially a Daemon and uttering the name of a Daemon might just attract it's attention to you) and they would probably qualify as full on offensive words.
I can't remember where, almost certainly Abnett though (possibly in the Ravenor Trilogy Somewhere) there's an installation that bears the name Lupercal, I can't imagine the Imperium's masters allowing that unless it's associations have been lost in the mists of time.
Although "Horus" is a name that's known well enough (and, as he's dead, possibly a lot safer to say out loud than Fulgrim, Angron or Lorgar), it'd be safe to assume it's an impolitic word to use in certain situations. The title of "Warmaster" still holds some stigma.

Another nice touch from Abnett is the fact that Molotch refrains from naming any of the "The Ruinous Powers" whilst in an eatery as to do so would spoil all of the food in the establishment. Speaking the name of any of the big four is literally foul language.

Racism really hasn't come up yet, and 40K is rife with it. Against specific groups within the Imperium (often mandated and endorsed by the authorities), across traditional national lines (I doubt the Hives of Necromunda are anything but rife with slurs against each and every House) or against people from a particular planet and that's all before we get to what people call the Xenos.

There are plenty of good examples in other Sci-fi franchises where racism works well to demonstrate social attitudes (if they aren't out and out analogies of racism).
A nice twist could be to use a Xenos slur for humans as a slang word used by humans to insult other humans. I can't think of a good 40K example at the moment except maybe degrading Gue'la and using that or perhaps mistaking a commonly heard Xenos word as an insult (I kinda like the idea of a bunch of Guardsmen calling each other "for the Greater Good" or "Target Acquired" thinking they were Tau insults).

Grimbad
18-02-2013, 03:19
Vandire's oath! has always seemed an evocative expletive phrase to me.

"Vandire's sins!", isn't it? That's what I have written in my 40krpg notes, but I can't for the life of me remember where I found it.

chromedog
18-02-2013, 04:59
Frell, Dren and Yotz are favorites of mine, thanks farscape.

You would have loved the mat at the entrance to the production studio offices. "Wipe your frelling feet". It got stolen quite a few times.

TheDungen
18-02-2013, 05:44
By far the easiest solution would be to simply say that the character is swearing or did swear.



One idea I quite like is where a majority of a world's vulgar terms within a religious context would stem from ancient pre-Imperium belief systems, invoking ancient spirits, ancestors or deities. Initially these would be used as a show of defiance (although, given the way the Imperium stamps down on things, a sotto voce show of defiance) but as time progresses and the old ways are forgotten, they would remain offensive to some degree.

I don't think the really has a whole "Taking the Lord's name in vain" style stance, on the most basic level it isn't his name but also it is deemed to be a very real ward against evil.



Infidel, although not, strictly speaking a profanity is still often used as an invective. As you say qualifying an insult with faithless, heathen or heretical intensifier (expletive attributive) would be much the same, certainly an insult and, in some circles, quite wounding.



I agree, though it is fun to try to develop some etymology.



And Ninker, don't forget Ninker.




More than that, I think expletives are often the relics of a previous regime, belief or value system and they become offensive as such.
Take the big bad C-Word as an example, it was common and accepted enough to be used across England, puritanical minds (and their attitudes towards sex in general, let alone prostitution) were responsible for the decline of it's use.
>This is a wikipedia link, it contains multiple uses of the C-word in an article detailing it's use in place names in medieval England. I'm putting up in case anyone is interested in a wee bit of information about what I'm talking about. If you're offended by the word don't click. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grope****_Lane)

I think it's a great example of how changing values can affect how a word is perceived.




Drokk (and Stomm, for that matter) are specifically stated within the setting that uses them (Judge Dreadd, if you didn't know fact fans) are state sanctioned swear words that don't actually mean anything.




So, Esperanto then? :)



As I understood it, High Gothic was contextually similar to Latin use in Medieval England (kept for the priesthood and ruling elite) and low gothic was the simple version for common communication between everyone else. Septimus of Aaron Dembski‑Bowden's Night Lords trilogy certainly seemed to think of Low Gothic as a distinct and different thing from his native tongue (i'm sure there are other examples I've seen, but can't remember any right now).



I get where you're coming from and, to an extent I agree but certain expletives, especially religious ones wouldn't be relevant and the creation of ones that do flesh out the setting with some lowest common denominator that's particular to the setting.




As most European languages owe a sizable chunk of their language to Latin, it's possible that you'll find some very unsatisfying results.



Knowledge of the Loyal Primarchs is very common (Sanguinius is second only to the Emperor in veneration) and there are a few examples I can think of where they are used in oaths (Bones of Russ!).
My favourite is Gregor Eisenhorn (I think) declaring he will descend upon someone like the Wrath of Dorn.
So though not necessarily profane, references to the Primarchs and their defining characteristics (Dorn, post Siege of Terra was incredibly wrathful) would be a way to inject some invective without having to invent actual swear words.
The traitor Primarchs are possibly a different matter, if there is knowledge of their existence it's probably not wise to say them out loud (if for nothing else than each of the survivng Primarchs is essentially a Daemon and uttering the name of a Daemon might just attract it's attention to you) and they would probably qualify as full on offensive words.
I can't remember where, almost certainly Abnett though (possibly in the Ravenor Trilogy Somewhere) there's an installation that bears the name Lupercal, I can't imagine the Imperium's masters allowing that unless it's associations have been lost in the mists of time.
Although "Horus" is a name that's known well enough (and, as he's dead, possibly a lot safer to say out loud than Fulgrim, Angron or Lorgar), it'd be safe to assume it's an impolitic word to use in certain situations. The title of "Warmaster" still holds some stigma.

Another nice touch from Abnett is the fact that Molotch refrains from naming any of the "The Ruinous Powers" whilst in an eatery as to do so would spoil all of the food in the establishment. Speaking the name of any of the big four is literally foul language.

Racism really hasn't come up yet, and 40K is rife with it. Against specific groups within the Imperium (often mandated and endorsed by the authorities), across traditional national lines (I doubt the Hives of Necromunda are anything but rife with slurs against each and every House) or against people from a particular planet and that's all before we get to what people call the Xenos.

There are plenty of good examples in other Sci-fi franchises where racism works well to demonstrate social attitudes (if they aren't out and out analogies of racism).
A nice twist could be to use a Xenos slur for humans as a slang word used by humans to insult other humans. I can't think of a good 40K example at the moment except maybe degrading Gue'la and using that or perhaps mistaking a commonly heard Xenos word as an insult (I kinda like the idea of a bunch of Guardsmen calling each other "for the Greater Good" or "Target Acquired" thinking they were Tau insults).

Bout half of them actually, but i get you point. so maybe suitable words in latin rather than actual swear words?

I'd say that naming one of the four is beyond foul language its bordering on heresy. You could see it like saying shai'tan in wheel of time. But aside from the fact that the gods may see you the grey knight or daemonhunters may come calling.

As for Dorn i dont think its that he is wrathful more than he is unerelenting, once you've managed to **** Rogal Dorn is he is going to keep attacking until either he or you is dead.

madprophet
18-02-2013, 18:37
Frak and Feth appeared in various BL novels as substitutes for the "F" word.

Emperor's Bowels, Emperor's Teeth, Holy Throne, etc. as "oaths"

'Nads as a substitute for a vulgar term for male genitals.

Gak as a substitute for a vulgar term for excrement.

Go to the Warp, to the Warp with that, etc. with Warp substituting for hell.

There are probably others that I missed.

de Selby
18-02-2013, 20:54
I quite like 'Horus take the hindmost'. It's alliterative, thematically appropriate and about as close as an Imperial citizen should get to actually naming any of the Lords of Misrule.

Spartacus: Blood and Sand had some memorable classical-pastiche swearing but it's all obscene by modern standards too. I'm going to dig out Canterbury Tales and see if there's anything that can be adapted. Emperor's Bones! Emperor's Teeth! etc. are the obvious.

Sai-Lauren
19-02-2013, 18:06
I agree with aa.logan that ultimately we understand a word, like "feth", in relation to an analogous real-world swear word and so I always try to use real-world phrases "translated" into the 40k universe.
Nope, as Ghostmaker states definitively, Feth is a Tanith woodland spirit, not simply another word for an existing swear word.

madprophet
22-02-2013, 01:53
Nope, as Ghostmaker states definitively, Feth is a Tanith woodland spirit, not simply another word for an existing swear word.

Abnett says a lot of things...

Terms like "fething warp", "feth that!", "tread-fether", "you killed a fething dreadnought" all have nothing to do with wood nymphs.

There is a term "IHTFP" - which most argot dictionaries translate as "I have truly found paradise"... it really means I hate this "fething" place :D

Grimbad
22-02-2013, 17:21
Go to the Warp, to the Warp with that, etc. with Warp substituting for hell.


Colonel Straken's rant also has "seven hells of Chaos" in it.

MajorWesJanson
23-02-2013, 09:35
Anything, literally, ANYTHING they use in 40k is better than the made-up swear they use in the Star Wars expanded universe.... "Stang."

You say that like it is the only one in the SW EU. Plenty of better ones:
Spast
Shavit
Kriff
Sithspit
Di'kut

TheDungen
23-02-2013, 13:43
meh best sci-fi swear words are from firefly. You immideatly know that they are speaking a real language.

Askil the Undecided
25-02-2013, 08:50
Nope, as Ghostmaker states definitively, Feth is a Tanith woodland spirit, not simply another word for an existing swear word.

Of course no woodland spirits have ever been associated with rampant and forceful fertility.

Centaurs, nymphs and satyrs for example have never been known to be horny.

Danny_Boy
28-02-2013, 18:10
my understanding of Gothic is that it's a language we don't understand, but it's translated into the approximate English (or other 21st century language), because otherwise the books would be unreadable. So when they say what we read as the four-letter 'SH' word, it's an approximate translation of the equivalent excremental curse word in Gothic.

Inquisitor Engel
28-02-2013, 18:43
You say that like it is the only one in the SW EU. Plenty of better ones:
Spast
Shavit
Kriff
Sithspit
Di'kut

Yeah, but Stang is the one that stood out to me as a kid and it still stands out to me now. Sithspit I quite like...

Kiro
02-03-2013, 08:52
Pretty sure I've seen 'fugging' used in both pre and post Heresy settings.