Here in Israel, most people don't realize that what they are saying is offensive to English speakers. People will regularly drop F-bombs and other such words. It's in music played publicly. (The twelve-year-old girls were dancing to music with a lot of foul language for a while.)

I'm a native English speaker. (Brits may disagree with that though :D) I've tried to get the point across to some people - I've said that word is about the worst word you can say in English. Please don't use it. but it doesn't seem to have gotten the point across because they're still using them around me. This is not specific to my age group - I know that teenagers will swear - but even some adults. They don't seem to understand.

How can I get the point across and ask them to not be so foul mouthed?

  • Are they using the words in English sentences, or have they incorporated the word into their own language?
    – Erik
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 10:02
  • It's been essentially incorporated into Hebrew. But it's still offensive to me personally.
    – Mithical
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 10:07
  • 1
    That makes it quite a bit harder, because it's basically a Hebrew word now, and it probably means something different. Have you asked them what the word means in Hebrew?
    – Erik
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 10:11
  • It's used as an expletive. "Oof, I let the ball through! F***!"
    – Mithical
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 10:12
  • 4
    Possible duplicate of Ways to deal with someone who uses expletives?
    – Vylix
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 10:17

2 Answers 2


There are two kinds of swearing:

  1. Swearing used as part of directed abuse towards someone (i.e. someone swearing at you)
  2. Swear-words used in every-day language and not directed at anyone in particular as a form of abuse

This context appears to be the second. I'm not sure you can do much about it because this language is already part of these kids culture and environment. While you could privately tell some of the kids what the meaning behind the words are, it's unlikely that this will change their behaviour around you. Of course, whether they take notice really depends on the strength of their bond with each other and with you (who do they respect and follow the most).

If you try too hard to break them out of the swearing habit, you may end up alienating them.

Personally, I'd try introducing them to different songs, or try to lead the conversation down other routes that don't invite swear-words as part of the vocabulary.

It's a difficult one as young people do try to act like adults, so go through a phase of swearing like dockyard workers for a while.

The good thing is that they're not swearing at you.

  • 1
    My experience of Israelis tells me that they are more direct then native english-speakers, as are Germans. Germans also use Fck and shit excessively, not knowing about the pain it causes to those sensitive, native-speaking ears. I'm sure you'll find that even Hebrew swearwords are used more freely in Israel than their corresponding equivalent in the US (et al.). It is claimed this is connected to mandatory military service :)
    – Cliff
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 12:54

You really can't change an entire community that simply is not possible. Especially if swearing is acceptable to some degree in the community then you are really out of luck.

If your problem is getting people you interact with to understand, then I might have a solution.

The problem is that you are telling them it is the worse swear word in English but they can't really connect how bad and that might actually be the problem. I usually learn a local swear word(absolute worse) and tell them it is similar to that word. So when they can actually relate how bad it is.

This is not a fool proof solution but it will at least realize how you feel when hearing the word.

P.S I apologize if my grammar and spelling are bad. I am not a native speaker.

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