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whisperedgalaxies asked: Re: Swearing in America We don't have the most variation in our swearing, whereas a lot of other languages have swears that capture more levels of intensity that just doesn't translate. The interesting thing about "fuck" though is it is just so flexible (in american dialects). You can use it as nearly every part of speech. As a result, however, we don't use much else. As a reader from America, the use of swears in American Gods sounded very natural to me. -A linguistics major

kaerya:

neil-gaiman:

I agree. The glory of fuck is all the things you can do with it and all the things it can do. It’s an unbefuckinglievably useful swear word (used just there as an expletive infixation). 

Except that “unbefuckinglievably” is actually is actually a really unusual form of that particular infix—to such an extent, that most English speakers would think it was wrong if they heard it said out loud.  The version usually heard is “unfuckingbelievably.”  There are a bunch of theories why this is (morpheme boundaries, prosody, stress patterns), but whatever rule it follows does seem to actually be pretty strict.

Seriously.  Say the first out loud.  It just doesn’t work.

Well, lots of people use it. Here are the Wiktionary citations for Unbefuckinglievable and its variants. 

Fuck, I love the internet sometimes. Goodnight.

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whisperedgalaxies asked: Re: Swearing in America We don't have the most variation in our swearing, whereas a lot of other languages have swears that capture more levels of intensity that just doesn't translate. The interesting thing about "fuck" though is it is just so flexible (in american dialects). You can use it as nearly every part of speech. As a result, however, we don't use much else. As a reader from America, the use of swears in American Gods sounded very natural to me. -A linguistics major

readyforspooky:

neil-gaiman:

I agree. The glory of fuck is all the things you can do with it and all the things it can do. It’s an unbefuckinglievably useful swear word (used just there as an expletive infixation). 

far be it for me to tell Neil Gaiman how to use words, but my understanding of infixation of “fucking” is that it immediately precedes the syllable with primary stress, so it would typically be “unfuckingbelievably” rather than “unbefuckinglievably” (unless you happen to pronounce the word “unbeLIEVable”)

sorry i’m a linguistics major and cursing is one of my interests, and i’ve never actually seen it pronounced or written that way before. i’m curious, is all.

Works for me…

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sonnet-of-joy asked: Is there a particular reason you read your own audio books? Please don't take this the wrong way, I love it! I'm just wondering why you do it as opposed to having an actor do it.

But I do have actors do it: Lenny Henry did ANANSI BOYS better than I ever could have done it. The Readers of AMERICAN GODS (George Guidall, and the Full Cast Audio) and the Full Cast Audio of The Graveyard Book are brilliant.

But I do it when I can because I enjoy reading my own work aloud, because I hope that having the author read his/her own text can clarify things for a listener, and because every now and again I win awards for it, enough that I don’t feel like an amateur anyway.

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midnightmoon94 asked: Do you sometimes write stories that began as an idea that someone else gave you? Also, what are your thoughts about being given an idea to develop?

I’m afraid not.

My thoughts are that I would suggest that people write their own ideas.

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whisperedgalaxies asked: Re: Swearing in America We don't have the most variation in our swearing, whereas a lot of other languages have swears that capture more levels of intensity that just doesn't translate. The interesting thing about "fuck" though is it is just so flexible (in american dialects). You can use it as nearly every part of speech. As a result, however, we don't use much else. As a reader from America, the use of swears in American Gods sounded very natural to me. -A linguistics major

I agree. The glory of fuck is all the things you can do with it and all the things it can do. It’s an unbefuckinglievably useful swear word (used just there as an expletive infixation). 

toon-books:

Love this snapshot of Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, and Art Spiegelman when Neil saw the first finished copies of Hansel & Gretel.
When you get YOUR copy, send us your book+selfie (shelfie?) too. You can message on FB, tweet it @toonbooks, or submit on tumblr!

toon-books:

Love this snapshot of Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, and Art Spiegelman when Neil saw the first finished copies of Hansel & Gretel.

When you get YOUR copy, send us your book+selfie (shelfie?) too. You can message on FB, tweet it @toonbooks, or submit on tumblr!

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tokarev73 asked: Many thanks for your reply. The idea of my message was that using "fuck" as a base for all the swearing is boring. In Russia we leave such swearing for unintelligent classes. Educated people enrich their vocabulary with more interesting swearing.

Yes. They don’t really do that so much in blue collar America, or not in the parts of blue collar America I’ve been in anyway. 

The American Gods short story I’m currently working on is set in the UK, where the swearing is slightly different, so you get sentences like

 “Such bullshit,” said a woman’s voice. “But you always were a bullshitter, Ollie, you pusillanimous little cock-stain.”

But then, that’s a different world again.

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nagler asked: Dear Neil - I'm fortunate enough to have a ticket for your deservedly sold out event at the New York Public Library on Halloween this year. Are you going to be doing a signing afterwards? And if yes, will it only be for things purchased at the event, or are well worn copies of older books open to being signed too? Thanks and see you on Halloween, Alex.

Doing a signing afterwards, yes. Probably, for reasons of time, it’ll be one thing from home, and as many copies of new things (particularly Hansel and Gretel) as you get there.

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tokarev73 asked: Dear Neil, Why the swearing vocabulary of your heroes in "American Gods" is so poor? It was the only thing, that disappointed me in that book.

I thought the swearing vocabulary of American Gods was fairly rich, while I was writing it.  I remember how much fun it was to write something like

“Fuck you,” said Czernobog. “Fuck you and fuck your mother and fuck the fucking horse you fucking rode in on. You will not even die in battle. No warrior will taste your blood. No one alive will take your life. You will die a soft, poor death. You will die with a kiss on your lips and a lie in your heart.”

…although it’s probably a bit heavy on the fucks for real richness in swearing. 

I’ll try and swear more richly in the next American Gods novel.