Every culture has a vernacular accepted by that society, however in moments of anger, disappointment, or passion individual speech may venture beyond the respectable boundaries. J.S. Tassie states, “The individual is normally constrained to remain within these limits of propriety set as the safeguards of society.” The Sacres do not fall within these limits. These words are the most offensive words in Quebec culture. The rest of Canada might find these terms difficult to comprehend; they are not a reflection of profanity in other provinces. It is difficult to find information about these words because the majority of the academic research into these terms is in French. The Sacres are determined to be one of the defining features of the French language in Quebec. Taras Grescoe indicates if French tourists were to visit Quebec, the Sacres would be easy to translate but meaningless in traditional French.
In order to understand what the Sacres are and why they are profane, it is required to know their English equivalent. Some of these words are tabernac (tabernacle), baptême (baptism), Corps de Dieu (Body of God), Vierge (Virgin) , hostie (communion wafer), ciboire (the con...
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“As a Fine Art.” The Washington Post. July 10, 1892.
Blanc, Michel. “French in Canada.” In French Today: Language in Its Social Context, edited by Carol Sanders. Cambridge: University Press, 1993.
Grescoe, Taras. Sacre Blues. Toronto: Macfarlane Walter & Ross, 2000.
Hayne, David M. “French-Canadian Novelists on the Defensive.” University of Ottawa, 1944.
Houston, Susan E. “Victorian Origins of Juvenile Delinquency: A Canadian Experience.” History of Education Quarterly 12, no. 3 (1972): 254–280.
J.S Tassie. “The Use of Sacrilege in the Speech of French Canada.” American Speech 36, no. 1 (February 1961): 34–40.
Masion Saint-Gabriel Museum. “Museum – Chronicles from Yesterday to Today - Quebec Swear Words over the Years.” Maison Saint-Gabriel Museum and Historic Site, February. http://www.maisonsaint-gabriel.qc.ca/en/musee/chr-20.php.
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