On 16 Apr 2009, at 09:14, Robert Dober wrote:
> Q U E S T I O N:
> When we program in Ruby and write
>  File.open( "xxx" ) do | f | f.readlines end
> do we not feel stupid? Do we not have any pride to replace this with
>  File.readlines("xxx")
> ?
> Is the usage of four letter words or "bastard" to be interpreted like
> a counter point, does it have elegance or does it express emotional
> attachment.

'Lazy bastard' is an established self-deprecating term (along with  
'lazy bitch', 'lazy cow', 'lazy sod', etc.) used to suggest that  
someone only works hard at the things which need to be done and not at  he things which don't. It can of course also be derogatory :)

More generally there's an established practice of saying more-or-less  he opposite of what you mean and then letting the context and/or  
verbal tone indicate that that's what you've done.

> Or do I have to acknowledge that I am old (OMG, I might even die,  
> eventually)
> Please enlighten me.
> What about English Best Practices ( for Foreigners )?

I can't speak for American English which has its own laws on  
vulgarity, but here in the UK you'll often find this kind of language  sed in the written form to indicate an air of informality as well as  n the spoken form between friends or work colleagues. There is a  
class divide in that traditionally the upper and working classes adopt  his trait whilst the middle classes like to feign offence at it (I  
blame those damn Puritans for that), but in recent decades a kind of  
inverted snobbery has also given it currency amongst young  
professionals - although not in a strictly formal business context or  uspect in the privacy of their own homes ;)

The rules on when exactly to use these forms tend to be very vague and  nstinctual so the best advice for non-native speakers is to steer  
clear of vulgarities altogether (except for the occasional "bloody  
hell" or "well I'll be buggered" as exclamations of surprise when the  everity of a situation requires it) and instead concentrate on  
adoption of other English forms which suggest informality: the use of  ontraction being the easiest to adopt (i.e. "he's" instead of "he  
is") along with lazy vowel sounds and dropped "H"s.

Oh, and ignore absolutely everything written by the Grammar Police  
(like "Eats, shoots and leaves") as they'll make your English read  
like something from a 1940's PathNews broadcast!


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason