I remember one episode when a caller asked about the origin of ‘Land o’ Goshen’, something her mother would use. And then Martha and Grant went on saying that ‘my Gosh’, as a euphemism for ‘my God’, also comes from that (to my recollection). At the time, I couldn’t figure out how exactly it was a EUPHEMISM for ‘my God’, I didn’t assume ‘my God’ as derogatory, not until recently that I happened to check it in my dictionary, and it said that some religious people considered it to be offensive, and in two separate drama scripts I noticed that when children used them, they would be rebuked for it. But still, I can’t understand how and why ‘my God’, ‘in Jesus Christ name’ , and the like can be offensive, especially that we, Iranians, use the exact equivalent of ‘my God’ in our speech.
With extreme emotions, eg. great happiness, great fear, it’s not offending. But when exclaiming over trivial matters, eg. unpleasantness due to the weather, it’s called ‘take His name in vain.’
No, we don’t have this one really. We have another expression for everything good, but is not derogatory at all. We pronounce it as ‘maashallaa’ which is an Arabic sentence meaning, what Allah (God) wanted”. It means that God wanted it to be so. Although it can literally be used for bad things as well, it’s always used for pleasant things. And there is an idea behind it: I don’t know (and hadn’t thought of it till now) what you call these people that have a grotesque quality: whenever they praise something, something bad happens to it, like it gets destroyed, stolen, etc. (You may not believe me, but we know persons known to have this quality and even themselves accept that!). Now this might sometimes happen for ‘ordinary’ people’. So, after we praise something, we use ‘maashalla’ to avert that.
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