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What are the halachos of saying nivel peh in a language which one does not speak/understand? (Or which one speaks/understands to various degrees?)

Might this depend at all on the language (Jewish languages, loshon kodesh)?

I posit that the nivel peh be deliberate, assuming no responsibility on the part of one who accidentally says nivel peh in a foreign tongue.

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As for different languages: The גמרא סוטה דף לא states what דינים are only in לשון הקודש and that everything else is in all languages. The chafetz chaim in ביאור הלכה ס' סב states that a all languages are only considered a language for those who understand them. Rabbi moshe fienstien in igros או'ח ח''א ס' לב also paskans like the chafetz chaim and elaborates that words spoken in a language you don't understand are not even words. In regard to what is nivul peh the גמרא שבת לג א seems to imply that only discussing things which can lead to transgression is nivul peh (the example the gmara brings is elaborating in why a women gets married...) also see ויקרא רבה פרשת קדושים that nivul peh is only something that has to do with ערוה and the source for the prohibition is from the pasuk in devarim "ולא יראה בך ערות דבר" . also see מסילת ישרים פרק יא that nivul peh is only in regard to ערוה.

  • Thanks for this nice answer. I am accepting it, but would very much appreciate if you could provide at least basic translations for some of the Hebrew that you've used. I am trying to get my Jewish education here :) – SAH Apr 22 '16 at 2:27
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This would seem to depend on if the issur of nivul peh relates to the articulation of the erotic or if it relates to the accentuation of the erotic.

If the issur is articulation, then if you did not articulate it because you don't know the language there is no issur.

However if the issur is the accentuation then as long as you feel you are saying a 'dirty word' you have transgressed the issur.

  • Thanks for this. Do you have any sources supporting your point? Or is it your personal opinion? – mbloch Apr 8 '16 at 3:31

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