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Use of Swear Words Declines by More Than a Quarter within the UK: Study

As a part of the examine, which is revealed in Text & Talk: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies, Dr Love used two giant our bodies of transcriptions to investigate the usage of language, together with: The Spoken British National Corpus gathered in 1994 and the identical corpus from 2014. Both texts embody over 15 million phrases, though it was discovered that swear phrases accounted for lower than 1 p.c.

‘Swearing performs many social functions including conveying abuse and humor, expressing emotion, creating social bonds, and constructing identity.’

In total, the quantity of swearing was discovered to have fallen by 27.6 per cent, from 1,822 phrases per million in 1994 to 1,320 phrases per million in 2014. The analysis findings additionally counsel that the phrase ‘f***’ has been overtaken ‘b***dy’ as the most well-liked curse phrase within the UK.

In the examine, Dr Love in contrast the usage of 16 of the nation’s most typical swear phrases, together with p***, c*** and s**g, from the Nineties to the 2010s.

He additionally discovered that tendencies in the kind of swear phrases used have modified over the previous few many years , with ‘b****y’ being the most typical curse phrase within the Nineties and ‘f***’ taking precedent within the 2010s.

The evaluation means that that is largely right down to a giant decline in the usage of ‘b****y’, whereas ‘f***’ has remained comparatively regular over time. It was additionally discovered to be the second mostly used swear phrase in 1994, adopted by s**t, p***, b****r and c**p.

Other key findings of the examine included:

  • Over a twenty 12 months interval b****r had fallen from the fifth most typical curse to the ninth, whereas b*****d dropped from seventh to tenth.
  • The huge climbers embody s**t, from third to second, a**e, from eighth to sixth and d***, from tenth to seventh.
  • T**t additionally rose from the sixteenth most typical swear phrase within the Nineties to thirteenth by the 2010s.

Dr Love then analyzed demographics and found that, though swearing is extra frequent in males than ladies, the distinction between the genders has decreased notably from 2.33 occasions extra frequent in males in 1994 to 1.68 occasions in 2014.

Another change involved how a lot folks swear as they age. In each knowledge units, swearing is most typical amongst folks of their 20s, after which declines with age. However, the decline was much less steep within the 2010s, suggesting that individuals proceed swearing later in life greater than they did within the Nineties.

Dr Robbie Love, lecturer in English at Aston University, stated: “This research reinforces the view that swearing plays a part in our conversational repertoire, performs useful functions in everyday life and is an everyday part of conversation for many people.

Despite this, it is relatively under-researched precisely because it is considered to be taboo.

Swearing performs many social functions including conveying abuse and humor, expressing emotion, creating social bonds, and constructing identity.

The strong social conditioning around swear words makes them more psychologically arousing and more memorable than other words, and something different happens in the brain when saying them compared to euphemistic equivalents, such as saying “f***” compared to the f-word”.

Source: Eurekalert

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