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Swear Words in English in Australia: Attitudes andUsage
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, English.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Swearing is used to emphasise and express emotion through offensive language, traditionally withwords related to taboos. This study investigated attitudes towards swearing among different agegroups in Australia (18–39; 40–59; 60–85 year-olds). A survey was designed to answer to whatextent the following words are considered swear words in English in Australia: bitch, get stuffed,bloody, bugger, fuck, shit, cunt, bastard, damn, and Christ. The offensiveness of the words wereinvestigated, as were the context in which people swear. The influence of age on swear word useand attitude was determined. The survey was distributed through social media to respondents acrossAustralia. There were some differences between different age groups. For example, a majority of18–39 year-old respondents considered shit a swear word, while only one-eighth of respondentsfrom the 60–85 year-old group considered shit a swear word. A majority of respondents from allage groups considered the 'b words' bloody and bugger to not be swear words. However, more thanhalf of respondents from the 40–59 year-old group considered bastard a swear word, while themajority of the 18–39 and the 60–85 year-old groups did not. There were surprisingly smalldifferences in offensiveness rating for the ten commonly used, pre-defined swear words andbetween offensiveness rating by the different age groups. It seems from the results that youngergenerations use swear words more frequently than older generations, that there are some differencesin the view on what words are swear words and the offensiveness of different swear words betweengenerations, and that the purpose and situations that people use swear words in are similar for theinvestigated age groups.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
Swearing, profanity, offensiveness, English in Australia, different age groups
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URN: urn:nbn:se:du-28055OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-28055DiVA, id: diva2:1229319
Available from: 2018-06-29 Created: 2018-06-29

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • chicago-author-date
  • chicago-note-bibliography
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf