du.sePublications
Change search
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
Swearing and the discursive construction of identity among young adults
Dalarna University, School of Languages and Media Studies, English.
2005 (English)In: 9th International Pragmatics Conference, Riva del Garda, Italy, 2005Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research on swearing has traditionally focussed on swear words as single units, for example, in terms of definition, offensiveness, syntactic roles, or semantic categories. In the present study, spontaneous swearing utterances were recorded in naturally occurring social settings, in an attempt to observe the social conditions conducive to swear word usage. Data collected from a university speech community suggest an important role of swearing in the identity construction of young adults. It is hypothesized that their use of swear words functions as an element of the discursive construction of identity of self, while the non-use of swear words can be understood as a construction of the identity of other. The data of over 500 swearing utterances, 60 questionnaires and 11 interviews were collected within a university speech community. The spontaneous swearing utterances reveal clear tendencies among the subjects to use swear words with interlocutors who are most like themselves in terms of age, race and gender. Among the student (young adult) sample population, the use of swear words functions to identify the speaker (self) as similar to the hearer, thus establishing or confirming group solidarity. As interlocutor similarities decrease, however, so do the swearing utterances. For example, the data showed a decrease in swear word usage when interlocutors were of different gender and a further decrease among interlocutors of different race. The fewest occurrences of swearing, however, were among interlocutors of different age. In fact, the questionnaire and interview data revealed age of the hearer to be the most influential variable in determining the speaker’s likelihood to swear. The data indicate that, for young adults, to refrain from swearing is a way of actively constructing (or imposing) the identity of other, thus establishing or confirming social distance. Swearing is regarded as a proprietary linguistic marker of identity, which itself is bound to generation. Within this student/young adult speech community, the use of swear words both with and by younger or older interlocutors is decried as inappropriate. Generation is therefore an important variable in identity construction, as it can award or restrict linguistic freedom.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Riva del Garda, Italy, 2005.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-3324OAI: oai:dalea.du.se:3324DiVA, id: diva2:521833
Conference
9th International Pragmatics Conference , Riva del Garda, Italy, 10-15 July, 2005
Available from: 2008-06-25 Created: 2008-06-25 Last updated: 2012-04-24Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text in DiVA

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Beers Fägersten, Kristy
By organisation
English

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

urn-nbn

Altmetric score

urn-nbn
Total: 664 hits
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