Friday, March 24, 2006

How Swearing Works

I registered to this RSS service of Howstuffworks, it's fun! well..maybe only for me as I'm just too curious...hehehe

But I want you to try this one! It's good to know 'How swearing works'

We all know what "bad words" are. Unlike most other language rules, we learn about swearwords and how to use them without any real study or classroom instruction. Even very young children know which words are naughty, although they don't always know exactly what those words mean.

But swearwords aren't quite as simple as they seem. They're paradoxical -- saying them is taboo in nearly every culture, but instead of avoiding them as with other taboos, people use them. Most associate swearing with being angry or frustrated, but people swear for a number of reasons and in a variety of situations. Swearing also serves multiple purposes in social interactions. Not only that, your brain treats swear words differently than it treats other words.

In this article, we'll explore what makes words into swearwords, why most Americans use them and how society responds to swearing. We'll also look at one of its most fascinating aspects -- the way it affects your brain.

***A Note on Geography
Most research on swearing printed in English discusses swearing in English. Although every culture has its own swearwords, the statistics in this article primarily come from research involving English-speaking people in the United States and Great Britain. Research related to swearing and the brain, however, should apply to speakers of any language***

The Basics of Swearing
Virtually every language in every culture in the world has its own unique swearwords. Even different dialects of the same language can have different expletives. The very first languages probably included swearwords, but since writing evolved after speaking did, there's no record of who said the first swearword or what that word was. Because of the taboos surrounding it, written language histories also include few records of the origins of swearing. Even today, many dictionaries don't include profanity, and comparatively few studies have examined swearing.

***According to the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," the most offensive word in the universe is "Belgium." The "Firefly" universe, on the other hand, uses invented swears and Chinese curses.***

Most researchers agree that swearing came from early forms of word magic. Studies of modern, non-literate cultures suggest that swearwords came from the belief that spoken words have power. Some cultures, especially ones that have not developed a written language, believe that spoken words can curse or bless people or can otherwise affect the world. This leads to the idea that some words are either very good or very bad. read more>>

Now you all know what I really do at work....hehehe....


simple american said...

What do you want to know about *#@*ing swearing. I am a @*#%&#* expert.

Jane said...


neko said...

what's your fave curse-word?

Jane said...

mmm.... I don't really swear!!! hahaha....