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The use of profanity in spoken language: A study on swearing habits amongst men and women
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates five profane words (damn, shit, fuck, bitch, and crap) concerning their function and who uses them the most. Two social factors are taken into consideration, age and gender. Prior research shows inconclusiveness regarding which gender uses profanity the most. However, studies show that both genders tend to use more foul language in single-sex conversations. The methodology selected for this paper is corpus linguistics, using the British National Corpus as the primary source to obtain data. With restrictions on both gender and age, a pattern emerged regarding the profane use. Further, all occurrences are categorized as either an auxiliary, abusive, expletive, or other. The results show that in four of the words, males out-swear females. In one word the use is rather similar with a marginal difference for the male group. Regarding the interlocutor’s gender, both males and females tend to swear more in single-sex conversations. Further, the results show that younger people tend to use foul language far more than old people. Finally, the functions of the words vary in the results; however, according to the findings, young speakers tend to use more abusive expressions than older ones do. The rest of the functions are rather similarly used.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , p. 25
Keywords [en]
Profanity, function, gender, age, corpus linguistics
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-138358OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-138358DiVA, id: diva2:1066949
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Available from: 2017-12-19 Created: 2017-01-19 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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