Women swearing: A study of selected swearwords in the British National Corpus (BNC)
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
A number of writers have argued that swearing is typical of ‘male language’. However, recent studies (Hughes 1992, Stapleton 2003, McEnery 2006) show that women also swear, although with rather different patterns than men. Hughes (1992) studied swearwords among lower working-class women and Stapleton (2003) studied swearwords among both men and women from a middle-class background. This essay aims to continue these studies by selecting swearwords from the two articles and investigating these in the spoken texts in the British National Corpus (BNC). The research issues for this project are: (i) to investigate the use of selected swearwords by women compared to men in spoken language in the BNC; and (ii) to investigate whether the choice of swearwords is influenced by the social class of the women speakers in the BNC.
The first part of the essay reviews the relevant literature on the topic, before proceeding to present the results of the investigation into BNC data. The data for this study was collected in the spoken texts in the BNC where fourteen swearwords are analysed with reference to the gender of the speakers and social class of the female speakers. The results show that men swear clearly more than women in the spoken texts in the BNC. However, when it comes to investigating the social class of the female speakers, only tentative inferences can be made because of the large number of missing values for ‘social class’ in the BNC corpus.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. , 25 p.
Keywords: Swearing, swearwords, expletives, gender, social class, the BNC.
General Language Studies and Linguistics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7362OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-7362DiVA: diva2:198123
Bolton, Kingsley, Professor
Alm-Arvius, Christina, Associate Professor (Docent)