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Who swears? – A corpus-based sociolinguistic study: Investigating the usage and function of swearing in British English
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 study examines five swear words (fuck, bitch, bugger, bastard and bitch) in terms of how they are used and who use them with regards to gender and social class. In the past, researchers have suggested that males swear more than females. However, in more recent studies, this view has changed. The present study applies corpus linguistics as the methodology, using the British National Corpus to compare the use of swear words in terms of gender and social class. In addition, the five swear words usage is categorised in terms of emphasis, insult or other. The data show somewhat of a difference in use between males and females with males using swearing more frequently than females. The genders also have a higher frequency of swear words use when speaking to the same-sexed gender than when speaking in mixed-sexed conversations. The difference in use is also evident between the two groups of social class. The difference between the social variables lies in different aspects, such as, same-sexed conversations and degree of taboo for a swear word. 


Swearing, language, gender, social class, corpus linguistics. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 28 p.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131224OAI: diva2:936649
Available from: 2016-06-20 Created: 2016-06-14 Last updated: 2016-06-20Bibliographically approved

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