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August 31, 2010 / Briana Patrick

T.O.W2: Grammar Girl “Swearing”

Recently I listened to a Podcast along with  reading an article titled “Swearing” by Neal Whitman.

Briefly some of the topics the article and podcast went over were as follows:

  • Swearing packs and emotional punch
  • Taboo is the source of swearing power
  • Changing taboos
  • The Victorian era
  • Different cultures, different types of swearing
  • Most powerful current swear words
  • Swearing in your writing

As you can tell a lot was discussed throughout the Podcast. While listening to the podcast I realized the history for “swearing” goes on for centuries. Some of the words we use today may seem like nothing to our generation but to past generations it would’ve been the worst word in the book. For example, Society taboos, these change over time. Meaning as the taboos change, so do the words.

So the question going through my head was: What is vulgar?? The most Powerful swear words today are Prejudice and Discriminatory.

  •  Disability
  •  Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Sexual orientation

This podcast helped me learn a lot about vulgar writing as well. Seeing as this is a “PR Writing” class we do a fair amount of writing. This podcast gave me some helpful tips on how to write and determine the vulgarity level and how to steer away from vulgar writing.

  • Is it audience appreciative?
  • Is this “your voice”?
  • Is this Fiction or Non-Fiction writing?

It surprised me that The Victorian Era brought about sex and bodily function taboos and has been increasing ever since the 1940’s. Also did you know that French and Spanish-speaking countries with religious-based swearing are more intense than the english. For example the ” C-word” for us in america is mild to them in spain and france.

After listening to the podcast and reading the article  I want to know more about where these “vulgar” comments come from. I want to know more about the Limbic system in our brain, which is the area responsible for emotions.

For more podcasts, sources and articles about grammar visit Grammar Girl.

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