Sh*t Happens: Swearing
You've likely heard about the controversy going on now with President Donald Trump and his colourful choice of language (and possibly racist immigration policy). Personally, I don't see a lot of difference between shithole or shithouse, and they both seem a bit potty mouth to me. But there are a wide variety of views on his language and policy, including those who support President Trump, as seen by these links to Fox News and Breitbart.
Having once written about poop, I thought, "Cheese and crackers! Swearing ... what's up with that?"
According to Dr. Emma Byrne, "bad language might actually be good for us. Swearing, it turns out, is socially and emotionally essential."
According to linguist and cognitive scientist Benjamin K. Bergen, "not only is swearing colorful, fun, and often powerfully apt, Bergen shows us, the study of it can provide a new window onto how our brains process language."
Melissa Mohr has taken a more historical approach to swearing, as "she explores obscenities in ancient Rome – which were remarkably similar to our own – and unearths the history of religious oaths in the Middle Ages."
Tom Howell also takes a more historical approach to swearing, as he "looks at English through its most uncomfortable, colourful, and off-putting parts."
Pete Silverton "takes a clear, comprehensive and witty look at swearing and the impact of its new acceptability on our language, our manners and our society."
Michael Adams "offers a provocative, unapologetic defense of profanity, arguing that we've oversimplified profanity by labeling it as taboo. Profanity is valuable, even essential, both as a vehicle of communication and an element of style."
So, not wanting to leave you with a dirty taste in your mouth, I thought I would just finish with Jacob Grant's charming children's book Little Bird's Bad Word.
If you're intrigued by swearing, then I highly recommend my colleague Wendy's blogs: