Article 6— Watch your ****ing mouth

Title: Sunday explainer: WTF is up with all the swearing?
Author: John Elder
Date of publication: January 10, 2016
Place of publication: The Age
Web address:

Elder chooses to begin the article by discussing the recent outbreak in profanity, in the political domain. This is done by listing various times, those who are in the political limelight, choose to use profane language, both behind closed doors, and then in situations for the entire world to see. Afterwhich, the article takes a look at the history of swearing, with words such as “gadzooks”, to finally discussing the science behind swearing, which from a neuroscience perspective, classifies swearing of an emotional situation, over a though process. There are also various theories based on the evolution of swearing, which potentially may have been derived from grunting, used as a survival method to ward off wild beats and rivals.

Expletive Language: This article chooses to explicitly focus on expletive language, and the role it can play in the English language. A key concept that is embedded through the examples listed, mainly politicians and their explicit outburst, is power. Power is a key thing that is communicated by the use of explicit language, due to it’s deep physiological links. Power is seemingly derived in different ways, depending on the lexical and situational context of the explicit language. Explicit language can be used to motivate, but also to put some down.

It is clear that explicit language has a variety of uses, and as such each use has it’s own unique effect on the interlocutors in the discourse. On a personal note, that over my time as a teenager, I have had various exposure to the use of explicit language. Through this time I have seen how the right set of words can be used to rile up a group of rowdy teenagers, before a night out. I have seen how the sheer use of expletive language in a classroom can be used to command a group of, and finally it is also clear how expletive can be used to upset someone. In some situations, but not all, an insult simply carries no weight without the use of the expletive language. As the article points out, expletive language is derived from the most primitive areas of our brain, and is compared more so to emotion than language choice, and as such, it is hard for us to expect that those in political power, do not use such language. However, due to the emotional weight that many of these words carry, it can be expected that these people who represent national interest, should attempt to avoid such lanaguge in the public light.

“time children are of school age, they have “a fairly elaborate (42 word) taboo vocabulary.””

“it (swearing) can have a positive cathartic role to play in our emotional lives.“

“Swearing is said to originate in oaths to God that, when made in anger — or as a joke, in contempt or in bad taste”

“Today, in some parts of the world, blasphemy remains a capital crime.”

“Neuroscience shows that the use of swear words is more a feeling thing than a thinking thing.”

“found that people who swear are able to hold their hands in icewater for twice as long as those who don’t.”

“swearing can serve as a form of pain relief and as a motivator to endure discomfort”

“Some psychologists argue that swearing is a survival strategy that has evolved in the pace of loud grunts ”