Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Profanity in social settings

Profanity in social settings

Daniel Mora

The use of profanity or swearing has been a topic of discussion among scholars, concerning its use in different settings and contexts. This paper will discuss the role of profanity in its use by individuals in different contexts and for different purposes, as well as social attitudes towards the use of profanity and perceptions of those who hear and use it. The use of profanity or swearing by individuals in multiple aspects of their speech and in different settings which are socially deemed as being more appropriate for profanity to be employed in. In touching on the social attitudes and perceptions of profanity, this paper will attempt to juxtapose the attitudes and perceptions of children and profanity. Profanity, or swear words, form part of any individual’s lexicon, regardless of their use of profanity. Children are taught, by institutions ranging from the basic one of family to educational institutions as well as religious, that profane words are basically taboo, and should be treated as such—to be eschewed. Attitudes towards profanity change, however. As adults, the use of profanity is considered harmless and employed regularly for different purposes in social settings. This poses the question which this paper will attempt to address, which is, why does the difference exist in use of profanity? Why don’t people adhere to earlier expectations in regards to profanity? How can there seem to be a contradiction between social expectations on the use of profanity, and why?

April 9, 2014 - Posted by | abstract

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