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    • “If you’re an English speaker, you can’t hear [words such as the F-Word] without calling to mind what they mean to an implicit community of speakers, including the emotions that cling to them.”
    • On the contrary, I noted that over time, taboo words relinquish their literal meanings and retain only a coloring of emotion, and then just an ability to arouse attention.
    • Some employers defend the use of profanity, claiming that it promotes bonding and rapport among workers. Profanity may help to relax listeners, drive a point home, and help women to "fit in" (Is it OK to say @%*$#! in the Workplace?, 2000). Other employers, however, frown upon the growing habit and have made its usage grounds for termination (Strugatch, 1999). While the latitude of acceptable language varies across companies, employees should be aware that the language they use on the job can have serious consequences.
    • Follow up on references listed for more potential sources. - Jeremy Buege on 2009-02-27
    • O'Connor points out that there are more than 900,000 words in the English language, and less than 30 of them are swear words.
    • O'Connor acknowledges that our language, like our culture, has become more informal, and most people either accept or tolerate profanity more than they used to. However, he feels the versatile but overused F-word is an example of our lazy language.
  • Mar 01, 09

    Abstract only. Need to find full text.

    •  He estimates that the average adolescent uses roughly 80 to 90 swear words a day.
    • It has moved from being highly taboo fifty years ago to being a common occurrence, with Australian judges ruling variously that the phrase "Fuck off!" is not really offensive and nor was it was contempt of court for a defendant to call a judge a "wanker" [2] (Ludowyk 2001).
    • Edmund Leach argues that swearing relates to the "taboo,"

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    • The other thing I would say is they didn't come to fisticuffs. That's the evolutionary advantage: It allows you to express yourself aggressively without doing it physically. And it's also kind of freeing because if the vice president can say it, all of us can say it.
    • Other investigators have examined the physiology of cursing, how our senses and reflexes react to the sound or sight of an obscene word. They have determined that hearing a curse elicits a literal rise out of people. When electrodermal wires are placed on people's arms and fingertips to study their skin conductance patterns and the subjects then hear a few obscenities spoken clearly and firmly, participants show signs of instant arousal. 


       Their skin conductance patterns spike, the hairs on their arms rise, their pulse quickens, and their breathing becomes shallow. 


       Interestingly, said Kate Burridge, a professor of linguistics at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, a similar reaction occurs among university students and others who pride themselves on being educated when they listen to bad grammar or slang expressions that they regard as irritating, illiterate or declasse. 

    • Researchers have also found that obscenities can get under one's goosebumped skin and then refuse to budge. In one study, scientists started with the familiar Stroop test, in which subjects are flashed a series of words written in different colors and are asked to react by calling out the colors of the words rather than the words themselves. 


       If the subjects see the word ''chair'' written in yellow letters, they are supposed to say ''yellow.'' 


       The researchers then inserted a number of obscenities and vulgarities in the standard lineup. Charting participants' immediate and delayed responses, the researchers found that, first of all, people needed significantly more time to trill out the colors of the curse words than they did for neutral terms like chair. 


       The experience of seeing titillating text obviously distracted the participants from the color-coding task at hand. Yet those risque interpolations left their mark. In subsequent memory quizzes, not only were participants much better at recalling the naughty words than they were the neutrals, but that superior recall also applied to the tints of the tainted words, as well as to their sense. 


       Yes, it is tough to toil in the shadow of trash. When researchers in another study asked participants to quickly scan lists of words that included obscenities and then to recall as many of the words as possible, the subjects were, once again, best at rehashing the curses -- and worst at summoning up whatever unobjectionable entries happened to precede or follow the bad bits. 

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