How British Men and Women Swear

McEnery, Tony (2009) How British Men and Women Swear. In: Language in Use : A Reader. Routledge, London, pp. 242-256. ISBN 9780415442053

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It is still, in the author's opinion, a widely held folk belief in Britain that men swear more often than women. This is not the case. When all of the words in the Lancaster Corpus of Abuse are considered, it is equally likely that bad language will be used by a male as by a female. While Bad Language Words (BLWs) as a set may not differentiate males from females, the frequency of use of individual BLWs clearly does mark males and females apart. The words themselves suggest another way in which males and females may differ. Premodifying intensification and literal usage are also more typical of females than males. Again, neither is linked directly to personal abuse. The typically male usages are also, interestingly, not linked to abuse as such – they are both associated with intensification. For both sexes there is some degree of differentiation of the use of BLWs for targets of different sexes.

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08 Feb 2023 10:00
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08 Nov 2023 00:17