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A descriptive analysis of the social functions of swearing in American English

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A DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS
OF THE SOCIAL FUNCTIONS OF SWEARING
IN AMERICAN ENGLISH














By

KRISTY ANINA BEERS FAGERSTEN


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2000













































Copyright 2000

by

Kristy Anina Beers Figersten


























Dedicated to Karl Figersten, the source of all sunshine.














ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


Any one of the words which are the focus of this dissertation could be used to

describe me during the nearly 2-year process of writing. I was often unpleasant, at times miserable and surely difficult to live with. Nevertheless, Karl Figersten endured me in my moments of frustration, despair and apathy, tirelessly encouraged me and even proposed to me. He inspired this work and has given me unconditional support since its inception. It is with immeasurable pride that I submit this dissertation as Kristy Beers Figersten.

I am fortunate to have the opportunity to acknowledge my sisters Kelly Guswiler, Kimb Brown and Kerry Beers in writing, as the very thought of my debt to them renders me speechless. "Those girls" are responsible for any success I have ever had, and any that awaits me. This dissertation pales in comparison to each of their achievements, but I hope they are proud of me anyway.

I would like to acknowledge each of the members of the dissertation committee: Dr. Diana Boxer, Dr. Ann Wehmeyer, Dr. Jean Casagrande and Dr. Timothy Hackenberg, for their participation and expert advice. In particular, I would like to thank Diana Boxer for her faith in me, constant encouragement, tolerance and humor, and Ann Wehmeyer for her careful reading and for taking a genuine interest in both the dissertation and in my development as a scholar.













A final w ord of thanks goes to .lodi Nelms for her empathy. pep talks and friendship. and to Beth I)rupplcmunii. Ph.I I) l oeais of good ifun mand great talks. apropos advice. and tor Showling b\ example that hard xvork pays off.















TABLE OF CONTENTS

pag.e

ACKN OW LEDGM EN TS ............................................................................................. iv
ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................. viii

CHAPTERS

S IN TRODUCTION ................................................................................................... 1

Review of Literature ................................................................................................ 1
Goals of the Present Study ....................................................................................20

2 M ETHODOLOGY ................................................................................................25

Sociolinguistic Principles.......................................................................................25
Data Collection .......................................................................................................28
Speech Com m unity ................................................................................................29
Observation of Spontaneous Speech ......................................................................30
Questionnaire..........................................................................................................33
Ethnographic Interview ..........................................................................................40
W eaknesses of M ethodology ..................................................................................45
Sum m ary ..................................................................................................................49

3 SPON TANEOU S SPEECH ...................................................................................51

Introduction ............................................................................................................51
General Totals: Race and Gender...........................................................................51
Social D istance and Social Status ..........................................................................55
Tone of Swearing Utterance...................................................................................57
Swear W ords ..........................................................................................................68
Reaction to Swearing Utterance .............................................................................81
Race Totals: M ales and Fem ales ............................................................................86
Gender D ifferences in Sw earing Behavior.............................................................95
Gender Differences A ccording to Race................................................................105
Sum m ary................................................................................................................ 115









4 QUESTIONNAIRE AND ETHNOGRAPHIC INTERVIEW.............................118

Introduction ..........................................................................................................118
Questionnaire Participants....................................................................................118
Ethnographic Interview Informants......................................................................120
Offensiveness Ratings ..........................................................................................120
W ord-List Ratings ................................................................................................121
Dialogue Ratings ..................................................................................................134
Questions on Self and Other Behavior .................................................................142
Reactions to the Questionnaire.............................................................................169
Summary................................................................................................................ 171

5 CONCLUSIONS AND IM PLICATIONS ...........................................................173

Summary................................................................................................................173
Limitations of the study........................................................................................177
Directions for Future Research.............................................................................178
Conclusions ..........................................................................................................188

APPENDICES

A EXAMPLE FIELD NOTE CARD FOR OBSERVATION OF SPONTANEOUS
SPEECH ............................................................................................................... 190

B SPONTANEOUS SWEARING UTTERANCES ................................................191

C EXAM PLE QUESTIONNAIRE ..........................................................................224

D QUESTIONNAIRE DATA ..................................................................................230

E PARTICIPANT COMMENTS (QUESTIONNAIRE).........................................246

F ETHNOGRAPHIC INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS.............................................254

REFERENCES ............................................................................................................. 292

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................299














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosopy A DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS OF THE SOCIAL FUNCTIONS OF SWEARING IN AMERICAN ENGLISH

By

Kristy Anina Beers Figersten August, 2000

Chair: Dr. Diana Boxer
Major Department: Program in Linguistics

The present study reflects a sociolinguistic approach to swearing, focusing on an

investigation of the relationship between swear word usage and social context. Swearing utterances and details of the social context in which they were made were recorded discretely and anonymously with the use of field notes within the University of Florida undergraduate student speech community. Sixty members of this speech community also participated in a six-part questionnaire which elicited information regarding use of and attitudes towards swear words. Eleven of the questionnaire participants furthermore participated in an ethnographic interview to discuss the questionnaire and the subject of swearing in greater depth.

Previous research had established swearing as both a frequently occurring speech behavior within the university speech community as well as a highly offensive one. The resulting 'swearing paradox' poses the question of how frequency and offensiveness can









be directly related. The results of the present study explicate the swearing paradox by providing evidence of a discrepancy between the type of swearing that is most characteristic of social interaction within the university speech community and the type of swearing which is typically presented in offensiveness ratings tasks.

The use of swear words in conversational American English is revealed in this study to be a linguistic device used to affirm in-group membership and establish boundaries and social norms for language use. Intraspeaker and interspeaker variation in the use of and attitudes towards swear words is shown to be primarily a function of interlocutor gender and race. The data show evidence of males imposing standards of language use on females and suggest that different races use swear words to fulfil different social functions. Finally, the data suggest that the members of the focus speech community impose restrictions and standards on the swearing behavior of out-group members.













CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION



Review of Literature



First Acknowledgements

In 1930, Bell System Technical Journal published "The words and sounds of

telephone conversations," by French, Carter and Koenig. The study served as a word frequency data base and was long considered an accurate representation of conversational English. However, the data included in the study represented only 75% of the data (80,000 words) originally collected. Omissions included proper names, titles, letters, numbers, interjections and profanity. At 40% of the omitted data, profanity accounted for a corresponding 10% of the total data base.

The French et al. study, an otherwise reliable source for naturalistic data, is deplored for the omission of profanity which "compromised a true picture of dirty word usage" (Jay, 1992, p. 115). Other word frequency studies (Dewey, 1923; Fairbanks, 1944; Haggerty, 1930; Thomrndike and Lorge, 1944; Uhrbrock, 1935 in Cameron, 1969) have also been criticized for being curiously void of profanity due to the fact that their "word samples were gathered in such pristine situations and/or in such a biased manner that they couldn't possibly represent typical U.S. speech patterns" (Cameron (1969) p. 101).










The motivation for the omission and/or avoidance of profanity lies presumably in the controversial nature of such language use. According to Montagu (1967): Swearing, because it is so little understood, is still an equivocal form of conduct
without social sanction. Hence, it has long pursued a fugitive existence in all
such dark places as are not open to the light of social intercourse. That is to say,
among many people, swearing is socially not tolerated in any form. (p. 1)

Johnson and Fine (1985) note that the "sparse" attention to obscenity paid by researchers is indicative of the taboo nature of obscene language extending "beyond the public and into the research community" (p. 11), an opinion echoed by Fine (1979) and Rieber, Wiedemann and D'Amato (1979). A possible explanation for the avoidance is found in Harris' (1987) ontological treatise on swearing, in which he claims that "swearwords become unmentionable precisely because institutionalized swearing is the unique and marginal case where locution and illocution are one: the utterance is the deed and the deed is the utterance" (p. 187). Indeed, in Berger's (1970) opening paragraph of "Swearing and Society," he apologizes for his forthcoming use of language.

Some sixty years after the Bell article, however, profanity is a legitimate research area within psychology, philology and linguistics (see Jay's 1992 bibliography which contains nearly 400 entries). Nevertheless, despite an increasing amount of attention devoted to profanity, the "true picture of dirty word usage" is still compromised.

To date, linguistic research on profane language has focused primarily on the

following areas: historical occurrences and evolution, grammar and semantics, frequency of usage and offensiveness ratings. Typically word-centered and context independent, these studies document the superficial trends and taboo status regarding "dirty word








3

usage," but shed little light on the function and interpretation of profane language use in a social context. According to Davis (1989),

Once the importance of context is realized, one is led to see that any approach
of the orthodox linguistic variety has no means of coming to grips with the underlying question, 'What makes [swearing] bad?' Rather, it assumes the
existence of 'bad language' as a sociological given, and endeavors to account
for its use. (p. 4)

The following sections represent critical reviews of previous linguistic research on profanity, delineating the status of profane language according to the dominating perspectives. The sociolinguistic perspective will then be introduced, with reviews of studies on the effects of several sociolinguistic variables on swearing behavior. Finally, the goals of the present study will be outlined. These goals are based upon questions inspired by significant contributions as well as sociolinguistically unsound conclusions of previous swearing research. Representing both a complement and a challenge to existing research, this study contributes to a truer picture of profane language use in conversational English.



Historical Documentation

Histories of profanity do not, in fact, typically use the terms 'profane' and

'profanity'. These terms refer to a secular, irreverent use of language, and, as such, represent a limited reference. Instead, the terms 'swear' words and 'swearing' are preferred to refer to both specific words as well as to a behavior which is not bound by such a lexicon (Hughes, 1998; Montagu, 1967).









Montagu's (1967) investigation of the history of swearing led him to define 'swear' words as "all words possessing or capable of being given an emotional weight" (p. 100), acknowledging that "practically all words may serve the swearer as makeweight." (p. 100). His definition for swearing is indeed broad, including 10 different types (abusive, adjurative, asseverative, ejaculatory, exclamatory, execratory, expletive, hortatory, interjectional and objurgatory) and 7 subcategories (cursing, profanity, blasphemy, obscenity, vulgarity and euphemistic swearing). Harris (1987), on the other hand, warns of the possibility of conflating the history of swearing with the history of swear words.

The histories of swearing reveal its origins to be in Christian oaths and curses, with the tradition of swearing in English tracing back to at least the sixth century (Hughes, 1998; Mencken, 1944; Montagu, 1967). Discourse on its use reflects a similarly long tradition of social contempt, as well as efforts to govern and even suppress the practice of swearing in speech and writing. This controversy long inherent to swearing awarded it a variable status: at times incurring fines or physical punishment, at other times employed extravagantly by royalty and politicians.

The history of swear words shows that, towards the end of the Middle Ages, women were condemned for their use of swear words while men were warned not to use swear words in the presence of women. In the 16th century, children of "gentlemen" were to be raised by women who would not permit the use of "wanton" or unclean words in their presence (Hughes, 1992, p. 292). By 1601, England's Parliament established legislation against "usual and common swearing" (Davis, 1989, p. 7), but well into the 17 century, swear words were prevalent in English language literature. By the 19t century, propriety










was socially valued over religiousness and the "class of objectionable expressions expanded accordingly to include designations of certain parts of the body and bodily functions" (Davis, 1989, p. 8).



Grammar and Semantics

Unlike swearing of centuries ago which was not lexically bound but rather

structurally akin to oaths and curses, modem swearing is identified and defined by the use of particular words (see below). Linguistic competence tells us, and research confirms, that swearing and swear words are compatible with the conventions of syntax and discourse in the following ways:

1. Swear words have different syntactic roles (Andersson and Trudgill, 1990;

Stenstr6m, 1991; Taylor, 1975). They can be nouns, verbs, adjectives or

adverbs. Some swear words, such as 'fuck', can be used as two or more parts of

speech.

2. Swear words have productive characteristics (McMillan, 1980). They can

acquire new syntactic roles and be used to form new words or expressions by the processes of infixing and interposing, for example "guaran-damn-tee" or "brand

Goddamn new."

3. Swearing occurs as discourse markers (Ljung, 1989; Stenstr6m, 1991).

Swearing utterances can signal turn-taking in the forms of positive and negative

feedback, as well as function as indirect speech acts in the form of "emotives"

(Ljung, 1989, p. 185), for example "Go to hell!"










Semantically, swear words are generally divided into three categories, namely: sacred/profane ('Goddamn'), sexual ('fuck') and excretory ('shit') (Andersson and Trudgill, 1990; Foote and Woodward, 1973; Hughes, 1998; Mabry, 1975; Montagu, 1967; Nerbonne and Hipskind, 1972; Staley, 1978; Stenstr6m, 1991). Two other categories have also been established to account for the small percentage of words which are beyond these semantic realms: animal abuse ('bitch') (Andersson and Trudgill, 1990; Berger, 1970; and illegitimacy ('bastard') (Berger, 1970).

Limbrick (1991) notes that "swearing resists concrete definition; exactly what constitutes a swear word is generally determined by social codes" (p. 79). There is substantial disagreement over which words subsumed by the aforementioned semantic categories are actually swear words (Davis, 1989; Jay, 1992). A particular set of words commonly cited in swearing research includes 'hell', 'damn', 'fuck', 'shit' and 'ass'. However, the category of 'swear words' remains open-ended, due to the fact that swearing is not defined in terms ofspecific words, but rather as a type oflanguage, which, in turn, must also be defined. The original problem of determining what qualifies as swear words is then confounded by the subjectivity introduced by the resulting metalinguistic terminology, for example: "dirty words" (Jay, 1977, 1978, 1986,1992; Risch; 1987), "obscene words" (Bergler, 1936; Baudhuin, 1973; Foote and Woodward, 1973; Johnson and Fine, 1985), "profane language" (Cameron, 1969; Mabry, 1975; Nerbonne and Hipskind, 1972; Sewell, 1984), "bad language" (Andersson and Trudgill, 1990; Davis, 1989), "expletives" (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Hughes, 1992; Limbrick,










1991; Mencken, 1944; Staley, 1978; Stenstrtm, 1991), "emotives" (Ljung, 1989; McMillan, 1980), and "taboo words" (de Klerk, 1992; Manning and Melchiori, 1974).

The language embodied by these labels has been defined as "offensive to accepted standards of decency" (American Heritage Dictionary, 1992) and "totally or partly prohibited in social intercourse" (Stenstrim, 1991, p. 239). The category of swear words is open-ended due to the fact that these definitions are subject to interpretation, which varies according to the values and temperament of individuals and society as a whole.



Frequency Studies

The results of various English language word frequency studies are contradictory

with regards to the occurrence of swear words, but not inconclusive. Despite the fact that profanity was omitted from the French et al. (1930) study, it nevertheless accounted for 10% of all the data, implying the reality of swearing occurrences in conversational English. Subsequent word frequency studies which showed comparatively low statistics for swear word frequency (see below) earned criticism for their methodologies and motivated counter studies (Jay, 1978, 1992; Cameron, 1969). The Thomrndike-Lorge (1944) word frequency count, which includes "almost no profanity" (Cameron, 1969, p. 101), is criticized for being based on written English, with samples primarily from children's and popular adult literature (Cameron, 1969; Jay, 1978, 1992). Berger (1968), however, concluded that "printed and oral English are generally alike in word frequency," based on the similarity of his speech data to that of the published French et al. (1930) study. His conclusion was supported by Hipskind and Nerbonne (1970),








8

whose sample revealed profanity comprising only 0.14% of their word sample, compared to Berger's 0.39%. The Hipskind and Nerbonne (1970) study was based on speech samples from a general adult population, while the Berger (1968) study was conducted on a college campus, with samples collected from conversations between students and professors. Claiming that the presence of professors influenced students' speech styles (cf. Observer's Paradox, Labov, 1972), Cameron (1969) recruited student "over-hearers" (p. 102) to record speech samples from 1) fellow students, 2) non-student adults at work and 3) non-student adults at leisure. The collected data contrasted significantly with the prior word frequency studies, revealing a considerable occurrence of profanity: 8.1% of the college data, 3.5% of the on-the-job data and 12.7% of the adult leisure data. Cameron concluded that the proportionate occurrence of profanity in his data was representative of American informal speech, and that the low occurrence of profanity in previous word frequency counts was the product of bias and subjectivity. To test the validity of Cameron's (1969) criticisms, Nerbonne and Hipskind (1972) reproduced their 1970 (Hipskind and Nerbonne) study, this time covertly tape-recording speech samples from a college student population. Their results resembled Cameron's (1969): profanity was found to be a significant feature of the speech sample, comprising 7.44% of the data. However, instead of supporting Cameron's assumptions about the representative nature of his data, Nerbonne and Hipskind (1972) claimed that both sets of results were a function of the populations that were sampled, and that "the vocabulary used by college students in unguarded conversations is not representative of typical informal American speech from the standpoint of proportionate occurrence of profane words" (p. 49).










Additional word-frequency studies based on the vocabulary of college students

support the implication that their informal speech vocabulary is disproportionately high in the occurrence of profanity. Jay's (1980) study calculated word frequency based on covert recordings of speech samples from conversations of college students in public buildings, including classrooms. Profanity comprised less than 1% of the data, a result which is in accord with Berger's (1968) and Hipskind and Nerbonne's (1970) studies. However, for his 1986 study, Jay recruited the help of 12 students who, with field note cards, covertly recorded swearing utterances from fellow college students in public and private settings. This undertaking resulted in the collection of 2,171 swearing utterances. Although this was not a frequency study, the great number of swearing utterances supported findings from Jay's earlier (1977, 1978) relative frequency studies. In these studies, college students were asked to rate the frequency of occurrence of words from a list containing both profanity and neutral words. The frequency with which the profane words were heard used was consistently higher than the same measurement for the nonprofane words. According to Jay (1992), "these data suggest that college students use taboo words very frequently in a setting that is socially relaxed" (p. 141), a claim that supports Cameron's (1969) and Nerbonne and Hipskind's (1972) findings of a high percentage of profanity in the informal speech of college students.

The contrasting results from the various word frequency studies show that the source of data and the methodology of collection greatly influence ultimate conclusions. Samples of written English, conversations among participants of different social status and careful, formal speech are typically void of profanity, compared to an abundance of








10

profane language in the unguarded, informal speech of college students. Contributing to this conclusion is a questionable aspect of Cameron's (1969), Jay's (1977, 1978, 1980, 1986, 1992) and Nerbonne and Hipskind's (1972) methodology, namely, their evaluation of which words were profane. Jay (1986) considered words such as 'dog', 'Jew' and 'moron' to be "dirty words", while Cameron (1969) and Nerbonne and Hipskind (1972) included words such as 'suck', 'queer' and 'boob'. While these words have the potential to be inappropriate and offensive in certain contexts, their status as swear words is disputable (cf. Davis, 1989). Therefore, the researcher's interpretation of swearing, profanity, taboo, etc. must be taken into consideration, as well as the possibility that this interpretation may inflate frequency percentages.



Offensiveness Ratings

The disputable status of some words as swear words indicates that there is a blurred line between what does and does not qualify as swearing. The greater the potential of a word to offend, the likelier the word is to be considered a swear word. Offensiveness is traditionally determined by evaluative and semantic differentiation rating techniques. Research shows unequivocal evidence that swear words are highly offensive. Some words are consistently judged to be more offensive (abrasive, aggressive, impolite, profane, upsetting, etc.) than others, with sexual terms generally rated most offensive, followed by excretory terms which, in turn, are typically judged more offensive than sacred terms (Baudhuin, 1973). Specifically, 'fuck', 'shit', 'cunt' and 'motherfucker' (in varying orders) have been rated as the most offensive (Baudhuin, 1973; Bostrom,










Baseheart and Rossiter, 1973; Driscoll, 1981; Jay, 1978; Mabry, 1975). In fact, hearing the word 'motherfucker' has been rated as more offensive than witnessing extreme violence, defecation or sodomy (Jay, 1978).

Frequency studies having established college environments as rich in obscenity (Cameron, 1969; Hipskind and Nerbonne, 1973; Jay, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1986, 1992), ratings tasks have traditionally been performed by various groups of college students. Subjects are asked to rate words in a list, usually by a numerical value according to a Likert-type scale, e.g., from non-offensive to very offensive. The evaluative adjectives vary from study to study and include: 'abrasive' (Mabry, 1975), 'aggressive' (Driscoll, 1981), 'offensive' (Baudhuin, 1973; Bostrom, Baseheart and Rossiter, 1973; Jay, 1978), 'upsetting' (Manning and Melchiori, 1974), and 'taboo' (Jay, 1986). Because the words are presented as singular vocabulary items in a list, that is to say, devoid of any context, the subjects are free to interpret their potential usage. However, the task of rating the words according to the evaluative adjective encourages the subjects to consider the words used in only one way, i.e., offensively, abrasively, etc. While the imposition of the evaluative adjective as the only contextual clue allows the researcher to control for interpretation, it subverts the importance of context.

The bias evident among some researchers that swearing is both categorically

offensive and tantamount to an expression of anger and/or aggression (cf. Berger, 1970) renders context irrelevant to their focus: Jay (1992) devoted an entire chapter to an angeranalysis of swearing; Wilson (1975) asked subjects to rate obscenities according to a scale of increasing anger at hearing them in casual conversation; and Driscoll (1981)










elicited ratings of swear words as used exclusively in epithets (e.g., "You bitch!"). Minimal references to context reveal a maintenance of a clear bias vis-a-vis the nature of swear words: Bailey and Timm (1977) designed a questionnaire to elicit swearing utterances as responses to situations such as, "You scrape your shin" or "Someone annoys you". The subjects of the Manning-Melchiori (1974) study were asked to rate how upsetting certain swear and non-swear words were, as well as to rate how embarrassing it would be to say the words in the presence of other people, such as parents and clergymen (p. 305). Oliver and Rubin (1975) investigated their subjects proclivity to use expletives such as "Damn!", "Bastard!" and "Son-of-a-bitch!" in various social situations.



The Sociolinguistic Perspective

Reference to the presence of others as addressees or over-hearers implies a social context, ushering in a sociolinguistic perspective on swearing. The influence of social context on swearing behavior became evident when word frequency studies revealed that swear words occurred highly frequently in the informal conversations of college students (Cameron, 1969; Jay, 1986; Nerbonne and Hipskind, 1972). This influence has not gone unnoticed, and the need for a sociolinguistic approach to swearing has been recognized and encouraged: "The situation as well as co-participants may influence the uses and perceptions of obscenity in a variety of ways depending on a person's gender, age, social class, and race" (Johnson and Fine, 1985, p. 22; cf. Andersson and Trudgill, 1990, p. 66;










Davis, 1989, p. 9; Jay, 1992, pp. 12-13). To date, although several sociolinguistic approaches to swearing have featured situation and age, the main focus remains gender.

Situation. Several researchers have focused on investigating the motivation for

swearing behavior. The shared assumption is that particular events can evoke feelings or emotions conducive to swearing responses. In an analysis of what she refers to as "Australian b-words," Wierzbicka (1991) claims that certain words ('bloody', 'bastard', 'bugger', 'bitch' and 'bullshit') are used to express an emotion that a speaker feels, but is "unwilling to articulate" (p. 219) due to the strength of the emotion. Instead of expressing their feelings, speakers may opt to "do something else," namely, to utter a word that some people say are "bad words" (p. 219), thereby conveying the strength of the emotion without explicitly expressing it. Wierzbicka's analysis reflects not only her opinion that "b-words" are 'bad' words (cf. Offensiveness Ratings, above), but that swearing is motivated foremost by emotion.

Also suspecting emotion as the driving force behind swearing, Staley (1978)

conducted a questionnaire designed to place subjects in hypothetical situations in which they would experience the following emotions: "fear; bewilderment; panic; defensiveness; pain; surprise; embarrassment; happiness; happiness for the good fortune of another; shock and horror; and annoyance with parental advice; institutions; unfair treatment; or uncontrollable or unexpected predicaments" (p. 368). In addition to a description of an event, the hypothetical situations included information as to formality of setting (e.g., home, classroom) and eventual co-participants (sex, social distance, social status). The subjects were aware that the questionnaire was designed to elicit









expletives, they were told to assume the situations were emotionally charged and were encouraged to use strong words. Thus, the stage was set for swearing to occur, which renders the task of identifying the main motivating variable a difficult one. The strongest expletives occurred in responses to situations in which the subject was alone or with a close friend of the same sex; the weakest expletives occurred in situations which involved positive emotions. A correlation between swearing and social context, i.e., the types and number of listeners, could therefore not be ascertained, due to the number of variables, including sex of the subject (see below).

Bailey and Timm (1976) also administered questionnaires designed to place subjects in hypothetical situations associated with different emotions ("exasperating" or "painful", p. 439). Emotion proved to be ineffective as a single motivating factor; almost all of the subjects reported that their decision to swear in any given situation would be impacted by "the social identity of fellow conversants" (p. 444). Subject age and sex, however, did prove to be significant motivating variables (see below).

Age. Age of speakers and age of their interlocutors, as well, have proved to be

significant variables in the social context of swearing. Children begin learning and using swear words of varying degrees of offensiveness from the time they start using "normal" language, and admonitions of this behavior quickly follow (Jay, 1992, p. 71). As if to practice what they preach, both men and women of various ages report refraining from swearing in the presence of children (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Jay, 1992; Foote and Woodward, 1973; Oliver and Rubin, 1975). Females between the ages of 40 and 55, however, reported using expletives sometimes too frequently in their children's presence










(Oliver and Rubin, 1975). While it was suggested that close social distance may be the reason, the lack of inhibition could also be a function of the age of the children, who, based on the age of the parent-subjects, may be at or nearing adulthood.

The presence of older people, especially parents, has also been reported to be an inhibitor to swearing behavior (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Hughes, 1992; Oliver and Rubin, 1975; Staley, 1978). Hughes (1998) claims that the vestiges of the "relationship taboo [...] seem in recent years to have changed from pas devant les enfants to pas devant les parents" (p. 10). Older people often represent authority; the presence of authority figures introduces formality which, in turn, inhibits the occurrence of swearing (Cameron, 1969; Nerbonne and Hipskind, 1972).

Frequency studies based on naturally occurring, informal conversations show that males and females between the ages of 18 and 23 use swear words most frequently (Cameron, 1969; Nerbonne and Hipskind, 1972). Data from self-report questionnaires show, however, that males and females in a slightly higher age range (females aged 3134 and males aged 28-32) are more disposed to swearing than their younger counterparts. The higher age range of the females reporting the most frequent swearing behavior may be a result of the feminist movement, as discussed in the following section.

Gender. By far, the most thoroughly investigated aspect of the sociolinguistics of swearing is the correlation between swearing and the gender of the interlocutors of social interaction. Since Jespersen' first expressed his oft-cited view of women as eschewers of




' "Among the things women object to in language must be specially mentioned anything that smacks of swearing" (in Coates, 1986, p. 22).










obscene language, the stereotype of women as "guardians of both language and propriety" (Johnson and Fine, 1985, p. 11) has been both supported and refuted. It is a matter of simple observation that certain females do indeed use swear words, but Lakoff (1975) asserts that women, as "the experts of euphemism" (p. 55), employ "weaker" expletives, while "stronger" expletives are reserved for men (p. 10). Oliver and Rubin's (1975) findings support this assertion; their female subjects reported tendencies to use expletives such as 'Damn', 'Darn!, 'Heavens!' and 'Crap!' more often than 'Shit!', 'Bastard!' or 'Son-of-a-bitch!' (p. 195). Similar patterns were found by Bailey and Timm (1976): in reported usage of strong and weak expletives, males accounted for 64% of the total usage of strong expletives, e.g., 'damn', 'fuck' and 'shit', while females accounted for 70% of the total usage of weak expletives e.g., 'darn', 'oh', and 'oops' (cf. Stenstrim, 1991).

The reported female preference for using weaker expletives may be a function of their offensiveness threshold: females consistently rate obscene language as more offensive than males do. Wilson (1975) found that female students reported greater anger at hearing obscenities in conversation than their male counterparts. A second set of female subjects rated "bawdy" (Wilson, 1975, p. 1074) stories with obscenities as significantly less funny than the male subjects did, with opposite ratings reported for stories containing no obscene language. Abbott and Jay (1978) and Sewell (1984) also found that their male subjects perceived more humor in jokes and cartoons with obscene language than the female subjects did. Moreover, Sewell (1984) found that the males' humor ratings were in direct proportion to the strength of the obscenities, while female








17

ratings revealed an inverse relationship between strong expletives and humor. Only Jay's (1977) offensiveness ratings show evidence contrary to these significant gender differences. Female subjects gave only 18 of the 28 (64%) taboo words a more offensive rating than the males did, with no ratings showing considerable (greater than a 1.3 point difference on a scale of 1 to 9) differences according to sex. It should be noted, however, that in this study, the subjects were told not to rate according to their own standards, but rather to rate how obscene they thought the list of words would be to "a significant part of the population" (p. 249), and, as such, represent relative, not absolute, ratings.

The overall higher sensitivity to the offensiveness of swear words reported by

females may result in swearing inhibitions. Frequency studies restricted to swear word occurrence and based on naturalistic, spontaneous speech show male swearing behavior to be significantly more frequent (sometimes more than double) than that of females (Anshen, 1973; Gomm, 1981; Jay, 1986; Limbrick, 1991). Despite the frequency discrepancy, these studies revealed no significant differences in quality, that is to say, in the strength of swear words used by both sexes (cf. Bailey and Timm, 1975, and Cameron, 1969, where quantity was the same but quality differed due to female 'weak' expletive use). When asked to produce swear word samples, males have out-contributed females, showing a wider range of swear word familiarity (Foote and Woodward, 1974), although no difference has been found between the sexes for the words most frequently listed as swear words (Foote and Woodward, 1974; Johnson and Fine, 1985), most frequently reported as used (Johnson and Fine, 1985; Staley, 1978) and most frequently used (Jay, 1986).










Male swearing behavior has been shown to be inhibited by the presence of females. The frequency with which males use swear words has been shown to decrease significantly in spontaneous mixed-sex conversations compared to the frequency of use in single-sex conversations (Anshen, 1973; Gomm, 1981; Jay, 1986; Limbrick, 1991). A similar inhibitive effect of the presence of the opposite sex on female swearing behavior is not as evident. Anshen (1973) found no change in female swearing behavior due to the presence of males. Gomm (1981) and Jay (1986) found a decrease in female swear word usage as a result of the presence of male co-participants, but that this decrease was less significant than that evidenced by the males. Limbrick (1991), however, found that females increased their usage of swear words in mixed-sex conversations. His explanation for this phenomenon is accommodation by both sexes: males, under the impression that females do not swear, accommodate them by decreasing their own usage of swear words, while females, under the impression that males swear more often than they do, accommodate them by increasing their swearing frequency.

Studies on the respective perceptions that males and females have regarding their own and each other's swearing behavior show the persistence of the stereotypes expressed by Jespersen (1922) and Lakoff (1975). According to Coates (1986):

These writers claim to describe women's more polite use of the language, but we should ask whether what they are actually doing is attempting to prescribe
how women ought to talk. Avoidance of swearing and of "coarse" words is
held up to female speakers as the ideal to be aimed at.... (p. 22)

The affirmation of swearing as masculine behavior also serves the purpose of

prescriptivism. Berger (1970), Bergler (1936), Dooling (1996), Mencken (1936) and Montagu (1967) repeatedly make references to males as the exclusive practitioners of








19
swearing. The implication of swearing as a male domain (Frank, 1983) can also be found in the language of swearing itself, which includes an abundance of terms for females and their body parts (Hughes, 1998; Hymes in Lakoff, 1975). Such sexism has resulted in a consciousness-raising among feminists, who see swearing as an example of language as a "male-derived system of chauvinist bias, which is, therefore, equally open to semantic engineering by chauvinists" (Hughes, 1998, p. 206).

Although no definitive link between the feminist movement and female swearing behavior has been established, Bailey and Timm (1976) and Oliver and Rubin (1975) found that awareness of the feminist argument and involvement in women's liberation was positively associated with female swearing frequency. Also linked to the feminist movement is the use of swear words by women of middle or upper-middle class (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Oliver and Rubin, 1975; Risch, 1987; Staley, 1978; Stenstr6m, 1991), a behavior traditionally associated with lower working-class women (Hughes, 1992; Trudgill, 1972). Rieber, Wiedemann and D'Amato (1979) found that their feminist, female subjects used swear words denotatively more often and gave the provided word sample ('fuck', 'shit' and 'bastard') lower overall offensiveness ratings than the nonfeminist females and males (1979). Finally, de Klerk (1992) and Risch (1987) found that females were familiar with and reported using a variety of swear words to refer to men and male body parts, reflecting an equality at least in the semantic representation of the sexes.










Goals of the Present Study



The goals of the present study are based upon questions inspired by significant contributions as well as sociolinguistically unsound conclusions of previous swearing research. These contributions and conclusions can be summarized as follows:

1. The use of swear words and contemporary swearing has its origins in the oaths

and curses of Christian antiquity, with an equally long history of being without

social sanction (Hughes, 1998; Mencken, 1936; Montagu, 1967; Sagarin, 1962).

2. Although swearing is often considered socially "unruly", it is rule-governed in

terms of grammar, syntax and discourse (Andersson and Trudgill, 1990; Ljung,

1989; McMillan, 1980; Stenstr6m, 1991; Taylor, 1975).

3. While swearing can only be defined in subjective terms, allowing for an openended category of swear words, the majority of these words can be categorized as sexual, sacred or excretory (Andersson and Trudgill, 1990; Baudhuin, 1973;

Foote and Woodward, 1973; Hughes, 1998; Mabry, 1975; Montagu, 1967;

Nerbonne and Hipskind, 1972; Staley, 1978; Stenstrim, 1991).

4. Calculations of swear word frequency are affected by mode of communication

(written vs. oral discourse), researcher bias, formality of setting and coparticipant variables such as age, social distance and social status (Cameron,

1969; French et al., 1930; Hipskind and Nerbonne, 1970; Jay, 1978, 1992;

Nerbonne and Hipskind, 1972; Thomrndike and Lorge, 1944).










5. Ratings tasks reveal varying degrees of offensiveness among swear words.

Sexual terms are consistently rated as more offensive than excretory and sacred

terms (Baudhuin, 1973; Driscoll, 1981; Jay, 1986). Females report a higher

degree of sensitivity to the offensiveness of swear words than do males (Abbott

and Jay, 1978; Sewell, 1984; Wilson, 1975). Offensiveness ratings are

traditionally based on non-contextualized swear words, as opposed to

contextualized swearing utterances.

6. College students and males and females aged 28-34 use swear words most

frequently (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Cameron, 1969; Jay, 1986; Nerbonne and Hipskind, 1972). Swearing behavior among both sexes is inhibited by children

(Bailey and Timm, 1976; Jay, 1992; Foote and Woodward, 1973; Oliver and Rubin, 1975) and by elders and the elderly (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Hughes,

1992; Oliver and Rubin, 1975; Staley, 1978).

7. Males swear more frequently than females and employ a wider range of swear

words; females typically use weaker terms (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Foote and

Woodward, 1973; Oliver and Rubin, 1975; Stenstr6m, 1991). Male swearing behavior is inhibited by the presence of females (Anshen, 1973; Gomm, 1981;

Jay, 1986; Limbrick, 1991). The effects of the presence of males on female swearing behavior are variable. Evidence of no behavior change and overall increased frequency of use may be manifestations of the feminist movement (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Hughes, 1998; de Klerk, 1992; Oliver and Rubin,










1975; Rieber, Wiedemann and D'Amato, 1979; Risch, 1987; Staley, 1978;

Stenstr6m, 1991).

Based on these conclusions, the present study proposes to answer the following research questions:

1. What are the dynamics of swearing utterances? Research based on natural

and elicited productions has focused only on the use of swear words or swearing

expressions as a function of a limited number of sociolinguistic variables, such as age and sex. This question requires consideration of all aspects of the social context and the swearing utterance in full in order to determine the effects and

interplay of multiple variables, including setting and scene; age, race, sex, social distance and social status of interlocutors; tone or key of utterance; and purposes

and outcomes.

2. What is the current status of gender differences in swearing behavior? The

majority of studies on the effects of interlocutor gender on swearing behavior

were published 25 years ago, thus requiring reconsideration in terms of

contemporary data.

3. Do males and females of different races differ in their swearing behavior?

Population sample-based studies have traditionally considered data from white

males and females. Of the research reviewed in the present study, 24% reported an all-white population sample. The majority of the studies--71%-- provided no

racial outline for their middle-class, college student subjects, leaving one to

assume a white majority. Only one study reported data collection from a mixed-










race population (Risch, 1987) comprised of 80% whites and 20% AfricanAmericans. However, the author did not address any eventual racial differences

in the data, leaving it an issue as yet unexplored. In fact, the few references to

nonwhite swearing behavior consist of observations of the African-American

("Negro") preference for the word "motherfucker" (Berger, 1970, p. 283;

Hughes, 1998, p. 32).

4. What are the effects of swearing on the addressee? Swearing research has

traditionally reflected a speaker-oriented approach, with addressees only

considered as an aspect of the social context, i.e., the effects of the addressee on

the speaker. The few listener-oriented studies have focused on the vitriolic

effects of swear words in terms of ratings. This question recognizes the role of

the addressee in the ultimate interpretation and evaluation of the social functions

of swearing. Furthermore, this question appeals to the effects of swear word usage by out-group members, such as elders, children, strangers, non-native

speakers, or within the media, on one's own concept of sociolinguistic norms or

standards for language use.

5. How does the context of usage affect the evaluation of the inherent

offensiveness of swear words? The juxtaposition of swear word frequency and

ratings data from college student populations results in a 'swearing paradox',

representing the question of how this highly offensive behavior can also enjoy such a high rate of occurrence. This question requires the acknowledgment of

social context in the evaluation of swearing utterances.










These questions are answered in the following chapters in terms of analyses of

qualitative and quantitative empirical data, including spontaneous swearing utterances, questionnaires and ethnographic interviews. Data collection took place on a university campus, as swearing behavior has shown to be frequent within college student speech communities.

For the sake of consistency, the present study will exclusively use the terms

'swearing' and 'swear words', and, in so doing, refer to the use of a set of words limited to: 'ass', 'bastard', 'bitch', 'cunt', 'damn', 'dick', 'fuck', 'hell', 'shit' and their derivatives, e.g., 'bullshit' or 'Goddamn'. These words are not intended to represent an exhaustive list of swear words. Instead, they represent examples of the most frequently listed words in swear word elicitation tasks (Foote and Woodward, 1973; Johnson and Fine, 1985), as well as the most frequently occurring swear words in spontaneous speech in college student populations (Jay, 1986). The restricted word sample introduces focus, which not only facilitates observation of spontaneous speech, but eliminates the subjectivity associated with metalinguistic terminology, ensuring a consistency in the observation of spontaneous speech, as well as among the questionnaire participants and ethnographic interview informants.














CHAPTER 2
METHODOLOGY



Sociolinguistic Principles



As the study of the relationship between language and society, sociolinguistics involves the analysis of linguistic behavior as a function of social context. Swearing represents a unique case within sociolinguistics in that swear words themselves may have little to no semantic role, but are socially meaningful. Shifting the focus of swearing research from single word or phrase to social context of utterance reflects a sociolinguistic approach.

As an example of linguistic variability, swearing is a behavior that is not practiced by every person at every moment as evidenced by word frequency studies (Cameron, 1969, vs. Berger, 1967). A sociolinguistic approach to swearing seeks to reveal the sociolinguistic variables which are conducive to or inhibit such behavior. To date, the sociolinguistic perspective within swearing research is represented primarily by studies on the effects of the participant variables age and sex. Social context, however, involves a variety of additional sociolinguistic variables, including setting and scene, participant race, social distance and social status, goals and outcomes, tone or manner, and norms of interaction and interpretation (Hymes, 1972). All of these variables must be considered as having potential influence on swearing behavior.








26
The Labovian paradigm is central to sociolinguistic investigation and the observation of speech variability. Labov (1970) distinguishes between inter-speaker and intraspeaker variation, the former caused by social factors and the latter by stylistic factors. He also acknowledges 'markers', that is, variables which are both social and stylistic. Bell (1984), on the other hand, argues that inter- and intra-speaker variation is caused by social and stylistic factors which can not be teased apart. A sociolinguistic investigation, therefore, must address both inter-speaker and intra-speaker variation while accounting for social and stylistic influences.

Labov's (1970) axioms regarding speech variation convey the academic importance of systematic observation as well as the social significance of tapping into the vernacular style of users. To do both and avoid the inherent Observer's Paradox requires employing different data collection techniques. Observation of spontaneous speech and other covert techniques of data collection engage unknowing participants in the kind of speech behavior under investigation. In contrast to this are overt techniques, such as questionnaires and interviews, which have as their focus what is said, as opposed to how it is said. These techniques allow participants to talk about their own and others' speech behavior.

Questionnaires and other elicitation techniques have typically been used in swearing research (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Baudhuin, 1973; Driscoll, 1981; Foote and Woodward, 1973; Hughes, 1992; Jay, 1977, 1978, 1986; Johnson and Fine, 1985; de Klerk, 1992; Mabry, 1975; Manning and Melchiori, 1974; Mulac, 1976; Oliver and Rubin, 1975; Rieber et al., 1979; Risch, 1987; Sewell, 1984; Staley, 1978; Wilson, 1975).










Observation of spontaneous speech is a less commonly employed technique (Anshen, 1973; Cameron, 1969; Jay, 1986; Johnson and Fine, 1985; Stenstr6m, 1991). Mabry (1975) summarized the need for the incorporation of both kinds of data collection in swearing research by stating that "investigations of the relationship between actual and reported usage is [sic] essential for performing validity checks on the self-report instrument and as an end in itself' (p. 44).

As a quantitative technique, the greatest advantage in conducting questionnaires lies in the potential to elicit a mass of information from a mass of people. The use of questionnaires allows the investigator to tap into the explicit knowledge, intuitions and opinions of the members of a particular speech community. To both facilitate participation and to quantify efficiently participant information, open-ended questions should be avoided in favor of multiple-choice questions, with the answers in the form of, for example, dichotomies (yes-no, agree-disagree) or Likert scales (always-oftensometimes-never). This type of formal constraint limits the quality of data that can be obtained from questionnaires, but renders them an ideal tool for revealing aspects which require deeper investigation.

The ethnographic interview allows the sociolinguist to examine speech variation in greater depth by establishing an atmosphere conducive to eliciting the informant's, perspectives on and intuitions about the speech behavior under investigation. Furthermore, through careful questioning on the interviewer's part, the ethnographic interview can reveal the tacit knowledge that speakers have about why they speak differently in different social contexts.










Data Collection



Kasper and Dahl (1991) distinguish between the two kinds of data collection

methodology that have been discussed so far, namely, observation and elicitation. They further categorize elicitation into perception/intuition and production, while observed data is either elicited or spontaneous. As the elicitation of production is analogous to observation of elicited data, Kasper and Dahl's elicitation-observation dichotomy suffers from an unnecessary overlap. It is thus suggested that the term 'observation' be reserved to refer to observing spontaneous speech, while elicitation be subcategorized into 'elicitation for observation' and 'elicitation for information'. Elicitation for observation includes techniques such as the sociolinguistic interview, Labov's (1972) reading tasks or Discourse Completion Tasks, while elicitation for information techniques, on the other hand, include techniques such as questionnaires and the ethnographic interview. Kasper and Dahl point out that a combination of methods is characteristic of successful studies, and Boxer (1993) encourages the use of ethnographic interviews as a complement to data analysis of spontaneous speech and traditional questionnaires:

[By] combining the researcher's own analysis of spontaneous speech with
the information gleaned from native informants through an ethnographic
interview, a more complete analysis of the specific speech behavior can be made than that which results from a reliance on more traditional interviews
or questionnaires. (p. 116)

The methodology for the present study combines observation and elicitation for information techniques, the latter in the form of a questionnaire and ethnographic interviews. By using three different data collection methodologies, the data can be








29

triangulated; that is to say, each data set can be compared and co-referenced with another, yielding more accurate explanations of the relationship between sociolinguistic variables and inter- and intra-speaker variation in swearing behavior.



Speech Community



A study such as the present one which investigates linguistic behavior by observing and consulting language users must identify who those language users are. In other words, a sociolinguistic study population must be defined in terms of speech community, "a community sharing knowledge of rules for the conduct and interpretation of speech" (Hymes, 1974, p. 51). According to Holmes (1992), "the members of each community have their distinctive linguistic repertoires. In other words, in every community there is a range of varieties from which people select according to the context in which they are communicating" (pp. 10-11).

The speech community for the present study consists of undergraduate students at the University of Florida. Data collected by observation include only those utterances spoken by or to a university undergraduate student. Seven of the spontaneous utterances (1.8%) were spoken by non-members of the university speech community as a whole, while eleven of the utterances (2.8%) were spoken by non-members of the undergraduate university speech community, i.e., graduate teaching assistants, instructors or professors. Participants in the questionnaire and interviews were all members of the undergraduate university student speech community. Because of the










anonymous nature of the observation of spontaneous speech, it is unknown whether the questionnaire and interview participants were also contributors to the spontaneous speech data.

Observation of Spontaneous Speech



The first step in data collection was the observation and recording of spontaneous speech. Undergraduate students at the University of Florida were observed during an eight-week period at various on- and off-campus sites. Participants were unaware of being observed; the recording of utterances was done with the use of field notes (Appendix A). The covert recording of spontaneous speech ensured the collection of naturalistic data. However, as sole data collector, I risked being restrained by the Observer's Paradox in situations where I was not a recognized or accepted member of the speech community. Two steps were taken in order to avoid this limitation: 1) I collected data only in public, often crowded, places wearing headphones to give the appearance of being 'out of ear-shot', and 2) I enlisted help from undergraduate students enrolled in a Linguistics class, whom I trained to covertly record swearing utterances using field notes. As members of the speech community under investigation, the undergraduate students had access to social interaction that I, a marginal out-group member, did not. Furthermore, familiarity with the contributors allowed them to more accurately determine social distance and social status.

Twenty-nine undergraduate students assisted in the field note recording of swearing utterances. Of the 29 students, there were 10 White males, 3 African-American males, 1










Asian-American male, 10 White females, 3 Hispanic females and 2 African-American females.

Field note information included the applicable components of communication represented by Hymes' (1974) SPEAKING grid as well as additional information specific to the context:

1. setting. Where did the utterance occur? On- and off-campus sites included

classrooms, dormitories, private homes, busses, cars, etc.

2. participants. What were the sex and race of the speaker? What were the sex

and race of the listener or listeners? Possibilities for race included White,

African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American and Other/Unknown.

3. social distance or social status. What was the relationship of the speaker to the

listener(s) in terms of intimacy and solidarity? Possibilities include friends,

acquaintances, intimates, relatives and strangers. If the co-participants'

relationship could be described in terms of an association relevant to the context

in which the swearing utterance occurred, this association was noted, e.g.,

coworkers, roommates, classmates, club members, etc. Social status was noted when the context of interaction revealed a relevant difference in co-participants'

social status.

4. topic. What were the participants talking about at the time of the utterance?

Knowing the topic aided in determining the tone.

5. tone. In what key or spirit did the utterance occur? Possible tones included:

Abusive, Anecdotal, Angry, Desperate, Distressed, Emphatic, Excited,










Humorous, Rebellious, Sarcastic, Serious and Supportive, and Other. The

choice of tones was modeled after 1) the range of emotions represented by the

hypothetical situations featured in Staley's (1978) questionnaire (see Chapter 1),

and 2) Jay's (1986) field note categories for 'manner' (yelled, anger, loud, frustrated, conversational, sarcastic, soft, joke, whisper and other). For the

purpose of quantification and analysis, only one tone per utterance was assigned.

6. utterance. What was the actual swearing utterance? An utterance was one or

more sentences produced by one speaker containing swearing as defined in

Chapter 1.

7. reaction. How did the listener(s) react? Possible reactions included: No

noticeable reaction - the listener(s) did not overtly react to the occurrence of

swearing and the flow of conversation was not affected; Laughter - the

listener(s) responded by laughing immediately after the swearing utterance;

Echo - the listener(s) responded by producing a swearing utterance; Rejection

the listener overtly reacted to the swearing utterance, interrupting the flow of

conversation.

A total of 394 spontaneous swearing utterances were recorded, yielding 528 occurrences of swear words.










Questionnaire



Undergraduate students at the University of Florida were approached at random to complete the six-page questionnaire (Appendix C). They were told only that the questionnaire dealt with a particular linguistic behavior. After completing the first two pages, the participants were given the opportunity to stop the process if they disapproved of or were uncomfortable with the subject matter. No subjects opted out of completing the questionnaire. A total of 65 questionnaires were completed, 60 of which are included in this study (Appendix D and Appendix E). Five of the original questionnaires revealed the participant's non-membership of the focus speech community and were discarded.

The questionnaire was designed to gather the following information:

1. Demographic information. On the first page of the questionnaire, participants were asked to provide their age (open-ended), race (open-ended), sex (male or female), year at the university (1st, 2nd 3rd, 4h or 5th), place of birth (city and state or country), location of high school attended (city and state or country), current residence of father/male-guardian (city and state or country), current residence of mother/female guardian (city and state or country), highest level of education achieved by father and mother (High school diploma, Bachelor's degree, Graduate degree, Other, Don't know), occupation of father and mother (open-ended), past affiliation with an organized religion (open-ended if 'yes'), current affiliation with an organized religion (open-ended if 'yes') and current affiliation with a club or organization (open-ended if 'yes').










'Age' and 'year at the university' filter out non-members of the undergraduate

student speech community. 'Sex' and 'race' allow for sub-grouping and comparison. Parental/guardian information sheds light on each participant's socioeconomic status, while geographic background, past and present religious affiliation and club membership reveal possible shared cultural background as members of other speech communities.

2. Offensiveness ratings of isolated swear words. The second page of the

questionnaire included an alphabetical list of twelve swear words and derivatives as presented in Chapter 1, plus the word 'nigger'. A high frequency of the use of'nigger' was noticed during the observation phase of the study, and its inclusion in this section of the questionnaire was intended as a challenge to the concept of 'swearing'.

Following Jay's (1986) example, participants were asked to rate each swear word on an offensiveness scale of 1 to 10, '1' being 'Not Offensive', and '10' being 'Very Offensive'. The participants were then asked to provide a label for the list of words. The terms 'swearing' and 'swear words', it should be noted, were not yet introduced as of this point. Next, the participants were asked if, according to their label, any of the listed words should be deleted, or if any other words should be added. The participants were then told to circle any words they would not use. Finally, each participant was asked to comment on whether the offensiveness of these words was fixed and unchanging.

It was after completing the second page of the questionnaire, which revealed the subject matter, that participants were given the opportunity to discontinue with the questionnaire. If they chose to continue, the first two pages of the questionnaire were










then collected, and the last four pages were distributed. In so doing, participants were unable to change their initial ratings and labels.

3. Self and other behavior. The third and fourth pages of the questionnaire

contained 25 questions relating to each participant's own swearing behavior as well as to the swearing behavior of others. The questions appear below grouped and ordered for the purpose of classification; they did not appear in this order on the questionnaire. After each question there appears a code to the type of possible answer: open-ended = (0), multiple choice = (MC), frequency (often, sometimes, rarely, never) = (F), yes-no = (Y/N), comparison (more, less, equal) = (>=<).

Questions referring to self behavior included:

Do you use swear words? (F)

Swearing is an example of a linguistic behavior which exhibits both intra- and interspeaker variation. This question was intended to allow the participants to identify themselves as users or non-users of swear words, while the possible answer choices, in the format of graded frequency, reflected the variation that is inherent in swearing.

Do you have any personal 'rules' about swearing? (0)
Do you ever consciously try not to swear? (F)
Are there times when you try to use swear words more often than usual? (Y/N)
Are there times when you try to use swear words less often than usual? (Y/N)
Do you ever use swear words when you don't mean to/want to? (F)

Variation in speech behavior is caused by social and stylistic factors. Speaking differently according to situational variables conveys social meaning. The questions above required the participants to tap into their sociolinguistic competence, that is, the ability to determine whether a linguistic behavior is appropriate in a given social










situation, in order to reveal indications of intra-speaker variation. Engaging in or refraining from swearing is a choice determined by a speaker's sociolinguistic competence. It is also this competence which is responsible for judging the appropriateness of that choice.

Does your frequency of swearing change when you speak to members of the
opposite sex? (>=<)

This question is similar to the previous questions in that it refers to the participants' speech variation as a function of sociolinguistic competence, whether speakers alter their speech behavior according to the sex of their addressee. Furthermore, this question serves as an indicator of possible differences between male and female speech, or at least perceptions of those differences (cf. Johnson and Fine, 1985; Staley, 1978).

Do you use swear words when you speak to your friends? (F) Do you use swear words when you speak to your father? (F)
Do you use swear words when you speak to your mother? (F)
Do you use swear words when you participate in class discussions? (F)
With which people are you most likely to use swear words? (MC) With which people are you least likely to use swear words? (MC)

The questions above refer to the participants' speech behavior with various members of their speech communities and social network. In answering these questions, the participants reveal to what extent their speech behavior varies according to interlocutor age, social distance and social status.

What is most likely to affect whether or not you will use swear words? (MC) In order to answer this question, the participants were required to choose from the four following possibilities: "Where I am", "Whom I'm talking to", "How I feel" or










"What I'm talking about". The participants' answers reveal which social variable they are most likely to consider in determining the appropriateness of swearing.

In what emotional state are you in when you are most likely to swear? (MC)
Do you use swear words to offend/hurt people? (F)

As discussed in Chapter 1, swearing is most often associated with negativity and offensive, abusive or aggressive behavior. These questions were intended to either confirm or challenge this perspective, by requiring the participants to express what they think they do, and comparing that to what they actually do, as revealed by the spontaneous speech observations.

Questions referring to other behavior included:

Do your friends use swear words when they speak to you? (F) Does your father use swear words when he speaks to you? (F)
Does your mother use swear words when she speaks to you? (F)

These questions were intended as cross-references to the self-behavior questions

which focused on the same groups of people, that is, friends and parents. Comparing the answers to these two sets of questions reveals whether swearing is a speech behavior practiced reciprocally by the participants and members of their speech community and social networks.

Is there a type of person you think should not use swear words? (0)

Similar to the question of 'personal rules' for self-behavior, this question seeks to

reveal whether the participants have 'rules' for the behavior of others. It also potentially reveals group association or disassociation, depending on the participants' own swearing behavior, as revealed by the self-behavior questions.










Do you think it is acceptable for professors/instructors at the university to use
swear words in class? (Y/N)
Have any of your university professors/instructors ever used swear words
during class lectures? (Y/N)

As university undergraduate students, each of the participants interact on a regular basis with university instructors and professors. They are, therefore, members of the same speech community. However, evidence of intra- and inter-speaker variation within the same speech community may indicate the existence of sub-groups, in this case, students as one group, instructors as another (cf. Johnson and Fine, 1985). These questions, cross-referenced with the question on the participant's in-class swearing behavior, reveal whether swearing is a cross-group phenomenon within the speech community, and whether the participant's sociolinguistic competence allows for swearing from both groups.

Do you think men swear more often than women do? (><)

As discussed in Chapter 1, the stereotype of swearing as a predominantly masculine behavior persists, despite evidence to the contrary. This question reveals the participants' adherence to the stereotype and contributes to understanding the relationship between perceptions and the reality of gender differences in swearing behavior.

Do you feel offended when your friends use swear words when they speak to
you? (F)
Do you feel offended when people you don't know use swear words when they
speak to you? (F)

These questions refer to the assumption of swearing as an offensive behavior (see Chapter 1). While recognizing the inherent offensiveness of swear words (i.e., 'do you










feel offended...'), these questions seek to discover if it is categorical or variable, based on, in this case, interlocutor social distance.

Both the self- and other-behavior sets of questions were intended to uncover some social and stylistic factors which cause intra- and inter-speaker variation. The answers that the participants provided are a reflection of what they think they do or should do, not necessarily what they actually do. Nevertheless, such information is an indicator of how the members of this particular speech community understand and perceive the social and cultural rules governing their language use.

4. Offensiveness ratings of contextualized swearing. The fifth page of the

questionnaire presented the participants with six instances of actual swearing utterances, that is, short dialogues that were recorded during observation. All six dialogues took place among undergraduate students talking at various public areas of the university campus. The sex and race of each dialogue participant was also provided.

Similar to the offensiveness rating task on the second page of the questionnaire, the participants were asked to rate the offensiveness of the individual swear words on a scale of '1' ('Not Offensive') to '10' ('Very Offensive'). The swear words appeared in bold type in the dialogues and included: 'fuck', 'fucking', 'motherfucking', 'shit', 'shitty', and 'ass'. Examples of both 'shit' and 'fuck' in different referential frames were given, that is, as metaphorical and denotative references, in order investigate whether the duality of these words would result in different offensiveness ratings.

In Chapter 1, it was pointed out that offensiveness ratings of isolated swear words are unreliable since it is impossible to know how a rating task participant interprets the










individual words. In the present study, the offensiveness rating of contextualized swearing is intended to be juxtaposed with the offensiveness rating of isolated swear words to reveal any judgmental discrepancies and to emphasize the importance of studying language and speech variation as socially and contextually bound phenomena.

5. Reactions to the questionnaire. The final section of the questionnaire consisted of three sets of three statements representing possible opinions the participants may have on swearing in general and three sets of three statements representing possible participant reactions to the questionnaire. The participants were asked to choose the set of statements which best reflected their opinions and reactions, with the possibility of deleting any statement with which they did not agree, and adding any additional comments. The purpose of this final section was to reveal the participants' general disposition towards 1) swearing as a speech behavior exhibited in present day society, and 2) swearing as a linguistic phenomenon with social meaning.

Finally, a short paragraph concluded the questionnaire by inviting the participants to take part in a voluntary follow-up interview to discuss their answers and the topic of swearing in further detail.



Ethnographic Interview



The Labovian tradition of sociolinguistic research and methodology is one of autonomy. The researcher works as an independent figure, analyzing and drawing conclusions based on the systematic observation of speech behavior. The extent of








41

his/her interaction with members of the speech community under investigation is limited to data collection, and varies from little (or none), as in the case of discrete observation of spontaneous speech, to more overt interaction required by elicitation techniques such as Discourse Completion Tasks or the sociolinguistic interview (Labov, 1972). An important element to data collection, according to Labovian techniques, is that the member(s) of the studied speech community remain unaware of the researcher's focus. In this way, data can be collected in a systematic manner under a variety of circumstances, allowing the researcher to execute an analysis based solely on the production, that is, elicited and/or observed speech behavior, of the speech community members.

In contrast to this Labovian approach to sociolinguistic research, in which there is but superficial interaction between the researcher and the members of the speech community, is the approach associated with and credited to Dell Hymes, namely, the ethnography of speaking. Hymes (1974) proposed that the speech community be regarded not just as a source of speech behavior, but that the researcher, now referred to as the ethnographer, see members of the speech community "as sources of shared knowledge and insight" (p.8). According to Hymes, "the only worthwhile future for the sciences of man lies in the realization of such an approach. [...] Mere observation, however systematic and repeated, can obviously never suffice to meet such high standards of objectivity and validity" (pp. 10-11). As further justification for an ethnographic approach, he offers a related example, taken from the early conclusions of Spier and Sapir (1930) resulting from their study of tribal avoidance behavior: "The










moral is that it is as necessary to discover what the native sentiment is as well as to record behavior" (p. 217).

The ethnographic interview is the technique which allows the ethnographer to tap

into the insight and shared knowledge of members of the speech community. According to Boxer (1993):

Since the ethnographic interview is a method of getting people to talk about what
they know--of discovering what human behaviors mean to the individuals
participating in those behaviors--it differs greatly from the traditional interview or
questionnaire in that it seeks to uncover not only knowledge that is explicit but also
knowledge that is tacit. (p. 115)

Uncovering tacit knowledge requires strategic questioning. A restrictive interview format, with a fixed set of questions, should be avoided in favor of more spontaneous questions, based on the informant's own comments. By focusing on depth as opposed to breadth, the ethnographer can guide the informant into making tacit knowledge explicit, tapping into "native sentiment" and "shared insight".

Interview format. After completing the questionnaire, twenty-three participants (35%) volunteered to be interviewed, eleven (17%) of whom where chosen on the basis of race, sex and questionnaire information, in an effort to achieve a comprehensive representation. Each interview was tape-recorded and lasted 30 to 45 minutes. Full interview transcripts are included in Appendix F.

The questionnaire served as a springboard for the interview. As discussed above,

because questionnaires must be structured in such a way so as to allow for tabulation and quantification of data, depth is sacrificed for breadth. Thus, they are ideal as a preliminary to the ethnographic interview in that they reveal areas which require deeper








43

investigation. Furthermore, the fact that the interview informants had participated in the questionnaire meant that they were familiar with the research subject and had been inspired to consider different aspects of swearing.

Each interview commenced in the same way, namely, by having the informants describe the style of speech they use in informal, social interaction, as opposed to academic or professional. This question was intended to encourage the informants to consider the different contexts in which they use language and to discover if they were aware of any resulting variability. They were then asked to comment on whether swearing was a feature of any of their various styles. In this way, the informants were encouraged to consider the variability of their swearing behavior.

The informants were then directed to their own completed questionnaires and asked to comment on different responses, beginning with the ratings of the isolated swear words. The ratings section for the questionnaire was based on Jay's 1977 and 1978 offensiveness ratings studies, in which he presented subjects with a list of taboo and nontaboo words (1977) and a list of offensive items, including words and actions (1978). The college student subjects for the 1977 study were instructed to judge how offensive each word would be to "a significant part of the population." Jay justified his instructions by claiming that "some students may think that they are not offended by anything. The results were intended to reflect general standards, not college students' values" (Jay, 1992, p.141). Similarly, for the 1978 study, the college student subjects were instructed to "estimate the degree to which each of the items were offensive to the










general public." He was admittedly uninterested in "an individual subject's ideas or personality" (p. 141).

There are two major faults in Jay's studies. The first one concerns requiring the study subjects to provide offensiveness ratings on behalf of others. Such data is unreliable; terms such as "significant part of the population" and "general population" are both vague and unrealistic, inevitably resulting in variable interpretations. Furthermore, the results are of little value without additional data for comparison, such as ratings from actual members of the "general population" and personal ratings from the college student subjects.

Secondly, in both studies offensiveness of swear words is assumed and imposed upon the participants, rendering alternative interpretations improbable. By being presented with a list of taboo and non-taboo words unaccompanied by context (1977) and instructed to rate the offensiveness of each word, the participants were encouraged to consider the taboo words (swear words) as inherently offensive. The participants were similarly influenced to consider only the offensiveness of swear words in the 1978 study, which required them to compare hearing different swear words to witnessing decidedly offensive acts such as rape, murder, child abuse or sodomy. Despite the format of these two studies, i.e. lists of words in no context, which allow for open interpretation from each study subject, Jay ensured consistent ratings from his study subjects by encouraging them to consider only one aspect of swear words.

The ethnographic interviews conducted for the present study allowed the informants to explain their thought processes in completing the ratings section of the questionnaire,











thereby revealing their own personal interpretations and individual evaluations of the individual words and swearing behavior in general. Furthermore, the informants were able to comment on any discrepancies between their ratings of the isolated swear words (questionnaire Part II) and their ratings of the contextualized swear words (questionnaire Part IV).

The informants were then asked to elaborate on their answers to the open-ended

questions of the questionnaire, such as, "In your opinion, is the offensiveness of [swear] words fixed and unchanging?"; "Do you have any personal rules about swearing?" and "Is there a type of person you think should not use swear words?".

Finally, the informants were invited to comment on and/or clarify various

questionnaire answers by giving examples of or telling anecdotes relating to their own swearing behavior and that of their family members, friends, classmates, professors, coworkers, males vs. females, etc. All of the eleven informants were markedly aware of their own and others' swearing behavior and were both interested in the discussion/interview topic and eager to share their experiences and opinions.



Weaknesses of Methodology



Although the combination of methodologies--observation of spontaneous speech, questionnaire and ethnographic interviews--reflects an improvement upon the methodologies of previous swearing research by allowing for validity checks of actual








46

usage, reported usage and perceptions, each individual methodology is, alas, not without its own weaknesses.

Observation of spontaneous speech. The use of field notes in the discrete

observation of spontaneous speech was preferred over contrived elicitation methods, such as questionnaires or the sociolinguistic interview, which seek to engage participants in the speech behavior under investigation. Although swearing is typical of aggressive (Driscoll, 1981) and in-group (Coates, 1986; Holmes, 1992; Johnson and Fine, 1985; Montagu, 1967) behavior, it would be undesirable (and, possibly, dangerous) to use provocation as an elicitation technique and unlikely that an interview situation, however casual it may be, would produce the sort of solidarity which is conducive to swearing behavior. Furthermore, swearing utterances were abundant on and around the university campus, making elicitation unnecessary.

One of the weakness involved in the field note recording of spontaneous swearing utterances is the potential for a lack of accuracy. While the most of the variables of the social context as well as the swearing utterance itself were easily recorded, the relationship and social distance of the interlocutors were, at times, indeterminable to me as an out-group member. In addition, to avoid the Observer's Paradox, it was necessary to enlist the aide of members of the speech community, university undergraduate students, to record utterances which I would otherwise not have had access to. While each of the twenty-nine students received training in the recording of field notes and was informed of the specifics required by the field note cards, their discretion and accuracy










can not be guaranteed. However, care was taken to exclude incomplete or faulty field note information.

Questionnaire. As discussed earlier in this chapter, questionnaires have the

potential to generate a large amount of data from many people. However, they must be designed in such a way that they are 'participant friendly', that is, not all too timeconsuming or difficult to understand. Their design should also facilitate the quantification of data. For the present study, these constraints resulted in the use of factfinding questions (Part I, Demographics), rating tasks (Parts II and IV), six short-answer questions (Parts II and III) and twenty-seven multiple choice questions (Parts III and V).

The weaknesses involved in swear word rating tasks include presentation and

imposed bias. By presenting swear words in lists, they are without context and, as such, do not reflect realistic usage. Moreover, the bias imposed by the evaluative scale discourages alternative interpretations. Part II of the questionnaire was not designed to remedy these weaknesses, but rather was intended to replicate them. The ratings generated by this task could then be juxtaposed with those resulting from the rating task of Part IV, which required participants to consider the offensiveness of socially contextualized swear words.

With the inclusion of social context, the latter rating task represents an improvement upon the traditional method. However, it too is not without weaknesses. First, in order to investigate the effects of various social contexts on the evaluation of swear words, only a limited set of words is represented: 'ass', 'shit', 'fuck' and several inflections and derivatives, thereof. Thus, the words represent the control while their usage










(metaphorical or denotative) and users (sex and race) represent the variables. Consequently, a comparison of ratings is only applicable to the swear words common to both tasks.

Secondly, although the dialogues represent actual utterances overheard and recorded with field notes, by appearing in print as part of a questionnaire they are rendered unnatural. As an oral phenomenon, the ideal method of subjecting swearing to sociolinguistic evaluation is through aural and visual simulation. The written representation of social interaction and context requires a greater effort on the part of the participant and, as such, is vulnerable to inconsistencies.

A final weakness evident in the questionnaire is the inexactness inherent to the

multiple choice answers of frequency (often, sometimes, rarely, never). As one person's 'often' may be another person's 'rarely', it is difficult to translate these terms into reliable statistics. Furthermore, it is impossible to check the truth of these answers. They must be therefore taken for what they are, namely, what people say they do, as opposed to what people actually do.

Ethnographic interview. It must be noted that the ethnographic interview of the

present study is more correctly referred to as a quasi-ethnographic interview. Prior to the interview, I had only met the informants one time, that being on the occasion of their participation in the questionnaire. Thus, as the interviews were the first and only opportunities to converse with the informants, they are only quasi-ethnographic as they do not reflect the rapport that emerges after a series of meetings over time (cf. Spradley, 1979).










Source of data. The choice of a college-student sample population was motivated by previous swearing research which 1) showed evidence of frequent swearing behavior within this type of speech community and 2) established baseline information for this environment. Acknowledging Jay's (1992) remonstration that "too much of the information accumulated on the use of dirty words is limited to white, middle class, American college students" (p. 243), the data on which this study is based reflect racial diversity amongst the members of the speech community. However, the speech community represented in this study is that of undergraduate students at the University of Florida, which, at more than 31,000 students, is comprised of approximately 68% Whites, 10% International students, 9% Hispanics, 6% African-Americans, 6% AsianAmericans and 1% American-Indians. The distribution of races represented by the present study reflects that of the University of Florida and, as such, is clearly no remedy to the problem of limited sampling.



Summary



A sociolinguistic approach to swearing involves the observation, description and explanation of swearing as a variable behavior, the occurrence of which is a function of social context and conveys social meaning. The recording of spontaneous swearing utterances and the particulars of the full social context in which they occur is essential to the analysis of swearing as a function of sociolinguistic variables. This analysis must also take into account the cultural and social norms of the speech community, which can








50

be revealed in part through the use of questionnaires. Finally, the ethnographic interview can be used to tap into the implicit knowledge that speakers have as to how the interaction of the social norms of their speech community and social context affect their and others' swearing behavior.














CHAPTER 3
SPONTANEOUS SPEECH



Introduction



In this chapter, the quantitative analysis of swearing utterances collected from the

observation of spontaneous speech is presented. As an oral phenomenon, the observation of spontaneous swearing behavior is vital to the present study as the foundation for analysis. A data base of actual utterances complemented by details of the social context in which they occurred allows for comparison of data from the questionnaires and ethnographic interviews. This, in turn, will provide a basis for comparison of what the members of the speech community actually do to what they say --or think-- they do.



General Totals: Race and Gender



A total of 394 spontaneous swearing utterances containing 528 swear words were

recorded with field notes on or around the University of Florida campus during an eightweek period. These swearing utterances (Appendix B) were contributed by 213 males (54%) and 181 females (46%) representing Whites, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans. Table 3.1 shows the race and gender distribution of the study population. The totals are given in terms of both numbers and percentages.










Table 3.11 Race and Gender Distribution of the Sample Population

African- AsianWhite American Hispanic American Males 143 36.3% 46 11.7% 9 2.3% 15 3.8% Females 126 32.0% 27 6.9% 16 4.1% 12 3.0% Totals: 269 68.3% 73 18.6% 25 6.3% 27 6.8%


The total student population at the University of Florida has the following race

distribution: Whites-68%, Hispanics-9%, African-Americans-6%, and Asian-Americans6%.2 Males and females each comprise about 50% of the student population. The study sample represented in Table 3.1, while correlating with the gender distribution and the White majority of the total student population, reflects a considerably higher representation of African-Americans, and a slightly lower representation of Hispanics. While African-Americans comprise 6% of the total student body, they represent almost 19% of the study population. Hispanics, however, are underrepresented. Table 3.2 shows the representation of the totals from each race in the study population in terms of the percentage of the total student body for each respective race.



Table 3.2 Race and Gender Distribution of the Sample Population African- AsianWhite American Hispanic American Totals: 269 0.7% 73 2.7% 25 0.6% 27 I 1.0%/


I In this and all other tables in this chapter, percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number and therefore the totals may not correspond to 100%. Values of less than 1% appear as 0%.
2 International and American-Indians make up the remaining 11%.











Thus, while Whites make up 68.3% of the study population, 289 contributors

corresponds to only 0.7% of the total White student body, with the Hispanics and AsianAmericans, at 25 and 27 contributors respectively, accounting for similarly low percentages.

A total of 2.7% of the entire African-American student body are represented in the study population, a higher representation than any other race. There are two possible explanations for this imbalance: 1) there is a greater tendency towards swearing behavior among the African-Americans than the other races of this speech community or 2) the contributions outnumber the contributors. In other words, more than one utterance per speaker could have been recorded, resulting in an inflated percentage. The anonymous nature of observation allows for this possibility and, as such, applies to the percentages for each racial group.

Race and gender of the speaker were only two of the details of social context included on the field note cards during the observation of spontaneous swearing utterances. As outlined in Chapter 2, further details included setting or scene, social distance or social status of the participants, topic of conversation in which the swearing utterance occurred, tone of the swearing utterance, the utterance itself, and the reaction. The totals for these categories, along with correlating percentages, are shown in Table 3.3. Excluded from this and other tables in this chapter are totals for 'setting', 'topic', and the swearing utterances in full. The inclusion of 'topic' in field note data was mainly to provide a more accurate interpretation of both the context and the tone of the swearing utterance. Furthermore, the variety of topics and settings represented by the 394











swearing utterances proved too great to warrant categorization, implying that swearing

behavior is less constrained by these variables. Finally, only the actual swear words are

presented in this and the remaining tables of this chapter. The full utterances, as well as

setting and topic data, can be found in Appendix B.



Table 3.3 All Males and Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals

Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction
AFriends 61% 240 Distressed 19% 73 Fucking 27% 142 No not'able 47% 186
AClassmates 10% 41 Humorous 18% 70 Shit 25% 133 Laughter 28% 109 ARoommates 9% 37 Angry 14% 57 Fuck 11% 57 Echo 22% 85
Alntimates 6% 23 Emphatic 13% 53 Bitch 8% 40 Rejection 3% 11
ASisters 2% 8 Excited 9% 35 Ass 7% 36 Echo/Rej. 1% 2
Strangers 2% 8 Anecdotal 7% 27 Damn 6% 30 Laugh/Rej. 0% 1 Instructor, Supportive 6% 22 Fucked 4% 20
students 2% 7 Rebellious 4% 14 Hell 3% 15
ACoworkers 2% 7 Sarcastic 3% 12 Goddamn 3% 14 ATeammates 1% 5 Serious 3% 12 Asshole 2% 11 BEmployer, Abusive 3% 10 M'fucking 2% 8
employee 1% 4 Desperate 2% 8 M'fucker 1% 5 CClassmates, Surprised 0% 1 Bullshit 1% 5
instructor 1% 3 Shitty 1% 4 BCustomer, Dick 1% 4
employee 1% 3 Bastard 1% 3 intimates, Fucker 0% 1
friends 1% 3
AClub members 1% 2
CFriends,
strangers 1% 2
"Doctor,
patient 0% 1
Total: 100% 394 Total: 100% 394 Total: 100% 528 Total: I100% 394


A Refers to the mutual social distance relationship between the speaker and addressee(s). B Refers to the social status of the speaker, followed by the social status of the addressee(s). c Refers to the speakers' different social distance or social status relationships vis-A-vis their addressee(s).










Social Distance and Social Status



The juxtaposition of high values from both offensiveness ratings and frequency

counts contribute to the 'swearing paradox', namely, that sensitivity to the offensiveness of swear words is proportional to the frequency of their occurrence. Both types of studies have focused on the swear word as opposed to the swearing utterance, and, as a result, have established swearing as a highly offensive, frequently occurring behavior. The paradox is a result of the omission of social context in which the swear words occur as well as the evaluative bias of the ratings system.

The effects of social context on swearing behavior have been examined in terms of age and gender of interlocutors, as well as degree of formality of the social interaction. The data for the present study suggest, however, that it is the social distance of the participants which most motivates swearing behavior and, as such, should be considered in the evaluation and interpretation of swearing behavior.

By regarding interlocutor social distance as a meaningful variable, sociolinguists acknowledge that how well interlocutors know one another affects their linguistic choices. Social distance has not figured prominently in sociolinguistic studies of the use of American English in face-to-face interaction (notable exceptions include Wolfson's Bulge, 1988, and Boxer, 1993), and has had even less recognition in swearing research which, instead, reflects focuses on frequency counts, offensiveness ratings, and malefemale behavioral differences (see Chapter 1).










The data in Table 3.3 show that the high frequency of swearing among college

students already substantiated in previous studies is not categorical, but rather variable according to participant social distance. Swearing was found to occur among friends 61% of the time. An additional 9% of all swearing occurrences took place among participants sharing a similarly high or higher level of solidarity: sisters and intimates.

When the relevance of the interlocutors' relationship vis-A-vis the social context

superceded the social distance measurement, it was recorded in the field notes, yielding such classifications as roommates, classmates, coworkers, teammates and club members. While the same two (or more) people may interact as friends or even have no apparent relationship in one social context, in a different context they may assume a more salient role, such as club members, which obscures their degree of social distance. Such associations can all be variable with respect to social distance; classmates can be friends or strangers. However, it can be assumed that regular interaction and common experiences contribute to solidarity, resulting in a degree of intimacy comparable to friends. Twenty-three percent of the total swearing utterances occurred within such contexts.

Like the associations described above, differences in social status are also made salient according to context and obscure the evaluation of social distance. Although certain formal settings influence language choice regardless of interlocutor relationship, degrees of formality often reflect differences in interlocutor social status. Five percent of the swearing utterances occurred among participants of markedly different social status, including instructor and students, employer and employee, customer and employee,










doctor and patient, and classmates and teacher. The remaining 2% of swearing utterances occurred between strangers, i.e., interlocutors of no intimacy.

Johnson and Fine (1985) found that their college student subjects perceived swearing as an isogloss, a boundary marker between their speech community and others. The data for the present study indicate that swearing more specifically serves as an intra-speech community isogloss, marking boundaries between social groups within the speech community. That the majority of swearing utterances were made amongst friends and other interlocutors of similar intimacy is indicative of swearing as a symbol of solidarity and an affirmation of in-group membership.

The frequency of swearing among interlocutors of high solidarity challenges the assumption of swearing as abusive, aggressive and offensive. As a variable behavior, motivated or inhibited by sociolinguistic variables, the inherent offensiveness of swearing must also be variable according to social context.



Tone of Swearing Utterance



The variability of offensiveness suggested in the previous section finds support in the data for tone of utterance. According to Hymes (1974),

Key is introduced to provide for the tone, manner, or spirit in which an act is done. [... ] The significance of key is underlined by the fact that, when it is
in conflict with the overt content of an act, it often overrides the latter. (p. 57)

Thus, the overt offensiveness of swear words can be overridden by the tone in which they are uttered.










Tone has been addressed only to a limited degree in swearing research. Driscoll (1981) examined aggressiveness ratings for swear words uttered as epithets (e.g., "You bitch!"); Mabry investigated inhibitions associated with using swear words, slang and euphemisms in manners ranging from abrasive to colloquial.

Related to tone is mood or emotion. In Chapter 1, several studies were reviewed

which examined the effects of emotion on swearing behavior. These studies revealed an assumption of swearing as an expression of typically negative feelings (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Wierzbicka, 1991), and showed an inverse relationship between swearing and positive feelings. Ross' (1969) study, however, revealed that the frequency of swearing increased among the study participants (five men and three women, zoologist graduate students) when they were "relaxed and happy" (p. 480) or when under slight stress. The significance of this finding is two-fold: first, there is evidence that swearing can occur under positive social circumstances and second, the occurrence of swearing in both positive and negative emotional environments supports the possibility of varying offensiveness. Ross' (1969) observations led her to suggest the existence of two types of swearing behavior, social swearing and annoyance swearing, the former occurring in situations of low stress and intended as a solidarity builder and the latter occurring in situations of increased stress, a manifestation of a release of tension.

Although tone of utterance may be a reflection of the speaker's mood, it is not necessarily indicative of it --a person may be feeling sad but make utterances in a humorous tone. The variety of tones listed in Table 3.3 suggest that swearing is not indicative of any one emotion, and that it may be expressed in manners other than








59

abrasive and aggressive. The data also seem to corroborate Ross' observations of social swearing and annoyance swearing. The tones falling under the category of social swearing include: humorous, emphatic, excited, anecdotal, supportive, sarcastic, serious and surprised. Social swearing accounts for 57% of the spontaneous swearing utterances. Annoyance swearing is therefore 43% of all utterances and includes the tones distressed, angry, rebellious, abusive and desperate.

Although social swearing accounts for more than half of the data, the most often

occurring tone, distressed, falls into the category of annoyance. The four most frequently occurring tones consist of two social and two annoyance types of swearing, with annoyance swearing ('distressed'-19%, 'angry'-14%) occurring 33% of the time and social swearing ('humorous'-18%, 'emphatic'-13%) occurring 31% of the time. Thus, while more than half of the total swearing utterances were of the social swearing type, more than half of the four mostfrequently occurring tones were of the annoyance swearing type. There exists, therefore, a stable balance of social and annoyance swearing in this speech community.

Distressed and desperate. Swearing is considered to be a natural and even healthy expression of frustration and stress (Graves, 1936; Montagu, 1967). Swearing at a time of crisis has the function of a "relief mechanism whereby excess energy is allowed to escape without doing anyone any serious injury, while doing the swearer some good" (Montagu, 1967, p. 68). Studies on the physiological effects of swearing (Campbell, 1897; King and Henry, 1955; MacKinnon, 1938) have documented a clear relationship between distress and swearing, the former being a consistent predecessor to the latter.










As the most frequently occurring tone, 'distressed' was assigned to swearing

utterances expressing stress, frustration or complaints. Distressed swearing occurred predominantly (70%) among participants of similar social status and close social distance: friends (48%), roommates (11%), intimates (10%) and sisters (1%). An additional 23% of distressed swearing utterances occurred among classmates (19%) and coworkers (4%).

Only 7% of distressed swearing occurred among participants of either different

social status, doctor, patient (1%), or of great social distance, strangers (6%). None of the distressed swearing which occurred among strangers was directed at a stranger; the utterance was made to no one in particular and without expectation of a reply. Following are examples of distressed swearing (speaker race and gender, relationship to listener(s) and topic appear in parentheses following each utterance)3:

#145:I'm so fucking freaked out I forgot to take my damn anti-depressant medicine
today. (White female to friends, mental health)

#365: Still, it's like one more goddamn fucking shit mess to clean up. I mean, my
mom won't care. But it's like, shit, you know? (White female to friend,
cleaning house)

Similar to 'distressed' but even more intense is 'desperate', a tone assigned to only 8 utterances. All eight utterances occurred among friends, as the greater the social distance, the less likely one is to reveal desperation. Examples of distressed swearing include:




3 The numbers preceding all example utterances refer to the numbering of the spontaneous speech data as it appears in Appendix B.








61

#253:Fuck! I have a fucking music test tomorrow! (White female to friends, future
test)

#307:I don't know what the hell you want me to do! (White male to friend,
disagreement between the participants)

Humorous. The interplay of swearing and humor has been documented, and

swearing has been found to be both an embodiment of humor and an enhancement to an already humorous statement or situation (Zelvys, 1990; Fine, 1979; Sewell, 1984). While females find less humor in jokes and stories containing strong expletives than males do, both genders rate stories with no swearing as less funny than those with swearing (Abbott and Jay, 1978; Sewell, 1984). The potential offensiveness of swear words is lessened or dulled by their being couched in humor. For this reason, humorous swearing can be found to occur among participants of varying social distance and social status, as evidenced by the spontaneous swearing data. According to Fine (1976), the combination of humor and taboo behavior can bridge the gaps of social distance and social status and serve as the catalyst to solidarity:

[Obscene] humor can be analyzed from a social perspective--in terms of its
role for the community and for small groups of individuals. This type of humor serves very definite and often quite important functions for society in that it creates and maintains a sense of community for the participating members. A group which has eaten of the "forbidden fruit" is because of
this act bound together. (p. 134)

A humorous tone was assigned to utterances delivered as a joke or when it was

perceived that the intention of the speaker was to be funny. This tone characterized 18% of the spontaneous swearing utterances. Of these, 78% were made among friends (60%), roommates (11%) and intimates (7%), and, representing a possible greater social distance, classmates (9%) and coworkers (1%) account for 10%. The final 12% were










made among participants of different social status and evidently low solidarity: classmates and teacher (5%), boss and employee (3%), teacher and students (3%) and strangers (1%). Examples of humorous swearing are:

#119:My hometown, Brooklyn, has fucking Mafia everywhere. You're bound to get
your fucking brains blown out. (White male to friends, hometown)

#147:Depressed people look at the world through dung colored glasses. Or, for those
of you who don't know French, shit colored glasses. (White male instructor to
students; class discussion)

Angry and abusive. For his study of aggressiveness ratings of pejorative epithets, Driscoll (1981) required his 48 male and 48 female college student participants to rate a list of 316 words or phrases for aggressiveness. The participants were to assume that the words or phrases were used in anger against them, in the form of the epithet: You

!, for example, You son of a bitch! They were then to rate each epithet on a seven-point scale: 0 for least aggressive to 6 for most aggressive. A total of 40 or 13% of the 316 epithets received a mean rating above 4.0. Of these highly aggressive epithets, 23 or 58% included swear words and derivatives as defined for this study: 'ass', 'bastard', 'bitch', 'fuck' and 'shit'. The mean aggressiveness rating for the epithets containing swear words was 4.63.

Ratings were also taken for frequency of aggressive use, and also on a seven-point scale: 0 for never having heard the word used aggressively to 6 for hearing the word used aggressively daily or more often. The mean frequency of aggressive use for the epithets including swear words was 3.56, with 18 of the 23, or 78%, receiving a mean frequency rating of 4 and higher (about once a month) or 5 and higher (about once a week).










That more than half of the epithets rated highest for aggressiveness included

swearing (as defined for this study) and that these epithets received a high perceived frequency of use rating is in conflict with the spontaneous swearing data collected for the present study. 'Angry' was assigned to only 14% of the total swearing utterances, none of which match the pattern, 'You !'. Examples of angry swearing include:

#8: She gave me a fucking ticket for having a broken taillight! (White male to
friend, traffic ticket)

#104: What the fuck? The damn server is down again. Microsoft sucks ass. (White
male to friends, internet)

Swearing utterances made in an abusive manner, on the other hand, do include

epithets such as the model epithet of Driscoll's study. At only 3% of the spontaneous swearing data, however, the frequency of abusive swearing would seem to be significantly lower than Driscoll's perceived frequency ratings. Furthermore, at such a low frequency of occurrence, it is difficult to discern any tendencies or patterns regarding sociolinguistic variables. The ten abusive swearing utterances collected represent varying degrees of participant relationship and one example of an interaction between strangers of different social status. Examples of abusive swearing include:

#57: I'll fucking hit you next time, bitch! (White male to stranger, traffic incident)

#58: Fuck you! (White male to stranger, response to #57)

Emphatic, excited, anecdotal, surprised. Swearing utterances which were made in emphatic, excited or anecdotal manners would be categorized, according to Ross' dichotomy, under social swearing. No annoyance or stress could be detected in swearing utterances which were judged to be 'emphatic', 'excited' or 'anecdotal'.










Emphatic swearing refers to swearing utterances made in a tone of insistence, without substantial trace of any other tone. Of the 53 emphatic swearing utterances, representing 13% of the spontaneous swearing data, 45 (85%) occurred among participants of close social distance: friends (72%), roommates (9%), sisters (2%), intimates (2%). Of the 15% remaining emphatic swearing interactions, 9% occurred among classmates, 4% were made by an instructor to his students, and 2% occurred among strangers. Examples of emphatic swearing include:

#55: We need some more fucking soda. (Asian-American male to friend, grocery
shopping)

#342:Your ass don't be listening, man. That shit's the bomb. (African-American
male to friends, song)

Excited and anecdotal swearing differ from emphatic swearing in that speakers are more engaged and involved in what they are saying. The majority of excited and anecdotal swearing utterances were made while the speakers were explaining something or telling a story. Although the two tones are quite similar, 'excited' represents a more intense tone than 'anecdotal'. Excited swearing occurred almost exclusively among participants of close social distance and similar social status (friends 68%, roommates 16%, intimates 8% and sisters 5%), with the exception of one utterance made by a male instructor to his class (3%). Examples of excited swearing include:

#109:Mike, you should've seen this fucker. This bitch was going from the far lane to
the rear, cut off two fucking huge semis and went down the wrong way for
fucking 100 yards or so. (White male to friends, motorist)

#390: They turned the lights off and shit. It was motherfucking crazy. (AfricanAmerican male to friends, party)










It is the speaker's intent to express excitement, but also to instill excitement among his interlocutors. Anecdotal swearing seems to have a similar purpose. This tone was assigned to swearing utterances which also occurred during narratives, but such as to be characterized by calm as opposed to excitement or emphasis. The occurrence of swearing in a calm, relaxed social context is indicative of interlocutor solidarity. The speaker reveals his evaluation of the context as appropriate for swearing, implying close social distance and in-group membership with the interlocutors. As a reflection of this evaluation, the speaker's swearing may inspire reciprocation.

At 7% of the total spontaneous swearing data, anecdotal swearing occurred

predominantly among participants of close social distance; friends and intimates account for 78% of total. 7% of anecdotal swearing occurred among classmates and club members; 15% occurred among interlocutors of different social status. Following are examples of anecdotal swearing:

#245:Emotional difficulties could cause this type of personality disorder. She's just
fucked up. (White male doctor to employee, patient)

#381:So I showed up at class with only a pencil and was like, this is the only fucking
thing I need to take a quiz. (White female to friend, class preparation)

The use of swearing by participants of higher status introduces or reflects an informality which is atypical for such social contexts. It is an effort to establish solidarity, thereby minimizing the differences in social status. This phenomenon will be revisited in Chapter 4.

Finally, one swearing utterance was made in a surprised manner. In this particular case, it can be said that the utterance was made in the presence of another participant,










although not directed at the participant. It can also be assumed that the speaker was aware of her audience and that the swearing utterance was a result of their close social distance:

#75: What the hell...? (Asian-American female to sisters, hit by falling object)

Supportive. Twenty-two (6%) of the spontaneous swearing utterances were made in a supportive tone. Fifteen (68%) of these were 'echo' responses (see section 3.5.3), which means they were a swearing turn in answer to a previous swearing utterance4. The majority of the supportive swearing, therefore, was not only a response to the content of the initial utterance, but a support of the initial speaker's choice of verbal expression. By swearing in response to a swearing utterance, the speaker agrees that the initial speaker's situation warranted such expression. Examples of supportive swearing include:

#130:Yeah, no shit dude. You're pretty fucking lucky. (White male to friend,
response to distressed swearing)

#294:Yeah, he is an asshole. (White female to friend, response to serious swearing)

Rebellious. Rebellious swearing occurs when speakers either disagrees with a

statement they just heard, or reacts negatively to a situation. The speaker's rebellion is punctuated by swear words in an effort to strengthen or emphasize the sentiment. Rebellious swearing is, therefore, also emphatic in nature, but with a clear emotional tendency towards negativity. Rebellious swearing accounted for only 4% of the total spontaneous swearing utterances, reflecting usage among participants of similar social




SThese initial utterances were made in various tones, including 5 'distressed', 3 'angry', 2 'serious' and one each of 'anecdotal', 'excited', 'humorous', 'sarcastic', 'serious'.








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status and close social distance, i.e., friends (57%), roommates (14%), classmates (21%), coworkers (7%). Examples of rebellious swearing include:

#103: I don't give a damn about the quiz. (White female to classmate, quiz)

#230:Bullshit, man. That bitch is bluffing. He ain't got shit. (White male to friends,
poker game)

Sarcastic. Similar to rebellious swearing, sarcastic swearing is sarcasm peppered with swear words for the purpose of intensification. The data reveal that the cooccurrence of swearing and sarcasm generally results in malicious utterances, taunting and/or provoking the addressee. For this reason, such utterances seem to occur predominantly among participants of close social distance, the relative certainty of their relationships allowing for such caustic remarks (cf. Wolfson, 1988). Of the 12 sarcastic swearing utterances, 11 (92%) occurred among friends (9), roommates (1) and sisters (1); the remaining utterance was made between classmates. Examples of sarcastic swearing include:

#25: No shit, Sherlock. (White male to friends, listener's prior remark)

#262: Good job, dumbass. (White female to sister, spilt food)

Serious. Serious swearing can be likened to emphatic swearing, but with a more subdued tone. It is neither stress induced nor a product of a "relaxed and happy" atmosphere. The speaker is neither enthusiastic about his utterance, nor wants to evoke enthusiasm from the listener. Instead, serious swearing occurs as a reaction to or a realization of a sobering event or situation. At 3% of the total swearing utterances, serious swearing is consistent with the usage patterns established by the majority of tones, revealing the highest occurrence among friends (68%). The occurrence of serious








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swearing, albeit minimal, contributes to the disabusing of swearing from assumed tones of anger and aggression. Examples of serious swearing include:

#123:I feel like shit. (White female to friends, exercise fatigue)

#378:I'm bored out of my motherfucking mind. (African-American male to friend,
asked about well-being)



Swear Words



In comparison to other studies on swearing, cursing, obscene or profane language, the present study's definition of what qualifies as a swearing utterance is quite limited (see Chapter 1). A restricted working definition of swearing allowed for more concentrated and consequently more accurate field-note taking, while also allowing for more efficient and comprehensible tabulation. Furthermore, despite the definition's exclusivity, a substantial number of swearing utterances (394) was collected, resulting in a total use of 528 swear words. In the following sections, the usage of each word and its variations are discussed.

'Fuck', inflections and derivations. The single most important contributor to the swearing paradox is the word 'fuck'. It is consistently cited among the most frequently used swear words and just as consistently rates among the most offensive. It is of little wonder, then, that the word's etymology, literary appearances and linguistic development have all been thoroughly documented (Hughes, 1998; Montagu, 1967; Dictionary of Word Origins, 1997). Most recently, a book was even published devoted solely to the dynamics of 'fuck': The F-Word (Sheidlowers, 1999). With possible grammatical forms










including noun ('fuck', 'fucker', 'motherfucker'), verb ('to fuck'), adjective ('fucked', 'fucking') or adverb ('fucking'), no other swear word is as productive or multi-purpose as 'fuck', which explains its high frequency of occurrence.

'Fucking'. 'Fuck' and its variations account for 44% (228 instances) of the total swear word usage. 'Fucking', at 27% (143 instances), was the most frequently used word. In 56% (79) of these instances, 'fucking' was used as an adjective, for example:

#50: I got the last fucking copy of Good Will Hunting, boy! (Asian-American male
to roommate, movie rental)

In 42% (60) of the instances, 'fucking' was used as an adverb, for example:

#59: I fucking did it, dude! (White male to friends, skateboarding trick)

'Fucking' was used 2% of the time (3 instances) as the phrasal verb 'to fuck with', meaning 'to hassle', for example:

#349:First of all, they're fucking with the wrong kid. (African-American male to
friends, unknown topic)

Lastly, 'fucking' was used as the simple verb 'to fuck', a synonym for 'to have

intercourse'. In this instance, the speaker reacts to a previous usage of 'fucking' as an adverb, when she inquires about the time it took to answer the phone:

#348:I was fucking in the shower, dude! (White female to friend)

#349: Were you in the shower or fucking in the shower? (Hispanic female to friend) The use of 'fucking' in #349 exemplifies the dual nature of the word, the fact that it can be used denotatively or as an intensifier with little to no literal meaning but with stylistic value. It is this duality which makes 'fuck', and swear words in general,










paradoxical. This paradox was exploited by the speaker of #349 to achieve a humorous effect.

'Fuck'. 'Fuck' was used 55 times, or in 11% of the total swearing utterances. 43% of these occurrences (23 total instances) were formulaic, that is, 'fuck' was used in the formulas '...the fuck...' (16 instances or 30%), or 'fuck you' (7 instances or 13%) for example:

#20: I wish some people would watch where the fuck they was going. (AfricanAmerican female to friend and stranger, being bumped into)

#14: Fuck you -you're being an asshole. (White female to male coworker, unknown
topic)

There is lack of literal, sexual meaning evident in the formula '...the fuck...'. Used in this way, 'fuck' is virtually meaningless, serving simply as a filler, emphasizing and intensifying the speaker's emotion. In every single instance, 'the fuck' can be extracted without affecting the meaning of the utterance, but indeed compromising the illocutionary force (Austin, 1969), which is the fundamental motivation of swearing and the source of social meaning. Although the words mean nothing within the utterance, they have meaning within the social context, namely that the speaker has evaluated the context as suitable to swearing.

'Fuck you' was uttered a total of 7 times, or 13% of all 'fuck' utterances. Used in this formulaic sense, 'fuck' becomes synonymous with an expression of rejection, rather than invoking sexual connotations. Likewise, the use of 'fuck' with any other direct object, e.g., 'fuck that', 'fuck him', etc. has the same meaning. This usage accounts for another 15% (8 occurrences) of the 'fuck' utterances:










#40: Everybody's mad at you. What I'd do is just say fuck them. (AfricanAmerican female to friend, mutual friends)

Similar to 'fucking', 'fuck' is used predominantly in a non-literal sense. In only one instance was 'fuck' used as a synonym for 'to copulate or engage in sexual intercourse':

#256: What if I tell him that I don't want to fuck him anymore and he leaves? (White
female to friends, boyfriend)

Thus, at a total of 58%, more than half of the occurrences of 'fuck' reflect a usage of the word whose meaning is not represented by the following definitions provided by Webster's New World Dictionary (1999):

fuck: to copulate, to engage in sexual intercourse
slang, to meddle, to treat someone with great, usually malicious,
unfairness; to cheat
slang, undesirable or contemptible person
interjection, slang, an exclamation of anger, disappointment, etc.

fuck around: slang, to spend time idly

fuck up: slang, to make a mess; bungle or blunder
to confuse or disturb, especially mentally or emotionally

An additional six instances (11%) of 'fuck' are also incompatible with these

definitions. 'Fuck' was used as a noun three times: twice in the idiomatic expression 'to not give a fuck' (#11, #90) (cf. 'to not give a damn'), and once in the comparison 'boring as fuck' (#60). In another three instances, 'fuck' was used to form the following nominal compounds: 'fuckass' (#265), 'fuckhead' (#366) (references to people), and one adjectival compound: 'fuckless'(#380) (describing intensity of fear). While these uses of 'fuck' are quite understandable both in and out of context, an exact meaning for 'fuck' is difficult to articulate.










In addition to the use of 'fuck' in number #256, the remaining 30% of the instances are in accordance with the Webster definitions. 'Fuck' as an interjection occurred 14 times (26%), an example of which is:

#32: Fuck. I got a ticket. (White male to classmate, parking ticket)

Two instances (4%) of'fuck' as a phrasal verb include 'fuck up' and 'fuck with':

#213:Don't fuck it up! (White female to sister, cooking)

#191 :If she fucks with me one more time... (White male to friend, girlfriend)

'Fucked' and 'fucker'. As a verb, 'fuck' can be inflected to form the past tense and past participle forms 'fucked', which, at 19 occurrences, account for 4% of the total swearing utterances. Only one occurrence of 'fucked' was literal, i.e., referring to sexual intercourse:

#143:Yo! He fucked the shit out of her! (White male to friends, scene in a movie) Four instances of 'fucked' are in accordance with the slang definitions of fuck:

#361 :You guys are chicken shits. I'm sure he fucked you big time. (White female to
friends, sob story)

The remaining 12 instances of 'fucked' are inflections of the phrasal verb 'to fuck up', in accordance with the Webster definition:

#127:Dude, you got some fucked up lines on your face. (White male to roommate,
physical effects of sleeping)

'Fucker' was used only once (less than 1% of the total swearing utterances) and in accordance with the Webster definition for 'fuck' as a nominal:

#109: Mike, you should've seen this fucker. (...) (White male to friend, driving
incident)









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'Motherfucking' and 'motherfucker'. 'Motherfucking' and 'motherfucker' occur considerably less often and rate consistently higher in offensiveness and aggressiveness than any other forms of 'fuck' (See Chapter One: Frequency and Ratings). In the spontaneous swearing utterances, 'motherfucking' occurred 7 times, while 'motherfucker' occurred 6 times - a combined total of 2% of the total swearing utterances. Similar to 'fucking', 'motherfucking' occurred as an adjective and adverb and as such serves mainly a stylistic function: #367: You got no motherfucking choice. I don't care if it's motherfucking gonna
rain. You bring your ass there. (African-American female to friends,
responsibilities)

'Motherfucker', a compound noun, has the potential to be highly offensive if

intended or interpreted as literal. For this reason, it is seldom used, and mostly as an ironic term of endearment:

#154: What's up, motherfucker? (White male to friend, greeting)

With the inclusion of a number of various forms with various meanings, the

spontaneous swearing data provide evidence of the productivity of 'fuck'. The result of this productivity is a high frequency of use. However, despite the fact that 'fuck' and its variations are seldom used to connote 'copulation' or 'sexual intercourse', it is this association which endures, resulting in inflated offensiveness ratings which ultimately contribute to the 'swearing paradox'.

'Shit', 'bullshit' and 'shitty'. At 26% of the total swearing utterances, 'shit' ranks as the second most frequently used swear word. According to the spontaneous swearing










data, 'shit', like 'fuck', is rarely used in its literal sense, i.e., 'excrement'. Of the 132 instances, 'shit' was used denotatively only three times (2%):

#62: That bee's trying to shit in John's ear! (Asian-American male to friends, bee) Formulaic expressions with 'shit' accounted for a total of 10 instances, and include the expressions 'no shit', 'to give a shit' and 'to be the shit'. 'No shit' was used six times (4.5%). This expression can be used to express agreement with a previous statement, as if to say, "what was just said is not untrue, i.e., not a bogus statement", or sarcastically, to emphasize the obvious truth of the previous statement:

#178:No shit, dude. I was fucking up all night writing it. (White male to classmate,
difficulty of a paper assignment)

#25: No shit, Sherlock! (White male to friend, response to previous comment about
a third party)

Used twice, 'to not give a shit' is synonymous with 'to not give a damn' and 'to not give a fuck', that is, to not care:

#64: I don't give a shit. I'm sorry. (Asian-American male to friends, homework
assignment)

Also used twice, 'the shit' refers to something of top quality, an ironic use of'shit': #218:Look at that motherfucker thinking he's the shit. (White female to friends, exboyfriend)

As an expletive, 'shit' seems to serve the same function as 'fuck', that is, 'to express anger, disappointment, etc.' This usage of 'shit' occurred 38 times, or 29% of the total 'shit' utterances:

#37: Shit! What happened to the pool? (White male to roommates, contaminated
pool)








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The most frequent use of 'shit' was as a noun, referring to either a previously named subject or topic, or used as a catch-all, meaning 'things of that sort':

#387:That shit's a lot of work. That's why I couldn't do that shit. I'm not even with
that shit. (African-American male to friends, business classes)

It is perhaps this frequent usage of 'shit' -at 84 instances, or 62% of the total 'shit' utterances- and the imprecision it entails which contribute to the belief that swear words are evidence of a limited vocabulary, a controversy examined in Chapter 5.

'Bullshit' occurred 5 times (1%), each time as a direct rejection of a previous statement, thought by the speaker to be "ludicrous" (Ayto, 1990, p.85):

#63: That's bullshit, man. That is me in the picture. (White male to stranger/bar
employee, speaker's identification card)

Finally, 'shitty' occurred a total of four times (1%). Like 'bullshit', 'shitty' does not manifest the same range of possible interpretations as 'shit'; in every instance 'shitty' denoted negativity and displeasure:

#36: It was shitty. Definitely not worth seeing. (White male to roommate, movie) 'Bitch'. As the fourth most often occurring swear word (40 instances or 8% of the total swearing utterances), 'bitch' enjoys a general social acceptance and can even be heard on prime time television. 'Bitch' can be used as a verb, synonymous with 'to complain or gripe', or as a noun, meaning 'a spiteful woman' or 'an unpleasant or difficult thing' (Oxford Dictionary, 1988). As a verb, 'bitch' occurred only once:

#27: Quit bitching and play ball. (African-American male to friend, basketball
game)

The predominate usage of 'bitch' (70%) was as a substantive, a derogatory reference to a woman:








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#56: Betty is such a bitch! She didn't meet me after class. (Asian-American female
to friends, mutual friend)

#89: Fuck her. That bitch is moving to Atlanta anyway, so it doesn't matter.
(White male to friends, ex-girlfriend)

'Bitch' is one of an abundance of terms which exemplify the semantic derogation of women, evidence of a lexical sexism in which formerly neutral semantic terms for females have evolved into pejorative terms tinged with sexual overtones (Hughes, 1992; Hymes in Lakoff, 1973; Legman, 1968; Risch, 1987). While females report using a similarly rich lexicon of derogatory terms for males (de Klerk, 1992; Risch, 1987), there is evidence of lexical overlap: the term 'dick' used in reference to a female; 'bitch', 'whore' and 'slut' in reference to males (Risch, 1987).

Berger (1970) claims that swearing, as "a device for ridding oneself of hostile aggressions and satisfying one's honor", also contains an element of humor when it represents a "grotesque caricature, a reductionism that becomes, ultimately, absurd" (p. 285). The data for the present study include eight spontaneous swearing utterances in which 'bitch' was used to refer to a male (corresponding to 20% of all 'bitch' utterances) and support Berger's (1970) observations. The following exchange is particularly illustrative:

#154:What's up, motherfucker? (White male to female friend, greeting)

#155:Nothing much, bitch. (White female to male friend, response to #155)

Finally, 'bitch' occurred a total of three times in the formulaic 'son of a bitch', once as a direct reference to a male and twice as interjections:

#90: No, no, no! Are you fucking kidding me? Tackle that son of a bitch! (White
male to friends, video game)











#225:Son of a bitch. No wilds. (White male to friends, poker game)

'Ass' and 'asshole'. Like 'bitch', 'ass' and 'asshole' number among the swear words included in this study that are increasing in social acceptance. Having an additional characteristic in common with 'bitch', 'ass', too, refers to an animal, in this case a donkey, but is rarely used in this literal sense. Rather, 'ass' is used to denote 'a stupid person', or as a vulgar term for 'buttocks'. 'Asshole' may also be used in these figurative or literal senses, the former synonymous with 'ass', and the latter referring to the anus.

At 36 instances (7%), 'ass' ranks as the fifth most often used swear word. In only two of these instances was 'ass' used to denote 'a stupid person' and in both cases as only part of the expletive:

#262: Good job, dumb-ass. (White female to sister, spilled food)

#265:That incompetent fuck-ass. (Black female to friends, poor service)

These examples also illustrate a unique productive aspect of 'ass', that is, the ability to make composite adjectives, a phenomenon which occurred in nine additional (31% total) 'ass' utterances (cf. McMillan, 1980):

#19: hard-ass test, #138: sweet-ass fucking grill, #175: bad-ass bong, #214: bitch-ass punk, #215: fine-ass motherfucker, #235: bad-ass shit, #270: big-ass domes, #318: pissass car, #393: long-ass time.

The remaining 25 'ass' utterances (69%) consist of the use of anatomical 'ass', albeit often in an exaggerated or metaphorical sense:










#66: I'm freezing my ass off (Hispanic female to classmate, classroom
temperature)

#73: You were answering questions out of your ass! (White male to friends, exam
performance)

'Asshole' was used in eleven of the spontaneous swearing utterances (2%). It was used consistently as a derogatory term and, in all but one utterance, to refer to a male. The exception was the use of 'assholes' by a white female to her classmates (#2), which, as an example of the generic masculine, does not really represent an exception. Examples of 'asshole' utterances include:

#185: You could do so much better than that asshole. (White male to friend,
listener's boyfriend)

'Damn' and 'Goddamn'. 'Damn' and 'Goddamn' serve common swearing

purposes, i.e., most commonly to express displeasure, although, as discussed in Chapter 4, 'damn' is generally considered milder and, as such, more socially acceptable than 'Goddamn'. This is perhaps a contributing factor in the more frequent occurrence of 'damn', at 31 (6%) of the total spontaneous swearing utterances, twice as often as the occurrences of 'Goddamn' at 14 (3%).

'Damn' was used predominantly as an adjective, 18 times, or 58% of the total 'damn' utterances:

#104:What the fuck? This damn server. Microsoft sucks ass. (White male to
friends, internet)

As an interjection or exclamation, 'damn' was used nine times (29%):

#194:Damn. I can't believe he would do that shit. (White female to friend, exboyfriend)

Similar to this usage of 'damn' is the formulaic 'damn it', uttered three times (10%):










#100: Damn it. It's burning the pot. (White female to intimate, cooking accident)

Finally, 'damn' was used once as a noun in the formulaic 'to not give a damn', meaning to not care or be bothered (cf. 'to not give a fuck'):

#103:I don't give a damn about the quiz. (White female to classmate, quiz) The usage of 'Goddamn' is similar to that of 'damn', that is, predominantly

occurring as an adjective (8 instances or 53% of the total 'Goddamn' utterances), with some instances of interjections (4 instances or 27%) and, finally, the formulaic 'Goddamn it' (3 instances or 20%):

#161:Why can't I just sit down and write my Goddamn paper in less than 5 hours?
(African-American female to roommate, homework)

#102:Goddamn it. This fucking chair is in the way. (White male to intimate,
reaction to stubbed toe)

'Hell'. 'Hell' was invoked as a swear word 15 times, 3% of the total spontaneous swearing utterances. In nine of these utterances (60%) 'hell' occurred in the formula '...the hell...', serving to express the speaker's attitude or emotion rather than contributing to the meaning of the utterance (cf. 'the fuck'):

#220:My fucking checks are so off. Where the hell is that money? (White female to
coworker, checks)

'Hell' was used an additional three times (20% of all 'hell' utterances) for intensification purposes in the form of an exclamation:

#19: Hell, yeah. That was a hard-ass test. (White male to classmates, exam)

And once in the form of a comparison:

#77: I was tired as hell when I came home last night. (White female to friend,
coming home after school)










Another formulaic expression involving 'hell' is 'go to hell', which was uttered once:

#13: Go to hell! (White male to intimate, discussion about cheating)

This formulaic expression is one of only two uses of 'hell' occurring in the

spontaneous swearing data in which 'hell' has a literal meaning, that is, 'a place or state of supreme misery' (Oxford Dictionary, 1988). The following utterance is the second example of this usage:

#126:She is being such a bitch. Living with her is going to be hell. (White female
to friends, future roommate)

'Dick' and 'bastard'. Occurring four times and twice, respectively, 'dick' and 'bastard' account for only 1% of the spontaneous swearing data. As a synonym for 'penis', 'dick' can be used as an anatomical reference, or as a form of derogatory address. There were two occurrences of 'dick' in a name-calling context:

#45: Yo, dick, listen: centers can't do it! (African-American male to friend,
basketball players)

#369:I say fuck that shit. I'm gonna get personal and they start yelling 'fuck' or 'dick'
or some shit like that. (African-American male to friends, response to #368)

'Dick' was used once as a synonym for penis:

#81: New Birks suck my dick. (White male to friend, new Birkenstock sandals)

The final example illustrates an unclear use of the word:

#375:(What's the book about?) Dicks. (White female to friends, book plot)

The speaker may be using 'dicks' as a derogatory term for the books characters, or as a slang term for private investigator. The ambiguity of the utterance seemed to be appreciated by the addressee, who responded with laughter.










Finally, 'bastard' was used as a derogatory term for males, but seemingly nondenotatively:

#17: He is such a bastard. (White female to friend, speaker's father)



Reaction to Swearing Utterance



Swearing research has traditionally reflected a speaker-oriented approach, with addressees figuring only as an aspect of the social context insofar as how their gender and age affects the speaker's swearing behavior. The few listener-oriented studies include investigations of swear word offensiveness and the effects of swearing on the listener's attitude towards the speaker. These experimental studies require their subjects to evaluate words and speakers --typically as third-party evaluators as opposed to interlocutors-- while providing them with little to no contextual information.

It is one of the goals of the present study to consider the effects of swearing on the

addressee as interlocutor. For this reason, listener reaction was included among the field note information for the observation of spontaneous speech. The observation of spontaneous speech, therefore, reflects a discourse/interactional perspective in which the swearing utterance is considered in terms of the speech event, as opposed to being regarded from the speaker-oriented level of speech act.

No noticeable reaction. A 'no noticeable' reaction was one that incurred no

apparent or overt disruption to the speech event. In other words, the flow of conversation was not disrupted as a result of the listener's reaction to the swearing utterance. The 'no










noticeable reaction' category therefore can include reactions of approval, indifference, disapproval or other evaluations which the listener(s) did not wish to express or articulate. Because of the indeterminacy inherent in this category, which includes almost half (47%) of the total reactions to the spontaneous swearing utterances, the analysis of listener reaction to and evaluation of swearing behavior must be supplemented by the self-report data of the questionnaires and interviews. This topic is therefore revisited in Chapter 4.

Laughter. Previously in this chapter, the interplay between humor and swearing was discussed and illustrated with examples from the spontaneous swearing corpus. A humorous tone was assigned to 18% of the total swearing utterances. However, 'laughter' was the reaction to 28% of the total swearing utterances. Therefore, there is clearly an aspect of the use of swear words which often causes people to laugh despite the message of the utterance or the tone with which it was delivered. In fact, 51% of the swearing utterances which received a 'laughter' reaction were made in a tone other than 'humorous'. The fact that swearing can be inappropriate and/or offensive contributes to its potential to titillate and entertain. As Zelvys (1990) observed, "very often all the humor is in the unexpected appearance of the obscene word at the most inappropriate moment" (p. 324). An example of an 'inappropriate moment' for swearing in this study's speech community seems to be during class time: eight out of the ten swearing utterances which occurred among instructors and students in a university classroom received a 'laughter' reaction. In these cases, the laughter may be a nervous reaction, a










manifestation of the uncertainty or discomfort resulting from the introduction of informality into a typically formal atmosphere.

Echo. Two kinds of reactions qualified as 'echo' reactions to spontaneous swearing utterances: behavioral echoes and lexical echoes. A behavioral echo refers to responding to a swearing utterance with another swearing utterance. A lexical echo is a more specific version of a behavioral echo and refers to responding to a swearing utterance by repeating the same swear word(s) from the original swearing utterance. Twenty-two percent of the spontaneous swearing utterances received an 'echo' reaction. Of these 85 echo swearing utterances, 53% (45 total) were 'behavioral echoes' with 'lexical echoes' accounting for the remaining 47% (40). Examples of 'behavioral echo' reactions include

#14: Fuck you. You're being an asshole. (White female to coworker, unknown
topic)
#15: Don't be a bitch. Do your job. (White male to coworker, response to #14)

#152:Holy shit! That was loud! (White female to sister, thunderstorm)
#153:Thank God you're letting me borrow the fucking car. (White female to sister,
response to #152)

'Lexical echoes' include the following examples:

#109:Mike, you should've seen this fucker. This bitch was going from the far lane to
the rear, cut off two fucking huge semis and went down the wrong way for
fucking 100 yards or so. (White male to friends, description of another driver)
#110: Yeah, this bitch had to be on something. (White male to friends, response to
#109)

#209: Alright, I'm hauling ass. (White female to roommate, speaker's departure)
#210: You're hauling ass? O.K. (White female to roommate, response to #209) In her study of repetition in conversational discourse, Tannen (1989) included

participatory listenership among the functions of repetition in conversation. In light of the overwhelming evidence of repetition in her spontaneous speech data, Tannen








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concludes that it "is a resource by which conversationalists together create a discourse, a relationship, and a world" (p. 97). By responding to swearing with swearing, the echoic speaker concurs with the original speaker's assessment of the social context as appropriate for swearing. The imitative behavior and repetitions, furthermore, contribute to establishing solidarity among the participants.

Self-echoic swearing behavior. Although 394 swearing utterances were collected during the observation of spontaneous speech, these utterances consist of 525 individual swear words. Thus, the swear words outnumber the swearing utterances; each swearing utterance contains, on average, 1.3 swear words. This statistic indicates the occurrence of self-echoic swearing behavior, that is, a speaker's utterance of more than one swear word within one speaking turn. Self-echoic swearing behavior occurred 97 times, or 25% of the 394 total spontaneous swearing utterances. As swearing can often act as a stimulus to the listener, resulting in turn in a swearing response (an echo), so too can it stimulate the speakers themselves, encouraging self-echoic behavior. According to Skinner (1957),

Since a speaker usually hears himself [sic] and thus stimulates himself
verbally, he can also echo himself. Such behavior is potentially selfreinforcing if it strengthens stimulation used in the control of one's own
verbal behavior. (p. 64)

In addition to being self-reinforcing, self-echoic swearing behavior is self-ratifying, a blatant expression of the speakers' confidence in the appropriateness of swearing in the social context in which they find themselves. Examples of self-echoic swearing behavior include










#106:The fucking thing cut the download again. Microsoft does not have any
fucking good programmers. Look at this shit! (White male to friends, response
to #105)

#365:Still, it's like one more goddamn fucking shit mess to clean up. I mean, my
mom won't care. But it's like, shit, you know? (White female to friends, spilled
wax)

Rejection. Although the data presented in the previous sections show that the

overwhelming majority (97%) of reactions to the spontaneous swearing utterances were neutral to positive or, perhaps, veiled, there is evidence of overt rejection of the use of swear words among the members of the speech community represented by the study population. A total of fourteen spontaneous swearing utterances were rejected, resulting in a disruption of discourse in order to focus attention on the swearing utterance. Examples of such rejections include

#41: That was a bitch call! (White male to friends, basketball game)
Rejection: Don't curse at me! (African-American male to friend, response to #41)

#343:...fucking... (entire utterance not recorded) (African-American female to
friends, unknown topic)
Rejection #1: Watch the language of your mouth! (African-American male to friend,
response to #343)
Rejection #2: Sheesh! (African-American male to friend, response to #343)

On three occasions, the rejection was combined with another reaction, once with laughter and twice with an echo:

#120:I went down the street and found a fucking dollar. It was my fucking lucky
day. (White male to friends, finding money in New York)
Rejection: (laughter) Must you use 'fuck' so often?! (White female to friend,
response to #120)

#107:That fucking thing sucks. Why the hell would it time-out after 15 minutes?
(White male to friends, computer/internet)
#108:Damn it, Mike! Stop cursing! (White female to friend, response to #107)










#257: Shut the fuck up, bitch! (White male to intimate, being asked to move over)
#258:Don't fucking swear at me! (White female to intimate, response to #257)

These echo-rejections can only be considered pseudo-rejections; the original swearing utterance being exploited for a humorous effect.

The rejections to swearing reveal a trend in that they can be ascribed to primarily two groups of people: African-American males and White females. Of the sixteen total rejections (two of the fourteen rejected swearing utterances were rejected by more than one listener), half were uttered by African-American males and just under one-third by White females. This and other differences among the sexes and races with regard to self and other swearing behavior are further discussed in the following sections and again in Chapter 4.



Race Totals: Males and Females



While the reciprocal interplay and relationship between swearing and gender have garnered attention, race remains an ignored social variable within swearing research. Qualitative and quantitative data have traditionally been collected from white, middleclass college students, establishing this social group as the predominant data base. The present study includes data which contribute to this data base, but, with the inclusion of data from other races, e.g., African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans, this study goes beyond the limits of traditional swearing research, heeding advice (Jay's, 1992) to include minorities in population samples.








87

Tables 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7 and 3.8 represent the spontaneous speech data for males and females (combined) according to race: White, African-American, Hispanic, and AsianAmerican, respectively. The juxtaposition of these data tables reveals some noteworthy differences among the races.

Social distance and social status. The prevalence of the white members of the sample population and the speech community it represents affords them greater opportunity to participate in 'in-group' interaction, relating to the majority of others as 'us' rather than 'them' (Robinson, 1972). As the overwhelming racial majority (68% of the sample population, 76% of the University of Florida undergraduate students), the swearing behavior of the white males and females reflects a dominant social position complemented by social power. The swearing behavior of the white males and females compared to that of the non-whites of the study can be considered in terms of Johnson and Fine's (1985) "nexus of power/powerlessness in language and sex-related standards for language use" (p. 21). They suggest that swearing "functions as a form of power... greater power in the world and, therefore, more right to profane the world" (p. 22). The white members of the present study's speech community can be likened to the male subjects in Johnson and Fine's (1985) study, whose swearing behavior is a reflection of their socially advantaged status. While over half (58%) of the white males' and females' total swearing utterances were addressed to friends and an additional 20% to other participants of close social distance such as roommates, intimates and sisters, a significant 22% of their swearing utterances were addressed to participants of variable social distance and different social status. More specifically, the white participants








88

exhibited swearing behavior in a greater variety of domains (typical interactions between typical participants in typical settings; Fishman, 1971) than the participants of the other represented races.

With only one exception (see Table 3.6), swearing utterances among participants of different social status were made by white males and females. Of these 17 utterances, 6 were made by students as subordinates, the remaining 11 by non-students of superior status. These data indicate a tendency among white males and females to use informal language styles in domains which would typically call for a formal variety. The use of informal language (characterized by swearing) could be symbolic of a relationship negotiation, an attempt to bridge the social distance gap caused by the differences in social status. Additional contextual information supports this possibility: the 7 swearing utterances by instructors to their students in classroom settings were made in emphatic, humorous, anecdotal (2 each) and excited (1) tones; employers' swearing utterances to employees at work were made in anecdotal (2) and humorous (1) tones; students' swearing utterances addressed to classmates and the instructor were all made in humorous tones. The doctor's in-office swearing utterance to his patient was made in a distressed tone, a complaint, which is also indicative of establishing solidarity (Boxer, 1993).

The remaining three occurrences of swearing among participants of different

social status represent an anomaly. Made by customers in angry tones and addressed to employees at their place of business, these annoyance-swearing utterances are clearly not part of an attempt to establish solidarity, but rather the opposite: to emphasize the











Table 3.4 White Males and Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals

Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction
Friends 58% 155 Distressed 20% 54 Fucking 33% 113 No not'able 50% 134
Classmates 10% 28 Humorous 17% 47 Shit 20% 67 Laughter 28% 76 Roommates 9% 24 Angry 14% 39 Fuck 11% 39 Echo 20% 54
Intimates 8% 22 Emphatic 11% 30 Bitch 8% 26 Rejection 1% 3
Sisters 3% 7 Excited 9% 25 Ass 6% 21 Laugh/Rej. 0% 1 Instructor, Supportive 6% 17 Damn 5% 17 Echo/Rej. 0% 1
students 3% 7 Anecdotal 5% 14 Fucked 4% 13
Strangers 2% 5 Rebellious 4% 10 Hell 3% 11
Teammates 2% 5 Sarcastic 3% 9 Goddamn 3% 9 Coworkers 2% 5 Serious 3% 9 Asshole 2% 8 Customer, Abusive 3% 9 Shitty 1% 4
employee 1% 3 Desperate 2% 6 M'fucker 1% 4 Employer, Bullshit 1% 3
employee 1% 3 Bastard 1% 2 Classmates, Dick 1% 2
instructor 1% 3 Fucker 0% 1 Club members 0% 1
Doctor,
patient 0% 1
STotal: 100/ 269 Total: 100% 269 Total: 100% 340 Total: 100% 269




Table 3.5 African-American Males and Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals

Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction
Friends 78% 57 Humorous 23% 17 Shit 44% 50 No not'able 36% 26
Roommates 7% 5 Emphatic 21% 15 Fuck 10% 11 Echo 32% 23 Classmates 5% 4 Anecdotal 14% 10 Fucking 10% 11 Laughter 26% 19
Strangers 4% 3 Distressed 12% 9 Ass 9% 10 Rejection 7% 5 Friends, Angry 11% 8 M'fucking 6% 7
strangers 3% 2 Excited 7% 5 Bitch 6% 7
Coworkers 1% 1 Supportive 4% 3 Goddamn 4% 4 Club members 1% 1 Serious 3% 2 Damn 4% 4 Rebellious 3% 2 Fucked 3% 3 Sarcastic 1% 1 M'fucker 2% 2 Abusive 1% 1 Bullshit 2% 2 Dick 2% 2
Hell 1% 1
Total: 100% 73 Total: 100% 73 Total: 100% 114 Total: 100% 73











Table 3.6 Hispanic Males and Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals

Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction
Friends 48% 12 Angry 24% 6 Fucking 27% 8 No not'able 60% 15
Classmates 20% 5 Distressed 16% 4 Shit 23% 7 Laughter 20% 5 Roommates 12% 3 Humorous 16% 4 Bitch 13% 4 Rejection 12% 3 Intimates, Emphatic 12% 3 Fuck 10% 3 Echo 8% 2
friends 8% 2 Anecdotal 8% 2 Ass 7% 2
Coworkers 4% 1 Excited 8% 2 Asshole 7% 2
Intimates 4% 1 Rebellious 4% 1 Damn 7% 2 Employer, Sarcastic 4% 1 Goddamn 3% 1
employee 4% 1 Supportive 4% 1 Fucked 3% 1 Serious 4% 1
Total: 100% 25 Total: 100% 25 Total: 100% 30 Total: I100% 25


Table 3.7 Asian-American Males and Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals

Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction
Friends 59% 16 Distressed 22% 6 Fucking 26% 8 No not'able 41% 11
Roommates 18% 5 Emphatic 18% 5 Shit 26% 8 Echo 33% 9 Classmates 15% 4 Angry 15% 4 Damn 19% 6 Laughter 26% 7 Intimates, Excited 11% 3 Fuck 7% 2
friends 4% 1 Humorous 7% 2 Bitch 7% 2 Sisters 4% 1 Desperate 7% 2 Fucked 7% 2 Surprised 4% 1 Goddamn 3% 1 Anecdotal 4% 1 Hell 3% 1 Rebellious 4% 1 Ass 3% 1 Supportive 4% 1
Sarcastic 4% 1
Total: 100% 27 Total: 100% 27 Total: 100% 31 Total: 100% 27


superior status of the customers in their expression of dissatisfaction with the service of the subordinate employees.

While relatively great variation in interlocutor social distance and social status

distinguishes the white members of the sample population, it is a lack of similar variation which characterizes the swearing behavior of the African-Americans. Within this racial










group, swearing occurs predominantly between interlocutors of close social distance: 78% of the swearing utterances of the African-Americans were addressed to friends compared to 66%, 60%, 60% of the swearing utterances of Whites, Hispanics, and AsianAmericans, respectively, addressed to friends and intimates. For the African-Americans, swearing is characteristic of in-group language use, an expression of an alreadyestablished group solidarity. For the members of the other racial groups, however, swearing occurs more often among interlocutors of variable social distance in relatively uncertain relationships.

Tone of utterance. Tone of utterance also distinguishes the swearing behavior of African-American males and females from that of the Whites, Hispanics, and AsianAmericans. This group's swearing utterances were most often (58% of the total utterances) made in the tones of 'humorous', 'emphatic' and 'anecdotal', and as such, would be classified as social swearing according to Ross' dichotomy. The most often occurring tones among the other racial groups, however, reveal a balance between social and annoyance swearing; for each group, 'distressed' and 'humorous' or 'emphatic' ranked consistently among the top three most often occurring tones. Thus, the swearing behavior of the African-Americans of this sample population reveals less variability than that of the other racial groups. For the African-Americans, swearing has so far revealed itself to be characteristic of 'positive', in-group social interaction.

Swear word. 'Fucking' was the most often used swear word among Whites,

Hispanics and Asian-Americans. This word is consistently ranked as more offensive (see Chapter 1) than 'shit', the most often used swear word among African-Americans. The




Full Text

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A DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS OF THE SOCIAL FUNCTIONS OF SWEARING IN AMERICAN ENGLISH By KRISTY ANINA BEERS FAGERSTEN A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2000

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Copyright 2000 by Kristy Anina Beers Fagersten

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Dedicated to Karl Fagersten, the source of all sunshine.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Any one of the words which are the focus of this dissertation could be used to describe me during the nearly 2-year process of writing. I was often unpleasant, at times miserable and surely difficult to live with. Nevertheless, Karl Fagersten endured me in my moments of fhistration, despair and apathy, tirelessly encouraged me and even proposed to me. He inspired this work and has given me unconditional support since its inception. It is with immeasurable pride that I submit this dissertation as Kristy Beers Fagersten. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to acknowledge my sisters Kelly Guswiler, Kimb Brown and Kerry Beers in writing, as the very thought of my debt to them renders me speechless. "Those girls" are responsible for any success I have ever had, and any that awaits me. This dissertation pales in comparison to each of their achievements, but I hope they are proud of me anyway. I would like to acknowledge each of the members of the dissertation committee: Dr. Diana Boxer, Dr. Ann Wehmeyer, Dr. Jean Casagrande and Dr. Timothy Hackenberg, for their participation and expert advice. In particular, I would like to thank Diana Boxer for her faith in me, constant encouragement, tolerance and humor, and Ann Wehmeyer for her carefiil reading and for taking a genuine interest in both the dissertation and in my development as a scholar. iv

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A final word ot thanks goes to .lodi Nelms for her empathy, pep talks and friendship, and to Relh Droppietnan. Ph.D., for years of good fun and great talks, apropos advice . and tor showing b> example that hard work pays off V

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iv ABSTRACT viii CHAPTERS 1 INTRODUCTION 1 Review of Literature 1 Goals of the Present Study 20 2 METHODOLOGY 25 Sociolinguistic Principles 25 Data Collection 28 Speech Community 29 Observation of Spontaneous Speech 30 Questionnaire 33 Ethnographic Interview 40 Weaknesses of Methodology 45 Summary 49 3 SPONTANEOUS SPEECH 5 1 Introduction 51 General Totals: Race and Gender 51 Social Distance and Social Status 55 Tone of Swearing Utterance 57 Swear Words 68 Reaction to Swearing Utterance 81 Race Totals: Males and Females 86 Gender Differences in Swearing Behavior 95 Gender Differences According to Race 105 Summary 1 \ 5 vi ^

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4 QUESTIONNAIRE AND ETHNOGRAPHIC INTERVIEW 1 1 8 Introduction 118 Questionnaire Participants 1 1 8 Ethnographic Interview Informants 120 Offensiveness Ratings 120 Word-List Ratings 121 Dialogue Ratings 134 Questions on Self and Other Behavior 142 Reactions to the Questionnaire 1 69 Summary 171 5 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS 1 73 Summary 173 Limitations of the study 177 Directions for Future Research 178 Conclusions 188 APPENDICES A EXAMPLE FIELD NOTE CARD FOR OBSERVATION OF SPONTANEOUS SPEECH 190 B SPONTANEOUS SWEARING UTTERANCES 191 C EXAMPLE QUESTIONNAIRE 224 D QUESTIONNAIRE DATA 230 E PARTICIPANT COMMENTS (QUESTIONNAIRE) 246 F ETHNOGRAPHIC INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS 254 REFERENCES 292 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 299 vii

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Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosopy A DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS OF THE SOCIAL FUNCTIONS OF SWEARING IN AMERICAN ENGLISH By Kristy Anina Beers Fagersten August, 2000 Chair: Dr. Diana Boxer Major Department: Program in Linguistics The present study reflects a sociolinguistic approach to swearing, focusing on an investigation of the relationship between swear word usage and social context. Swearing utterances and details of the social context in which they were made were recorded discretely and anonymously with the use of field notes within the University of Florida undergraduate student speech community. Sixty members of this speech community also participated in a six-part questionnaire which elicited information regarding use of and attitudes towards swear words. Eleven of the questionnaire participants furthermore participated in an ethnographic interview to discuss the questioimaire and the subject of swearing in greater depth. Previous research had established swearing as both a frequently occurring speech behavior within the university speech community as well as a highly offensive one. The resulting 'swearing paradox' poses the question of how frequency and offensiveness can viii

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be directly related. The results of the present study explicate the swearing paradox by providing evidence of a discrepancy between the type of swearing that is most characteristic of social interaction within the university speech community and the type of swearing which is typically presented in offensiveness ratings tasks. The use of swear words in conversational American English is revealed in this study to be a linguistic device used to affirm in-group membership and establish boundaries and social norms for language use. Intraspeaker and interspeaker variation in the use of and attitudes towards swear words is shown to be primarily a fimction of interlocutor gender and race. The data show evidence of males imposing standards of language use on females and suggest that different races use swear words to fulfil different social functions. Finally, the data suggest that the members of the focus speech community impose restrictions and standards on the swearing behavior of out-group members. ix

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Review of Literature First Acknowledgements In 1930, Bell System TechnicalJournal published "The words and sounds of telephone conversations," by French, Carter and Koenig. The study served as a word frequency data base and was long considered an accurate representation of conversational English. However, the data included in the study represented only 75% of the data (80,000 words) originally collected. Omissions included proper names, titles, letters, numbers, inteijections and profanity. At 40% of the omitted data, profanity accounted for a corresponding 10% of the total data base. The French et al. study, an otherwise reliable source for naturalistic data, is deplored for the omission of profanity which "compromised a true picture of dirty word usage" (Jay, 1992, p. 115). Other word frequency studies (Dewey, 1923; Fairbanks, 1944; Haggerty, 1930; Thomdike and Lorge, 1944; Uhrbrock, 1935 in Cameron, 1969) have also been criticized for being curiously void of profanity due to the fact that their "word samples were gathered in such pristine situations and/or in such a biased manner that they couldn't possibly represent typical U.S. speech patterns" (Cameron (1969) p. 101). 1

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2 The motivation for the omission and/or avoidance of profanity lies presumably in the controversial nature of such language use. According to Montagu (1967): Swearing, because it is so little understood, is still an equivocal form of conduct without social sanction. Hence, it has long pursued a fugitive existence in all such dark places as are not open to the light of social intercourse. That is to say, among many people, swearing is socially not tolerated in any form. (p. 1) Johnson and Fine (1985) note that the "sparse" attention to obscenity paid by researchers is indicative of the taboo nature of obscene language extending "beyond the public and into the research community" (p. 11 ), an opinion echoed by Fine (1979) and Rieber, Wiedemann and D'Amato (1979). A possible explanation for the avoidance is found in Harris' (1987) ontological treatise on swearing, in which he claims that "swearwords become unmentionable precisely because institutionalized swearing is the unique and marginal case where locution and illocution are one: the utterance is the deed and the deed is the utterance" (p. 187). Indeed, in Berger's (1970) opening paragraph of "Swearing and Society," he apologizes for his forthcoming use of language. Some sixty years after the Bell article, however, profanity is a legitimate research area within psychology, philology and linguistics (see Jay's 1992 bibliography which contains nearly 400 entries). Nevertheless, despite an increasing amount of attention devoted to profanity, the "true picture of dirty word usage" is still compromised. To date, linguistic research on profane language has focused primarily on the following areas: historical occurrences and evolution, grammar and semantics, frequency of usage and offensiveness ratings. Typically word-centered and context independent, these studies document the superficial trends and taboo status regarding "dirty word

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3 usage," but shed little light on the function and interpretation of profane language use in a social context. According to Davis (1989), Once the importance of context is realized, one is led to see that any approach of the orthodox linguistic variety has no means of coming to grips with the underlying question, 'What makes [swearing] bad?' Rather, it assumes the existence of 'bad language' as a sociological given, and endeavors to account for its use. (p. 4) The following sections represent critical reviews of previous linguistic research on profanity, delineating the status of profane language according to the dominating perspectives. The sociolinguistic perspective will then be introduced, with reviews of studies on the effects of several sociolinguistic variables on swearing behavior. Finally, the goals of the present study will be outlined. These goals are based upon questions inspired by significant contributions as well as sociolinguistically imsound conclusions of previous swearing research. Representing both a complement and a challenge to existing research, this study contributes to a truer pictiu-e of profane language use in conversational English. Historical Documentation Histories of profanity do not, in fact, typically use the terms 'profane' and 'profanity'. These terms refer to a secular, irreverent use of language, and, as such, represent a limited reference. Instead, the terms 'swear' words and 'swearing' are preferred to refer to both specific words as well as to a behavior which is not boimd by such a lexicon (Hughes, 1998; Montagu, 1967).

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Montagu's (1967) investigation of the history of swearing led him to define 'swear' words as "all words possessing or capable of being given an emotional weight" (p. 100), acknowledging that "practically all words may serve the swearer as makeweight." (p. 100). His defmition for swearing is indeed broad, including 10 different types (abusive, adjurative, asseverative, ejaculatory, exclamatory, execratory, expletive, hortatory, interjectional and objurgatory) and 7 subcategories (cursing, profanity, blasphemy, obscenity, vulgarity and euphemistic swearing). Harris (1987), on the other hand, warns of the possibility of conflating the history of swearing with the history of swear words. The histories of swearing reveal its origins to be in Christian oaths and curses, with the tradition of swearing in English tracing back to at least the sixth century (Hughes, 1998; Mencken, 1944; Montagu, 1967). Discourse on its use reflects a similarly long tradition of social contempt, as well as efforts to govern and even suppress the practice of swearing in speech and writing. This controversy long inherent to swearing awarded it a variable status: at times incurring fines or physical punishment, at other times employed extravagantly by royalty and politicians. The history of swear words shows that, towards the end of the Middle Ages, women were condemned for their use of swear words while men were warned not to use swear words in the presence of women. In the 16* century, children of "gentlemen" were to be raised by women who would not permit the use of "wanton" or unclean words in their presence (Hughes, 1992, p. 292). By 1601, England's Pariiament established legislation against "usual and common swearing" (Davis, 1989, p. 7), but well into the 17* century, swear words were prevalent in English language literature. By the 19* century, propriety

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5 was socially valued over religiousness and the "class of objectionable expressions expanded accordingly to include designations of certain parts of the body and bodily functions" (Davis, 1989, p. 8). Grammar and Semantics Unlike swearing of centuries ago which was not lexically bound but rather structurally akin to oaths and curses, modem swearing is identified and defined by the use of particular words (see below). Linguistic competence tells us, and research confirms, that swearing and swear words are compatible with the conventions of syntax and discourse in the following ways: 1. Swear words have different syntactic roles (Andersson and Trudgill, 1990; Stenstrom, 1991; Taylor, 1975). They can be nouns, verbs, adjectives or adverbs. Some swear words, such as 'fuck', can be used as two or more parts of speech. 2. Swear words have productive characteristics (McMillan, 1980). They can acquire new syntactic roles and be used to form new words or expressions by the processes of infixing and interposing, for example "guaran-damn-tee" or "brand Goddamn new." 3. Swearing occurs as discourse markers (Ljimg, 1989; Stenstrom, 1991). Swearing utterances can signal turn-taking in the forms of positive and negative feedback, as well as function as indirect speech acts in the form of "emotives" (Ljung, 1989, p. 185), for example "Go to hell!"

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6 Semantically, swear words are generally divided into three categories, namely: sacred/profane ('Goddamn'), sexual ('fuck') and excretory ('shit') (Andersson and Trudgill, 1990; Foote and Woodward, 1973; Hughes, 1998; Mabry, 1975; Montagu, 1967; Nerbonne and Hipskind, 1972; Staley, 1978; Stenstrom, 1991). Two other categories have also been established to account for the small percentage of words which are beyond these semantic realms: animal abuse ('bitch') (Andersson and Trudgill, 1990; Berger, 1970; and illegitimacy ('bastard') (Berger, 1970). Limbrick (1991) notes that "swearing resists concrete definition; exactly what constitutes a swear word is generally determined by social codes" (p. 79). There is substantial disagreement over which words subsumed by the aforementioned semantic categories are actually swear words (Davis, 1 989; Jay, 1 992). A particular set of words commonly cited in swearing research includes 'hell', 'damn', 'fuck', 'shit' and 'ass'. However, the category of 'swear words' remains open-ended, due to the fact that swearing is not defined in terms of specific words, but rather as a type of language, which, in turn, must also be defined. The original problem of determining what qualifies as swear words is then confounded by the subjectivity introduced by the resulting metalinguistic terminology, for example: "dirty words" (Jay, 1977, 1978, 1986,1992; Risch; 1987), "obscene words" (Bergler, 1936; Baudhuin, 1973; Foote and Woodward, 1973; Johnson and Fine, 1985), "profane language" (Cameron, 1969; Mabry, 1975; Nerbonne and Hipskind, 1972; Sewell, 1984), "bad language" (Andersson and Trudgill, 1990; Davis, 1989), "expletives" (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Hughes, 1992; Limbrick,

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1991; Mencken, 1944; Staley, 1978; Stenstrom, 1991), "emotives" (Ljung, 1989; McMillan, 1980), and "taboo words" (de Klerk, 1992; Manning and Melchiori, 1974). The language embodied by these labels has been defined as "offensive to accepted standards of decency" (American Heritage Dictionary, 1 992) and "totally or partly prohibited in social intercourse" (Stenstrom, 1991, p. 239). The category of swear words is open-ended due to the fact that these definitions are subject to interpretation, which varies according to the values and temperament of individuals and society as a whole. Frequency Studies The results of various English language word frequency studies are contradictory with regards to the occurrence of swear words, but not inconclusive. Despite the fact that profanity was omitted from the French et al. (1930) study, it nevertheless accounted for 10% of all the data, implying the reality of swearing occurrences in conversational English. Subsequent word frequency studies which showed comparatively low statistics for swear word frequency (see below) earned criticism for their methodologies and motivated counter studies (Jay, 1978, 1992; Cameron, 1969). The Thomdike-Lorge (1944) word frequency count, which includes "almost no profanity" (Cameron, 1969, p. 101), is criticized for being based on written English, with samples primarily from children's and popular aduh literature (Cameron, 1969; Jay, 1978, 1992). Berger (1968), however, concluded that "printed and oral English are generally alike in word frequency," based on the similarity of his speech data to that of the published French et al. (1930) study. His conclusion was supported by Hipskind and Nerbonne (1970),

PAGE 17

whose sample revealed profanity comprising only 0.14% of their word sample, compared to Berger's 0.39%. The Hipskind and Nerbonne (1970) study was based on speech samples from a general adult population, while the Berger (1968) study was conducted on a college campus, with samples collected from conversations between students and professors. Claiming that the presence of professors influenced students' speech styles (cf Observer's Paradox, Labov, 1972), Cameron (1969) recruited student "over-hearers" (p. 102) to record speech samples from 1) fellow students, 2) non-student adults at work and 3) non-student adults at leisure. The collected data contrasted significantly with the prior word frequency studies, revealing a considerable occurrence of profanity: 8.1% of the college data, 3.5% of the on-the-job data and 12.7% of the aduh leisure data. Cameron concluded that the proportionate occurrence of profanity in his data was representative of American informal speech, and that the low occurrence of profanity in previous word frequency counts was the product of bias and subjectivity. To test the validity of Cameron's (1969) criticisms, Nerbonne and Hipskind (1972) reproduced their 1 970 (Hipskind and Nerbonne) study, this time covertly tape-recording speech samples from a college student population. Their results resembled Cameron's (1969): profanity was foimd to be a significant feature of the speech sample, comprising 7.44% of the data. However, instead of supporting Cameron's assumptions about the representative nature of his data, Nerbonne and Hipskind (1972) claimed that both sets of results were a function of the populations that were sampled, and that "the vocabulary used by college students in unguarded conversations is not representative of typical informal American speech from the standpoint of proportionate occurrence of profane words" (p. 49).

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9 Additional word-frequency studies based on the vocabulary of college students support the implication that their informal speech vocabulary is disproportionately high in the occurrence of profanity. Jay's (1980) study calculated word frequency based on covert recordings of speech samples from conversations of college students in public buildings, including classrooms. Profanity comprised less than 1% of the data, a result which is m accord with Berger's (1968) and Hipskind and Nerbonne's (1970) studies. However, for his 1 986 study, Jay recruited the help of 1 2 students who, with field note cards, covertly recorded swearing utterances from fellow college students in public and private settings. This undertaking resulted in the collection of 2,171 swearing utterances. Although this was not a frequency study, the great number of swearing utterances supported findings from Jay's earlier (1977, 1978) relative frequency studies. In these studies, college students were asked to rate the frequency of occurrence of words from a list containing both profanity and neufral words. The frequency with which the profane words were heard used was consistently higher than the same measurement for the nonprofane words. According to Jay (1992), "these data suggest that college students use taboo words very frequently in a setting that is socially relaxed" (p. 141), a claim that supports Cameron's (1969) and Nerbonne and Hipskind's (1972) findings of a high percentage of profanity in the informal speech of college students. The contrasting results from the various word frequency studies show that the source of data and the methodology of collection greatly influence ultimate conclusions. Samples of written English, conversations among participants of different social status and carefril, formal speech are typically void of profanity, compared to an abundance of

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10 profane language in the unguarded, informal speech of college students. Contributing to this conclusion is a questionable aspect of Cameron's (1969), Jay's (1977, 1978, 1980, 1986, 1992) and Nerbonne and Hipskind's (1972) methodology, namely, their evaluation of which words were profane. Jay (1986) considered words such as 'dog', 'Jew' and 'moron' to be "dirty words", while Cameron (1969) and Nerbonne and Hipskind (1972) included words such as 'suck', 'queer' and 'boob'. While these words have the potential to be inappropriate and offensive in certain contexts, their status as swear words is disputable (cf Davis, 1989). Therefore, the researcher's interpretation of swearing, profanity, taboo, etc. must be taken into consideration, as well as the possibility that this interpretation may inflate frequency percentages. Offensiveness Ratings The disputable status of some words as swear words indicates that there is a blurred line between what does and does not qualify as swearing. The greater the potential of a word to offend, the likelier the word is to be considered a swear word. Offensiveness is traditionally determined by evaluative and semantic differentiation rating techniques. Research shows unequivocal evidence that swear words are highly offensive. Some words are consistently judged to be more offensive (abrasive, aggressive, impolite, profane, upsetting, etc.) than others, with sexual terms generally rated most offensive, followed by excretory terms which, in turn, are typically judged more offensive than sacred terms (Baudhuin, 1973). Specifically, 'fuck', 'shit', 'cunt' and 'motherfucker' (in varying orders) have been rated as the most offensive (Baudhuin, 1973; Bostrom,

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11 Baseheart and Rossiter, 1973; Driscoll, 1981; Jay, 1978; Mabry, 1975). In fact, hearing the word 'motherfucker' has been rated as more offensive than witnessing extreme violence, defecation or sodomy (Jay, 1978). Frequency studies having established college environments as rich in obscenity (Cameron, 1969; Hipskind and Nerbonne, 1973; Jay, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1986, 1992), ratings tasks have traditionally been performed by various groups of college students. Subjects are asked to rate words in a list, usually by a numerical value according to a Likert-type scale, e.g., from non-offensive to very offensive. The evaluative adjectives vary from study to study and include: 'abrasive' (Mabry, 1975), 'aggressive' (Driscoll, 1981), 'offensive' (Baudhuin, 1973; Bostrom, Baseheart and Rossiter, 1973; Jay, 1978), 'upsetting' (Manning and Melchiori, 1974), and 'taboo' (Jay, 1986). Because the words are presented as singular vocabulary items in a list, that is to say, devoid of any context, the subjects are free to interpret their potential usage. However, the task of rating the words according to the evaluative adjective encourages the subjects to consider the words used in only one way, i.e., offensively, abrasively, etc. While the imposition of the evaluative adjective as the only contextual clue allows the researcher to control for interpretation, it subverts the importance of context. The bias evident among some researchers that swearing is both categorically offensive and tantamount to an expression of anger and/or aggression (cf. Berger, 1 970) renders context irrelevant to their focus: Jay (1992) devoted an entire chapter to an angeranalysis of swearing; Wilson (1975) asked subjects to rate obscenities according to a scale of increasing anger at hearing them in casual conversation; and Driscoll (1981)

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elicited ratings of swear words as used exclusively in epithets (e.g., "You bitch!"). Minimal references to context reveal a maintenance of a clear bias vis-a-vis the nature of swear words: Bailey and Timm (1 977) designed a questionnaire to elicit swearing utterances as responses to situations such as, "You scrape your shin" or "Someone annoys you". The subjects of the Manning-Melchiori (1974) study were asked to rate how upsetting certain swear and non-swear words were, as well as to rate how embarrassing it would be to say the words in the presence of other people, such as parents and clergymen (p. 305). Oliver and Rubin (1975) investigated their subjects proclivity to use expletives such as "Damn!", "Bastard!" and "Son-of-a-bitch!" in various social situations. The Sociolinguistic Perspective Reference to the presence of others as addressees or over-hearers implies a social context, ushering in a sociolinguistic perspective on swearing. The influence of social context on swearing behavior became evident when word frequency studies revealed that swear words occurred highly frequently in the informal conversations of college students (Cameron, 1969; Jay, 1986; Nerbonne and Hipskind, 1972). This influence has not gone unnoticed, and the need for a sociolinguistic approach to swearing has been recognized and encouraged: "The situation as well as co-participants may influence the uses and perceptions of obscenity in a variety of ways depending on a person's gender, age, social class, and race" (Johnson and Fine, 1985, p. 22; cf. Andersson and Trudgill, 1990, p. 66;

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13 Davis, 1989, p. 9; Jay, 1992, pp. 12-13). To date, although several sociolinguistic approaches to swearing have featured situation and age, the main focus remains gender. Situation. Several researchers have focused on investigating the motivation for swearing behavior. The shared assumption is that particular events can evoke feelings or emotions conducive to swearing responses. In an analysis of what she refers to as "Australian b-words," Wierzbicka (1991) claims that certain words ('bloody', 'bastard', 'bugger', 'bitch' and 'bullshit') are used to express an emotion that a speaker feels, but is "unwilling to articulate" (p. 219) due to the strength of the emotion. Instead of expressing their feelings, speakers may opt to "do something else," namely, to utter a word that some people say are "bad words" (p. 219), thereby conveying the strength of the emotion without explicitly expressing it. Wierzbicka' s analysis reflects not only her opinion that "b-words" are 'bad' words (cf. Offensiveness Ratings, above), but that swearing is motivated foremost by emotion. Also suspecting emotion as the driving force behind swearing, Staley (1978) conducted a questionnaire designed to place subjects in hypothetical situations in which they would experience the following emotions: "fear; bewilderment; panic; defensiveness; pain; surprise; embarrassment; happiness; happiness for the good fortime of another; shock and horror; and annoyance with parental advice; institutions; lanfair treatment; or uncontrollable or unexpected predicaments" (p. 368). In addition to a description of an event, the hypothetical situations included information as to formality of setting (e.g., home, classroom) and eventual co-participants (sex, social distance, social status). The subjects were aware that the questionnaire was designed to elicit

PAGE 23

expletives, they were told to assume the situations were emotionally charged and were encouraged to use strong words. Thus, the stage was set for swearing to occur, which renders the task of identifying the main motivating variable a difficult one. The strongest expletives occurred in responses to situations in which the subject was alone or with a close friend of the same sex; the weakest expletives occurred in situations which involved positive emotions. A correlation between swearing and social context, i.e., the types and number of listeners, could therefore not be ascertained, due to the number of variables, including sex of the subject (see below). Bailey and Timm (1976) also administered questionnaires designed to place subjects in hypothetical situations associated with different emotions ("exasperating" or "painful", p. 439). Emotion proved to be ineffective as a single motivating factor; almost all of the subjects reported that their decision to swear in any given situation would be impacted by "the social identity of fellow conversants" (p. 444). Subject age and sex, however, did prove to be significant motivating variables (see below). Age. Age of speakers and age of their interlocutors, as well, have proved to be significant variables in the social context of swearing. Children begin learning and using swear words of varying degrees of offensiveness from the time they start using "normal" language, and admonitions of this behavior quickly follow (Jay, 1992, p. 71). As if to practice what they preach, both men and women of various ages report refraining from swearing in the presence of children (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Jay, 1992; Foote and Woodward, 1973; Oliver and Rubin, 1975). Females between the ages of 40 and 55, however, reported using expletives sometimes too frequently in their children's presence

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15 (Oliver and Rubin, 1 975). While it was suggested that close social distance may be the reason, the lack of inhibition could also be a function of the age of the children, who, based on the age of the parent-subjects, may be at or nearing adulthood. The presence of older people, especially parents, has also been reported to be an inhibitor to swearing behavior (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Hughes, 1992; Oliver and Rubin, 1975; Staley, 1978). Hughes (1998) claims that the vestiges of the "relationship taboo [. . .] seem in recent years to have changed from pas devant les enfants to pas devant les parents'^ (p. 1 0). Older people often represent authority; the presence of authority figures introduces formality which, in turn, inhibits the occurrence of swearing (Cameron, 1969; Nerbonne and Hipskind, 1972). Frequency studies based on naturally occurring, informal conversations show that males and females between the ages of 1 8 and 23 use swear words most frequently (Cameron, 1969; Nerbonne and Hipskind, 1972). Data from self-report questionnaires show, however, that males and females in a slightly higher age range (females aged 3134 and males aged 28-32) are more disposed to swearing than their younger counterparts. The higher age range of the females reporting the most frequent swearing behavior may be a result of the feminist movement, as discussed in the following section. Gender. By far, the most thoroughly investigated aspect of the sociolinguistics of swearing is the correlation between swearing and the gender of the interlocutors of social interaction. Since Jespersen' first expressed his oft-cited view of women as eschewers of ' "Among the things women object to in language must be specially mentioned anything that smacks of swearing" (in Coates, 1986, p. 22).

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16 obscene language, the stereotype of women as "guardians of both language and propriety" (Johnson and Fine, 1985, p. 11) has been both supported and refuted. It is a matter of simple observation that certain females do indeed use swear words, but Lakoff (1975) asserts that women, as "the experts of euphemism" (p. 55), employ "weaker" expletives, while "stronger" expletives are reserved for men (p. 10). Oliver and Rubin's (1975) findings support this assertion; their female subjects reported tendencies to use expletives such as 'Damn', 'Dam!, 'Heavens!' and 'Crap!' more often than 'Shit!', 'Bastard!' or 'Son-of-a-bitch!' (p. 195). Similar patterns were found by Bailey and Timm (1976): in reported usage of strong and weak expletives, males accounted for 64% of the total usage of strong expletives, e.g., 'damn', 'fiick' and 'shit', while females accounted for 70% of the total usage of weak expletives e.g., 'dam', 'oh', and 'oops' (cf Stenstrom, 1991). The reported female preference for using weaker expletives may be a function of their offensiveness threshold: females consistently rate obscene language as more offensive than males do. Wilson (1975) found that female students reported greater anger at hearing obscenities in conversation than their male counterparts. A second set of female subjects rated "bawdy" (Wilson, 1975, p. 1074) stories with obscenities as significantly less fimny than the male subjects did, with opposite ratings reported for stories containing no obscene language. Abbott and Jay (1978) and Sewell (1984) also found that their male subjects perceived more humor in jokes and cartoons with obscene language than the female subjects did. Moreover, Sewell (1984) found that the males' humor ratings were in direct proportion to the strength of the obscenities, while female

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ratings revealed an inverse relationship between strong expletives and humor. Only Jay's (1977) offensiveness ratings show evidence contrary to these significant gender differences. Female subjects gave only 18 of the 28 (64%) taboo words a more offensive rating than the males did, with no ratings showing considerable (greater than a 1,3 point difference on a scale of 1 to 9) differences according to sex. It should be noted, however, that in this study, the subjects were told not to rate according to their own standards, but rather to rate how obscene they thought the list of words would be to "a significant part of the population" (p. 249), and, as such, represent relative, not absolute, ratings. The overall higher sensitivity to the offensiveness of swear words reported by females may result in swearing inhibitions. Frequency studies restricted to swear word occurrence and based on naturalistic, spontaneous speech show male swearing behavior to be significantly more frequent (sometimes more than double) than that of females (Anshen, 1973; Gomm, 1981; Jay, 1986; Limbrick, 1991). Despite the frequency discrepancy, these studies revealed no significant differences in quality, that is to say, in the strength of swear words used by both sexes (cf Bailey and Timm, 1975, and Cameron, 1969, where quantity was the same but quality differed due to female 'weak' expletive use). When asked to produce swear word samples, males have out-contributed females, showing a wider range of swear word familiarity (Foote and Woodward, 1 974), although no difference has been found between the sexes for the words most frequently listed as swear words (Foote and Woodward, 1974; Johnson and Fine, 1985), most frequently reported as used (Johnson and Fine, 1985; Staley, 1978) and most frequently used (Jay, 1986).

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Male swearing behavior has been shown to be inhibited by the presence of females. The frequency with which males use swear words has been shown to decrease significantly in spontaneous mixed-sex conversations compared to the frequency of use in single-sex conversations (Anshen, 1973; Gomm, 1981; Jay, 1986; Limbrick, 1991). A similar inhibitive effect of the presence of the opposite sex on female swearing behavior is not as evident. Anshen (1973) found no change in female swearing behavior due to the presence of males. Gomm (1981) and Jay (1986) found a decrease in female swear word usage as a result of the presence of male co-participants, but that this decrease was less significant than that evidenced by the males. Limbrick (1991), however, found that females increased their usage of swear words in mixed-sex conversations. His explanation for this phenomenon is accommodation by both sexes: males, under the impression that females do not swear, accommodate them by decreasing their own usage of swear words, while females, under the impression that males swear more often than they do, accommodate them by increasing their swearing fi-equency. Studies on the respective perceptions that males and females have regarding their own and each other's swearing behavior show the persistence of the stereotypes expressed by Jespersen (1922) and Lakoff (1975). According to Coates (1986): These writers claim to describe women's more polite use of the language, but we should ask whether what they are actually doing is attempting to prescribe how women ought to talk. Avoidance of swearing and of "coarse" words is held up to female speakers as the ideal to be aimed at.... (p. 22) The affirmation of swearing as masculine behavior also serves the purpose of prescriptivism. Berger (1970), Bergler (1936), Dooling (1996), Mencken (1936) and Montagu (1967) repeatedly make references to males as the exclusive practitioners of

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19 swearing. The implication of swearing as a male domain (Frank, 1983) can also be found in the language of swearing itself, which includes an abundance of terms for females and their body parts (Hughes, 1998; Hymes in Lakoff, 1975). Such sexism has resulted in a consciousness-raising among feminists, who see swearing as an example of language as a "male-derived system of chauvinist bias, which is, therefore, equally open to semantic engineering by chauvinists" (Hughes, 1998, p. 206). Although no definitive link between the feminist movement and female swearing behavior has been established, Bailey and Timm (1976) and Oliver and Rubin (1975) found that awareness of the feminist argument and involvement in women's liberation was positively associated with female swearing frequency. Also linked to the feminist movement is the use of swear words by women of middle or upper-middle class (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Oliver and Rubin, 1975; Risch, 1987; Staley, 1978; Stenstrom, 1991), a behavior traditionally associated with lower working-class women (Hughes, 1 992; Trudgill, 1972). Rieber, Wiedemann and D'Amato (1979) found that their feminist, female subjects used swear words denotatively more often and gave the provided word sample ('fuck', 'shit' and 'bastard') lower overall ofFensiveness ratings than the nonfeminist females and males (1979). Finally, de Klerk (1992) and Risch (1987) found that females were familiar with and reported using a variety of swear words to refer to men and male body parts, reflecting an equality at least in the semantic representation of the sexes.

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20 Goals of the Present Study The goals of the present study are based upon questions inspired by significant contributions as well as sociolinguistically unsound conclusions of previous swearing research. These contributions and conclusions can be summarized as follows: 1 . The use of swear words and contemporary swearing has its origins in the oaths and curses of Christian antiquity, with an equally long history of being without social sanction (Hughes, 1998; Mencken, 1936; Montagu, 1967; Sagarin, 1962). 2. Although swearing is often considered socially "unruly", it is rule-governed in terms of grammar, syntax and discourse (Andersson and Trudgill, 1990; Ljung, 1989; McMillan, 1980; Stenstrom, 1991; Taylor, 1975). 3. While swearing can only be defined in subjective terms, allowing for an openended category of swear words, the majority of these words can be categorized as sexual, sacred or excretory (Andersson and Trudgill, 1990; Baudhuin, 1973; Foote and Woodward, 1973; Hughes, 1998; Mabry, 1975; Montagu, 1967; Nerbonne and Hipskind, 1972; Staley, 1978; Stenstrom, 1991). 4. Calculations of swear word frequency are affected by mode of communication (written vs. oral discourse), researcher bias, formality of setting and coparticipant variables such as age, social distance and social status (Cameron, 1969; French et al., 1930; Hipskind and Nerbonne, 1970; Jay, 1978, 1992; Nerbonne and Hipskind, 1972; Thomdike and Lorge, 1944).

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Ratings tasks reveal varying degrees of offensiveness among swear words. Sexual terms are consistently rated as more offensive than excretory and sacred terms (Baudhuin, 1973; Driscoll, 1981; Jay, 1986). Females report a higher degree of sensitivity to the offensiveness of swear words than do males (Abbott and Jay, 1978; Sewell, 1984; Wilson, 1975). Offensiveness ratings are traditionally based on non-contextualized swear words, as opposed to contextual ized swearing utterances. College students and males and females aged 28-34 use swear words most frequently (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Cameron, 1969; Jay, 1986; Nerbonne and Hipskind, 1 972). Swearing behavior among both sexes is inhibited by children (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Jay, 1992; Foote and Woodward, 1973; Oliver and Rubin, 1975) and by elders and the elderly (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Hughes, 1992; Oliver and Rubm, 1975; Staley, 1978). Males swear more frequently than females and employ a wider range of swear words; females typically use weaker terms (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Foote and Woodward, 1973; Oliver and Rubin, 1975; Stenstrom, 1991). Male swearing behavior is inhibited by the presence of females (Anshen, 1973; Gomm, 1981; Jay, 1986; Limbrick, 1991). The effects of the presence of males on female swearing behavior are variable. Evidence of no behavior change and overall increased frequency of use may be manifestations of the feminist movement (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Hughes, 1998; de Klerk, 1992; Oliver and Rubin,

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22 1975; Rieber, Wiedemann and D'Amato, 1979; Risch, 1987; Staley, 1978; Stenstrom, 1991). Based on these conclusions, the present study proposes to answer the following research questions: 1 . What are the dynamics of swearing utterances? Research based on natural and elicited productions has focused only on the use of swear words or swearing expressions as a function of a limited number of sociolinguistic variables, such as age and sex. This question requires consideration of all aspects of the social context and the swearing utterance in fiill in order to determine the effects and interplay of multiple variables, including setting and scene; age, race, sex, social distance and social status of interlocutors; tone or key of utterance; and purposes and outcomes. i* ' > ii 2. What is the current status of gender difTerences in swearing behavior? The majority of studies on the effects of interlocutor gender on swearing behavior were published 25 years ago, thus requiring reconsideration in terms of contemporary data. 3. Do males and females of different races differ in their swearing behavior? Population sample-based studies have traditionally considered data from white males and females. Of the research reviewed in the present study, 24% reported an all-white population sample. The majority of the studies~71%~ provided no racial outline for their middle-class, college student subjects, leaving one to assume a white majority. Only one study reported data collection from a mixed-

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23 race population (Risch, 1987) comprised of 80% whites and 20% AfricanAmericans. However, the author did not address any eventual racial differences in the data, leaving it an issue as yet unexplored. In fact, the few references to nonwhite swearing behavior consist of observations of the AfricanAmerican ("Negro") preference for the word "motherfiicker" (Berger, 1970, p. 283; Hughes, 1998, p. 32). 4. What are the effects of swearing on the addressee? Swearing research has traditionally reflected a speaker-oriented approach, with addressees only considered as an aspect of the social context, i.e., the effects of the addressee on the speaker. The few listener-oriented studies have focused on the vitriolic effects of swear words in terms of ratings. This question recognizes the role of the addressee in the ultimate interpretation and evaluation of the social functions of swearing. Furthermore, this question appeals to the effects of swear word usage by out-group members, such as elders, children, strangers, non-native speakers, or within the media, on one's own concept of sociolinguistic norms or standards for language use. 5. How does the context of usage affect the evaluation of the inherent ofTensiveness of swear words? The juxtaposition of swear word frequency and ratings data from college student populations results in a 'swearing paradox', representing the question of how this highly offensive behavior can also enjoy such a high rate of occurrence. This question requires the acknowledgment of social context in the evaluation of swearing utterances.

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24 These questions are answered in the following chapters in terms of analyses of qualitative and quantitative empirical data, including spontaneous swearing utterances, questionnaires and ethnographic interviews. Data collection took place on a university campus, as swearing behavior has shown to be frequent within college student speech communities. For the sake of consistency, the present study will exclusively use the terms 'swearing' and 'swear words', and, in so doing, refer to the use of a set of words limited to: 'ass', 'bastard', 'bitch', 'cunt', 'damn', 'dick', 'fuck', 'hell', 'shit' and thenderivatives, e.g., 'bullshit' or 'Goddamn'. These words are not intended to represent an exhaustive list of swear words. Instead, they represent examples of the most frequently listed words in swear word elicitation tasks (Foote and Woodward, 1973; Johnson and Fine, 1985), as well as the most frequently occurring swear words in spontaneous speech in college student populations (Jay, 1986). The restricted word sample introduces focus, which not only facilitates observation of spontaneous speech, but eliminates the subjectivity associated vsdth metalinguistic terminology, ensuring a consistency in the observation of spontaneous speech, as well as among the questionnaire participants and ethnographic interview informants.

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CHAPTER 2 METHODOLOGY Sociolinguistic Principles As the study of the relationship between language and society, sociolinguistics involves the analysis of linguistic behavior as a function of social context. Swearing represents a unique case within sociolinguistics in that swear words themselves may have little to no semantic role, but are socially meaningful. Shifting the focus of swearing research from single word or phrase to social context of utterance reflects a sociolinguistic approach. As an example of linguistic variability, swearing is a behavior that is not practiced by every person at every moment as evidenced by word frequency studies (Cameron, 1969, vs. Berger, 1967). A sociolinguistic approach to swearing seeks to reveal the sociolinguistic variables which are conducive to or inhibit such behavior. To date, the sociolinguistic perspective within swearing research is represented primarily by studies on the effects of the participant variables age and sex. Social context, however, involves a variety of additional sociolinguistic variables, including setting and scene, participant race, social distance and social status, goals and outcomes, tone or manner, and norms of interaction and interpretation (Hymes, 1972). All of these variables must be considered as having potential influence on swearing behavior.

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26 The Labovian paradigm is central to sociolinguistic investigation and the observation of speech variabiHty. Labov (1970) distinguishes between inter-speaker and intraspeaker variation, the former caused by social factors and the latter by stylistic factors. He also acknowledges 'markers', that is, variables which are both social and stylistic. Bell (1 984), on the other hand, argues that interand intra-speaker variation is caused by social and stylistic factors which can not be teased apart. A sociolinguistic investigation, therefore, must address both inter-speaker and intra-speaker variation while accounting for social and stylistic influences. Labov 's (1970) axioms regarding speech variation convey the academic importance of systematic observation as well as the social significance of tapping into the vernacular style of users. To do both and avoid the inherent Observer 's Paradox requires employing different data collection techniques. Observation of spontaneous speech and other covert techniques of data collection engage unknowing participants in the kind of speech behavior under investigation. In contrast to this are overt techniques, such as questionnaires and interviews, which have as their focus what is said, as opposed to how it is said. These techniques allow participants to talk about their owti and others' speech behavior. Questionnaires and other elicitation techniques have typically been used in swearing research (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Baudhuin, 1973; Driscoll, 1981; Foote and Woodward, 1973; Hughes, 1992; Jay, 1977, 1978, 1986; Johnson and Fine, 1985; de Klerk, 1992; Mabry, 1975; Manning and Melchiori, 1974; Mulac, 1976; Oliver and Rubin, 1975; Rieberetal., 1979; Risch, 1987; Sewell, 1984; Staley, 1978; Wilson, 1975).

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27 Observation of spontaneous speech is a less commonly employed technique (Anshen, 1973; Cameron, 1969; Jay, 1986; Johnson and Fine, 1985; Stenstrom, 1991). Mabry (1975) summarized the need for the incorporation of both kinds of data collection in swearing research by stating that "investigations of the relationship between actual and reported usage is [sic] essential for performing validity checks on the self-report instrument and as an end in itself (p. 44). As a quantitative technique, the greatest advantage in conducting questionnaires lies in the potential to elicit a mass of information from a mass of people. The use of questionnaires allows the investigator to tap into the explicit knowledge, intuitions and opinions of the members of a particular speech community. To both facilitate participation and to quantify efficiently participant information, open-ended questions should be avoided in favor of multiple-choice questions, with the answers in the form of, for example, dichotomies (yes-no, agree-disagree) or Likert scales (always-oftensometimes-never). This type of formal constraint limits the quality of data that can be obtained from questionnaires, but renders them an ideal tool for revealing aspects which require deeper investigation. The ethnographic interview allows the sociolinguist to examine speech variation in greater depth by establishing an atmosphere conducive to eliciting the informant's, perspectives on and intuitions about the speech behavior under investigation. Furthermore, through careftil questioning on the interviewer's part, the ethnographic interview can reveal the tacit knowledge that speakers have about why they speak differently in different social contexts.

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Data Collection 28 Kasper and Dahl (1991) distinguish between the two kinds of data collection methodology that have been discussed so far, namely, observation and elicitation. They further categorize elicitation into perception/intuition and production, while observed data is either elicited or spontaneous. As the elicitation of production is analogous to observation of elicited data, Kasper and Dahl's elicitation-observation dichotomy suffers from an unnecessary overlap. It is thus suggested that the term 'observation' be reserved to refer to observing spontaneous speech, while elicitation be subcategorized into 'elicitation for observation' and 'elicitation for information'. Elicitation for observation includes techniques such as the sociolinguistic interview, Labov's (1972) reading tasks or Discourse Completion Tasks, while elicitation for information techniques, on the other hand, include techniques such as questionnaires and the ethnographic interview. Kasper and Dahl point out that a combination of methods is characteristic of successful studies, and Boxer (1993) encourages the use of ethnographic interviews as a complement to data analysis of spontaneous speech and traditional questionnaires: [By] combining the researcher's own analysis of spontaneous speech with the information gleaned from native informants through an ethnographic interview, a more complete analysis of the specific speech behavior can be made than that which results from a reliance on more traditional interviews or questionnaires, (p. 116) The methodology for the present study combines observation and elicitation for information techniques, the latter in the form of a questionnaire and ethnographic interviews. By using three different data collection methodologies, the data can be

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29 triangulated; that is to say, each data set can be compared and co-referenced with another, yielding more accurate explanations of the relationship between sociolinguistic variables and interand intra-speaker variation in swearing behavior. Speech Community A study such as the present one which investigates linguistic behavior by observing and consulting language users must identify who those language users are. In other words, a sociolinguistic study population must be defined in terms of speech community, "a community sharing knowledge of rules for the conduct and interpretation of speech" (Hymes, 1974, p. 51). According to Holmes (1992), "the members of each community have their distinctive linguistic repertoires. In other words, in every community there is a range of varieties from which people select according to the context in which they are communicating" (pp. 10-11). The speech community for the present study consists of undergraduate students at the University of Florida. Data collected by observation include only those utterances spoken by or to a university undergraduate student. Seven of the spontaneous utterances (1 .8%) were spoken by non-members of the university speech community as a whole, while eleven of the utterances (2.8%) were spoken by non-members of the undergraduate university speech commimity, i.e., graduate teaching assistants, instructors or professors. Participants in the questionnaire and interviews were all members of the undergraduate university student speech community. Because of the

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30 anonymous nature of the observation of spontaneous speech, it is unknown whether the questionnaire and interview participants were also contributors to the spontaneous speech data. Observation of Spontaneous Speech The first step in data collection was the observation and recording of spontaneous speech. Undergraduate students at the University of Florida were observed during an eight-week period at various onand off-campus sites. Participants were unaware of being observed; the recording of utterances was done with the use of field notes (Appendix A). The covert recording of spontaneous speech ensured the collection of naturalistic data. However, as sole data collector, I risked being restrained by the Observer's Paradox in situations where I was not a recognized or accepted member of the speech community. Two steps were taken in order to avoid this limitation: 1)1 collected data only in public, often crowded, places wearing headphones to give the appearance of being 'out of ear-shot', and 2) I enlisted help from undergraduate students enrolled in a Linguistics class, whom I trained to covertly record swearing utterances using field notes. As members of the speech community under investigation, the undergraduate students had access to social interaction that I, a marginal out-group member, did not. Furthermore, familiarity with the contributors allowed them to more accurately determine social distance and social status. Twenty-nine undergraduate students assisted in the field note recording of swearing utterances. Of the 29 students, there were 10 White males, 3 AfiicanAmerican males, 1

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AsianAmerican male, 10 White females, 3 Hispanic females and 2 AfricanAmerican females. Field note information included the applicable components of communication represented by Hymes' (1974) SPEAKING grid as well as additional information specific to the context: 1 . setting. Where did the utterance occur? Onand off-campus sites included classrooms, dormitories, private homes, busses, cars, etc. 2. participants. What were the sex and race of the speaker? What were the sex and race of the listener or listeners? Possibilities for race included White, AfricanAmerican, Hispanic, AsianAmerican and Other/Unknown. 3. social distance or social status. What was the relationship of the speaker to the listener(s) in terms of intimacy and solidarity? Possibilities include friends, acquaintances, intimates, relatives and strangers. If the co-participants' relationship could be described in terms of an association relevant to the context in which the swearing utterance occurred, this association was noted, e.g., coworkers, roommates, classmates, club members, etc. Social status was noted when the context of interaction revealed a relevant difference in co-participants' social status. 4. topic. What were the participants talking about at the time of the utterance? Knowing the topic aided in determining the tone. 5. tone. In what key or spirit did the utterance occur? Possible tones included: Abusive, Anecdotal, Angry, Desperate, Distressed, Emphatic, Excited,

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32 Humorous, Rebellious, Sarcastic, Serious and Supportive, and Other. The choice of tones was modeled after 1 ) the range of emotions represented by the hypothetical situations featured in Staley's (1978) questionnaire (see Chapter 1), and 2) Jay's (1986) field note categories for 'manner' (yelled, anger, loud, frustrated, conversational, sarcastic, soft, joke, whisper and other). For the purpose of quantification and analysis, only one tone per utterance was assigned. 6. utterance. What was the actual swearing utterance? An utterance was one or more sentences produced by one speaker containing swearing as defined in Chapter 1. 7. reaction. How did the listener(s) react? Possible reactions included: No noticeable reaction the listener(s) did not overtly react to the occurrence of swearing and the flow of conversation was not affected; Laughter the listener(s) responded by laughing immediately after the swearing utterance; Echo the listener(s) responded by producing a swearing utterance; Rejection the listener overtly reacted to the swearing utterance, interrupting the flow of conversation. A total of 394 spontaneous swearing utterances were recorded, yielding 528 occurrences of swear words.

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Questionnaire 33 Undergraduate students at the University of Florida were approached at random to complete the six-page questionnaire (Appendix C). They were told only that the questionnaire dealt with a particular linguistic behavior. After completing the first two pages, the participants were given the opportunity to stop the process if they disapproved of or were uncomfortable with the subject matter. No subjects opted out of completing the questionnaire. A total of 65 questionnaires were completed, 60 of which are included in this study (Appendix D and Appendix E). Five of the original questionnaires revealed the participant's non-membership of the focus speech community and were discarded. The questionnaire was designed to gather the following information: 1 . Demographic information. On the first page of the questionnaire, participants were asked to provide their age (open-ended), race (open-ended), sex (male or female), year at the university (1'', 2"**, 3'*", 4'*' or 5*), place of birth (city and state or country), location of high school attended (city and state or country), current residence of father/male-guardian (city and state or country), current residence of mother/female guardian (city and state or country), highest level of education achieved by father and mother (High school diploma. Bachelor's degree, Graduate degree, Other, Don't know), occupation of father and mother (open-ended), past affiliation with an organized religion (open-ended if 'yes'), current affiliation with an organized religion (open-ended if 'yes') and current affiliation with a club or organization (open-ended if 'yes').

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34 'Age' and 'year at the university' filter out non-members of the undergraduate student speech community. 'Sex' and 'race' allow for sub-grouping and comparison. Parental/guardian information sheds light on each participant's socioeconomic status, while geographic background, past and present religious affiliation and club membership reveal possible shared cultural background as members of other speech communities. 2. Offensiveness ratings of isolated swear words. The second page of the questionnaire included an alphabetical list of twelve swear words and derivatives as presented in Chapter 1, plus the word 'nigger'. A high frequency of the use of 'nigger' was noticed during the observation phase of the study, and its inclusion in this section of the questionnaire was intended as a challenge to the concept of 'swearing'. Following Jay's (1986) example, participants were asked to rate each swear word on an offensiveness scale of 1 to 10, ' 1 ' being 'Not Offensive', and '10' being 'Very Offensive'. The participants were then asked to provide a label for the list of words. The terms 'swearing' and 'swear words', it should be noted, were not yet introduced as of this point. Next, the participants were asked if, according to their label, any of the listed words should be deleted, or if any other words should be added. The participants were then told to circle any words they would not use. Finally, each participant was asked to comment on whether the offensiveness of these words was fixed and unchanging. It was after completing the second page of the questionnaire, which revealed the subject matter, that participants were given the opportunity to discontinue with the questionnaire. If they chose to continue, the first two pages of the questionnaire were

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then collected, and the last four pages were distributed. In so doing, participants were unable to change their initial ratings and labels. 3. Self and other behavior. The third and fourth pages of the questionnaire contained 25 questions relating to each participant's own swearing behavior as well as to the swearing behavior of others. The questions appear below grouped and ordered for the purpose of classification; they did not appear in this order on the questionnaire. After each question there appears a code to the type of possible answer: open-ended = (O), multiple choice = (MC), fi-equency (often, sometimes, rarely, never) = (F), yes-no = (Y/N), comparison (more, less, equal) = (>=<). Questions referring to self behavior included: Do you use swear words? (F) Swearing is an example of a linguistic behavior which exhibits both intraand interspeaker variation. This question was intended to allow the participants to identify themselves as users or non-users of swear words, while the possible answer choices, in the format of graded frequency, reflected the variation that is inherent in swearing. Do you have any personal 'rules' about swearing? (O) Do you ever consciously try not to swear? (F) Are there times when you try to use swear words more often than usual? (Y/N) Are there times when you try to use swear words less often than usual? (Y/N) Do you ever use swear words when you don't mean to/want to? (F) Variation in speech behavior is caused by social and stylistic factors. Speaking differently according to situational variables conveys social meaning. The questions above required the participants to tap into their sociolinguistic competence, that is, the ability to determine whether a linguistic behavior is appropriate in a given social

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situation, in order to reveal indications of intra-speaker variation. Engaging in or refraining from swearing is a choice determined by a speaker's sociolinguistic competence. It is also this competence which is responsible forjudging the appropriateness of that choice. Does your frequency of swearing change when you speak to members of the opposite sex? (>=<) This question is similar to the previous questions in that it refers to the participants' speech variation as a function of sociolinguistic competence, whether speakers alter their speech behavior according to the sex of their addressee. Furthermore, this question serves as an indicator of possible differences between male and female speech, or at least perceptions of those differences (cf Johnson and Fine, 1985; Staley, 1978). Do you use swear words when you speak to your friends? (F) Do you use swear words when you speak to your father? (F) Do you use swear words when you speak to your mother? (F) Do you use swear words when you participate in class discussions? (F) With which people are you most likely to use swear words? (MC) With which people are you least likely to use swear words? (M C) The questions above refer to the participants' speech behavior with various members of their speech communities and social network. In answering these questions, the participants reveal to what extent their speech behavior varies according to interlocutor age, social distance and social status. What is most likely to affect whether or not you will use swear words? (MC) In order to answer this question, the participants were required to choose from the four following possibilities: "Where I am", "Whom I'm talking to", "How I feel" or

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37 "What I'm talking about". The participants' answers reveal which social variable they are most likely to consider in determining the appropriateness of swearing. In what emotional state are you in when you are most likely to swear? (MC) Do you use swear words to offend/hurt people? (F) As discussed in Chapter 1 , swearing is most often associated with negativity and offensive, abusive or aggressive behavior. These questions were intended to either confirm or challenge this perspective, by requiring the participants to express what they think they do, and comparing that to what they actually do, as revealed by the spontaneous speech observations. Questions referring to other behavior included: Do your friends use swear words when they speak to you? (F) Does your father use swear words when he speaks to you? (F) Does your mother use swear words when she speaks to you? (F) These questions were intended as cross-references to the self-behavior questions which focused on the same groups of people, that is, fHends and parents. Comparing the answers to these two sets of questions reveals whether swearing is a speech behavior practiced reciprocally by the participants and members of their speech community and social networks. Is there a type of person you think should not use swear words? (O) Similar to the question of 'personal rules' for self-behavior, this question seeks to reveal whether the participants have 'rules' for the behavior of others. It also potentially reveals group association or disassociation, depending on the participants' own swearing behavior, as revealed by the self-behavior questions.

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Do you think it is acceptable for professors/instructors at the university to use swear words in class? (Y/N) Have any of your university professors/instructors ever used swear words during class lectures? (Y/N) As university undergraduate students, each of the participants interact on a regular basis with university instructors and professors. They are, therefore, members of the same speech community. However, evidence of intraand inter-speaker variation within the same speech community may indicate the existence of sub-groups, in this case, students as one group, instructors as another (cf Johnson and Fine, 1985). These questions, cross-referenced with the question on the participant's in-class swearing behavior, reveal whether swearing is a cross-group phenomenon within the speech community, and whether the participant's sociolinguistic competence allows for swearing from both groups. Do you think men swear more often than women do? (>=<) As discussed in Chapter 1, the stereotype of swearing as a predominantly masculine behavior persists, despite evidence to the contrary. This question reveals the participants' adherence to the stereotype and contributes to understanding the relationship between perceptions and the reality of gender differences in swearing behavior. Do you feel offended when your friends use swear words when they speak to you? (F) Do you feel offended when people you don't know use swear words when they speak to you? (F) These questions refer to the assumption of swearing as an offensive behavior (see Chapter 1). While recognizing the inherent offensiveness of swear words (i.e., 'do you

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feel offended...'), these questions seek to discover if it is categorical or variable, based on, in this case, interlocutor social distance. Both the selfand other-behavior sets of questions were intended to uncover some social and stylistic factors which cause intraand inter-speaker variation. The answers that the participants provided are a reflection of what they think they do or should do, not necessarily what they actually do. Nevertheless, such information is an indicator of how the members of this particular speech community understand and perceive the social and cultural rules governing their language use. 4. Offensiveness ratings of contextualized swearing. The fifth page of the questiormaire presented the participants with six instances of actual swearing utterances, that is, short dialogues that were recorded during observation. All six dialogues took place among undergraduate students talking at various public areas of the university campus. The sex and race of each dialogue participant was also provided. Similar to the offensiveness rating task on the second page of the questiormaire, the participants were asked to rate the offensiveness of the individual swear words on a scale of ' I ' ('Not Offensive') to ' 1 0' ('Very Offensive'). The swear words appeared in bold type in the dialogues and included: 'flick', 'flicking', 'motherflicking', 'shit', 'shitty', and 'ass'. Examples of both 'shit' and 'flick' in different referential frames were given, that is, as metaphorical and denotative references, in order investigate whether the duality of these words would result in different offensiveness ratings. In Chapter 1, it was pointed out that offensiveness ratings of isolated swear words are unreliable since it is impossible to know how a rating task participant interprets the

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40 individual words. In the present study, the offensiveness rating of contextualized swearing is intended to be juxtaposed with the offensiveness rating of isolated swear words to reveal any judgmental discrepancies and to emphasize the importance of studying language and speech variation as socially and contextually bound phenomena. 5. Reactions to the questionnaire. The final section of the questionnaire consisted of three sets of three statements representing possible opinions the participants may have on swearing in general and three sets of three statements representing possible participant reactions to the questionnaire. The participants were asked to choose the set of statements which best reflected their opinions and reactions, with the possibility of deleting any statement with which they did not agree, and adding any additional comments. The purpose of this final section was to reveal the participants' general disposition towards 1 ) swearing as a speech behavior exhibited in present day society, and 2) swearing as a linguistic phenomenon with social meaning. Finally, a short paragraph concluded the questionnaire by inviting the participants to take part in a voluntary follow-up interview to discuss their answers and the topic of swearing in fiirther detail. Ethnographic Interview The Labovian tradition of sociolinguistic research and methodology is one of autonomy. The researcher works as an independent figure, analyzing and drawing conclusions based on the systematic observation of speech behavior. The extent of

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41 his/her interaction with members of the speech community under investigation is limited to data collection, and varies from little (or none), as in the case of discrete observation of spontaneous speech, to more overt interaction required by elicitation techniques such as Discourse Completion Tasks or the sociolinguistic interview (Labov, 1972). An important element to data collection, according to Labovian techniques, is that the member(s) of the studied speech commvmity remain unaware of the researcher's focus. In this way, data can be collected in a systematic manner under a variety of circumstances, allowing the researcher to execute an analysis based solely on the production, that is, elicited and/or observed speech behavior, of the speech community members. In contrast to this Labovian approach to sociolinguistic research, in which there is but superficial interaction between the researcher and the members of the speech community, is the approach associated with and credited to Dell Hymes, namely, the ethnography of speaking. Hymes (1974) proposed that the speech community be regarded not just as a source of speech behavior, but that the researcher, now referred to as the ethnographer, see members of the speech conmiunity "as sources of shared knowledge and insight" (p. 8). According to Hymes, "the only worthwhile future for the sciences of man lies in the realization of such an approach. [. . .] Mere observation, however systematic and repeated, can obviously never suffice to meet such high standards of objectivity and validity" (pp. 10-11). As ftirther justification for an ethnographic approach, he offers a related example, taken from the early conclusions of Spier and Sapir (1930) resulting from their study of tribal avoidance behavior: "The

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42 moral is that it is as necessary to discover what the native sentiment is as well as to record behavior" (p. 217). The ethnographic interview is the technique which allows the ethnographer to tap into the insight and shared knowledge of members of the speech community. According to Boxer (1993): Since the ethnographic interview is a method of getting people to talk about what they know~of discovering what human behaviors mean to the individuals participating in those behaviors-it differs greatly from the traditional interview or questionnaire in that it seeks to uncover not only knowledge that is explicit but also knowledge that is tacit, (p. 11 5) v > ^ • ' • Uncovering tacit knowledge requires strategic questioning. A restrictive interview format, with a fixed set of questions, should be avoided in favor of more spontaneous questions, based on the informant's own comments. By focusing on depth as opposed to breadth, the ethnographer can guide the informant into making tacit knowledge explicit, tapping into "native sentiment" and "shared insight". Interview format. After completing the questiormaire, twenty-three participants (35%) volunteered to be interviewed, eleven (17%) of whom where chosen on the basis of race, sex and questionnaire information, in an effort to achieve a comprehensive representation. Each interview was tape-recorded and lasted 30 to 45 minutes. Full interview transcripts are included in Appendix F. TTie questionnaire served as a springboard for the interview. As discussed above, because questionnaires must be structured in such a way so as to allow for tabulation and quantification of data, depth is sacrificed for breadth. Thus, they are ideal as a preliminary to the ethnographic interview in that they reveal areas which require deeper

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investigation. Furthermore, the fact that the interview informants had participated in the questionnaire meant that they were famiUar with the research subject and had been inspired to consider different aspects of swearing. Each interview commenced in the same way, namely, by having the informants describe the style of speech they use in informal, social interaction, as opposed to academic or professional. This question was intended to encourage the informants to consider the different contexts in which they use language and to discover if they were aware of any resulting variability. They were then asked to comment on whether swearing was a feature of any of their various styles. In this way, the informants were encouraged to consider the variability of their swearing behavior. The informants were then directed to their own completed questionnaires and asked to comment on different responses, beginning with the ratings of the isolated swear words. The ratings section for the questionnaire was based on Jay's 1977 and 1978 offensiveness ratings studies, in which he presented subjects with a list of taboo and nontaboo words (1977) and a list of offensive items, including words and actions (1978). The college student subjects for the 1977 study were instructed to judge how offensive each word would be to "a significant part of the population." Jay justified his instructions by claiming that "some students may think that they are not offended by anything. The results were intended to reflect general standards, not college students' values" (Jay, 1992, p. 141). Similarly, for the 1978 study, the college student subjects were instructed to "estimate the degree to which each of the items were offensive to the

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44 general public." He was admittedly uninterested in "an individual subject's ideas or personality" (p. 141). There are two major faults in Jay's studies. The first one concerns requiring the study subjects to provide offensiveness ratings on behalf of others. Such data is unreliable; terms such as "significant part of the population" and "general population" are both vague and unrealistic, inevitably resulting in variable interpretations. Furthermore, the results are of little value without additional data for comparison, such as ratings from actual members of the "general population" and personal ratings from the college student subjects. Secondly, in both studies offensiveness of swear words is assumed and imposed upon the participants, rendering alternative interpretations improbable. By being presented with a list of taboo and non-taboo words unaccompanied by context (1977) and instructed to rate the offensiveness of each word, the participants were encouraged to consider the taboo words (swear words) as inherently offensive. The participants were similarly influenced to consider only the offensiveness of swear words in the 1978 study, which required them to compare hearing different swear words to witnessing decidedly offensive acts such as rape, murder, child abuse or sodomy. Despite the format of these two studies, i.e. lists of words in no context, which allow for open interpretation from each study subject. Jay ensured consistent ratings from his study subjects by encouraging them to consider only one aspect of swear words. The ethnographic interviews conducted for the present study allowed the informants to explain their thought processes in completing the ratings section of the questionnaire.

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45 thereby revealing their own personal interpretations and individual evaluations of the individual words and swearing behavior in general. Furthermore, the informants were able to comment on any discrepancies between their ratings of the isolated swear words (questionnaire Part II) and their ratings of the contextualized swear words (questionnaire Part IV). The informants were then asked to elaborate on their answers to the open-ended questions of the questionnaire, such as, "In your opinion, is the offensiveness of [swear] words fixed and unchanging?"; "Do you have any personal rules about swearing?" and "Is there a type of person you think should not use swear words?". Finally, the informants were invited to comment on and/or clarify various questionnaire answers by giving examples of or telling anecdotes relating to their own swearing behavior and that of their family members, fiiends, classmates, professors, coworkers, males vs. females, etc. All of the eleven informants were markedly aware of their own and others' swearing behavior and were both interested in the discussion/interview topic and eager to share their experiences and opinions. Weaknesses of Methodology Although the combination of methodologies—observation of spontaneous speech, questionnaire and ethnographic interviews-reflects an improvement upon the methodologies of previous swearing research by allowing for validity checks of actual

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usage, reported usage and perceptions, each individual methodology is, alas, not without its own weaknesses. Observation of spontaneous speech. The use of field notes in the discrete observation of spontaneous speech was preferred over contrived elicitation methods, such as questionnaires or the sociolinguistic interview, which seek to engage participants in the speech behavior under investigation. Although swearing is typical of aggressive (Driscoll, 1981) and in-group (Coates, 1986; Holmes, 1992; Johnson and Fine, 1985; Montagu, 1967) behavior, it would be undesirable (and, possibly, dangerous) to use provocation as an elicitation technique and unlikely that an interview situation, however casual it may be, would produce the sort of solidarity which is conducive to swearing behavior. Furthermore, swearing utterances were abundant on and around the university campus, making elicitation unnecessary. One of the weakness involved in the field note recording of spontaneous swearing utterances is the potential for a lack of accuracy. While the most of the variables of the social context as well as the swearing utterance itself were easily recorded, the relationship and social distance of the interlocutors were, at times, indeterminable to me as an out-group member. In addition, to avoid the Observer's Paradox, it was necessary to enlist the aide of members of the speech community, university undergraduate students, to record utterances which I would otherwise not have had access to. While each of the twenty-nine students received training in the recording of field notes and was informed of the specifics required by the field note cards, their discretion and accuracy

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47 can not be guaranteed. However, care was taken to exclude incomplete or faulty field note information. Questionnaire. As discussed earlier in this chapter, questionnaires have the potential to generate a large amount of data from many people. However, they must be designed in such a way that they are 'participant friendly', that is, not all too timeconsuming or difficult to understand. Their design should also facilitate the quantification of data. For the present study, these constraints resulted in the use of factfinding questions (Part I, Demographics), rating tasks (Parts II and IV), six short-answer quesfions (Parts II and III) and twenty-seven multiple choice questions (Parts III and V). The weaknesses involved in swear word rating tasks include presentation and imposed bias. By presenting swear words in lists, they are without context and, as such, do not reflect realistic usage. Moreover, the bias imposed by the evaluative scale discourages alternative interpretations. Part II of the questionnaire was not designed to remedy these weaknesses, but rather was intended to replicate them. The ratings generated by this task could then be juxtaposed with those resulting from the rating task of Part IV, which required participants to consider the offensiveness of socially contextualized swear words. With the inclusion of social context, the latter rating task represents an improvement upon the traditional method. However, it too is not without weaknesses. First, in order to investigate the effects of various social contexts on the evaluation of swear words, only a limited set of words is represented: 'ass', 'shit', 'fiick' and several inflections and derivatives, thereof Thus, the words represent the control while their usage

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48 (metaphorical or denotative) and users (sex and race) represent the variables. Consequently, a comparison of ratings is only applicable to the swear words common to both tasks. Secondly, although the dialogues represent actual utterances overheard and recorded with field notes, by appearing in print as part of a questionnaire they are rendered unnatural. As an oral phenomenon, the ideal method of subjecting swearing to sociolinguistic evaluation is through aural and visual simulation. The written representation of social interaction and context requires a greater effort on the part of the participant and, as such, is vulnerable to inconsistencies. A final weakness evident in the questionnaire is the inexactness inherent to the multiple choice answers of fi-equency (often, sometimes, rarely, never). As one person's 'often' may be another person's 'rarely', it is difficult to translate these terms into reliable statistics. Furthermore, it is impossible to check the truth of these answers. They must be therefore taken for what they are, namely, what people say they do, as opposed to what people actually do. Ethnographic interview. It must be noted that the ethnographic interview of the present study is more correctly referred to as a quasi-ethnographic interview. Prior to the interview, I had only met the informants one time, that being on the occasion of their participation in the questiormaire. Thus, as the interviews were the fu"st and only opportunities to converse vsath the informants, they are only quasi-ethnographic as they do not reflect the rapport that emerges after a series of meetings over time (cf. Spradley, 1979).

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49 Source of data. The choice of a college-student sample population was motivated by previous swearing research which 1 ) showed evidence of frequent swearing behavior within this type of speech community and 2) established baseline information for this environment. Acknowledging Jay's (1992) remonstration that "too much of the information accumulated on the use of dirty words is limited to white, middle class, American college students" (p. 243), the data on which this study is based reflect racial diversity amongst the members of the speech community. However, the speech community represented in this study is that of undergraduate students at the University of Florida, which, at more than 3 1 ,000 students, is comprised of approximately 68% Whites, 10% International students, 9% Hispanics, 6% AfricanAmericans, 6% AsianAmericans and 1% American-Indians. The distribution of races represented by the present study reflects that of the University of Florida and, as such, is clearly no remedy to the problem of limited sampling. Summary A sociolinguistic approach to swearing involves the observation, description and explanation of swearing as a variable behavior, the occurrence of which is a function of social context and conveys social meaning. The recording of spontaneous swearing utterances and the particulars of the full social context in which they occur is essential to the analysis of swearing as a function of sociolinguistic variables. This analysis must also take into account the cultural and social norms of the speech community, which can

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50 be revealed in part through the use of questionnaires. Finally, the ethnographic interview can be used to tap into the implicit knowledge that speakers have as to how the interaction of the social norms of their speech community and social context affect their and others' swearing behavior.

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CHAPTER 3 SPONTANEOUS SPEECH Introduction In this chapter, the quantitative analysis of swearing utterances collected from the observation of spontaneous speech is presented. As an oral phenomenon, the observation of spontaneous swearing behavior is vital to the present study as the foundation for analysis. A data base of actual utterances complemented by details of the social context in which they occurred allows for comparison of data from the questionnaires and ethnographic interviews. This, in turn, will provide a basis for comparison of what the members of the speech community actually do to what they say —or think— they do. General Totals: Race and Gender A total of 394 spontaneous swearing utterances containing 528 swear words were recorded with field notes on or around the University of Florida campus during an eightweek period. These swearing utterances (Appendix B) were contributed by 213 males (54%) and 181 females (46%) representing Whites, AfricanAmericans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans. Table 3.1 shows the race and gender distribution of the study population. The totals are given in terms of both numbers and percentages. 51

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52 Table 3.1 ' Race and Gender Distribution of the Sample Population White AfricanAmerican Hispanic AsianAmerican Males 143 36.3% 46 11.7% 9 2.3% 15 3.8% Females 126 32.0% 27 6.9% 16 4.1% 12 3.0% Totals: 269 68.3% 73 18.6% 25 6.3% 27 6.8% The total student population at the University of Florida has the following race distribution: Whites-68%, Hispanics-9%, African-Americans-6%, and Asian-Americans6%.^ Males and females each comprise about 50% of the student population. The study sample represented in Table 3.1, while correlating with the gender distribution and the White majority of the total student population, reflects a considerably higher representation of AfricanAmericans, and a slightly lower representation of Hispanics. While African-Americans comprise 6% of the total student body, they represent almost 19% of the study population. Hispanics, however, are underrepresented. Table 3.2 shows the representation of the totals from each race in the study population in terms of the percentage of the total student body for each respective race. Table 3.2 Race and Gender Distribution of the Sample Population White AfricanAmerican Hispanic AsianAmerican Totals: 269 0.7% 73 2.7% 25 0.6% 27 1.0% In this and all other tables in this chapter, percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number and therefore the totals may not correspond to 100%. Values of less than 1% appear as 0%. ^ International and American-Indians make up the remaining 1 1%.

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Thus, while Whites make up 68.3% of the study population, 289 contributors corresponds to only 0.7% of the total White student body, with the Hispanics and AsianAmericans, at 25 and 27 contributors respectively, accounting for similarly low percentages. A total of 2.7% of the entire AfricanAmerican student body are represented in the study population, a higher representation than any other race. There are two possible explanations for this imbalance: 1) there is a greater tendency towards swearing behavior among the African-Americans than the other races of this speech community or 2) the contributions outnumber the contributors. In other words, more than one utterance per speaker could have been recorded, resulting in an inflated percentage. The anonymous nature of observation allows for this possibility and, as such, applies to the percentages for each racial group. Race and gender of the speaker were only two of the details of social context included on the field note cards during the observation of spontaneous swearing utterances. As outlined in Chapter 2, further details included setting or scene, social distance or social status of the participants, topic of conversation in which the swearing utterance occurred, tone of the swearing utterance, the utterance itself, and the reaction. The totals for these categories, along with correlating percentages, are shown in Table 3.3. Excluded from this and other tables in this chapter are totals for 'setting', 'topic', and the swearing utterances in fiill. The inclusion of 'topic' in field note data was mainly to provide a more accurate interpretation of both the context and the tone of the swearing utterance. Furthermore, the variety of topics and settings represented by the 394

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swearing utterances proved too great to warrant categorization, implying that swearing behavior is less constrained by these variables. Finally, only the acttial swear words are presented in this and the remaining tables of this chapter. The full utterances, as well as setting and topic data, can be found in Appendix B. Table 3.3 All Males and Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction '"'Friends 61% 240 Distressed 19% 73 Fucking 27% 142 No not'able 47% 186 "^Classmates 10% 41 Humorous 18% 70 Shit 25% 133 Laughter 28% 109 ^Roommates 9% 37 Angry 14% 57 Fuck 11% 57 Echo 22% 85 ^intimates 6% 23 Emphatic 13% 53 Bitch 8% 40 Rejection 3% 11 ^Sisters 2% 8 Excited 9% 35 Ass 7% 36 Echo/Rej. 1% 2 '^Strangers 2% 8 Anecdotal 7% 27 Damn 6% 30 Laugh/Rej. 0% 1 "instructor, students 2% 7 Supportive 6% 22 Fucked 4% 20 Rebellious 4% 14 Hell 3% 15 '^Coworkers 2% 7 Sarcastic 3% 12 Goddamn 3% 14 '^Teammates 1% 5 Serious 3% 12 Asshole 2% 11 Employer, employee 1% 4 Abusive 3% 10 M' fucking 2% 8 Desperate 2% 8 M' flicker 1% 5 ^Classmates, instructor 1% 3 Surprised 0% 1 Bullshit 1% 5 Shitty 1% 4 Customer, employee 1% 3 Dick 1% 4 Bastard 1% 3 ''Intimates, friends 1% 3 Fucker 0% 1 "^Club members 1% 2 ^Friends, strangers 1% 2 "Doctor, patient 0% 1 Total: 100% 394 Total: 100% 394 Total: 100% 528 Total: 100% 394 Refers to the mutual social distance relationship between the speaker and addressee(s). ^ Refers to the social status of the speaker, followed by the social status of the addressee(s). *" Refers to the speakers' different social distance or social status relationships vis-a-vis their addressee(s).

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55 Social Distance and Social Status The juxtaposition of high values from both offensiveness ratings and frequency counts contribute to the 'swearing paradox', namely, that sensitivity to the offensiveness of swear words is proportional to the frequency of their occurrence. Both types of studies have focused on the swear word as opposed to the swearing utterance, and, as a result, have established swearing as a highly offensive, frequently occurring behavior. The paradox is a result of the omission of social context in which the swear words occur as well as the evaluative bias of the ratings system. The effects of social context on swearing behavior have been examined in terms of age and gender of interlocutors, as well as degree of formality of the social interaction. The data for the present study suggest, however, that it is the social distance of the participants which most motivates swearing behavior and, as such, should be considered in the evaluation and interpretation of swearing behavior. By regarding interlocutor social distance as a meaningful variable, sociolinguists acknowledge that how well interlocutors know one another affects their linguistic choices. Social distance has not figured prominently in sociolinguistic studies of the use of American English in face-to-face interaction (notable exceptions include Wolfson's Bulge, 1988, and Boxer, 1993), and has had even less recognition in swearing research which, instead, reflects focuses on frequency counts, offensiveness ratings, and malefemale behavioral differences (see Chapter 1).

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56 The data in Table 3.3 show that the high frequency of swearing among college students already substantiated in previous studies is not categorical, but rather variable according to participant social distance. Swearing was found to occur among friends 61% of the time. An additional 9% of all swearing occurrences took place among participants sharing a similarly high or higher level of solidarity: sisters and intimates. When the relevance of the interiocutors' relationship vis-a-vis the social context superceded the social distance measurement, it was recorded in the field notes, yielding such classifications as roommates, classmates, coworkers, teammates and club members. While the same two (or more) people may interact as friends or even have no apparent relationship in one social context, in a different context they may assume a more salient role, such as club members, which obscures their degree of social distance. Such associations can all be variable with respect to social distance; classmates can be fiiends or strangers. However, it can be assumed that regular interaction and common experiences contribute to solidarity, resulting in a degree of intimacy comparable to fiiends. Twenty-three percent of the total swearing utterances occtirred within such contexts. * . ' Like the associations described above, differences in social status are also made salient according to context and obscure the evaluation of social distance. Although certain formal settings influence language choice regardless of interlocutor relationship, degrees of formality often reflect differences in interlocutor social status. Five percent of the swearing utterances occurred among participants of markedly different social status, including instructor and students, employer and employee, customer and employee.

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57 doctor and patient, and classmates and teacher. The remaining 2% of swearing utterances occurred between strangers, i.e., interlocutors of no intimacy. , Johnson and Fine (1985) found that their college student subjects perceived swearing as an isogloss, a botmdary marker between their speech community and others. The data for the present study indicate that swearing more specifically serves as an intra-speech i community isogloss, marking boundaries between social groups within the speech community. That the majority of swearing utterances were made amongst fiiends and other interlocutors of similar intimacy is indicative of swearing as a symbol of solidarity and an affirmation of in-group membership. The frequency of swearing among interlocutors of high solidarity challenges the assumption of swearing as abusive, aggressive and offensive. As a variable behavior, motivated or inhibited by sociolinguistic variables, the inherent offensiveness of swearing must also be variable according to social context. Tone of Swearing Utterance The variability of offensiveness suggested in the previous section finds support in the data for tone of utterance. According to Hymes (1974), Key is introduced to provide for the tone, maimer, or spirit in which an act is done. [ . . . ] The significance of key is underlined by the fact that, when it is in conflict with the overt content of an act, it often overrides the latter, (p. 57) Thus, the overt offensiveness of swear words can be overridden by the tone in which they are uttered. i

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58 Tone has been addressed only to a limited degree in swearing research. DriscoU (1981) examined aggressiveness ratings for swear words uttered as epithets (e.g., "You bitch!"); Mabry investigated inhibitions associated with using swear words, slang and euphemisms in manners ranging from abrasive to colloquial. Related to tone is mood or emotion. In Chapter 1, several studies were reviewed which examined the effects of emotion on swearing behavior. These studies revealed an assumption of swearing as an expression of typically negative feelings (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Wierzbicka, 1991), and showed an inverse relationship between swearing and positive feelings. Ross' (1969) study, however, revealed that the frequency of swearing increased among the study participants (five men and three women, zoologist graduate students) when they were "relaxed and happy" (p. 480) or when under slight stress. The significance of this finding is two-fold: first, there is evidence that swearing can occur under positive social circumstances and second, the occurrence of swearing in both positive and negative emotional environments supports the possibility of varying offensiveness. Ross' (1969) observations led her to suggest the existence of two types of swearing behavior, social swearing and annoyance swearing, the former occurring in situations of low stress and intended as a solidarity builder and the latter occurring in situations of increased stress, a manifestation of a release of tension. Although tone of utterance may be a reflection of the speaker's mood, it is not necessarily indicative of it --a person may be feeling sad but make utterances in a humorous tone. The variety of tones listed in Table 3.3 suggest that swearing is not indicative of any one emotion, and that it may be expressed in manners other than

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59 abrasive and aggressive. The data also seem to corroborate Ross' observations of social swearing and annoyance swearing. The tones falling under the category of social swearing include: humorous, emphatic, excited, anecdotal, supportive, sarcastic, serious and surprised. Social swearing accounts for 57% of the spontaneous swearing utterances. Annoyance swearing is therefore 43% of all utterances and includes the tones distressed, angry, rebellious, abusive and desperate. Although social swearing accounts for more than half of the data, the most often occurring tone, distressed, falls into the category of annoyance. The four most frequently occurring tones consist of two social and two annoyance types of swearing, with annoyance swearing ('distressed'19%, 'angry'14%) occurring 33% of the time and social swearing ('humorous'-l 8%, 'emphatic'1 3%) occurring 31% of the time. Thus, while more than half of the total swearing utterances were of the social swearing type, more than half of the four most frequently occurring tones were of the annoyance swearing type. There exists, therefore, a stable balance of social and annoyance swearing in this speech community. Distressed and desperate. Swearing is considered to be a natural and even healthy expression of fiiistration and stress (Graves, 1936; Montagu, 1967). Swearing at a time of crisis has the function of a "relief mechanism whereby excess energy is allowed to escape without doing anyone any serious injury, while doing the swearer some good" (Montagu, 1967, p. 68). Studies on the physiological effects of swearing (Campbell, 1897; King and Henry, 1955; MacKinnon, 1938) have documented a clear relationship between distress and swearing, the former being a consistent predecessor to the latter.

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60 As the most frequently occurring tone, 'distressed' was assigned to swearing utterances expressing stress, frustration or complaints. Distressed swearing occurred predominantly (70%) among participants of similar social status and close social distance: friends (48%), roommates (1 1%), intimates (10%) and sisters (1%). An additional 23% of distressed swearing utterances occurred among classmates (19%) and coworkers (4%). Only 7% of distressed swearing occurred among participants of either different social status, doctor, patient (1%), or of great social distance, strangers (6%). None of the distressed swearing which occurred among strangers was directed at a stranger; the utterance was made to no one in particular and without expectation of a reply. Following are examples of distressed swearing (speaker race and gender, relationship to Iistener(s) and topic appear in parentheses following each utterance)^: #145:rm so fucking freaked out 1 forgot to take my damn anti-depressant medicine today. (White female to friends, mental health) #365: Still, it's like one more goddamn fucking shit mess to clean up. I mean, my mom won't care. But it's like, shit, you know? (White female to friend, cleaning house) Similar to 'distressed' but even more intense is 'desperate', a tone assigned to only 8 utterances. All eight utterances occurred among friends, as the greater the social distance, the less likely one is to reveal desperation. Examples of distressed swearing include: The numbers preceding all example utterances refer to the numbering of the spontaneous speech data as it appears in Appendix B.

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61 #253: Fuck! I have a fucking music test tomorrow! (White female to fHends, future test) #307:1 don't know what the hell you want me to do! (White male to friend, disagreement between the participants) Humorous. The interplay of swearing and humor has been documented, and swearing has been found to be both an embodiment of humor and an enhancement to an already humorous statement or situation (Zelvys, 1990; Fine, 1979; Sewell, 1984). While females find less humor in jokes and stories containing strong expletives than males do, both genders rate stories with no swearing as less funny than those with swearing (Abbott and Jay, 1978; Sewell, 1984). The potential offensiveness of swear words is lessened or dulled by their being couched in humor. For this reason, humorous swearing can be found to occur among participants of varying social distance and social status, as evidenced by the spontaneous swearing data. According to Fine (1976), the combination of humor and taboo behavior can bridge the gaps of social distance and social status and serve as the catalyst to solidarity: . V 1 > [Obscene] humor can be analyzed from a social perspective— in terms of its role for the community and for small groups of individuals. This type of humor serves very definite and oflten quite important fianctions for society in that it creates and maintains a sense of commimity for the participating members. A group which has eaten of the "forbidden fruit" is because of this act bound together, (p. 134) A humorous tone was assigned to utterances delivered as a joke or when it was perceived that the intention of the speaker was to be funny. This tone characterized 18% of the spontaneous swearing utterances. Of these, 78% were made among fiiends (60%), roommates (1 1%) and intimates (7%), and, representing a possible greater social distance, classmates (9%) and coworkers (1%) account for 10%. The final 12% were

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made among participants of different social status and evidently low solidarity: classmates and teacher (5%), boss and employee (3%), teacher and students (3%) and strangers (1%). Examples of humorous swearing are: #11 9: My hometown, Brooklyn, has fucking Mafia everywhere. You're bound to get your fucking brains blown out. (White male to friends, hometown) #147: Depressed people look at the worid through dung colored glasses. Or, for those of you who don't know French, shit colored glasses. (White male instructor to students; class discussion) Angry and abusive. For his study of aggressiveness ratings of pejorative epithets, Driscoll (1981) required his 48 male and 48 female college student participants to rate a list of 3 1 6 words or phrases for aggressiveness. The participants were to assume that the words or phrases were used in anger against them, in the form of the epithet: You U for example. You son of a bitch ! They were then to rate each epithet on a seven-point scale: 0 for least aggressive to 6 for most aggressive. A total of 40 or 13% of the 316 epithets received a mean rating above 4.0. Of these highly aggressive epithets, 23 or 58% included swear words and derivatives as defined for this study: 'ass', 'bastard', 'bitch', 'fuck' and 'shit'. The mean aggressiveness rating for the epithets containing swear words was 4.63. Ratings were also taken for frequency of aggressive use, and also on a seven-point scale: 0 for never having heard the word used aggressively to 6 for hearing the word used aggressively daily or more of^en. The mean frequency of aggressive use for the epithets including swear words was 3.56, with 18 of the 23, or 78%, receiving a mean frequency rating of 4 and higher (about once a month) or 5 and higher (about once a week).

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63 That more than half of the epithets rated highest for aggressiveness included swearing (as defined for this study) and that these epithets received a high perceived frequency of use rating is in conflict with the spontaneous swearing data collected for the present study. 'Angry' was assigned to only 14% of the total swearing utterances, none of which match the pattern, 'You !'. Examples of angry swearing include: #8: She gave me a fucking ticket for having a broken taillight! (White male to friend, traffic ticket) #104: What the fiick? The damn server is down again. Microsoft sucks ass. (White male to friends, internet) Swearing utterances made in an abusive manner, on the other hand, do include epithets such as the model epithet of Driscoll's study. At only 3% of the spontaneous swearing data, however, the frequency of abusive swearing would seem to be significantly lower than Driscoll's perceived frequency ratings. Furthermore, at such a low frequency of occurrence, it is difficult to discern any tendencies or patterns regarding sociolinguistic variables. The ten abusive swearing utterances collected represent varying degrees of participant relationship and one example of an interaction between strangers of different social status. Examples of abusive swearing include: #57: I'll flicking hit you next time, bitch! (White male to stranger, traffic incident) #58: Fuck you! (White male to stranger, response to #57) Emphatic, excited, anecdotal, surprised. Swearing utterances which were made in emphatic, excited or anecdotal manners would be categorized, according to Ross' dichotomy, under social swearing. No annoyance or stress could be detected in swearing utterances which were judged to be 'emphatic', 'excited' or 'anecdotal'.

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Emphatic swearing refers to swearing utterances made in a tone of insistence, without substantial trace of any other tone. Of the 53 emphatic swearing utterances, representing 13% of the spontaneous swearing data, 45 (85%) occurred among participants of close social distance: friends (72%), roommates (9%), sisters (2%), intimates (2%). Of the 15% remaining emphatic swearing interactions, 9% occurred among classmates, 4% were made by an instructor to his students, and 2% occurred among strangers. Examples of emphatic swearing include: t #55: We need some more flicking soda. (AsianAmerican male to friend, grocery shopping) #342: Your ass don't be listening, man. That shit's the bomb. (African-American male to friends, song) Excited and anecdotal swearing differ from emphatic swearing in that speakers are more engaged and involved in what they are saying. The majority of excited and anecdotal swearing utterances were made while the speakers were explaining something or telling a story. Although the two tones are quite similar, 'excited' represents a more intense tone than 'anecdotal'. Excited swearing occurred almost exclusively among participants of close social distance and similar social status (friends 68%, roommates 16%, intimates 8% and sisters 5%), with the exception of one utterance made by a male instructor to his class (3%). Examples of excited swearing include: #109: Mike, you should've seen this fucker. This bitch was going from the far lane to the rear, cut off two fucking huge semis and went down the wrong way for fticking 100 yards or so. (White male to friends, motorist) #390: They turned the lights off and shit. It was motherfticking crazy. (AfricanAmerican male to friends, party)

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It is the speaker's intent to express excitement, but also to instill excitement among his interlocutors. Anecdotal swearing seems to have a similar purpose. This tone was assigned to swearing utterances which also occurred during narratives, but such as to be characterized by calm as opposed to excitement or emphasis. The occurrence of swearing in a calm, relaxed social context is indicative of interlocutor solidarity. The speaker reveals his evaluation of the context as appropriate for swearing, implying close social distance and in-group membership with the interlocutors. As a reflection of this evaluation, the speaker's swearing may inspire reciprocation. At 7% of the total spontaneous swearing data, anecdotal swearing occurred predominantly among participants of close social distance; friends and intimates account for 78% of total. 7% of anecdotal swearing occurred among classmates and club members; 1 5% occurred among interlocutors of different social status. Following are examples of anecdotal swearing: #245: Emotional difficulties could cause this type of personality disorder. She's just fucked up. (White male doctor to employee, patient) #381 : So I showed up at class with only a pencil and was like, this is the only fucking thing I need to take a quiz. (White female to friend, class preparation) The use of swearing by participants of higher status introduces or reflects an informality which is atypical for such social contexts. It is an effort to establish solidarity, thereby minimizing the differences in social status. This phenomenon will be revisited in Chapter 4. Finally, one swearing utterance was made in a surprised manner. In this particular case, it can be said that the utterance was made in the presence of another participant.

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66 although not directed at the participant. It can also be assumed that the speaker was aware of her audience and that the swearing utterance was a result of their close social distance: #75: What the hell. . .? (AsianAmerican female to sisters, hit by falling object) Supportive. Twenty-two (6%) of the spontaneous swearing utterances were made in a supportive tone. Fifteen (68%) of these were 'echo' responses (see section 3.5.3), which means they were a swearing turn in answer to a previous swearing utterance'*. The majority of the supportive swearing, therefore, was not only a response to the content of the initial utterance, but a support of the initial speaker's choice of verbal expression. By swearing in response to a swearing utterance, the speaker agrees that the initial speaker's situation warranted such expression. Examples of supportive swearing include: #130: Yeah, no shit dude. You're pretty fucking lucky. (White male to friend, response to distressed swearing) #294: Yeah, he is an asshole. (White female to friend, response to serious swearing) Rebellious. Rebellious swearing occurs when speakers either disagrees with a statement they just heard, or reacts negatively to a situation. The speaker's rebellion is punctuated by swear words in an effort to strengthen or emphasize the sentiment. Rebellious swearing is, therefore, also emphatic in nature, but with a clear emotional tendency towards negativity. Rebellious swearing accounted for only 4% of the total spontaneous swearing utterances, reflecting usage among participants of similar social " These initial utterances were made in various tones, including 5 'distressed', 3 'angry', 2 'serious' and one each of 'anecdotal', 'excited', 'humorous', 'sarcastic', 'serious'.

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status and close social distance, i.e., friends (57%), roommates (14%), classmates (21%), coworkers (7%). Examples of rebellious swearing include: #103:1 don't give a damn about the quiz. (White female to classmate, quiz) #230: Bullshit, man. That bitch is bluffing. He ain't got shit. (White male to fHends, poker game) Sarcastic. Similar to rebellious swearing, sarcastic swearing is sarcasm peppered with swear words for the purpose of intensification. The data reveal that the cooccurrence of swearing and sarcasm generally results in malicious utterances, taimting and/or provoking the addressee. For this reason, such utterances seem to occur predominantly among participants of close social distance, the relative certainty of their relationships allowing for such caustic remarks (cf. Wolfson, 1988). Of the 12 sarcastic swearing utterances, 1 1 (92%) occurred among friends (9), roommates (1) and sisters (1); the remaining utterance was made between classmates. Examples of sarcastic swearing include: #25: No shit, Sherlock. (White male to friends, listener's prior remark) #262: Good job, dumbass. (White female to sister, spilt food) Serious. Serious swearing can be likened to emphatic swearing, but with a more subdued tone. It is neither stress induced nor a product of a "relaxed and happy" atmosphere. The speaker is neither enthusiastic about his utterance, nor wants to evoke enthusiasm from the listener. Instead, serious swearing occurs as a reaction to or a realization of a sobering event or situation. At 3% of the total swearing utterances, serious swearing is consistent with the usage patterns established by the majority of tones, revealing the highest occurrence among friends (68%). The occurrence of serious

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68 swearing, albeit minimal, contributes to the disabusing of swearing from assumed tones of anger and aggression. Examples of serious swearing include: #123:1 feel like shit. (White female to friends, exercise fatigue) #378:rm bored out of my motherfiacking mind. (African-American male to friend, asked about well-being) Swear Words In comparison to other studies on swearing, cursing, obscene or profane language, the present study's definition of what qualifies as a swearing utterance is quite limited (see Chapter 1). A restricted working definition of swearing allowed for more concentrated and consequently more accurate field-note taking, while also allowing for more efficient and comprehensible tabulation. Furthermore, despite the definition's exclusivity, a substantial number of swearing utterances (394) was collected, resulting in a total use of 528 swear words. In the following sections, the usage of each word and its variations are discussed. 'Fuck', inflections and derivations. The single most important contributor to the swearing paradox is the word 'fiick'. It is consistently cited among the most frequently used swear words and just as consistently rates among the most offensive. It is of little wonder, then, that the word's etymology, literary appearances and linguistic development have all been thoroughly documented (Hughes, 1998; Montagu, 1967; Dictionary of Word Origins, 1997). Most recently, a book was even published devoted solely to the dynamics of 'fuck': The F-Word (Sheidlowers, 1 999). With possible grammatical forms

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69 including noun ('fuck', 'fucker', 'motherfucker'), verb ('to fuck'), adjective ('fucked', 'fucking') or adverb ('fucking'), no other swear word is as productive or multi-purpose as 'fuck', which explains its high frequency of occurrence. 'Fucking'. 'Fuck' and its variations account for 44% (228 instances) of the total swear word usage. 'Fucking', at 27% (143 instances), was the most frequently used word. In 56% (79) of these instances, 'fucking' was used as an adjective, for example: #50: I got the last fucking copy of Good Will Hunting, boy! (Asian-American male to roommate, movie rental) In 42% (60) of the instances, 'fucking' was used as an adverb, for example: #59: I fucking did it, dude! (White male to friends, skateboarding trick) 'Fucking' was used 2% of the time (3 instances) as the phrasal verb 'to fiick with', meaning 'to hassle', for example: #349: First of all, they're fucking with the wrong kid. (AfricanAmerican male to friends, unknown topic) Lastly, 'fucking' was used as the simple verb 'to fuck', a synonym for 'to have intercourse'. In this instance, the speaker reacts to a previous usage of 'fucking' as an adverb, when she inquires about the time it took to answer the phone: #348:1 was fucking in the shower, dude! (White female to friend) #349: Were you in the shower or fucking in the shower? (Hispanic female to friend) The use of 'fucking' in #349 exemplifies the dual nature of the word, the fact that it can be used denotatively or as an intensifier with little to no literal meaning but with stylistic value. It is this duality which makes 'fuck', and swear words in general.

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70 paradoxical. This paradox was exploited by the speaker of #349 to achieve a humorous effect. 'Fuck'. 'Fuck' was used 55 times, or in 1 1% of the total swearing utterances. 43% of these occurrences (23 total instances) were formulaic, that is, 'fuck' was used in the formulas '...the fiick...' (16 instances or 30%), or 'fuck you' (7 instances or 13%) for example: #20: I wish some people would watch where the fiick they was going. (AfricanAmerican female to friend and stranger, being bumped into) #14: Fuck you -you're being an asshole. (White female to male coworker, unknown topic) There is lack of literal, sexual meaning evident in the formula ' . . .the fuck. . . ' . Used in this way, 'fiick' is virtually meaningless, serving simply as a filler, emphasizing and intensifying the speaker's emotion. In every single instance, 'the fiick' can be extracted without affecting the meaning of the utterance, but indeed compromising the illocutionary force (Austin, 1969), which is the fundamental motivation of swearing and the source of social meaning. Although the words mean nothing within the utterance, they have meaning within the social context, namely that the speaker has evaluated the context as suitable to swearing. 'Fuck you' was uttered a total of 7 times, or 13% of all 'fuck' utterances. Used in this formulaic sense, 'flick' becomes synonymous with an expression of rejection, rather than invoking sexual connotations. Likewise, the use of 'fuck' with any other direct object, e.g., 'fuck that', 'fuck him', etc. has the same meaning. This usage accounts for another 15% (8 occurrences) of the 'fuck' utterances:

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71 #40: Everybody's mad at you. What I'd do is just say fuck them. (AfricanAmerican female to friend, mutual friends) Similar to 'fiicking', 'fuck' is used predominantly in a non-literal sense. In only one instance was 'fuck' used as a synonym for 'to copulate or engage in sexual intercourse': #256: What if I tell him that I don't want to fuck him anymore and he leaves? (White female to friends, boyfriend) Thus, at a total of 58%, more than half of the occurrences of 'fuck' reflect a usage of the word whose meaning is not represented by the following definitions provided by Webster's New World Dictionary (1 999): fuck: to copulate, to engage in sexual intercourse slang, to meddle, to treat someone with great, usually malicious, unfairness; to cheat slang, undesirable or contemptible person interjection, slang, an exclamation of anger, disappointment, etc. fuck around: slang, to spend time idly fuck up: slang, to make a mess; bungle or blunder to confuse or disturb, especially mentally or emotionally An additional six instances (11%) of 'fiick' are also incompatible with these definitions. 'Fuck' was used as a noun three times: twice in the idiomatic expression 'to not give a fiick' (#11, #90) (cf 'to not give a damn'), and once in the comparison 'boring as fuck' (#60). In another three instances, 'fuck' was used to form the following nominal compounds: 'fuckass' (#265), 'fuckhead' (#366) (references to people), and one adjectival compound: 'fuckless'(#380) (describing intensity of fear). While these uses of 'fuck' are quite understandable both in and out of context, an exact meaning for 'fuck' is difficult to articulate.

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In addition to the use of 'fuck' in number #256, the remaining 30% of the instances are in accordance with the Webster definitions. 'Fuck' as an interjection occurred 14 times (26%), an example of which is: #32: Fuck. 1 got a ticket. (White male to classmate, parking ticket) Two instances (4%) of 'ftick' as a phrasal verb include 'fiick up' and 'fiick with': #213: Don't fuck it up! (White female to sister, cooking) #191:If she fucks with me one more time... (White male to friend, girlfriend) 'Fucked' and 'fucker'. As a verb, 'fuck' can be inflected to form the past tense and past participle forms 'flicked', which, at 19 occurrences, accoimt for 4% of the total swearing utterances. Only one occurrence of 'fucked' was literal, i.e., referring to sexual intercourse: #143: Yo! He fucked the shit out of her! (White male to friends, scene in a movie) Four instances of 'fucked' are in accordance with the slang definitions of fuck: #361 : You guys are chicken shits. I'm sure he fucked you big time. (White female to friends, sob story) The remaining 12 instances of 'fucked' are inflections of the phrasal verb 'to fuck up', in accordance with the Webster definition: #127: Dude, you got some fucked up lines on your face. (White male to roommate, physical effects of sleeping) 'Fucker' was used only once (less than 1% of the total swearing utterances) and in accordance with the Webster definition for 'fuck' as a nominal: #109:Mike, you shouldVe seen this fticker. (...) (White male to friend, driving incident)

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'Motherfucking' and 'motherfucker'. 'Motherfucking' and 'motherfucker' occur considerably less often and rate consistently higher in offensiveness and aggressiveness than any other forms of 'fiick' (See Chapter One; Frequency and Ratings). In the spontaneous swearing utterances, 'motherfucking' occurred 7 times, while 'motherfucker' occurred 6 times a combined total of 2% of the total swearing utterances. Similar to 'flicking', 'motherfiicking' occurred as an adjective and adverb and as such serves mainly a stylistic flmction: #367: You got no motherfticking choice. I don't care if it's motherfiicking gonna rain. You bring your ass there. (African-American female to friends, responsibilities) 'Motherfiicker', a compound noun, has the potential to be highly offensive if intended or interpreted as literal. For this reason, it is seldom used, and mostly as an ironic term of endearment: #154: What's up, motherfiicker? (White male to fiiend, greeting) With the inclusion of a number of various forms with various meanings, the spontaneous swearing data provide evidence of the productivity of 'fiick'. The result of this productivity is a high frequency of use. However, despite the fact that 'fiick' and its variations are seldom used to connote 'copulation' or 'sexual intercourse', it is this association which endures, resulting in inflated offensiveness ratings which ultimately contribute to the 'swearing paradox'. 'Shit', 'bullshit' and 'shitty'. At 26% of the total swearing utterances, 'shit' ranks as the second most frequently used swear word. According to the spontaneous swearing

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74 data, 'shit', like 'fuck', is rarely used in its literal sense, i.e., 'excrement'. Of the 132 instances, 'shit' was used denotatively only three times (2%): #62: That bee's trying to shit in John's ear! (Asian-American male to friends, bee) Formulaic expressions with 'shit' accounted for a total of 1 0 instances, and include the expressions 'no shit', 'to give a shit' and 'to be the shit'. 'No shit' was used six times (4.5%). This expression can be used to express agreement with a previous statement, as if to say, "what was just said is not untrue, i.e., not a bogus statement", or sarcastically, to emphasize the obvious truth of the previous statement: #178: No shit, dude. I was flicking up all night writing it. (White male to classmate, difficulty of a paper assignment) #25: No shit, Sherlock! (White male to friend, response to previous comment about a third party) Used twice, 'to not give a shit' is synonymous with 'to not give a damn' and 'to not give a flick', that is, to not care: #64: I don't give a shit. I'm sorry. (Asian-American male to friends, homework assignment) Also used twace, 'the shit' refers to something of top quality, an ironic use of 'shit': #2 18: Look at that motherfucker thinking he's the shit. (White female to friends, exboyfriend) As an expletive, 'shit' seems to serve the same function as 'flick', that is, 'to express anger, disappointment, etc' This usage of 'shit' occurred 38 times, or 29% of the total 'shit' utterances: #37: Shit! What happened to the pool? (White male to roommates, contaminated pool)

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75 The most frequent use of 'shit' was as a noun, referring to either a previously named subject or topic, or used as a catch-all, meaning 'things of that sort': #3 87: That shit's a lot of work. That's why I couldn't do that shit. I'm not even with that shit. (African-American male to friends, business classes) It is perhaps this frequent usage of 'shit' -at 84 instances, or 62% of the total 'shit' utterancesand the imprecision it entails which contribute to the belief that swear words are evidence of a limited vocabulary, a controversy examined in Chapter 5. 'Bullshit' occurred 5 times (1%), each time as a direct rejection of a previous statement, thought by the speaker to be "ludicrous" (Ayto, 1990, p.85): #63: That's bullshit, man. That is me in the picture. (White male to sfranger/bar employee, speaker's identification card) Finally, 'shitty' occurred a total of four times (1%). Like 'bullshit', 'shitty' does not manifest the same range of possible interpretations as 'shit'; in every instance 'shitty' denoted negativity and displeasure: #36: It was shitty. Definitely not worth seeing. (White male to roommate, movie) 'Bitch'. As the fourth most often occurring swear word (40 instances or 8% of the total swearing utterances), 'bitch' enjoys a general social acceptance and can even be heard on prime time television. 'Bitch' can be used as a verb, synonymous with 'to complain or gripe', or as a noun, meaning 'a spitefiil woman' or 'an unpleasant or difficult thing' (Oxford Dictionary, 1988). As a verb, 'bitch' occurred only once: #27: Quit bitching and play ball. (African-American male to fiiend, basketball game) The predominate usage of 'bitch' (70%) was as a substantive, a derogatory reference to a woman;

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#56: Betty is such a bitch! She didn't meet me after class. (Asian-American female to friends, mutual friend) #89: Fuck her. That bitch is moving to Atlanta anyway, so it doesn't matter. (White male to friends, ex-girlfriend) 'Bitch' is one of an abundance of terms which exemplify the semantic derogation of women, evidence of a lexical sexism in which formerly neutral semantic terms for females have evolved into pejorative terms tinged with sexual overtones (Hughes, 1992; Hymes in Lakoff, 1973; Legman, 1968; Risch, 1987). While females report using a similarly rich lexicon of derogatory terms for males (de Klerk, 1992; Risch, 1987), there is evidence of lexical overlap: the term 'dick' used in reference to a female; 'bitch', 'whore' and 'slut' in reference to males (Risch, 1987). . Berger (1970) claims that swearing, as "a device for ridding oneself of hostile aggressions and satisfying one's honor", also contains an element of humor when it represents a "grotesque caricature, a reductionism that becomes, ultimately, absurd" (p. 285). The data for the present study include eight spontaneous swearing utterances in which 'bitch' was used to refer to a male (corresponding to 20% of all 'bitch' utterances) and support Berger' s (1970) observations. The following exchange is particularly illustrative: #154: What's up, motherfucker? (White male to female friend, greeting) #155: Nothing much, bitch. (White female to male friend, response to #155) Finally, 'bitch' occurred a total of three times in the formulaic 'son of a bitch', once as a direct reference to a male and twice as interjections: #90: No, no, no! Are you fucking kidding me? Tackle that son of a bitch! (White male to friends, video game)

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77 #225: Son of a bitch. No wilds. (White male to friends, poker game) 'Ass' and 'asshole'. Like 'bitch', 'ass' and 'asshole' number among the swear words included in this study that are increasing in social acceptance. Having an additional characteristic in common with 'bitch', 'ass', too, refers to an animal, in this case a donkey, but is rarely used in this literal sense. Rather, 'ass' is used to denote 'a stupid person', or as a vulgar term for 'buttocks'. 'Asshole' may also be used in these figurative or literal senses, the former synonymous with 'ass', and the latter referring to the anus. At 36 instances (7%), 'ass' ranks as the fifth most often used swear word. In only two of these instances was 'ass' used to denote 'a stupid person' and in both cases as only part of the expletive: #262: Good job, dumb-ass. (White female to sister, spilled food) #265: That incompetent ftick-ass. (Black female to fiiends, poor service) These examples also illustrate a unique productive aspect of 'ass', that is, the ability to make composite adjectives, a phenomenon which occurred in nine additional (31% total) 'ass' utterances (cf McMillan, 1980): #19: hard-ass test, #138: sweet-ass fiicking grill, #175: bad-ass bong, #214: bitch-ass punk, #215: fme-ass motherfucker, #235: bad-ass shit, #270: big-ass domes, #318: pissass car, #393: long-ass time. The remaining 25 'ass' utterances (69%) consist of the use of anatomical 'ass', albeit often in an exaggerated or metaphorical sense:

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#66: I'm freezing my ass off! (Hispanic female to classmate, classroom temperature) #73: You were answering questions out of your ass! (White male to friends, exam performance) 'Asshole' was used in eleven of the spontaneous swearing utterances (2%). It was used consistently as a derogatory term and, in all but one utterance, to refer to a male. The exception was the use of 'assholes' by a white female to her classmates (#2), which, as an example of the generic masculine, does not really represent an exception. Examples of 'asshole' utterances include: #185: You could do so much better than that asshole. (White male to friend, listener's boyfriend) 'Damn' and 'Goddamn'. 'Damn' and 'Goddamn' serve common swearing purposes, i.e., most corrmionly to express displeasure, although, as discussed in Chapter 4, 'damn' is generally considered milder and, as such, more socially acceptable than 'Goddamn'. This is perhaps a contributing factor in the more frequent occurrence of 'damn', at 31 (6%) of the total spontaneous swearing utterances, twice as often as the occurrences of 'Goddamn' at 14 (3%). 'Damn' was used predominantly as an adjective, 18 times, or 58% of the total 'damn' utterances: # 104: What the fiick? This damn server. Microsoft sucks ass. (White male to friends, internet) As an interjection or exclamation, 'damn' was used nine times (29%): #194: Damn. I can't believe he would do that shit. (White female to fiiend, exboyfriend) Similar to this usage of 'damn' is the formulaic 'damn it', uttered three times (10%):

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#100: Damn it. It's burning the pot. (White female to intimate, cooking accident) Finally, 'damn' was used once as a noun in the formulaic 'to not give a damn', meaning to not care or be bothered (cf 'to not give a fuck'): #103:1 don't give a damn about the quiz. (White female to classmate, quiz) The usage of 'Goddamn' is similar to that of 'damn', that is, predominantly occurring as an adjective (8 instances or 53% of the total 'Goddamn' utterances), with some instances of inteijections (4 instances or 27%) and, finally, the formulaic 'Goddamn it' (3 instances or 20%): #161 : Why can't I just sit down and write my Goddamn paper in less than 5 hours? (AfricanAmerican female to roommate, homework) #102: Goddamn it. This flicking chair is in the way. (White male to intimate, reaction to stubbed toe) 'Heir. 'Heir was invoked as a swear word 15 times, 3% of the total spontaneous swearing utterances. In nine of these utterances (60%) 'hell' occurred in the formula ' . . .the hell. . . ', serving to express the speaker's attitude or emotion rather than contributing to the meaning of the utterance (cf 'the fuck'): #220: My fucking checks are so off. Where the hell is that money? (White female to coworker, checks) 'Heir was used an additional three times (20% of all 'hell' utterances) for intensification purposes in the form of an exclamation: #19: Hell, yeah. That was a hard-ass test. (White male to classmates, exam) And once in the form of a comparison: #77: 1 was tired as hell when I came home last night. (White female to fiiend, coming home after school)

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Another formulaic expression involving 'hell' is 'go to hell', which was uttered once: #13: Go to hell! (White male to intimate, discussion about cheating) This formulaic expression is one of only two uses of 'hell' occurring in the spontaneous swearing data in which 'hell' has a literal meaning, that is, 'a place or state of supreme misery' (Oxford Dictionary, 1988). The following utterance is the second example of this usage: #126: She is being such a bitch. Living with her is going to be hell. (White female to friends, future roommate) 'Dick' and 'bastard'. Occurring four times and twice, respectively, 'dick' and 'bastard' account for only 1% of the spontaneous swearing data. As a synonym for 'penis', 'dick' can be used as an anatomical reference, or as a form of derogatory address. There were two occurrences of 'dick' in a name-calling context: #45: Yo, dick, listen: centers can't do it! (AfricanAmerican male to friend, basketball players) #369:1 say fuck that shit. I'm gonna get personal and they start yelling 'fuck' or 'dick' or some shit like that. (African-American male to friends, response to #368) 'Dick' was used once as a synonym for penis: #81 : New Birks suck my dick. (White male to friend, new Birkenstock sandals) The final example illustrates an unclear use of the word: #375: (What's the book about?) Dicks. (White female to fnends, book plot) The speaker may be using 'dicks' as a derogatory term for the books characters, or as a slang term for private investigator. The ambiguity of the utterance seemed to be appreciated by the addressee, who responded with laughter.

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81 Finally, 'bastard' was used as a derogatory term for males, but seemingly nondenotatively: #17: He is such a bastard. (White female to friend, speaker's father) Reaction to Swearing Utterance Swearing research has traditionally reflected a speaker-oriented approach, with addressees figuring only as an aspect of the social context insofar as how their gender and age affects the speaker's swearing behavior. The few listener-oriented studies include investigations of swear word offensiveness and the effects of swearing on the listener's attitude towards the speaker. These experimental studies require their subjects to evaluate words and speakers -typically as third-party evaluators as opposed to interlocutors— while providing them with little to no contextual information. It is one of the goals of the present study to consider the effects of swearing on the addressee as interlocutor. For this reason, listener reaction was included among the field note information for the observation of spontaneous speech. The observation of spontaneous speech, therefore, reflects a discourse/interactional perspective in which the swearing utterance is considered in terms of the speech event, as opposed to being regarded from the speaker-oriented level of speech act. No noticeable reaction. A 'no noticeable' reaction was one that incurred no apparent or overt disruption to the speech event. In other words, the flow of conversation was not disrupted as a result of the listener's reaction to the swearing utterance. The 'no

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82 noticeable reaction' category therefore can include reactions of approval, indifference, disapproval or other evaluations which the listener(s) did not wish to express or articulate. Because of the indeterminacy inherent in this category, which includes almost half (47%) of the total reactions to the spontaneous swearing utterances, the analysis of listener reaction to and evaluation of swearing behavior must be supplemented by the self-report data of the questionnaires and interviews. This topic is therefore revisited in Chapter 4. Laughter. Previously in this chapter, the interplay between humor and swearing was discussed and illustrated with examples from the spontaneous swearing corpus. A humorous tone was assigned to 1 8% of the total swearing utterances. However, 'laughter' was the reaction to 28% of the total swearing utterances. Therefore, there is clearly an aspect of the use of swear words which often causes people to laugh despite the message of the utterance or the tone with which it was delivered. In fact, 51% of the swearing utterances which received a 'laughter' reaction were made in a tone other than 'humorous'. The fact that swearing can be inappropriate and/or offensive contributes to its potential to titillate and entertain. As Zelvys (1990) observed, "very often all the humor is in the unexpected appearance of the obscene word at the most inappropriate moment" (p. 324). An example of an 'inappropriate moment' for swearing in this study's speech community seems to be during class time: eight out of the ten swearing utterances which occurred among instructors and students in a university classroom received a 'laughter' reaction. In these cases, the laughter may be a nervous reaction, a

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83 manifestation of the uncertainty or discomfort resulting from the introduction of informality into a typically formal atmosphere. Echo. Two kinds of reactions qualified as 'echo' reactions to spontaneous swearing utterances: behavioral echoes and lexical echoes. A behavioral echo refers to responding to a swearing utterance v^ath another swearing utterance. A lexical echo is a more specific version of a behavioral echo and refers to responding to a swearing utterance by repeating the same swear word(s) from the original swearing utterance. Twenty-two percent of the spontaneous swearing utterances received an 'echo' reaction. Of these 85 echo swearing utterances, 53% (45 total) were 'behavioral echoes' with 'lexical echoes' accounting for the remaining 47% (40). Examples of 'behavioral echo' reactions include #14: Fuck you. You're being an asshole. (White female to coworker, imknown topic) #15: Don't be a bitch. Do your job. (White male to coworker, response to #14) #152: Holy shit! That was loud! (White female to sister, thunderstorm) #153: Thank God you're letting me borrow the fucking car. (White female to sister, response to #152) 'Lexical echoes' include the following examples: #109: Mike, you should've seen this fucker. This bitch was going fi-om the far lane to the rear, cut off two fucking huge semis and went down the wrong way for fucking 1 00 yards or so. (White male to friends, description of another driver) #1 10: Yeah, this bitch had to be on something. (White male to finends, response to #109) #209: Alright, I'm hauling ass. (White female to roommate, speaker's departure) #2 10: You're hauling ass? O.K. (White female to roommate, response to #209) In her study of repetition in conversational discourse, Tannen (1989) included participatory listenership among the functions of repetition in conversation. In light of the overwhelming evidence of repetition in her spontaneous speech data, Tannen

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concludes that it "is a resource by which conversationaHsts together create a discourse, a relationship, and a world" (p. 97). By responding to swearing with swearing, the echoic speaker concurs with the original speaker's assessment of the social context as appropriate for swearing. The imitative behavior and repetitions, furthermore, contribute to establishing solidarity among the participants. Self-echoic swearing behavior. Although 394 swearing utterances were collected during the observation of spontaneous speech, these utterances consist of 525 individual swear words. Thus, the swear words outnumber the swearing utterances; each swearing utterance contains, on average, 1 .3 swear words. This statistic indicates the occurrence of self-echoic swearing behavior, that is, a speaker's utterance of more than one swear word v^thin one speaking turn. Self-echoic swearing behavior occurred 97 times, or 25% of the 394 total spontaneous swearing utterances. As swearing can often act as a stimulus to the listener, resulting in turn in a swearing response (an echo), so too can it stimulate the speakers themselves, encouraging self-echoic behavior. According to Skinner (1957), Since a speaker usually hears himself [sic] and thus stimulates himself verbally, he can also echo himself Such behavior is potentially selfreinforcing if it strengthens stimulation used in the control of one's own verbal behavior, (p. 64) In addition to being self-reinforcing, self-echoic swearing behavior is self-ratifying, a blatant expression of the speakers' confidence in the appropriateness of swearing in the social context in which they find themselves. Examples of self-echoic swearing behavior include

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85 #106: The fucking thing cut the download again. Microsoft does not have any fticking good programmers. Look at this shit! (White male to friends, response to #105) #365: Still, it's like one more goddamn flicking shit mess to clean up. I mean, my mom won't care. But it's like, shit, you know? (White female to friends, spilled wax) Rejection. Although the data presented in the previous sections show that the overwhelming majority (97%) of reactions to the spontaneous swearing utterances were neutral to positive or, perhaps, veiled, there is evidence of overt rejection of the use of swear words among the members of the speech community represented by the study population. A total of fourteen spontaneous swearing utterances were rejected, resulting in a disruption of discourse in order to focus attention on the swearing utterance. Examples of such rejections include #41 : That was a bitch call! (White male to friends, basketball game) Rejection: Don't curse at me! (African-American male to friend, response to #41) #343: . . .fucking. . . (entire utterance not recorded) (AfricanAmerican female to friends, unknown topic) Rejection #1 : Watch the language of your mouth! (African-American male to friend, response to #343) Rejection #2: Sheesh! (African-American male to friend, response to #343) On three occasions, the rejection was combined with another reaction, once with laughter and twice with an echo: #120:1 went down the sfreet and found a fucking dollar. It was my fucking lucky day. (White male to friends, finding money in New York) Rejection: (laughter) Must you use 'fuck' so often?! (White female to friend, response to #120) #107: That flacking thing sucks. Why the hell would it time-out after 15 minutes? (White male to friends, computer/internet) #108: Damn it, Mike! Stop cursing! (White female to friend, response to #107)

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86 #257: Shut the ftick up, bitch! (White male to intimate, being asked to move over) #258:Don't fucking swear at me! (White female to intimate, response to #257) These echo-rejections can only be considered pseudo-rejections; the original swearing utterance being exploited for a humorous effect. The rejections to swearing reveal a trend in that they can be ascribed to primarily two groups of people: African-American males and White females. Of the sixteen total rejections (two of the fourteen rejected swearing utterances were rejected by more than one listener), half were uttered by AfricanAmerican males and just under one-third by White females. This and other differences among the sexes and races with regard to self and other swearing behavior are further discussed in the following sections and again in Chapter 4. Race Totals: Males and Females While the reciprocal interplay and relationship between swearing and gender have garnered attention, race remains an ignored social variable within swearing research. Qualitative and quantitative data have traditionally been collected from white, middleclass college students, establishing this social group as the predominant data base. The present study includes data which contribute to this data base, but, with the inclusion of data from other races, e.g., African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans, this study goes beyond the limits of traditional swearing research, heeding advice (Jay's, 1 992) to include minorities in population samples. ,1

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87 Tables 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7 and 3.8 represent the spontaneous speech data for males and females (combined) according to race: White, African-American, Hispanic, and AsianAmerican, respectively. The juxtaposition of these data tables reveals some noteworthy differences among the races. Social distance and social status. The prevalence of the white members of the sample population and the speech community it represents affords them greater opportimity to participate in 'in-group' interaction, relating to the majority of others as 'us' rather than 'them' (Robinson, 1972). As the overwhelming racial majority (68% of the sample population, 76% of the University of Florida undergraduate students), the swearing behavior of the white males and females reflects a dominant social position complemented by social power. The swearing behavior of the white males and females compared to that of the nonwhites of the study can be considered in terms of Johnson and Fine's (1985) "nexus of power/powerlessness in language and sex-related standards for language use" (p. 21). They suggest that swearing "fimctions as a form of power . . . greater power in the worid and, therefore, more right to profane the worid" (p. 22). The white members of the present study's speech community can be likened to the male subjects in Johnson and Fine's (1985) study, whose swearing behavior is a reflection of their socially advantaged status. While over half (58%) of the white males' and females' total swearing utterances were addressed to friends and an additional 20% to other participants of close social distance such as roommates, intimates and sisters, a significant 22% of their swearing utterances were addressed to participants of variable social distance and different social status. More specifically, the white participants

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88 exhibited swearing behavior in a greater variety of domains (typical interactions between typical participants in typical settings; Fishman, 1971) than the participants of the other represented races. With only one exception (see Table 3.6), swearing utterances among participants of different social status were made by white males and females. Of these 1 7 utterances, 6 were made by students as subordinates, the remaining 1 1 by non-students of superior status. These data indicate a tendency among white males and females to use informal language styles in domains which would typically call for a formal variety. The use of informal language (characterized by swearing) could be symbolic of a relationship negotiation, an attempt to bridge the social distance gap caused by the differences in social status. Additional contextual information supports this possibility: the 7 swearing utterances by instructors to their students in classroom settings were made in emphatic, humorous, anecdotal (2 each) and excited (1) tones; employers' swearing utterances to employees at work were made in anecdotal (2) and humorous (1) tones; students' swearing utterances addressed to classmates and the instructor were all made in humorous tones. The doctor's in-office swearing utterance to his patient was made in a distressed tone, a complaint, which is also indicative of establishing solidarity (Boxer, 1993). The remaining three occurrences of swearing among participants of different social status represent an anomaly. Made by customers in angry tones and addressed to employees at their place of business, these annoyance-swearing utterances are clearly not part of an attempt to establish solidarity, but rather the opposite: to emphasize the

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Table 3.4 White Males and Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 58% 155 Distressed 20% 54 Fucking 33% 113 No not'able 50% 134 Classmates 10% 28 Humorous 17% 47 Shit 20% 67 Laughter 28% 76 Roommates 9% 24 Angry 14% 39 Fuck 11% 39 Echo 20% 54 Intimates 8% 22 Emphatic 11% 30 Bitch 8% 26 Rejection 1% 3 Sisters 3% 7 Excited 9% 25 Ass 6% 21 Laugh/Rej. 0% I Instructor, students 3% 7 Supportive 6% 17 Damn 5% 17 Echo/Rej. 0% 1 Anecdotal 5% 14 Fucked 4% 13 Strangers 2% 5 Rebellious 4% 10 Hell 3% 11 Teammates 2% 5 Sarcastic 3% 9 Goddamn 3% 9 Coworkers 2% 5 Serious 3% 9 Asshole 2% 8 Customer, employee 1% 3 Abusive 3% 9 Shitty 1% 4 Desperate 2% 6 M'fiicker 1% 4 Employer, employee 1% 3 Bullshit 1% 3 Bastard 1% 2 Classmates, instructor 1% 3 Dick 1% 2 Fucker 0% 1 Club members 0% 1 Doctor, patient 0% 1 Total: 100% 269 Total: 100% 269 Total: 100% 340 Total: 100% 269 Table 3.5 AfricanAmerican Males and Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 78% 57 Humorous 23% 17 Shit 44% 50 No not'able 36% 26 Roommates 7% 5 Emphatic 21% 15 Fuck 10% 11 Echo 32% 23 Classmates 5% 4 Anecdotal 14% 10 Fucking 10% 11 Laughter 26% 19 Strangers 4% 3 Distressed 12% 9 Ass 9% 10 Rejection 7% 5 Friends, strangers 3% 2 Angry 11% 8 M'fticking 6% 7 Excited 7% 5 Bitch 6% 7 Coworkers 1% 1 Supportive 4% 3 Goddamn 4% 4 Club members 1% 1 Serious 3% 2 Damn 4% 4 Rebellious 3% 2 Fucked 3% 3 Sarcastic 1% 1 M'fiicker 2% 2 Abusive 1% 1 Bullshit 2% 2 Dick 2% 2 Hell 1% 1 Total: 100% 73 Total: 100% 73 Total: 100% 114 Total: 100%| 73

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90 Table 3.6 Hispanic Males and Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 48% 12 Angry 24% 6 Fucking 27% 8 No not'able 60% 15 Classmates 20% 5 Ulstressea loyo 4 Shit 23% 7 Laughter O AO/ 20% 5 Roommates 12% 3 Humorous 16% 4 Bitch 13% 4 Rejection 12% 3 Intimates, Emphatic 12% 3 Fuck 10% 3 Echo 8% 2 friends 8% 2 Anecdotal 8% 2 Ass 7% 2 Coworkers 4% 1 Excited 8% 2 Asshole 7% 2 intimates 4% 1 Rebellious 4% 1 Damn 7% 2 Employer, Sarcastic 4% 1 Goddamn 3% 1 employee 4% 1 Supportive 4% 1 Fucked 3% 1 Serious 4% 1 Total: 100% 25 Total: 100% 25 Total: 100% 30 Total: 100% 25 Table 3.7 AsianAmerican Males and Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 59% 16 Disfressed 22% 6 Fucking 26% 8 No not'able 41% 11 Roommates 18% 5 Emphatic 18% 5 Shit 26% 8 Echo 33% 9 Classmates 15% 4 Angry 15% 4 Damn 19% 6 Laughter 26% 7 Intimates, friends 4% 1 Excited 11% 3 Fuck 7% 2 Humorous 7% 2 Bitch 7% 2 Sisters 4% 1 Desperate 7% 2 Fucked 7% 2 Surprised 4% Goddamn 3% 1 Anecdotal 4% Hell 3% 1 Rebellious 4% Ass 3% 1 Supportive 4% Sarcastic 4% Total: 100% 27 Total: 100% 27 Total: 100% 31 Total: 100% 27 superior status of the customers in their expression of dissatisfaction with the service of the subordinate employees. While relatively great variation in interlocutor social distance and social status distinguishes the white members of the sample population, it is a lack of similar variation which characterizes the swearing behavior of the African-Americans. Within this racial

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group, swearing occurs predominantly between interlocutors of close social distance: 78% of the swearing utterances of the AfricanAmericans were addressed to friends compared to 66%, 60%, 60% of the swearing utterances of Whites, Hispanics, and AsianAmericans, respectively, addressed to friends and intimates. For the African-Americans, swearing is characteristic of in-group language use, an expression of an alreadyestablished group solidarity. For the members of the other racial groups, however, swearing occurs more often among interlocutors of variable social distance in relatively uncertain relationships. Tone of utterance. Tone of utterance also distinguishes the swearing behavior of African-American males and females from that of the Whites, Hispanics, and AsianAmericans. This group's swearing utterances were most often (58% of the total utterances) made in the tones of 'humorous', 'emphatic' and 'anecdotal', and as such, would be classified as social swearing according to Ross' dichotomy. The most often occurring tones among the other racial groups, however, reveal a balance between social and annoyance swearing; for each group, 'distressed' and 'humorous' or 'emphatic' ranked consistently among the top three most often occurring tones. Thus, the swearing behavior of the AfiicanAmericans of this sample population reveals less variability than that of the other racial groups. For the AfiicanAmericans, swearing has so far revealed itself to be characteristic of 'positive', in-group social interaction. Swear word. 'Fucking' was the most often used swear word among Whites, Hispanics and AsianAmericans. This word is consistently ranked as more offensive (see Chapter 1) than 'shit', the most often used swear word among AfiicanAmericans. The

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frequent use of 'fucking' by the white males and females may be another indication of this group's advantaged social position. 'Fuck' and its inflected and derived forms represent the crux of the swearing paradox, occurring the most frequently and ranking as the most offensive (see Chapter 1). This word group therefore epitomizes the controversy inherent in swearing. To use 'fucking', especially among participants of variable social distance, is to take a social risk. However, the high frequency of use of this swear word by the white males and females seems to belie this risk, indicating their confidence in the appropriateness of their speech, a confidence which may very well come from their majority status. The highly frequent use of the word 'shit' by the AfricanAmerican males and females represents a word-preference not evident in any of the other racial groups, thus serving to further distinguish these members of the speech community. 'Shit' accounts for 44% of the total swear words used by this racial group, occurring four times as frequently as the second and third most often used words. This proclivity is in accordance with the general lack of variability so far exhibited in the swearing behavior of the AfHcan-American males and females of this sample population. Reaction. The most common reaction to the swearing utterances was none; 'no noticeable reaction' was the most often occurring reaction to the swearing utterances of the males and females of each of the four racial groups. Among the most note-worthy reactions are: 1) the frequency of 'echoes' to the swearing utterances of the Africanand Asian-Americans, reflecting a high degree of interlocutor solidarity and support of

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swearing behavior, and 2) the relatively high frequency of rejections to the swearing utterances of the Hispanics. Race of addressee(s). The spontaneous speech data presented in the tables suggest that swearing is a feature of in-group speech behavior, where in-group membership is defined in terms of close interiocutor social distance (cf Holmes, 1992; Johnson and Fine, 1985; Trudgill, 1983). Additional data suggest, however, that in-group membership is also defined by race. In all but one racial group (Hispanic), swearing utterances were addressed predominantly to interiocutors of the same race as the speaker. Swearing utterances addressed exclusively to interiocutors of the same race as the speaker's account for 71%, 78%, and 71% of the total utterances for Whites, AfiicanAmericans, and Asian-Americans, respectively. Swearing utterances addressed exclusively to interiocutors of a different race than the speaker's account for an additional 14% of the total utterances for each of the above mentioned races. These figures suggest that in-group affiliation (Holmes, 1992; Johnson and Fine, 1985; Trudgill, 1983), as characterized by swearing behavior, is determined by both social distance and race. The only exception to this pattern is the swearing behavior of the Hispanics, who addressed only 12% of their swearing utterances to other Hispanics, compared to 64% of the utterances addressed to non-Hispanics. It should be noted that the data represent swearing utterances only and reveal that swearing behavior tends to be racially bound, i.e., swearing is generally atypical of interracial interaction. The extent of inter-racial interaction in general among the members of this speech community remains an unknown variable.

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94 Summary of the race data totals. The members of each racial group showed general tendencies to restrict their swearing behavior to interlocutors of close social distance and, with the exception of the Hispanics, of the same race. Their swearing behaviors revealed a balance between social and annoyance swearing, as well as similar patterns of swear word usage and reaction types. The most significant exceptions to these patterns emerged from the swearing behaviors of the white and AfricanAmerican males and females of the sample population. The majority status of the white males and females of the sample population and the speech community it represents gives them a social advantage and a position of power within the speech community. It is suggested that the evidence of their swearing in a variety of domains is a manifestation of this power, as is the frequency with which they use the swear word 'ftick'. As a minority racial and cultural group, on the other hand, the AfricanAmericans distinguish themselves from the majority by linguistic means (Erickson, 1984; cf Black English Vernacular, Labov, 1972), in order to express ethnicity and "a sense of cultural distinctiveness' (Holmes, 1992). Compared to the variability exhibited in the swearing behavior of the whites, the AfricanAmericans' swearing behavior reveals an adherence to rules. It is predominantly social swearing, occurring among interlocutors of close social distance and similar social status, and revealing a preference for the word 'shit', a less offensive term, according to ratings, than 'frick', the word preferred by their white counterparts.

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95 Gender Differences in Swearing Behavior Jespersen's (1922) and LakofFs (1975) comments on the swearing behavior of females represent the focus of studies on gender differences in swearing behavior. The Jespersen-inspired "folklinguistic belief (Limbrick, 1991, p. 71) that men swear more than women has been borne out by data from actual and reported usage (Anshen, 1973; Gomm, 1981, Jay, 1986; and Limbrick, 1991), but has also been challenged by findings of significant occurrences of swearing behavior among females (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Hughes, 1992; Oliver and Rubin, 1975; Risch, 1987; Staley, 1978). Lakoff s claim that women prefer weaker expletives has also found support in studies based on self-report data (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Oliver and Rubin, 1975), but some researchers refute her claim with evidence to the contrary from actual observation (Anshen, 1 973; Gomm, 1981, Jay, 1986; and Limbrick, 1991). In the tradition of previous research, the spontaneous speech data contributed by the males and females of the present study's sample population both support and challenge the stereotypes. The data for interiocutor relationship, tone of utterance, swear word used and reaction to utterance presented in Tables 3.8 and 3.9 represent the swearing utterances of the male and female contributors, respectively. The only differences between the general male and female swearing behaviors are the differences in total utterances and total swear word usage. At 213 swearing utterances, males out-contributed the females by 17.7%, with a total swear word usage of 33.6% more than the females' total usage. While these data seem to support previous

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findings of a greater frequency of male swearing behavior, it should be noted that the present study's methodology was not designed to establish frequency. In other words, the focus was not on determining how often the males and females of the featured speech community engage in swearing behavior, but rather to examine the social context of the interaction in which swearing occurs. The swearing utterance totals must therefore be considered only in terms of relative frequency. The figures for the total swear word usage suggest a greater tendency for males to engage in self-echoic swearing behavior. Compared to a female average of 1 .2 swear words per swearing utterance, the males' utterances contained an average of 1.4. Recall that this study's working definition for swearing is limited to a set of particular words and their derivatives. Utterances not containing these words were not considered swearing utterances and, for this reason, the data base sheds little light on whether or not females prefer 'weak' expletives. The restricted definition of swearing does, however, introduce a standard for comparison, and the data show significant similarities in the males' and females' usage of these words. Not only did both sexes use the same three words ('fiicking', 'shit', 'fiick') most frequently, but the total ranges of usage are also similar (males exhibiting a slightly wider range with the single occurrence of 'fucker'), as are the overall frequencies of usage for each word. The interlocutor relationship data reveal that, for both groups, swearing occurs most often among friends, intimates and others of close social distance, such as rooirmiates and sisters. The males show slightly more of a tendency than the females to engage in swearing behavior among interiocutors of great social distance (e.g., strangers), but the

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Table 3.8 All Males: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals 97 Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 65% 138 Distressed 17% 36 Fucking 29% 87 No not'able 46% 99 Classmates 10% 21 Humorous 16% 35 Shit 27% 82 Laughter 23% 49 Roommates 7% 14 Angry 15% 32 Fuck 10% 29 Echo 27% 57 Intimates 7% 14 Emphatic 13% 27 Bitch 8% 23 Rejection 3% 6 Strangers 3% 7 Excited 11% 24 Ass 6% 18 Laugh-rej. 0% 1 Instructor, Supportive 7% 14 Damn 6% 17 Echo-rej. 0% 1 students 2% 5 Anecdotal 5% 11 Fucked 3% 10 Coworkers 2% 4 Rebellious 4% 9 Goddamn 3% 9 Teammates 2% 4 Serious 4% 8 M' fucking 2% 5 Customer, Sarcastic 3% 7 Hell 1% 4 employee 1% 3 Abusive 3% 6 Bullshit 1% 4 Doctor, Desperate 2% 4 Asshole 1% 3 patient 0% 1 M' fucker 1% 3 Employer, Dick 1% 3 employee 0% 1 Shitty 1% 2 Intimates, Bastard 1% 2 friends 0% 1 Fucker 0% 1 Total: 100% 213 Total: 100% 213 Total: 100% 302 Total: 100% 213 Table 3.9 All Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 56% 102 Distressed 20% 36 Fucking 24% 55 No not'able 48% 87 Roommates 13% 23 Humorous 19% 35 Shit 23% 51 Laughter 33% 60 Classmates 11% 20 Emphatic 15% 27 Fuck 12% 28 Echo 16% 29 Intimates 6% 10 Angry 14% 26 Ass 8% 18 Rejection 3% 5 Sisters 4% 8 Anecdotal 9% 16 Bitch 8% 17 Coworkers 3% 5 Excited 6% 11 Damn 6% 13 Classmates, Supportive 4% 8 Hell 5% 11 instructor 2% 3 Sarcastic 3% 6 Fucked 4% 10 Club members 1% 2 Rebellious 3% 5 Asshole 4% 8 Instructor, Abusive 2% 4 Goddamn 2% 5 students 1% 2 Desperate 2% 3 M'fiicking 1% 3 Employer, Serious 2% 3 M'fiicker 1% 2 employee 1% 2 Surprised 1% 1 Shitty 1% 2 Friends, Bastard 0% 1 strangers 1% 2 Bullshit 0% 1 Teammates 1% 1 Dick 0% 1 Strangers 1% 1 Total: 100% 181 Total: 100% 181 Total: 1 100%| 226 Total: 1 100%| 181

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98 occurrence of swearing among interlocutors of different social status is equally frequent among both sexes. Similarities rather than differences also characterize the comparison of data for tone of utterance. Both the males and females show similar percentages for the two most often occurring tones, 'distressed' and 'humorous'. Furthermore, the overall representation of tones for both groups reveals a stable balance between social and annoyance swearing. Finally, the reactions to the males' and females' swearing utterances reflect similar patterns, with 'no noticeable' reaction accounting for almost half of the total. The females' swearing utterances, however, were met with laughter more often and with echoes less often than the males' utterances. Recall that laughter, when not a reaction to a humorous statement, may be an expression of nervousness or a reaction to the unexpectedness of the swearing utterance. Echoes, on the other hand, convey approval and support of the swearing behavior. The reaction data suggest that females do not have the same social sanction to swear that males do. Gender of addressee. Previous swearing research has established that males' and females' swearing behaviors are influenced by the age and gender of their interlocutors. The swearing behavior of both sexes is inhibited by the presence of both younger and older interlocutors, such as young children and parents (Bailey and Timm, 1976; Foote and Woodward, 1973; Jay, 1992; Hughes, 1992; Oliver and Rubin, 1975; Staley, 1978), and males have exhibited swearing inhibitions in the presence of female interlocutors (Anshen, 1973; Gomm, 1981, Jay, 1986; and Limbrick, 1991).

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99 Because of the control for sample population, age of interlocutors does not figure as a significant sociolinguistic variable in the present study. Interlocutor gender and race, on the other hand, are significant variables within this speech community and the swearing behavior of its members. Tables 3 . 1 0, 3 . 1 1 , 3 . 1 2, 3 . 1 3 , 3 . 1 4 and 3 . 1 5 show the data for interlocutor relationship, tone of swearing utterance, swear word used, and reaction to swearing utterance for the males' and females' same-sex (male-to-male(s) or female-to-female(s)) interactions (3.10 and 3.13), opposite-sex (male-to-female(s) or female-to-male(s)) interactions (3.1 1 and 3.14) and mixed-sex (at least one male and one female listener) interactions (3.12 and 3.15). Table 3.10 All Males: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals for Same-sex Interaction Relatio nship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 70% 72 Distressed 17% 17 Shit 34% 51 No not'able 45% 46 Roommates 12% 12 Angry 15% 15 Fucking 28% 42 Echo 34% 35 Classmates 10% 10 Humorous 13% 13 Fuck 11% 16 Laughter 18% 19 Strangers 5% 5 Emphatic 12% 12 Bitch 8% 12 Rejection 3% 3 Teammates 2% 2 Excited 12% 12 Ass 5% 8 Coworkers 1% 1 Anecdotal 8% 8 Fucked 3% 5 Customer, Employee 1% 1 Supportive 8% 8 Goddamn 3% 4 Abusive 4% 4 Damn 3% 4 Rebellious 4% 4 Dick 2% 3 Sarcastic 4% 4 M' flicking 2% 3 Desperate 3% 3 Bullshit 1% 2 Serious 3% 3 Asshole 1% 1 Fucker 1% 1 Total: |100%| 103 Total: 1 100%| 103 Total: 100% 152 Total: 1 100%| 103

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100 Table 3.11 All Males: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals for Opposite-sex Interaction Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 45% 20 Humorous 23% 10 Fucking 35% 18 No not'able 61% 27 Intimates 30% 13 Distressed 20% 9 Shit 18% 9 Laughter 27% 12 Classmates 7% 3 Angry 16% 7 Fuck 10% 5 Echo 9% 4 Roommates 5% 2 Emphatic 11% 5 Damn 10% 5 Rejection 2% 1 Customer, Excited 7% 3 Bitch 8% 4 Employee 5% 2 Supportive 5% 2 Fucked 4% 2 Coworkers 2% 1 Abusive 5% 2 Hell 4% 2 Employer, Sarcastic 5% 2 Goddamn 4% 2 Employee 2% 1 Anecdotal 2% 1 Shitty 2% 1 Doctor, Rebellious 2% 1 Asshole 2% 1 Patient 2% 1 Desperate 2% 1 M' fucker 2% 1 Intimates, Serious 2% 1 M'fiicking 2% 1 Friends 2% 1 Total: 100% 44 Total: 100% 44 Total: 100% 51 Total: 100% 44 Table 3.12 All Males: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals for Mixed-sex Interaction Relatio nship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 70% 46 Humorous 18% 12 Fucking 27% 27 No not'able 39% 26 Classmates 12% 8 Emphatic 15% 10 Shit 22% 22 Laughter 27% 18 Instructor, Students 8% 5 Angry 15% 10 Ass 10% 10 Echo 27% 18 Distressed 15% 10 Fuck 8% 8 Rejection 3% 2 Intimates, Friends 3% 2 Excited 14% 9 Damn 8% 8 Laugh/Rej. 2% 1 Rebellious 6% 4 Bitch 7% 7 Echo/Rej. 2% 1 Strangers 3% 2 Serious 6% 4 Goddamn 3% 3 Teammates 3% 2 Supportive 6% 4 Fucked 3% 3 Employer, Employee 2% 1 Anecdotal 3% 2 Bullshit 2% 2 Sarcastic 2% 1 Hell 2% 2 M' fucker 2% 2 Bastard 2% 2 Shitty 1% 1 Asshole 1% 1 M' fucking 1% 1 Total: 100% 66 Total: 100% 66 Total: 100% 99 Total: 1 100%| 66

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101 Table 3.13 All Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals for Same-sex Interaction Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 59% 64 Distressed 20% 22 Fucking 26% 36 No not'abie 58% 63 Roommates 19% 20 Emphatic 19% 20 Shit 23% 32 Laughter 28% 30 Classmates 12% 13 Humorous 18% 19 Ass 9% 13 Echo 14% 15 Sisters 4% 4 Angry 16% 17 Bitch 9% 13 Coworkers 2% 2 Excited 6% 7 Fuck 9% 13 Employer, Anecdotal 6% 7 Hell 6% 8 Employee 2% 2 Supportive 6% 6 Fucked 5% 7 Instructor, Sarcastic 3% 3 Damn 4% 6 Students 1% 1 Desperate 2% 2 Goddamn 3% 4 Club members 1% 1 Rebellious 2% 2 M' fucking 2% 3 Teammates 1% 1 Abusive 1% 1 Bastard 1% 1 Surprised 1% 1 Bullshit 1% 1 Serious 1% 1 Asshole 1% 1 Total: 100% 108 Total: 100% 108 Total: 100% 138 Total: 100% 108 Table 3.14 All Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals for Opposite-sex Interaction Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 43% 17 Humorous 18% 7 Fucking 27% 13 No not'abie 40% 16 Intimates 25% 10 Angry 18% 7 Fuck 18% 9 Laughter 30% 12 Classmates 25% 10 Distressed 15% 6 Shit 16% 8 Echo 20% 8 Coworkers 5% 2 Anecdotal 15% 6 Asshole 10% 5 Rejection 10% 4 Roommates 3% 1 Emphatic 8% 3 Damn 8% 4 Rebellious 8% 3 Ass 6% 3 Abusive 5% 2 Hell 4% 2 Serious 5% 2 Bitch 4% 2 Excited 5% 2 Shitty 4% 2 Sarcastic 3% 1 M'fucker 2% 1 Supportive 3% 1 Total: 100% 40 Total: 100% 40 Total: 100% 49 Total: 100% 40

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102 Table 3.15 All Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals for Mixed-sex Interaction Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 64% 21 Humorous 27% 9 Shit 28% 11 Laughter 55% 18 Classmates 9% 3 Distressed 24% 8 Fuck 15% 6 No not'able 24% 8 Classmates, Emphatic 12% 4 Fucking 15% 6 Echo 18% 6 Instructor 9% 3 Anecdotal 9% 3 Fucked 8% 3 Rejection 3% 1 Friends, Excited 6% 2 Damn 8% 3 Strangers 6% 2 Angry 6% 2 Bitch 5% 2 Instructor, Sarcastic 6% 2 Ass 5% 2 Students 3% 1 Abusive 3% 1 Asshole 5% 2 Coworkers 3% 1 Desperate 3% 1 Hell 3% 1 Club members 3% 1 Supportive 3% 1 Dick 3% 1 Strangers 3% 1 M'fiicker 3% 1 Goddamn 3% 1 Total: 100% 33 Total: 100% 33 Total: 100% 39 Total: 100% 33 The males of the population sample do not show a similar degree of discretion in their swearing behavior as the females. While swearing behavior for both sexes was most frequent in same-sex interaction, it was significantly more frequent for the females; 60% of their swearing utterances occurred in same-sex interactions compared to 48% of the males' utterances. Both sexes revealed equally infrequent swearing behavior in opposite-sex interaction: 22% of the total for females, 21% for males. Mixed sex interaction is shown to have the most significant influence on swearing behavior. At 31% of their total, males' swearing utterances were more frequent than in opposite-sex interaction, but still less frequent than same-sex interaction; the greater the female presence, the greater the inhibition. In contrast to this pattern, females' swearing utterances in mixed-sex interaction become significantly infrequent, representing only 1 8% of the total. Females are clearly reluctant to engage in swearing behavior in the

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103 presence of males; they are even more reluctant to reveal their in-group behavior. This suggests the influence of the stereotype of swearing as a typically male behavior, underscored by the males' accommodation in opposite-sex interaction. The data for participant relationship reveal that for both sexes, swearing utterances occur in interaction among participants of close social distance, i.e., friends, intimates, roommates. In fact, intimate relationships accounted for similar and relatively high percentages of the interlocutor relationships of opposite-sex interaction. With the exception of female-to-male swearing, interlocutors of different social status are equally represented across the sexes and interaction type. The data for tone reveal further similarities. 'Distressed' is shown as most of^en occurring tone for swearing utterances in same-sex interaction, with 'humorous' ranking first in both opposite-sex and mixed-sex interaction. Combined, 'distressed' and 'angry' account for 36% and 33% of the tones of male and female opposite-sex interaction utterances, respectively. Their high frequency of occurrence is due to the fi-equency of swearing among intimates, which occurred in these two tones a combined 72% of the time. Males used 'shit' most frequently in same-sex interaction and 'fucking' most frequently in oppositeand mixed-sex interaction. In terms of percentages, their use of 'fucking' did not significantly decrease in mixed-sex interaction and, in fact, increased in opposite-sex interaction. 'Fucking' was the most frequently used swear word among females for both same-sex and opposite-sex interaction, with 'shit' used most fi-equently in mixed-sex interaction. The frequent use of 'fucking' among both sexes in opposite-

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sex interaction suggests this word's bipartisan status. In mixed-sex interaction, however, when the females most censor their swearing, 'flicking' is exchanged for the less offensive 'shit'. The data for reaction reveal that male swearing behavior is generally more accepted among both sexes than female swearing. In same-sex interaction, one-third of the males' swearing utterances were answered with echoes. In opposite-sex interaction, the majority of the males' swearing utterances did not cause any specific reactions, nor is the percentage for 'laughter' reactions suspect in light of the high percentage of occurrence of 'humorous' swearing. In mixed-sex interaction, males' swearing utterances were generally accepted, and laughed at as often as they were echoed. The reactions to the female swearing utterances reveal quite different attitudes. Swearing utterances made by females in same-sex interaction were not only the most frequent (27% of the 394 total utterances), but also the only kind of swearing utterances in these categories to not be rejected. Female swearing in opposite-sex interaction garnered, in contrast, the highest percentage of rejections. Finally, although accounting for the lowest frequency of swearing utterances, female mixed-sex swearing earned laughter reactions 55% of the time. This was the only context in which laughter outranked the 'no noticeable' reactions, suggesting a conspicuousness vis-a-vis female swearing behavior compared to the acceptance and approval of the male swearing behavior.

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105 Gender Differences According to Race Because of the overwhelming majority of the white male and female contributors to the spontaneous speech data, any general totals will, generally, be most representative of this racial group. For this reason, male and female swearing behavior will now be further divided and analyzed according to race. Specifically, white males and females will be compared to African-American males and females. Because the Hispanic and AsianAmerican males and females are underrepresented by the spontaneous speech data (accounting for only 6% and 7%, respectively, of the total swearing utterances), they are not included in the systematic comparison. White and African-American males. Tables 3.16, 3.17, 3.18, 3.19, 3.20 and 3.21 show the data for interlocutor relationship, tone of swearing utterance, swear word used, and reaction to swearing utterance for the White males' and Afiican-American males' same-sex interactions (3.16 and 3.19), opposite-sex interactions (3.17 and 3.20) and mixed-sex interactions (3.18 and 3.21). The data show that the frequency of swearing utterances by white males is less affected by interaction type and interlocutor social distance than that of AfiicanAmerican males. While the frequency of white male swearing is more or less equally distributed among same-sex, opposite-sex and mixed-sex interactions (42%, 27% and 31% of the total, respectively), the majority of AfricanAmerican swearing (72% of their total utterances) occurs in same-sex interaction and almost exclusively among fiiends.

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106 Table 3.16 White Males: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals for Same-sex Interaction Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 63% 38 Distressed 18% 11 fucking 40% 33 No not'able 47% 28 Roommates 13% 8 Angry 18% 11 shit 18% 15 Echo 27% 16 Classmates 12% 7 Humorous 13% 8 fuck 15% 12 Laughter 25% 15 Strangers 5% 3 Excited 13% 8 bitch 10% 8 "Rejection 2% 1 Teammates 3% 2 Abusive 7% 4 ass 9% 7 Coworkers 2% 1 Emphatic 7% 4 fucked 2% 2 Customer, Supportive 7% 4 fucker 1% Employee 2% 1 Desperate 5% 3 dick 1% Sarcastic 5% 3 Goddamn 1% Rebellious 3% 2 damn 1% Serious 2% 1 bullshit 1% Anecdotal 2% 1 Total: 100% 60 Total: 100% 60 Total: 100% 82 Total: 100% 60 Table 3.17 White Males: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals for Opposite-sex Interaction Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 44% 17 Distressed 23% 9 Fucking 33% 15 No not'able 59% 23 Intimates 33% 13 Humorous 23% 9 Shit 18% 8 Laughter 28% 11 Roommates 5% 2 Angry 18% 7 Fuck 11% 5 Echo 10% 4 Classmates 5% 2 Emphatic 8% 3 Damn 9% 4 Rejection 3% 1 Customer, Excited 5% 2 Bitch 9% 4 Employee 5% 2 Abusive 5% 2 Fucked 4% 2 Employer, Supportive 5% 2 Hell 4% 2 Employee 3% 1 Sarcastic 5% 2 Goddanm 4% 2 Doctor, Desperate 3% 1 Shitty 2% 1 Patient 3% 1 Anecdotal 3% 1 Asshole 2% 1 Coworkers 3% 1 Rebellious 3% 1 M' fucker 2% 1 Total: 100% 39 Total: 100% 39 Total: 100% 45 Total: 100% 39

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Table 3.18 White Males: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals for Mixed-sex Interaction Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 66% 29 Distressed 18% 8 Fucking 30% 20 No not'able 43% 19 Classmates 14% 6 Emphatic 16% 7 Shit 18% 12 Echo 27% 12 Instructor, Students 11% 5 Angry 16% 7 Ass 12% 8 Laughter 25% 11 Humorous 11% 5 Fuck 9% 6 Laugh/Rej. 2% 1 Teammates 5% 2 Excited 11% 5 Damn 'TO/ / /o c J Echo/Rej. 2% 1 Strangers 5% 2 Serious 9% 4 Goddamn 3% 2 Supportive 9% 4 Bitch 3% 2 Rebellious 7% 3 Fucked 3% 2 Anecdotal 2% 1 Bullshit 3% 2 Shitty 1% 1 M' fucker 3% 2 Hell 3% 2 Bastard 3% 2 Asshole 1% 1 Total: 100% 44 Total: 100% 44 Total: 100% 67 Total: 100% 44 Table 3.19 AfricanAmerican Males: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals for Samesex Interaction Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 91% 30 Anecdotal 21% 7 Shit 57% 33 Echo 45% 15 Strangers 6% 2 Emphatic 21% 7 Fucking 7% 4 No not'able 39% 13 Classmates 3% 1 Humorous 15% 5 Fuck 7% 4 Laughter 9% 3 Distressed 12% 4 Bitch 7% 4 Rejection 6% 2 Excited 9% 3 M' flicking 5% 3 Rebellious 6% 2 Goddamn 5% 3 Supportive 6% 2 Fucked 3% 2 Angry 6% 2 Dick 3% 2 Serious 3% 1 Bullshit 2% 1 Ass 2% 1 Damn 2% 1 Total: 100% 33 Total: 100% 33 Total: 100% 58 Total: 100% 33

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108 Table 3.20 African-American Males: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals for Opposite-sex Interaction Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 100% 3 Emphatic 33% 1 Shit 25% 1 No not'able 67% 2 Humorous 33% 1 Fucking 25% 1 Laughter 33% 1 Serious 33% 1 Damn 25% 1 M' fucking 25% 1 Total: 100% 3 Total: 100% 3 Total: 100% 4 Total: 100% 3 Table 3.21 AfricanAmerican Males: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals for Mixed-sex Interaction Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 90% 9 Humorous 30% 3 Shit 27% 4 No not'able 30% 3 Classmates 10% 1 Excited 20% 2 Fucking 20% 3 Laughter 30% 3 Emphatic 20% 2 Bitch 20% 3 Echo 30% 3 Angry 20% 2 Ass 13% 2 Rejection 10% 1 Anecdotal 10% 1 Fuck 7% 1 Fucked 7% 1 M' flicking 7% 1 Total: 100% 10 Total: 100% 10 Total: 100% 15 Total: 100% 10 Although interaction type affects the males' swearing frequency differently, it has the same effect on their swearing behavior in terms of self-echoic swearing. In same-sex interaction, the white and African-American males averaged 1 .9 and 1 .7 swear words per utterance, respectively. These figures decreased to 1 .5 for both groups in mixed-sex interaction and further decreased to 1 .2 and 1 .3 swear words per utterance in opposite-sex interaction. Therefore, not only do males decrease the frequency of their swearing utterances in the presence of females, they decrease the intensity as well. The data for tone of utterance reveal fiirther differences. Regardless of type of interaction, white males engage most frequently in distressed swearing and slightly less

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109 frequently in angry swearing. According to Ross' (1969) dichotomy, these tones classify the utterances as annoyance swearing, and reveals white male swearing behavior to be reminiscent of prototypical swearing, that is, the use of swear words to "blow off steam and canalize [one's] aggressions" (Berger, 1970, p. 283). African-American males, to the contrary, reveal a proclivity for social swearing, favoring 'humorous' and 'emphatic' tones. White males consistently used 'fucking' most often, followed by 'shit'. Their use of 'fucking' was most frequent in same-sex interaction, and least frequent in mixed-sex interaction; the frequency of usage of 'shit' was constant. In his observation of sameand mixed-sex interaction of white males and females, Limbrick (1991) found that, in terms of percentages of total swear word usage, the males' use of 'fiick' and 'shit' was more frequent in mixed-sex than in same-sex interaction. Jay (1986), on the other hand, found that relative to the usage of other swear words, 'fiick' and 'shit' were used more often in same-sex interaction. Neither of the studies provided information on opposite-sex interaction. As 'fixcking' is the preferred word among white males, then 'shit' is the word of preference for African-American males. Their alleged preference for the term 'motherfiicker' (Berger, 1970; Hughes, 1998) is not borne out by the data. Instead, white males used this term a total of three times, while AfricanAmerican males used 'motherfiacking' slightly more often, a total of 5 times. Neither usage can be said to represent a preference.

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110 Reaction to swearing utterances show that white male swearing generally does not evoke any significant reaction. In sameand mixed-sex interaction, white males find support for their swearing behavior in the form of echoes. Only in opposite-sex swearing do the laughter reactions outnumber the echo reactions, further evidence of the (mostly white) female reluctance to swear in the presence of males. It is also in this type of interaction that the white males received their only real rejection, as opposed to the pseudo-rejections of the mixed-sex interactions. All three rejections were made by white females. The most significant difference between the reactions to the African-American males' swearing utterances and those of the white males is the fi-equency of echo utterances. One of only two contexts that echo reactions out-number 'no noticeable' reactions is represented by African-American male same-sex interaction; mixed-sex interaction reveals an equal frequency of 'echo', 'no noticeable' and 'laughter'. AfiicanAmerican males receive a significant amount of support for and approval of their swearing behavior from other (mostly AfiicanAmerican) males. Their behavior is also rejected by the same group—all three rejections were made by other African-American males—further supporting the suggestion of an in-group rule system for swearing. White and African-American females. Tables 3.22, 3.23, 3.24, 3.25, 3.26 and 3.27 show the data for interlocutor relationship, tone of swearing utterance, swear word used, and reaction to swearing utterance for the White females' and Afiican-American females' same-sex interactions (3.22 and 3.25), opposite-sex interactions (3.23 and 3.26) and mixed-sex interactions (3.24 and 3.27).

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1 111 The frequency of swearing utterances among the members of both racial groups seems to be equally affected by interaction type. The majority of swearing behavior occurs in same-sex interaction (53% of the time for white females, 55% for AfricanAmerican females), a lower frequency for opposite-sex interaction (27% and 26%, respectively), and the lowest frequency in mixed-sex interaction (19% and 20%). The occurrence of self-echoic swearing is most frequent for white females in samesex interaction, where they average 1 .8 swear words per swearing utterance. This figure drops to 1 .2 swear words per utterance in both mixedand opposite-sex interaction. The African-American females exhibit an opposite behavior. Their swearing utterances in same-sex interaction averaged only 1 .3 swear words. In mixed-sex interaction the intensity increased to an average of 1 .6 swear words per swearing utterance and finally in opposite-sex interaction they averaged 1 .4 swear words per swearing utterance. Table 3.22 White Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals: Same-sex Interaction Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 58% 45 Distressed 22% 17 Fucking 32% 32 No not'able 60% 46 Roommates 18% 14 Emphatic 18% 14 Shit 22% 22 Laughter 25% 19 Sisters 9% 7 Himiorous 17% 13 Bitch 11% 11 Echo 16% 12 Classmates 6% 5 Angry 13% 10 Fuck 8% 8 Coworkers 3% 2 Excited 8% 6 Fucked 7% 7 Employer, Anecdotal 6% 5 Hell 7% 7 Employee 3% 2 Supportive 6% 5 Ass 6% 6 Instructor, Desperate 3% 2 Damn 3% 3 Students 1% 1 Sarcastic 3% 2 Goddamn 2% 2 Teammates 1% 1 Serious 1% 1 Bastard 1% 1 Abusive 1% 1 M' fucker 1% 1 Rebellious 1% 1 Total: 100% 77 Total: 100% 77 Total: 100% 100 Total: 1 100%| 77

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112 Table 3.23 White Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals for Opposite-sex Interaction Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 43% 12 Distressed 21% 6 Fucking 36% 12 No not'able 46% 13 Intimates 32% 9 Anecdotal 14% 4 Fuck 15% 5 Laughter 25% 7 Classmates 21% 6 Humorous 11% 3 Asshole 15% 5 Echo 25% 7 Coworkers 4% 1 Rebellious 11% 3 Damn 12% 4 Rejection 4% 1 Angry 11% 3 Shit 9% 3 Excited 7% 2 Shitty 6% 2 Abusive 7% 2 Hell 3% 1 Serious 7% 2 Bitch 3% 1 Sarcastic 4% 1 Emphatic 4% 1 Supportive 4% 1 Total: 100% 28 Total: 100% 28 Total: 100% 33 Total: 100% 28 Table 3.24 White Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals for Mixed-sex Interaction Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 67% 14 Humorous 43% 9 Shit 27% 7 Laughter 62% 13 Classmates, Distressed 14% 3 Fuck 19% 5 No not'able 24% 5 Instructor 14% 3 Excited 10% 2 Fucking 15% 4 Echo 14% 3 Classmates 10% 2 Sarcastic 10% 2 Ass 8% 2 Instructor, Anecdotal 10% 2 Asshole 8% 2 Students 5% 1 Emphatic 5% 1 Bitch 4% 1 Club members 5% 1 Angry 5% 1 Dick 4% 1 Supportive 5% 1 Goddamn 4% 1 Hell 4% 1 Fucked 4% 1 Damn 4% 1 Total: 100% 21 Total: 100% 21 Total: 100% 26 Total: 100% 21

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113 Table 3.25 AfricanAmerican Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals for Same-sex Interaction Relationship Tone Swear word Reac tion Friends 60% 9 Humorous 27% 4 Shit 35% 7 Laughter 47% 7 Roommates 27% 4 Emphatic 27% 4 Ass 25% 5 No not'able 40% 6 Club members 7% 1 Angry 20% 3 Fuck 15% 3 Echo 13% 2 Classmates 7% 1 Distressed 13% 2 M' fucking 10% 2 Supportive 7% 1 Bullshit 5% 1 Sarcastic 7% 1 Goddamn 5% 1 Damn 5% 1 Total: 100% 15 Total: 100% 15 Total: 100% 20 Total: 100% 15 Table 3.26 AfricanAmerican Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals for Opposite-sex Interaction Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 57% 4 Humorous 57% 4 Shit 30% 3 Laughter 43% 3 Roommates 14% 1 Emphatic 14% 1 Ass 20% 2 Rejection 29% 2 Classmates 14% 1 Angry 14% 1 Fuck 20% 2 Echo 14% 1 Coworkers 14% 1 Anecdotal 14% 1 Fucking 10% 1 No not'able 14% 1 Hell 10% 1 M' fucker 10% 1 Total: 100% 7 Total: 100% 7 Total: 100% 10 Total: 100% 7 Table 3.27 AfricanAmerican Females: Spontaneous Swearing Utterance Totals for Mixed-sex Interaction Relationship Tone Swear word Reaction Friends 40% 2 Distressed 40% 2 Shit 38% 3 Echo 40% 2 Friends, Strangers 40% 2 Abusive 20% 1 Fuck 25% 2 Laughter 40% 2 Anecdotal 20% 1 Fucking 25% 2 No not'able 20% 1 Strangers 20% 1 Emphatic 20% 1 M'fucker 13% 1 Total: 100% 5 Total: 100% 5 Total: 100% 8 Total: 100% 5 Like their male coimterparts, white females engaged in distressed swearing in sameand opposite-sex interaction. Unlike the males, however, in mixed-sex interaction they

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114 engaged in humorous swearing three times as often as distressed swearing, and the distribution of tones represents a more stable balance between annoyance and social swearing. The tones of AfricanAmerican females' swearing utterances reveal tendencies opposite to those of the white females, and just slightly dissimilar to their male counterparts. Humorous and emphatic swearing occurred most frequently in sameand opposite-sex interaction, while distressed swearing occurred most frequently in mixedsex interaction. Like the white females, the African-American females' swearing behavior reveals a balance between annoyance and social swearing that the behavior of their male counterparts did not exhibit. Swear word usage shows a clear difference in preference between the two groups of females, but similarities within the same race. The white females, like the white males, used 'fiicking' most frequently in same-sex and opposite-sex interaction, while 'shit' was their preference for mixed-sex interaction. An increased use of 'fucking' relative to other swear words in opposite-sex interaction is in accordance with Limbrick's (1991) observation of white female swearing in mixed-sex interaction, but contrasts with Jay's (1986) observations. The higher frequency of occurrence of 'shit' in mixed-sex interactions, on the other hand, is in accordance with both Limbrick's (1991) and Jay's (1986) findings. Like the males of the same race, AfricanAmerican females used 'shit' most frequently, regardless of interaction type. This is a salient racial difference in swearing behavior.

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Finally, reactions to swearing utterances show that both white and AfricanAmerican females' swearing utterances evoke laughter more often than the swearing utterances of the males of the same races. In the mixed-sex context, the white females received 'laughter' reactions over four times as often as 'echo' reactions. In the same context, the Afiican -American females received 'laughter' and 'echo' reactions equally frequently. In fact, this represents the second of only two contexts where 'echoes' out-numbered the 'no-noticeable' reactions (see: White and African-American males). Nevertheless, the reactions to the swearing utterances of the females of both races suggests that their swearing behavior is not received with same acceptance as the males' behavior. Summary The data from the observation of spontaneous swearing utterances reveal that a number of sociolinguistic variables affect the swearing behavior of the members of the university undergraduate speech community, as represented by the sample population. Social distance, sex and race of the interlocutors were shown to be the most influential of the contextual variables. The data suggest that close interlocutor social distance most determines the occurrence of swearing behavior, as across sex and race, the majority of swearing utterances occurred among friends, intimates, and other interlocutors of presumably close social distance such as roommates and sisters. When swearing occurred among interlocutors whose social distance could not be estimated, it, too, was

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116 found to be characteristic of in-group interaction, such as that among classmates, coworkers, teammates and club members. After social distance, interlocutors' race and sex were found to affect swearing behavior. With the exception of the Hispanic males and females, swearing occtirred predominantly among interlocutors of the same race, the strongest tendencies revealed among the African-American and AsianAmerican males and females. Among white and African-American males and females and Hispanic females, swearing behavior occurred most frequently in same-sex interactions. White and African-American males swore least frequently in opposite-sex interaction, while White and African-American females swore least frequently in mixed-sex interaction. As a fimction of speaker gender, the data show swearing to be most frequent among males, although this is a relative frequency. Just as swearing frequency is revealed to be a function of speaker and addressee sex, swear word usage reveals different tendencies among the males and females according to race. Among the whites, 'fucking' is most frequently used swear word, with the exception of the use of 'shit' among white females in mixed-sex interaction. The African-Americans, on the other hand, most frequently used 'shit', regardless of interaction type. The frequent occurrence of 'distressed' and 'angry' swearing among white males the largest contributing group according to sex and race of the sample populationmay be the reason why swearing has traditionally been associated with offensiveness and aggressiveness in linguistic and psychological research; the dominance of the white-male perspective is certainly not unique to swearing research. With respect to tone of

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utterance, however, white male swearing behavior is revealed to be the anomaly, and in starkest contrast to the behavior of African-American males, who swore in 'distressed' and 'angry' tones half as often, and 'humorous', 'emphatic' and 'anecdotal' tones twice as often as the white males. The data suggest that, as an isogloss, swearing most clearly marks the in-group boundaries of females in general and African-American males in particular. In oppositeand mixed-sex interaction, females reveal a greater reluctance to swear than males do. Furthermore, according to the reactions their swearing utterances evoke in oppositeand mixed-sex interactions, they do not enjoy the same social sanction to swear that males do, whose swearing utterances are more frequently accepted without event or echoed. African-American males reveal the greatest tendency of all groups to restrict their swearing to same-sex interaction, ft is also in this context that their swearing behavior most frequently receives approval, in the form of echoes. Finally, the data for oppositesex interaction and reaction suggest that AfiicanAmerican males have distinct rules for their swearing behavior, and know when these rules are broken. Swearing as a socially influenced and rule-governed behavior is further examined in Chapter 4, in which data from participant questionnaires and interviews is presented.

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CHAPTER 4 QUESTIONNAIRE AND ETHNOGRAPHIC INTERVIEW Introduction In this chapter, an analysis of the qualitative data collected from the questionnaire and ethnographic interviews will be presented. The data provide for a basis of comparison with the spontaneous speech data, revealing whether the actual swearing behavior of the members of the speech community (as represented by the population sample) corresponds to their perceptions of their own and others' behavior. Questionnaire Participants Sixty questionnaires were completed by members of the University of Florida undergraduate student speech community. A sample questionnaire can be found in Appendix C; the answers for each of the 60 participants are provided in Appendix D. Participation in the questionnaire was voluntary; no compensation was offered. The representation of gender among the participants is proportionate to that of the spontaneous speech population sample: 33 males and 27 females account for 55% and 45%, respectively, of the total questionnaire participants. The racial composition of the 118

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r 119 participants, however, is not similar to that of the spontaneous speech population sample. Because participation in the questionnaire was both voluntary and non-compensated, it was not possible to control for racial distribution. White females account for 30% of the total questionnaire participants, with white males comprising 27%. African-American males and females and Hispanic males and females each represent 16%, 12%, 12%, and 3%, respectively. Demographics The average age of the participants was 20.1 years old at the time of completion of the questionnaire. Over half of the participants (56%) reported they were bom in Florida, with the majority (89%) stating it as both their home state and place of high school. All but 21% of the participants claimed current affiliation with a religion; Catholics, Baptists and Methodists accounted for 21%, 19% and 15% of the participants, respectively. The remaining participants reported being 7* Day Adventists (5%), Christians (5%), Jews (3%), Lutherans (3%), Protestants (3%)), Presbyterians (2%) and members of the Greek Orthodox church (2%). Like their religious affiliation, the socioeconomic status of the participants, as measured by the educational background and employment status of their parents, indicates variation as well. While the majority of the participants (71%) reported that both their mother and father were employed, only 56% of the participants' fathers and 52% of the participants' mothers were said to hold a bachelor's or graduate degree, suggesting a multi-class sample population.

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120 Ethnographic Interview Informants Eleven members of the University of Florida undergraduate student speech community volunteered to take part in the ethnographic follow-up interview to the questionnaire. The interview transcripts appear in Appendix E; the informants are identified by their questionnaire number. Interview participation was compensated with a coupon for a free pizza. Twenty-one (34%) of the questioimaire participants originally volunteered to participate in the follow-up interview. In an effort to achieve balanced representation, interview informants were chosen based on gender and race, as well as the information they provided in their questionnaires. The process resulted in the selection of the following eleven informants: 3 white males, 3 white females, 3 AfricanAmerican males and 2 African-American females. Five of these informants had claimed to use swear words "often", another four had claimed to use swear words "sometimes", and two informants stated they "rarely" or "never" used swear words. Offensiveness Ratings In Chapter 1 , it was pointed out that swearing research directed at measuring the offensiveness of swear words assumed their offensiveness. Laboratory studies (Baudhuin, 1973; Bostrom etal., 1973; Driscoll, 1981; Jay, 1977, 1978; Mabry, 1975; Manning and Melchiori, 1974) have typically been designed to encourage participants of

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121 ratings tasks to consider swear words from this perspective by eliminating context. The present study suggests the unlikelihood that any participant, when presented with a list of isolated swear words void of context and asked to rate their offensiveness, would consider swearing from an alternative perspective. Consequently, offensiveness ratings are traditionally high, which, when juxtaposed with the similarly high frequency counts of swear words, contributes to the 'swearing paradox'. The questionnaire conducted for the present study was designed to expose and explicate the 'swearing paradox' with the inclusion of two separate offensiveness ratings tasks, one in the tradition of previous design, i.e., a word list, and another featuring swearing utterances complemented by contextual information such as setting and interlocutor details. For the first task, participants were directed to rate the offensiveness of each word appearing in the list on a ten-point scale, '1' being 'Not Offensive' and '10' being 'Very Offensive'. They were then asked to indicate which of the listed words, if any, they would not use. Next, the participants were asked to provide a label for the words as a group, adding or deleting any terms as they saw fit, according to their label. Finally, the participants were asked to comment on whether the offensiveness of the listed words was fixed and imchanging. Word-List Ratings It was not the intention of the present study to investigate the variable offensiveness of swear words relative to each other, but rather to examine the relationship between

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122 offensiveness and context. Nevertheless, both of the rating tasks confirm that certain swear words are consistently rated more offensive than others, with sexual terms receiving higher offensiveness scores than excretory/body and sacred terms. Among the swear words of the word list, the sexual terms 'motherfucker', and 'fiick' rated higher than 'ass', 'asshole' and 'shit', which in turn rated higher than 'damn' and 'hell'. Straddling the two categories of sexual and body terms, 'cimt' and 'dick' both received relatively high offensiveness ratings. Similarly high ratings were assigned to the words 'bitch' and 'bastard', as well. Table 4.1 presents the average ratings, the standard deviations, and the modes for the words of the word list rating task according to the totals of all participants. Table 4.1 All Participants: Word List Offensiveness Ratings Ass Asshole Bastard Bitch Cunt Damn Average 3.2 4.4 4.3 5.0 6.6 2.3 Std. Deviation 2.5 2.8 2.8 3.0 3.0 2.1 Mode 1 3 1 1 10 1 Dick Fuck Hell Motherfucker Nigger Shit Average 4.1 5.0 2.3 5.9 8.5 3.1 Std. Deviation 2.7 3.1 2.3 3.2 2.3 2.5 Mode 1 1 1 5 10 1 When asked to comment on their thought processes in completing the word list rating task, seven of the informants said that they considered the words as used by other people and measured the offense they (the informants) would take to the usage; the other four considered their own use of the swear words and the associated offensiveness as perceived by others. ' "

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123 Four of the interview informants said that they interpreted the words according to the evaluative adjective, i.e., as 'offensive', or in name-calling situations (all participants and interview informants are identified by their respective questionnaire numbers as listed in Appendix D): #57: (African-American male) You know, I look on it by that scale, not necessarily how I use them. 'Cause I use them. [. . .] I use all of these. But I based it on how offensive they were if I used them in an aggressive situation. #61: (African-American female) Like somebody might call someone a 'cunt' and that's not a really nice thing to say, like, "You're a cunt." That's not real nice. That's the way I looked at it. The remaining informants said that different words required different interpretations, resulting in variable offensiveness: #60: (White male) Well, 'bitch' is a '4' because that can refer to a woman and I'm somewhat interested in feminist issues or whatever, and I realized how that could just be a. . .bad choice. But 'motherfucker' is just funny. It makes me laugh. That's a ' 1 ' for me. #51: (White female) These ('bitch', 'cunt', 'dick' and 'nigger') are higher because I think they're used in a more derogatory way usually, so that's why. [. . .] These ('ass', 'asshole', 'bastard', 'damn', 'fuck', 'hell', 'motherfucker' and 'shit') are more common. I hear them in everyday speech, but the others, probably not. The word which received the highest overall offensiveness rating was 'nigger'. Although not a swear word as defined in Chapter 1, 'nigger' was included in the word list rating task as a challenge to the semantic concept of 'swearing'. However, only 23% of the questionnaire participants chose to delete this word fi-om the list. When the participants completed the word list rating task, the terms 'swear words' and 'swearing' had not yet been used in the questionnaire. It is therefore possible that the majority of the

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124 questionnaire participants considered the list of words only in terms of offensiveness and did not conclude that 'nigger', as the most offensive, should be deleted. Of the 44% of the participants who indicated that 'nigger' was a word they never use, 97% were White or Hispanics. No other word in the list was associated with such clear racial and cultural boundaries of usage. Each of the informants had comments on the inclusion of 'nigger' in the word list, the white males and females expressing awareness of its use by AfricanAmericans but a reluctance to use it themselves, while the African-American males and females expressed the social complexities of its use: #58: (White male) As for 'nigger', I don't. . .1 personally. . .it's the only one out of the list that I personally don't use in my vocabulary. I only gave it a '9' because I do listen to a lot of rap and stuff like that and I'm not going to tell, I'm not going to try and suppose that I can tell a black person not to use the word. I mean, I just don't think that's my place, so, I only gave it a '9'. Originally I had my pencil on '10'. #53: (White female) The one that is the most offensive to me is that one. There's nothing in this world that I can stand less than prejudice and that just, words like that really make me cringe. #55: (African-American male) [T]he reason why I gave it a '10' is, I've used it and I'm a victim of that and I call that not being aware of the impact of words. That word doesn't change in context because a black person says it or a white person says it. It's the same word, and I feel that black people are being selfnegating when they use that word. [. . .] I know that it's a negative word and even if I use it in a room full of black people it's still a negative word, even if they don't get upset with me. #57: (African-American male) (regarding African-Americans saying 'nigger' in the presence of whites) Especially since these were people who could have taken the word and said, "Well," you know, "black people use the word," whatever. And they can now take that [...] and they can go and flip it around and tell their friends, "Yeah, you know, they're just like we thought they were." You know, just kind of using it as basically a justification of their thoughts. There's a fine line when you can use that word. A very fine line. The '10' is because of, you know, the previous situation. A black-white situation.

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125 Although not typically considered a swear word, 'nigger' has in common with swear words an inherent offensiveness which varies according to social context, and a usage characteristic of in-group interaction. Like swear words, it serves as an isogloss, with little social sanction for its use by out-group members. The social ramifications of outgroup usage of swear words will be discussed further in this chapter, as well as Chapter 5. Labels, additions, deletions and comments. Following the word list rating task, the questionnaire participants were asked to provide a label for the words included in the list, adding or deleting words according to this label. Forty-six percent of the participants labeled the words 'curse' or 'cuss' words, with 'swear' and 'bad' each garnering 13%. The labels provided by the remaining 28% of the participants reveal opposing attitudes. 'Vulgar', 'offensive', 'negative', 'profane' and 'obscenities' were suggested as well as 'friends', 'good', 'descriptive', 'everyday', 'normal', 'regular' and 'second language'. These latter labels reveal the participants' awareness of the variability of swear word interpretation. Among the most commonly suggested additions to the word list were 'pussy', 'Goddamn' and 'son of a bitch' (by 10%, 8% and 8% of the participants, respectively), 'cocksucker' (7%) and 'dickhead' (5%). Also receiving mention were 'cracker', 'fag/faggot', 'prick', 'jackass', 'spic' and 'coon'. The latter two suggestions represent racial slurs, reflecting possible influence from the inclusion of 'nigger' in the word list. The two overall least offensive terms were also the most often suggested deletions from the word list. Twenty-five percent and 16% of the participants chose to delete 'hell'

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and 'damn', respectively, from the word list, their lack of associated offensiveness rendering them peripheral members of the proposed category of words. Participants were also asked to indicate which of the listed words, if any, they would not use. Forty-six percent of the participants said that they would not use the word 'cimt', an even larger percentage than those unwilling to use the word 'nigger'. In fact, while this latter word was heard occasionally during the observation phase of data collection, 'cunt' was not recorded by any of the field note takers. The final step of the rating task was to comment on whether the offensiveness of the listed words was fixed and unchanging. 77% of the participants said it was not fixed and unchanging, 20% said it was, and 3% left the question blank. Comments fi-om the 77% who stated that the offensiveness of swear words is neither fixed nor unchanging include the following: #2: (AfricanAmerican male) How offensive these words are is based on the receiver's interpretation. #8: (White male) They can be used as nouns, verbs, or adjectives. The context then determines the offensiveness. The receiver of the words will also vary on the level that he/she is offended. #5 1 : (White female) A lot of words would be offensive to other people, and I think their offensiveness always depends on the context in which they are said, why they are said, who said them and to whom. Those who consider the offensiveness of swear words as fixed and unchanging added the following comments: #3: (White female) I think I'll always be offended by these words. #16: (Hispanic male) Someone will always find these words offensive.

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127 #41 : (White female) Someone either is or is not offended by these words, most likely their opinion about these words won't change. Thus, by alluding to individual tastes, the comments of those who subscribed to the categorical offensiveness of swear words revealed that the ultimate degree of offensiveness is determined by contextual variables, in particular, variations in speaker and addressee. The variation among the participants regarding the offensiveness of the listed swear words is also evident in the individual ratings. While the averages represent offensiveness ratings as assigned by the participants as a group, the values for standard deviation and mode indicate the extent of variation among the participants. According to the standard deviations, 'bitch', 'fuck' and 'motherfucker' represent the words with the most variation in ratings (i.e., the least amount of agreement among the participants), while 'damn', 'hell' and 'nigger' represent the words with the least amount of variation (i.e., the most amount of agreement among the participants). According to the values for mode, eight out of the twelve listed words were most oflten assigned a rating of ' 1' by the participants, reflecting a lack of perceived offensiveness among certain participants vis-a-vis certain words. Jay (1977, 1992) argued that subjects' categorically low ratings of swear words were an indication of their personalities, not a judgment of the quality of the words per se; because some individuals are not personally offended by swear words does not mean that the words are not offensive. For this reason, his 1978 subjects were instead asked to rate how offensive certain words would be to a "significant part of the population" (Jay, 1992, p. 146). Such ratings can only be considered hearsay and, as such, are of little value to the pursuit of a

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128 "truer picture" of swear word usage. Furthermore, it was the occurrence of categorically low ratings which inspired Jay (1978) to redefine his terms for offensiveness ratings, revealing his bias towards swearing as offensive as well as his intolerance of and skepticism towards alternative interpretations. That the offensiveness of swear words can vary so extremely among members of a speech community contributes to the social meaning of swearing. The differences between the average ratings and modes reveals the reality of variation in the perceived offensiveness of swear words, rendering swearing a socially complex behavior which is neither interpreted nor evaluated consistently by the members of this speech community. Differences according to gender. Previous studies have established females as being more sensitive than males to the offensiveness of swear words (Abbott and Jay, 1978; Jay, 1977, 1978; Sewell, 1984; Wilson, 1975). The ratings values of the male and female participants of the present study's questionnaire are in accordance with this finding. Tables 4.2 and 4.3 present their respective averages, standard deviations and modes for each of the words of the word list rating task. Table 4.2 All Males: Word List Offensiveness Ratings Ass Asshole Bastard Bitch Cunt Damn Average 2.5 3.6 3.4 4.0 5.1 2.1 Std. Deviation 2.1 2.4 2.4 2.9 2.9 1.9 Mode 3 8 5 6 6 1 Dick Fuck Hell Motherfucker Nigger Shit Average 3.6 4.4 2.1 5.0 8.0 2.8 Std. Deviation 2.6 3.2 2.4 3.2 2.6 2.5 Mode 6 8 1 9 10 1

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Table 4.3 All Females: Word List Offensiveness Ratings Ass Asshole Bastard Bitch Cunt Damn Average 4.0 5.4 5.3 6.3 8.3 2.5 Std. Deviation 2.8 3.0 3.1 2.7 2.1 2.5 Mode 1 3 9 8 10 1 Dicic Fuck Hell Motherfucker Nigger Shit Average 4.7 5.8 2.4 7.1 9.1 3.4 Std. Deviation 2.7 2.8 2.4 3.0 1.8 2.5 Mode 5 5 1 10 10 1 The females' average ratings are consistently higher than the males' averages. A one-way ANOVA test for significance resulted in a p-value of 0.0707 which, at a 95% confidence interval, does not support rejecting the null-hypothesis. The variation among the two groups as revealed by the standard deviations, however, is comparable, although specific to different words; only the ratings of the word 'motherfucker' revealed similarly great variation among both males and females. For the males, the greatest variation is revealed by the ratings for 'bitch', 'cunt' and 'fiick', while the greatest variation among the females' ratings is represented by the words 'asshole' and 'bastard'. Recall that many of the interview informants reported having interpreted the words of the word list rating task as if they were used in name-calling situations. With this in mind, it is not surprising that the most significant variations for each group are among words that are typically associated with the opposite sex. There was less agreement among the male participants as to the offensiveness of 'bitch' and 'cunt', as these words are typically used to refer to females. Similarly, there is little agreement among the female participants as to the offensiveness of 'asshole' and 'bastard', as these words are typically used to refer to males. According to one of the male informants:

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130 #58: (White male) I put '3' because that word ('cunt') has a lot of stigma. I personally don't find it offensive, but why would I? There was relatively little disagreement among the males as to the offensiveness of 'asshole' and 'bastard', while among the females, the standard deviation for 'cunt' was the second lowest of all the ratings. Finally, the comparison of averages and modes reveals intra-group variation, especially among the females, whose ratings included both extremes of the offensiveness scale: according to the 'mode' date for females, four of the listed words ('ass', 'damn', 'heir and 'shit') most often received ratings of ' 1 ', while the most often assigned rating for another three words ('cunt', 'motherfiicker' and 'nigger') was '10'. The 'mode' data for the males reveal considerably less variation. White, African-American and Hispanic males. Tables 4.4, 4.5 and 4.6 present the respective averages and standard deviations for each of the words of the word list rating task according to the totals for white, AfricanAmerican and Hispanic males. The grouping of the questionnaire participants according to gender and race significantly reduces the respective totals, thus rendering values for 'mode' insignificant. For this reason, no 'mode' data are presented in Tables 4.4 4.8. Table 4.4 White Males: Word List Offensiveness Ratings Ass Asshole Bastard Bitch Cunt Damn Average 2.7 3.4 3.8 3.9 6.2 2.0 Std. Deviation 2.3 2.4 2.7 3.0 2.8 2.3 Dick Fuck Hell Motherfucker Nigger Shit Average 3.1 4.4 2.0 5.0 7.8 2.7 Std. Deviation 2.4 3.2 2.3 3.0 2.3 2.4

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131 Table 4.5 African-American Males: Word List Offensiveness Ratings Ass Asshole Bastard Bitch Cunt Damn Average 3.0 4.9 4.2 5.7 5.2 2.5 Std. Deviation 2.2 2.6 2.0 2.7 2.6 1.8 Dick Fuck Hell Motherfucker Nigger Shit Average 5.0 5.7 2.0 6.0 9.0 4.2 Std. Deviation 3.0 3.7 1.9 3.4 2.8 2.8 Table 4.6 Hispanic Males: Word List Offensiveness Ratings Ass Asshole Bastard Bitch Cunt Damn Average 1.4 2.1 1.6 1.6 2.4 1.6 Std. Deviation 0.5 0.9 0.5 0.8 1.6 1.1 Dick Fuck Hell Motherfucker Nigger Shit Average 2.6 2.4 2.4 3.4 6.9 2.6 Std. Deviation 1.9 1.5 3.4 3.0 2.7 1.9 The ratings data reveal both inter-group variation regarding overall offensiveness ratings as w^ell as interand intra-group variation regarding word-specific ratings. However, while the individual ratings for the white and AfricanAmerican males exhibit similar degrees of variation, the Hispanic males are shown to be significantly more consistent in their low ratings of offensiveness. One-way ANOVA tests for significance (at a 95% confidence interval) resulted in a significant p-value of 0.01 in a comparison of the means for the white, African-American and Hispanic males, a non-significant p-value of 0.25 in a comparison of the white and AfricanAmerican males, a significant p-value of 0.05 in a comparison of the white and Hispanic males, and a significant p-value of <0.01 in a comparison of the AfricanAmerican and Hispanic males. The figures for standard deviation for this latter group reveal a low degree of intra-group variation, while

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132 the individual averages reveal this group's overall low level of perceived offensiveness regarding swear words. The averages for the African-American males, on the other hand, are higher for nearly every word in the list than the white males' averages. The exception to this general trend are the ratings for the words 'hell' and 'cunt'. The average rating for 'hell' was '2' among both white and African-American males. Although the same word received a higher average rating among the Hispanic males, the standard deviation reveals considerable variation among the individual ratings: six of the seven Hispanic male participants rated 'hell' as '1', i.e., 'not offensive', whereas the seventh member of this group rated the word as a '10' on the offensiveness scale. White males rated 'cunt' significantly more offensive than did the AfiicanAmerican and Hispanic males. The rating suggests that white males are more socially conditioned to the offensiveness of 'cunt', as opposed to AfiicanAmerican males, in whose culture and society the potency of the word 'bitch', as indicated by its average rating, is more relevant. The white and African-American females' ratings averages for the same words support this suggestion (see Tables 4.7 and 4.8). The offensiveness ratings averages are congruent with the behavioral differences that each of the male groups exhibited in their spontaneous speech. Recall that while the AfricanAmerican males engaged in swearing behavior almost exclusively among other African-American males of close social distance, the white males' swearing behavior reflected less restriction regarding co-participant social distance and the Hispanic males' (and females') swearing behavior reflected less restriction regarding co-participant race.

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133 Thus, the racial patterns of swearing behavior are shown to be a function of the perceived offensiveness of swearing. White and African-American females. The ratings data for the white and AfricanAmerican females reveal interand intra-group variation similar to that of their male counterparts. The respective averages and standard deviations for each of the words of the word list rating task according to the totals for white and African-American females are presented in Tables 4.7 and 4.8, respectively. With only two participants, the Hispanic females are under-represented and for this reason, their averages are excluded from the immediate comparison. Table 4.7 White Females: Word List Offensiveness Ratings Ass Asshole Bastard Bitch Cunt Damn Average 3.7 4.9 4.8 5.8 8.7 2.3 Std. Deviation 2.6 3.0 3.2 2.6 1.8 2.0 Dick Fuck Hell Motherfucker Nigger Shit Average 4.4 5.8 2.4 7.0 9.3 3.2 Std. Deviation 2.6 2.9 2.0 3.2 1.4 2.3 Table 4.8 African-American Females: Word List Offensiveness Ratings Ass Asshole Bastard Bitch Cunt Damn Average 3.6 5.7 6.4 7.4 7.1 2.6 Std. Deviation 3.1 3.0 3.0 3.0 2.7 3.3 Dick Fuck Hell Motherfiicker Nigger Shit Average 5.1 5.7 2.4 7.6 9.0 3.9 Std. Deviation 3.3 3.4 3.4 2.5 1.9 3.3

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While the African-American females' ratings averages were generally higher than those of the white females, the overall difference is less significant than that between the males of the same two races. A one-way ANOVA test for significance (at a 95% confidence interval) resulted in a non-significant p-value of 0.70. For only one word ('cunt') was the AfiicanAmerican males' average rating lower than that of the white males, compared to four words ('ass', 'cunt', 'fiick' and 'nigger') receiving lower average ratings from the AfricanAmerican females than fi-om the white females. Furthermore, the slightly higher average ratings of the AfricanAmerican females must be considered in terms of group size and individual ratings: one of the seven total AfricanAmerican female participants categorically rated each listed word a '10' on the offensiveness scale, significantly affecting the averages. Thus, in light of the small samples for gender and race, the data suggest that the white and AfricanAmerican females of this sample population share similar perceptions of the offensiveness of the listed swear words. Dialogue Ratings The second and final ratings task of the questionnaire required the participants to consider the offensiveness of particular swear words as used in social interaction. Actual dialogues recorded during the observation phase of the study were printed on the questionnaire, along with contextual details such as the setting and race, gender and social status of the co-participants. The participants were required to rate the swear

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135 words, which appeared in bold print, according to the same scale as the word-list ratings task, i.e., from '1' to '10', '1' being 'Not Offensive' and '10' being 'Very Offensive'. Table 4.9 shows the averages, standard deviations and modes for the swear words of the swearing utterance rating task according to the totals for all participants. In order to introduce variation in co-participant gender and race as well as to examine a denotative versus connotative use of swear words, only dialogues containing a limited sub-set of swear words were included in the ratings task. For this reason, a Table 4.9 All Participants: Dialogue Offensiveness Ratings Fucking Shit Motherfucking Shitty Average 2.5 2.7 3.7 2.2 Std. Deviation 2.1 2.1 2.7 1.9 Mode 1 1 1 1 Fucking Ass Shit Fuck Fucking Average 2.8 2.4 3.1 3.4 5.0 Std. Deviation 2.1 2.0 2.3 2.6 3.1 Mode 1 1 1 1 1 systematic comparison between the word-list ratings task and the contextualized ratings task is restricted to the words 'ass', 'shit' and 'fuck' and their inflections and/or derivatives, as listed in Table 4.9. In all but two instances, the overall average ratings of the contextualized swear words were lower than the overall word-list average ratings. The two exceptions include the average ratings for 'shit' as used in the fifth dialogue and 'flicking' as used in the sixth dialogue, which were equal to the average word-list ratings for 'shit' and 'flick' ('3.1' and '5.0', respectively), as shown in Table 4.1. Unlike the use of swear words in

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136 the first four dialogues, in the fifth and sixth dialogues 'shit' and 'fticking' were used denotatively, that is, 'shit' was used as a synonym for 'excrement' and 'fiicking' was used as a synonym for 'copulating'. The extracted swearing utterances are as follows; the fiill dialogues appear in the questionnaire in Appendix C: From dialogue #5: It smelled like shit. From dialogue #6: He's probably out fucking his girlfriend. According to the interview informants, these literal uses of the swear words are more offensive than the non-literal uses of the same words or inflections by the co-participants in the other dialogues: #61: (AfricanAmerican female) Like, she said, "It smelled like shit!" I mean, when you say that, I like have this disgusting look that comes across my face. #57: (AfricanAmerican male) It was just the way it was used. It was kind of like, yeah, he's fucking his girlfiiend. That's kind of like, you know, you could have just left it as, you know, he's out with his girlfiiend.. #54: (White female) Like 'fiick', I'm always saying, "How the fuck are you?" It's not that offensive to me. But this one, if he's 'out fucking his girlfriend', that's just more, I don't know why, it's just more offensive. The average ratings for 'fiick' and the inflected 'fucking', as used in the first, fourth and fifth dialogues were varied, as were the individual uses. The extracted swearing utterances are provided below; the overall average offensiveness ratings of the swear words appear in parentheses: From dialogue #1: Those are some fucking cool shoes. (2.6) From dialogue #4: He's just fucking around. (2.8) From dialogue #5: What the fuck?! (3.5)

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137 Recall from Chapter 3 (Table 3.3) that 'fucking' was the overall most frequently heard swear word during the observation of spontaneous speech among the speech community sample population. Accounting for 27% of the total swear word usage, 'flicking' was used 98% of the time as an adjectival or adverbial intensifier, as it is used in the fourth dialogue. Thus, not only is this inflection of 'fiick' widely used, its use is generally considered inoffensive, according to the low overall average rating. The use of 'fucking' in the fifth dialogue, as an inflected form of 'to fiick around', is a less common occurrence accounting for 2% of the total swear words recorded in spontaneous speech. The low frequency of occurrence and the somewhat higher average offensiveness rating suggest an intolerance of this particular usage, as expressed by an interview informant: #53: (White female) Here, again, it's not being used in an offending context, it's not insulting anyone and it's not being used in its actual meaning. It's just a substitution for another word, like 'fiddling'. And again, I don't know why anyone would want to use that word except to emphasize their point, have people listen, maybe laugh a little bit more because it's out of place... Finally, the use of 'fuck' in the fifth dialogue received a significantly higher average rating. The occurrence of this expression in the spontaneous speech was infi-equent, suggesting that, similar to ' to fiick around', it is an uncommon expression and, as such, does not enjoy a similar degree of social sanction as 'fiicking' does, when used as an intensifier. According to one interview informant, the use of 'what the fiick' in the context of the fifth dialogue represents a "harsh"-ness to swearing that is not characteristic of "casual conversation": #61 : (Afiican-American female) [. . .] and you say, "What the ftick?" like that, and it just seems, it's more hard core than the rest of these because those, it seems.

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138 they can go along, you know, smoothly. It's like a nice thing. Right here, it's like, offensive the odor and the language. Of the swear words included in the word-list ratings task, 'motherfucker' consistently rated as the most offensive, among both sexes and across all races. A similar derivative of 'fuck', 'motherfucking', was rated for offensiveness in the contextualized ratings task. Not only was the overall average offensiveness rating for 'motherfucking' lower than the overall average rating for 'motherfucker', the individual average ratings according to race and sex (see Tables 4.10-4.14) were also consistently lower. Moreover, unlike 'motherfucker' in the word-list ratings task, 'motherfticking' did not consistently receive the highest average offensiveness ratings of the swear words, but rather the averages for 'fucking' as used in the sixth dialogue were highest across both sexes and all races. Differences in ratings according to gender and race. The figures for standard deviation for the overall average offensiveness ratings of the contextualized swear words reveal more general agreement (less variation) among the questionnaire participants than do the corresponding figures for the word-list averages (see Table 4.9). The figures for mode remain consistent, with the lowest rating of ' 1 ' as the most frequent rating. Although the task of rating the offensiveness of swear words as used in a social context resulted in a greater degree of consistency among the ratings, variations according to gender and race are evident. Tables 4. 1 0, 4. 1 1 , 4. 1 2, 4. 1 3 and 4. 1 4 show the averages and standard deviations for the swear words of the swearing utterance rating task according to the totals for white males, African-American males, Hispanic males, white females and AfricanAmerican females, respectively.

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Table 4.10 White Males: Dialogue Offensiveness Ratings Fucking Shit Motherfticking Shitty Average 3.3 3.0 4.1 2.6 Std. Deviation 2.6 2.5 2.5 2.6 Fucking Ass Shit Fuck Fucking Average 3.1 2.7 3.5 4.3 4.7 Std. Deviation 2.2 2.2 2.9 3.0 3.1 Table 4.1 1 AfricanAmerican Males: Dialogue Offensiveness Rating Fucking Shit Motherfucking Shitty Average 1.5 2.2 2.6 1.7 Std. Deviation 0.7 1.5 0.9 1.3 Fucking Ass Shit Fuck Fucking Average 2.0 1.7 2.3 2.3 3.8 Std. Deviation 1.3 1.6 1.6 1.3 1.9 Table 4.12 Hispanic Males: Dialogue Offensiveness Ratings Fucking Shit Motherfucking Shitty Average 1.4 1.7 1.6 1.3 Std. Deviation 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 Fucking Ass Shit Fuck Fucking Average 2.1 1.7 1.4 1.6 2.4 Std. Deviation 0.9 1.0 0.8 0.8 1.1 Table 4.13 White Females: Dialogue Offensiveness Ratings Fucking Shit Motherfucking Shitty Average 2.8 3.2 4.6 2.7 Std. Deviation 2.0 2.2 3.1 1.8 Fucking Ass Shit Fuck Fucking Average 3.3 2.9 3.7 3.9 6.6 Std. Deviation 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.8 3.1

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140 Table 4.14 AfricanAmerican Females: Dialogue Offensiveness Ratings Fucking Shit Motherfucking Shitty Average 2.0 1.7 3.9 1.3 Std. Deviation 2.2 1.5 3.6 0.8 Fucking Ass Shit Fuck Fucking Average 2.0 1.1 2.9 3.3 5.7 Std. Deviation 2.6 0.4 1.8 2.9 3.3 As opposed to the average offensiveness ratings for the word-list swear words which revealed greater differences between the sexes, the average ratings for the contextualized swear words reveal differences between the races, especially among the males. One-way ANOVA tests for significance (at a 95% confidence interval) resulted in a significant pvalue of <0.0001 in a comparison of white, AfiicanAmerican and Hispanic males. The standard deviations of the white males' and females' average ratings indicate intra-group variation of a degree comparable to the intra-group variation evident in the word-list rating task. Their respective average ratings for the contextualized swear words are relatively consistent with the corresponding average ratings for 'ass', 'shit', 'fiick' and 'motherfiicker' of the word-list rating task. The majority of the average ratings for the contextualized swear words were lower than or equal to their corresponding word-list averages with the exception of 'shit' as used in Dialogues #2 and #5 and 'flicking' as used in Dialogue #6; these averages were higher than (or, in one case, equal to) the average ratings for 'shit' and 'fiick' in the word-list rating task. Similar trends are evident among the average offensiveness ratings of the Hispanic males. Like the average ratings of the word-list swear words, the ratings of the

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contextualized swear words reflect a low degree of intra-group variation and a continued consistency with regards to categorically low ratings. However, in several instances, the average ratings of contextualized swear words were higher than the corresponding wordlist averages. The average ratings for 'ass', 'shitty', both uses of 'shit' and the use of 'flicking' in the sixth dialogue were higher than the average word-list ratings for 'ass', 'shit' and 'fuck', respectively. The average offensiveness ratings of the AfricanAmerican males and females contrast significantly with those of the white males and females. A one-way ANOVA test of significance (at a 95% confidence interval) resulted in a significant p-value of 0.0404 in a comparison of white males and females (as a group) and AfricanAmerican males and females (as a group). Consistently lower than the averages of the white participants and higher (with the exception of 'flicking' as used in the fourth dialogue) than those of the Hispanic males, the African-American participants' average ratings of the contextualized swear words were the only ratings to be categorically lower than the average ratings of the word-list swear words. The figures for standard deviation furthermore reflect considerable agreement among the Afiican-American participants with regards to these low average ratings. Summary of the offensiveness ratings. The variations in ratings of the contextualized swear words suggest that the questionnaire participants based their evaluations more on how the words were used than on who used them. All of the coparticipants featured in the six dialogues were presented as students, i.e., members of the participants' speech community. The questionnaire participants were thus required only

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142 to evaluate the swearing behavior of their peers. While there are no indications that the setting, topic or gender and race of the co-participants significantly affected the perceived offensiveness of the contextualized swear words, the ratings suggest that the denotative or literal use of swear words is most offensive to the members of the speech community, as represented by the questionnaire participants. Although most salient among the AfricanAmerican males and females, the data for each group of participants according to race and gender suggest that context of utterance significantly affects the perceived offensiveness of swear words. The traditional wordlist method can neither account for the variations of swear word usage, such as literal or metaphorical usage, nor for the effects of variations in context, such as setting, topic and co-participants. The average ratings of the contextualized swear words illustrate that offensiveness is relative to use and, according to the spontaneous speech data, the usage that traditional ratings tasks either explicitly state or implicitly suggest, i.e. aggressive or abusive, is not the usage that is most characteristic of the behavior of this study's spontaneous speech sample population. Questions on Self and Other Swearing Behavior Part III of the questionnaire required the participants to answer multiple choice or short-answer questions regarding their own and others' swearing behavior. The questions were designed to both determine the extent of congruity between actual and reported behavior as well as examine the role of swearing in the socialization process.

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143 The questions are presented and discussed in Chapter 2 and appear (numbered) in the sample questionnaire in Appendix C. In order to allow for cross-reference and a systematic comparison, the questions and participants' answers are presented in tables according to question type and participant race and gender. General usage. Eighteen of the total twenty-five questions of Part III of the questionnaire pertained to self swearing behavior. Questions #1, #2, #6, #1 1, #17 and #19 referred to the participants' frequency of swear word usage, whether they had any personal rules for their swearing behavior, if they ever try not to swear, if they at times swear more frequently or less frequently, and if they have ever 'slipped', that is, used swear words unintentionally or inappropriately. The answers to these questions as provided by the white and AfricanAmerican males are presented in Tables 4.15 and 4.16, respectively. The answers provided by both the Hispanic males and females are presented in Table 4.17; the answers of the two Hispanic female participants are indicated in parentheses. Finally, tables 4.18 and 4.19 represent the answers provided by the white and African-American females, respectively. The data presented in the tables above reveal swearing to be a speech behavior that almost all of the participants reported engaging in with considerable frequency; less than 10% of the total participants reported "never" or "rarely" swearing. Distinguishing themselves from the majority are the African-American males, who most frequently reported swearing "often". Recall from Chapter 3 that the disproportionate percentage of AfricanAmerican contributors to the spontaneous speech data suggested the possibility of a greater tendency towards swearing behavior among the males and females of this

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144 racial group. The information elicited from questionnaire support this possibility; however, the spontaneous speech data reveal that the term "often" requires qualification, due to the fact that the African-American males revealed the most socially rule-regulated swearing behavior. Forty of the total sixty-one participants (66%), comprised mainly of white males and females and AfricanAmerican males, reported having "personal rules" for their swearing behavior. Most often, the rules concerned when not to swear, as the majority of the participants across gender and race reported making greater efforts to swear less often than more often. One interview informant explained the types of situation in which his swearing frequency would increase: #58: (White male) Sometimes [. . .] when I'm really, really trying to emphasize something and if I'm talking to somebody who might not be able to understand it any other way besides inserting the word 'fiicking' in every other syllable [...]. That's a lot of times, or when I'm angry and I'm not talking just run of the mill [. . .], but I mean when I'm at the point of blowing my top, stressed-out angry [...]. The participants varied in their reports of success in managing their swearing, with 58% of them indicating that they 'slip' either "sometimes" or "often". Among this majority are 71% of those who reported not having any personal rules for swearing, suggesting the existence of tacit rules, allowing these participants to evaluate the appropriateness of swearing in relation to the social context. The participants who explained their personal rules for swearing wrote about selfimposed restrictions, with several participants indicating general tendencies to monitor their swearing:

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Table 4.15 White Males: Self Swearing Behavior 1 # 1 : Usage #6: Avoidance #19: Slip Never 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 Rarely 6% 1 19% 3 31% 5 Sometimes 50% 8 50% 8 63% 10 Often 44% 7 31% 5 6% 1 Blank 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 16 100% 16 100% 16 #2: Personal rules #11: More frequently #17: Less frequently No 31% 5 63% 10 0% 0 Yes 69% 11 37% 6 100% 16 Blank 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 16 100% 16 100% 16 Table 4.16 AfricanAmerican Males: Self Swearing Behavior 1 #1: Usage #6: Avoidance #19: Slip Never 0% 0 20% 2 10% 1 Rarely 10% 1 20% 2 50% 5 Sometimes 20% 2 60% 6 30% 3 Often 70% 7 0% 0 10% 1 Blank 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 10 100% 10 100% 10 #2: Personal rules #11: More frequently #17: Less frequently No 40% 4 80% 8 30% 3 Yes 60% 6 20% 2 60% 6 Blank 0% 0 0% 0 10% 1 Total 100% 10 100% 10 100% 10

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Table. 4.17 Hispanic Males and Females: Self Swearing Behavior 1 #1 : Usage #6: Avoidance #19: Slip Never 0% 0 11% 1 0% 0 Rarely 11% (1) 33% 2(1) 22% 1(1) Sometimes 33% 2(1) 44% 3(1) 56% 4(1) Often 56% 5 11% 1 22% 2 Blank 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 9 100% 9 100% 9 #2: Personal rules #11: More frequently #17: Less frequently No 56% 3(2) 78% 5(2) 33% 2(1) Yes 44% 4 22% 2 67% 5(1) Blank 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 9 100% 9 100% 9 Table 4.18 White Females: Self Swearing Behavior 1 # 1 : Usage #6: Avoidance #19: Slip Never 6% 1 0% 0 6% 1 Rarely 6% 1 11% 2 38% 7 Sometimes 56% 10 67% 12 50% 9 Often 33% 6 17% 3 6% 1 Blank 0% 0 6% 1 0% 0 Total 100% 18 100% 18 100% 18 #2: Personal rules #11: More frequently #17: Less frequently No 11% 2 72% 13 6% 1 Yes 83% 15 22% 4 89% 16 Blank 6% 2 6% 1 6% 1 Total 100% 18 100% 18 100% 18

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Table 4.19 AfricanAmerican Females: Self Swearing Behavior 1 # 1 : Usage #6: Avoidance #19: Slip Never 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 Rarely 28% 2 0% 0 57% 4 Sometimes 29% 2 86% 6 43% 3 Often 43% 3 14% 1 0% 0 Blank 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 7 100% 7 100% 7 #2: Personal rules #11: More frequently #17: Less frequently No 57% 4 86% 6 29% 2 Yes 43% 3 14% 1 71% 5 Blank 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 7 100% 7 100% 7 #25: (AfricanAmerican male) None on Sunday. #26: (African-American female) I never swear in anger, only while joking around. #3 1 : (White female) I just try not to as much as possible. #38: (White female) Only to make an important point. #48: (White female) I will never use the word 'Goddamn'. Over half (55%) of the participants specifically expressed refraining from swearing around "adults", "elders", "parents" or "the elderly". According to Johnson and Fine (1985), such rules are what establish swearing as an isogloss for the undergraduate student speech community, "a boundary marker between their speech commimity and some 'other' composed of older people" (p. 21). The participants' answers to question #7, which asked if there were a type of person who they thought should not use swear words, confirm the isogloss status of swearing, marking boundaries according to interlocutor variables such as age, gender, religious affiliation and social status:

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148 #4: (White female) Punk kids around 14 who swear to act cool are the most annoying swearers. #39: (White male) Old people and chicks. #58: (White male) Religious people. I hate hypocrites. #49: (White female) Religious figures. More broadly, authoritative figures with a lot of influence. Effects of sociolinguistic variables. For Question #1 8 the participants were asked to choose which of four different sociolinguistic variables were most likely to affect their swearing behavior: the co-participants, the setting of the interaction, the topic or their mood. For Question #12, the participants were required to indicate which of four moods were most conducive to their usage of swear words: being angry, happy, stressed, or relaxed. Questions #8 and #22 required the participants to indicate with which type of people they were most and least likely, respectively, to use swear words. For these two questions, the participants were able to choose from the following answers, or provide their own: family, friends, people they dislike or strangers. Tables 4.20, 4.21, 4.22, 4.23 and 4.24 represent the answers to these questions as provided by the white males, African-American males, Hispanic males and females, white females and AfricanAmerican females, respectively. The data presented in these tables show a consistency among the questionnaire participants that both conflicts with and supports the spontaneous speech data. Recall from Chapter 3 that the white male and the Hispanic male and female contributors of spontaneous swearing utterances revealed a tendency to engage in annoyance swearing, while the white females revealed a stable balance between annoyance and social

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149 swearing (Ross, 1969). While the data for question #12 confirm the tendencies of these groups, the questionnaire answers provided by the African-American participants are incongruous with their spontaneous speech data. Both the AfricanAmerican males and females reported most often using swear words when angry, while their spontaneous speech data reveal their swearing behavior to be characteristic of social swearing, with infrequent occurrences of angry or distressed swearing. A similar discrepancy between actual and believed behavior was also evident in the swear word ratings averages of the AfricanAmerican males and females, who rated the contextualized swear words considerably lower than those of the word-list. The African-Americans' questionnaire data suggest that these participants' general concept of swearing reflects the traditional perspective of swearing as offensive and abusive behavior, but does not match the behavior of the AfricanAmericans recorded during the observation of spontaneous speech. The spontaneous speech data also revealed that, across race and gender of the members of the sample population, swearing consistently occurred among co-participants of close social distance, in particular among friends. Furthermore, while the sex and race of the co-participants greatly influenced the speaker's swearing behavior, the sociolinguistic variables of setting, topic and tone (reflecting speaker mood) were not shown to have similariy notable effects. The information provided by the questionnaire participants confirms swearing as a variable speech behavior characteristic of in-group interaction, where group membership is defined primarily by close social distance.

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Table. 4.20 White Males: Self Swearing Behavior 2 #18: Swearing most affected by: #12: Most likely to swear w len: Interlocutor(s) 75% 12 Angry 50% 8 All 13% 2 Stressed 13% 2 Setting 6% 1 Angry/stressed 13% 2 Mood 6% 1 Relaxed 13% 2 Blank 0% 0 Happy 6% 1 All 6% 1 Blank 0% 0 Total 100% 16 Total 100% 16 #8: Most likely to swear with: #22: Least likely to swear with: Friends 94% 15 Family 50% 8 All 6% 1 Strangers 32% 5 Blank 0% 0 People I dislike 6% 1 Family/Strangers 6% 1 Blank 6% 1 Total 100% 16 Total 100% 16 Table 4.21 African-American Males: Self Swearing Behavior 2 #18: Swearing most affected by: #12: Most likely to swear when: Interlocutor(s) 60% 6 Angry 50% 5 Setting 20% 2 All 30% 3 Interlocutor(s)/Mood 10% 1 Stressed 10% 1 All 10% 1 Excited 10% 1 Blank 0% 0 Blank 0% 0 Total 100% 10 Total 100% 10 #8: Most likely to swear with: #22: Least likely to swear with: Friends 70% 7 Family 80% 8 People I dislike 20% 2 People I dislike 10% 1 Friends/Dislikes 10% 1 Blank 10% 1 Blank 0% 0 Total 100% 10 Total 100% 10

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Table 4.22 Hispanic Males and Females: Self Swearing Behavior 2 #18: Swearing most affected by: #12: Most likely to swear when: Inter]ocutor(s) 44% 3(1) All 44% 4 Setting 22% 1 (1) Stressed 22% 2 Topic 11% 1 Angry 11% (1) Mood 11% 1 Happy/Angry 11% (1) Ail 11% 1 Hap/Ang/Stressed 11% 1 Blank 0% 0 Blank 0% 0 Total 100% 9 Total 100% 9 #8: Most likely to swear with: #22: Least likely to swear with: Friends 78% 5(2) Family 56% 4(1) Friends/Dislikes 11% 1 Family/Strangers 22% 2 Strangers 11% 1 Strangers 22% 1(1) Blank 0% 0 Blank 0% 0 Total 100% 9 Total 100% 9 Table 4.23 White Females: Self Swearing Behavior 2 #18: Swearing most affected by: #12: Most likely to swear when: Interlocutor(s) 44% 8 Angry 28% 5 Setting 11% 2 Stressed 22% 4 Setting/Interlocutor(s) 11% 2 Angry/Stressed 22% 4 Mood 11% 2 Relaxed 6% 1 Mood/Interlocutor(s) 6% 1 Hap/Ang/Stressed 6% 1 Topic 6% 1 All 6% 1 All 6% 1 Blank 11% 2 Blank 6% 1 Total 100% 18 Total 100% 18 #8: Most likely to swear with: #22: Least likely to swear with: Friends 72% 13 Family 50% 9 Family/Friends 17% 3 Strangers 39% 7 Strangers 6% 1 Family/Strangers 6% 1 Blank 6% 1 Blank 6% 1 Total 100% 18 Total 100% 18

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Table 4.24 AfricanAmerican Females: Self Swearing Behavior 2 152 #18: Swearing most affected by: #12: Most likely to swear when: Interlocutor(s) 57% 4 Angry 43% 3 Topic 14% 1 Angry/Stressed 14% 1 Mood 14% 1 Happy 14% 1 All 14% 1 Relaxed 14% 1 Blank 0% 0 All 14% 1 Blank 0% 0 Total 100% 7 Total 100% 7 #8: Most likely to swear with: #22: Least likely to swear with: Friends 71% 5 Family 86% 6 Friends/Dislikes 29% 2 Friends 14% 1 Blank 0% 0 Blank 0% 0 Total 100% 7 Total 100% 7 The questionnaire participants consistently reported, on the other hand, being less likely to swear with family members than with strangers who, by definition, represent significantly greater social distance. According to the interview informants, the term 'family' was consistently interpreted as parents or grandparents. Recall that the majority of the participants' personal rules for swearing concerned not using swear words in interaction with "parents", "adults", "elders" or "the elderly". Johnson and Fine (1985) suggested that "college students simply need to feel that they are more daring, less conventional, and less bound by social rules for proper language use than are adults" (p.21), but the interview informants indicate an awareness of parents' and elders' likewise use of swear words. Thus, while the use of swear words may indicate solidarity, close social distance and group membership, refraining fi-om swearing as a form of negative politeness indicates a perceived lack of solidarity vis-a-vis one's interlocutors. According to the interview informants:

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153 #57: (African-American male) There is a difference between people who you surround yourself with as opposed to someone you're meeting for the first time, so you want to show that person what society calls respect. One way of demonstrating that is by not swearing. #61 : (African-American female) I try not to curse around my aunt, but one time I did because I was so upset, and she told me that she had never [. . .] heard me curse before [. . .] and that she was so ashamed of me. . . [S]he cursed, too, but she's older than me. #54: (White female) Yes, you couldn't swear [growing up]. Now, it doesn't matter. [...] I say 'shit' or 'damn' or 'hell' in front of my parents... The last two statements reveal swearing to be symbolic of the informants' transitions to adulthood, no longer subject to rules imposed upon their language use. Their expressions of autonomy, however, were met with contrasting success, confirming the social complexities of swearing and its implications for interlocutor social status. Of the nine interview informants who reported using swear words 'sometimes' to 'often', over half (5) reported few or no inhibitions towards using swear words in interaction with their parents, speaking to them as they would their friends. The other four reported refraining from swearing with parents as a sign of respect, implying less of a tendency to relate to them as peers. The data provided by the interview informants suggest racial differences in familial relationships as reflected by swearing behavior. Of the five informants who reported using swear words in interaction with their parents, four are white, while each of the four informants who reported refraining from swearing with parents is AfricanAmerican, reflecting a racial pattern which is also evident among the other questionnaire participants. Usage among and by family and friends. Questions #13 and #14 of the questionnaire required the participants to indicate the frequency with which they use

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154 swear words in interaction with their father and mother, respectively, while for questions #4 and #5, the participants were asked to indicate the frequency of their father's and mother's use of swear words, respectively, in interaction with the participants. For questions #10 and #22, the participants indicated the frequency of their own and their friends' use of swear words, respectively, in mutual interaction. The answers to these questions as provided by the white males, African-African males, Hispanic males and females, white females and African-American females are presented in Tables 4.25, 4.26, 4.27, 4.28 and 4.29, respectively. The data tables show that the white male participants most often reported using swear words during interaction with their parents, followed by white females. The white males reveal a slightly greater tendency to swear with their fathers, while white females tend to swear slightly more often with their mothers, suggesting gender solidarity. The majority of the participants indicated that their fathers and mothers 'rarely' to 'never' use swear words in their presence, with the swear word usage of the participants' mothers consistently reported as less frequent than their fathers'. Half of the white males, on the other hand, reported the frequency of their fathers' use of swear words to be 'sometimes' to 'often', representing the only case of mutual swearing behavior among the participants and their parents. The data suggest a peer relationship among white males and their fathers and, to a lesser extent, among the white females and their mothers, compared to hierarchical relationships among the AfricanAmerican and Hispanic participants and their parents.

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Table 4.25 White Males: Self and Others' Swearing Behavior 1 #13: #14: #10: With father With mother With friends Never 31% 5 44% 7 0% 0 Rarely 25% 4 31% 5 6% 1 Sometimes 25% 4 13% 2 44% 7 Often 19% 3 6% 1 50% 8 Blank 0% 0 6% 1 0% 0 Total 100% 16 100% 16 100% 16 #4: #5: #24: Father's usage Mother's usage Friends' usage Never 19% 3 31% 5 0% 0 Rarely 31% 5 44% 7 0% 0 Sometimes 25% 4 19% 3 63% 10 Often 25% 4 0% 0 37% 6 Blank 0% 0 6% 1 0% 0 Total 100% 16 100% 16 100% 16 Table 4.26 African-American Males: Self and Others' Swearing Behavior 1 #1 j: #14: #10: With father With mother With finends Never 70% 7 90% 9 0% 0 Rarely 20% 2 10% 1 10% 1 Sometimes 10% 1 0% 0 10% 1 Often 0% 0 0% 0 80% 8 Blank 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 10 100% 10 100% 10 #4: #5: #24: Father's usage Mother's usage Friends' usage Never 40% 4 50% 5 0% 0 Rarely 20% 2 40% 4 0% 0 Sometimes 20% 2 10% 1 40% 4 Often 20% 2 0% 0 60% 6 Blank 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 10 100% 10 100% 10

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Table 4.27 Hispanic Males and Females: Self and Others' Swearing Behavior 1 #13: #14: #10: With father With mother With friends Never 33% 1(2) 44% 2(2) 0% 0 Rarely 33% 3 56% 5 0% 0 Sometimes 22% 2 0% 0 22% (2) Often 0% 0 0% 0 67% 6 Blank 11% 1 0% 0 11% 1 Total 100% 9 100% 9 100% 9 #4: #5: #24: Father' s usage Mother s usage Friends ' usage Never 44% 2(2) 44% 2(2) 0% 0 Rarely 22% 2 56% 5 0% 0 Sometimes 22% 2 0% 0 44% 2(2) Often 0% 0 0% 0 56% 5 Blank 11% 1 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 9 100% 9 100% 9 Table 4.28 White Females: Self and Others' Swearing Behavior 1 #13: #14: #10: With father With mother With fiiends Never 44% 8 39% 7 6% 1 Rarely 22% 4 28% 5 11% 2 Sometimes 28% 5 33% 6 50% 9 Often 0% 0 0% 0 33% 6 Blank 6% 1 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 18 100% 18 100% 18 #4: #5: #24: Father's usage Mother's usage Friends' usage Never 22% 4 22% 4 0% 0 Rarely 44% 8 56% 10 17% 3 Sometimes 22% 4 22% 4 56% 10 Often 6% 1 0% 0 28% 5 Blank 6% 1 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 18 100% 18 100% 18

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157 Table 4.29 AfricanAmerican Females: Self and Others' Swearing Behavior 1 #13: #14: #10: With father With mother With friends Never 72% 5 86% 6 0% 0 Rarely 0% 0 0% 0 14% 1 Sometimes 14% 1 14% 1 72% 5 Often 0% 0 0% 0 14% 1 Blank 14% 1 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 7 100% 7 100% 7 #4: #5: #24: Father's usage Mother's usage Friends' usage Never 29% 2 72% 5 0% 0 Rarely 29% 2 14% 1 29% 2 Sometimes 29% 2 14% 1 57% 4 Often 0% 0 0% 0 14% 1 Blank 13% 1 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 7 100% 7 100% 7 The data for questions #10 and #24 confirm swearing as an in-group speech behavior, but reveal differences between the sexes. While the majority of the male participants reported 'often' using swear words in interaction with friends, the majority of the females reported only 'sometimes' swearing during interaction with friends. In light of the spontaneous speech data, which across race and gender revealed swearing as a speech behavior occurring primarily among friends, it is possible that this question was misinterpreted, the participants' answers reflecting how often they swear, as opposed to indicating how often their swearing occurs among friends. Effects of gender on swearing behavior. Question #20 required the participants to indicate whether interlocutors of the opposite sex would effect an increase, decrease or no change in the frequency of their use of swear words. For question #23, the participants were asked to indicate if they believe men swear more frequently than, less

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158 frequently than or equally as frequently as women do. 69% of the white male participants, 80% of the AfricanAmerican male participants and 29% of the Hispanic male participants reported decreasing the frequency with which they use swear words in interaction with females, percentage levels which are congruent with the spontaneous speech data. The male interview informants view their behavior as accommodation, convergence motivated by their perception of females as users of more standard language features and, as such, less appreciative of swearing. Their comments suggest, however, that their intention is not to accommodate, but rather to impose a standard upon females: #52: (White male) [W]hen a lady swears, it's not accepted, but if a man swears, it's just part of being human. But it's not ladylike to swear. #55: (African-American male) Most of the time I don't really think the word is appropriate for a female to use just because they are, van, feminine. I think that being explicit and profane is a masculine trait, and so when I see females who are using curse words, I think that they're overstepping their boundaries and I think that they're not a responsible woman. I lose respect for them. #57: (African-American male) Straight up front, if I run into a female for the first time and she's just [. . .] cursing, sounding like how I talk on a daily, then it's almost like, hmmm. You know, because first of all, I'm going to give you that respect and not curse around you simply because I don't know who you are, that's one. And two, is it a female, ladylike thing to do? #56: (AfricanAmerican male) Every now and then I might meet like a really foul mouth or something. Ilaugh. I go, "Man, she got a dirty mouth!". (Interviewer: Would you say the same thing about a guy?) Yeah. Actually... no. It's... not always... Not really. For these male informants, swearing is an isogloss marking a boundary between the sexes; males swear, whereas females do not or, more importantly, should not. For this reason, males perceive their convergence, that is, their less frequent swearing during interaction with females, as accommodation. Their comments suggest, however, that

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159 their behavior is less accommodating than manipulative. Their more frequent usage of swear words in mixed-sex interaction than in opposite-sex interaction reflects an affirmation of swearing as a traditionally masculine behavior and their desire to maintain the isogloss status of swearing. According to the spontaneous speech data for mixed-sex and opposite-sex interaction, females converge to the standard attributed to and imposed upon them by males by swearing less frequently than they do in same-sex interaction. In contrast, the majority of the female questionnaire participants reported that male interlocutors would effect no change in their swearing behavior. The evident disparity between actual and perceived behavior suggests that females are indeed influenced by male behavior and attitude. Johnson and Fine (1985) suggested that females are participating in "a form of linguistic liberation", frequently using swear words, "but primarily in all-female groups where they feel more comfortable and where males can not hear them" (p. 21). In this way, the isogloss status of swearing is compromised. While female same-sex swearing behavior is comparable to that of males, their convergence confirms males' perceptions and expectations. The result is misperceptions among both sexes regarding female swearing behavior. While the female questionnaire participants reported a greater frequency of swear word usage than the spontaneous speech data suggest is realistic, the male participants underestimated the frequency of females' swear words usage (cf Johnson and Fine's (1985) self-report data). These misperceptions are further supported by participants' answers to question #23, concerning whether the participants believe men swear more than women. 63% of the white males, 80% of the African-American

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160 males and 71% of the Hispanic males stated their belief that males indeed swear more often than females. Over half of the total female participants (56%)', on the other hand, believe the frequency of male and female swear word usage to be equal. Racial differences are also evident in the participants' attitudes and perceptions of male and female swearing, particularly between the white and African-American males. Eight out of the ten African-American male questionnaire participants reported swearing less frequently with female interlocutors; the spontaneous speech data support this statement, as 72% of the African-American males' swearing utterances occurred in samesex interaction. Furthermore, each of the three African-American male interview informants expressed similar opinions as to the inappropriateness of swear word usage by females. White males, on the other hand, reported being comparably less inclined to decrease their swearing frequency with female interlocutors, and more inclined to perceive the use of swear words by females as equally frequent to that of males. The questioimaire and interview data support the implications of the spontaneous speech data, namely, that white male swearing behavior is considerably less rule-governed than that of African-American males: #60: (White male) I think girls are completely allowed to swear. I think that if I did [swear less when talking to females], it's a resuh of me not wanting to sound ignorant or to appear vile or vulgar or whatever. #58: (White male) You've come a long way, baby. [Females using swear words] doesn't make any difference to me [. . . ] ' This percentage is comprised of 61% of the white females, 43% of the AfricanAmerican females and one (50%) of the Hispanic females.

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161 In-class swearing behavior. The domain of education entails interaction among members of the same speech community, but of different social status, such as students and instructors (lecturers, professors, etc.). The spontaneous speech and questionnaire data have thus far shown that within the University of Florida undergraduate student speech community, swearing is characteristic of informal interaction between interlocutors of close social distance, similar age, and of the same gender and race. Due to the inherent formality of a classroom environment as well as the typical instructor profile as older, of a higher social status and possibly of a different race and/or gender than their undergraduate students, it can be predicted that swearing would not be a feature of students' speech behavior during instructor-student classroom interaction. Several questions included in the questionnaire were intended to examine swearing as a cross-group phenomenon within the education domain. Question #9 asked the participants to indicate the frequency with which they use swear words during class discussions. For question #3, the participants were asked to report whether any of their imiversity instructors had ever used swear words during class discussion, while question #21 required the participants to comment on whether or not the use of swear words by university instructors is acceptable. The answers to these questions as provided by the white males, African-American males, Hispanic males and females, white females and African-American females are provided in Tables 4.30, 4.31, 4.32, 4.33 and 4.34, respectively.

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162 Table 4.30 White Males: Self and Others' Swearing Behavior 2 #3: #21: #9: Instructors have Acceptable for Participant's inused swear instructors to swear class swearing: words in class: words in class: Never 63% 10 No 6% 1 No 12% 2 Rarely 12% 2 Yes 94% 15 Yes 38% 6 Sometimes 25% 4 Blank 0% 0 Depends 50% 8 Often 0% 0 Blank 0% 0 Blank 0% 0 Total 100% 16 Total 100% 16 Total 100% 16 Table 4.31 AfricanAmerican Males: Self and Others' Swearing Behavior 2 #3: #21: #9: Instructors have Acceptable for Participant's inused swear instructors to swear class swearing: words in class: words in class: Never 50% 5 No 10% 1 No 20% 2 Rarely 30% 3 Yes 90% 9 Yes 40% 4 Sometimes 10% 1 Blank 0% 0 Depends 40% 4 Often 10% 1 Blank 0% 0 Blank 0% 0 Total 100% 10 Total 100% 10 Total 100% 10 Table 4.32 Hispanic Males and Females: Self and Others' Swearing Behavior 2 #3: #21: #9: Instructors have Acceptable for Participant's inused swear instructors to swear class swearing: words in class: words in class: Never 56% 3(2) No 67% 5(1) No 44% 2(2) Rarely 22% 2 Yes 33% 2(1) Yes 56% 5 Sometimes 22% 2 Blank 0% 0 Depends 0% 0 Often 0% 0 Blank 0% 0 Blank 0% 0 Total 100% 9 Total 100% 9 Total 100% 9

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163 Table 4.33 White Females: Self and Others' Swearing Behavior 2 #3: #21: #9: Instructors have Acceptable for Participant's inused swear instructors to swear class swearing: words in class: words in class: Never 66% 12 No 11% 2 No 22% 4 Rarely 22% 4 Yes 89% 16 Yes 11% 2 Sometimes 6% 1 Blank 0% 0 Depends 67% 12 Often 0% 0 Blank 0% 0 Blank 6% 1 Total 100% 18 Total 100% 18 Total 100% 18 Table 4.34 African-American Females: Self and Others' Swearing Behavior 2 #3: #21: #9: Instructors have Acceptable for Participant's inused swear instructors to swear class swearing: words in class: words in class: Never 63% 5 No 43% 3 No 43% 3 Rarely 12% 1 Yes 57% 4 Yes 14% 1 Sometimes 25% 1 Blank 0% 0 Depends 43% 3 Often 0% 0 Blank 0% 0 Blank 0% 0 Total 100% 7 Total 100% 7 Total 100% 7 The data for question #9 reveal considerable similarity among the participants' inclass swearing behavior, or rather, lack thereof. 82% of the participants (total) reported 'never' or 'rarely' using swear words during class discussion. The data for question #3 show that their instructors, on the other hand, do use or have used swear words during inclass interaction, as 78% of all the participants reported the in-class use of swear words by one or more professors. The questionnaire and spontaneous speech data suggest that while the occurrence of in-class swearing is infrequent, it is unilateral. According to the spontaneous speech data, only 2.5% of the 394 total spontaneous swearing utterances

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164 were recorded during classroom interaction; 70% of these utterances were made by instructors. The higher social status of instructors contributes to the inherent formality of the classroom environment. The incorporation of swearing into classroom discourse may reflect an attempt on the part of instructors to create an informal atmosphere and establish solidarity with their students. According to the interview informants, the success rate of such attempts varies: #60: (White male) [Instructors using swear words in class] doesn't bother me. I know professors who have, yeah. I don't think it has [bothered anyone], based on the people sitting next to me. I never heard anyone complain or say that it was really offensive or anything like that. Most people would laugh. It was kind of an ice-breaker just to have someone who wasn't afraid to say, you know [...], any type of thing that would break the ice between the studentprofessor relationship. #61 : (AfricanAmerican female) You hear a professor [swearing] and you're like, "What?!" And so you're saying, "Oh. They're kind of cool. I can talk to this person," or whatever. #55: (African-American male) The professor told a joke, but I think the joke was more for himself than for the students because he laughed, but everyone else felt a little offended. I think that everyone viewed the professor as a hard nose, you know, [. . .] that he didn't care what his students thought of him. He was going to be his own man and he felt free enough to stand in front of a classroom and use such a word. #56: (African-American male) Even if [swearing] was part of [the professor's] everyday language, like I was taught that the classroom, it just wasn't for that. I mean, you (the student) go to class, you respect the teacher, you keep quiet, you ask your questions, do what you have to deal with and you leave. [Swear words] are for everyday use, and when you're in class, you're in class. I mean, here you are a university employee, you don't really have any business [swearing]. The different opinions expressed in the informants' comments reflect the interand intra-group variation among the participants concerning the appropriateness of instructors' in-class use of swear words. While the male participants more often reported

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165 categorical acceptance of instructors' in-class swearing, the African-American and Hispanic females most frequently reported disapproval. The majority of the white female participants and 45% of the total participants reported conditional acceptance depending on "context" or "situation", "topic" of discussion, "the "word/s" used and even "the degree status" of the instructor. 40% of the participants who reported conditional acceptance were African-American males. According to two of the interview informants from this group, the race of instructors may also affect the appropriateness of their inclass swearing,: #55: (African-American male) I think it boils down to the prejudice of the receiver. Me, a curse word coming from a white male may be more offensive to me because I'm a black male, than from a white male to a white male. Similar to parents and elders, instructors represent authority figures within the participants' speech community. The participants' reported tendency to refrain from swearing in interaction with parents, elders and instructors reflects upward convergence in recognition of their interlocutors' higher social status. The use of swear words by these socially superior interlocutors, therefore, reflects downward convergence. According to several of the interview informants, downward convergence is tantamount to sanctioned swearing: #57: (African-American male) Everybody was like, "Well, if [the professor cursed], now we can curse" type of thing. "Now we can be as easy as he just made the class." It kind of sets the standard and how everything moves in terms of language, knowing the bounds, you know. Nevertheless, while only 30% of the participants reported categorical disapproval of instructors' in-class swearing, the overall reluctance among the participants to use swear 'i

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words themselves during class time reflects boundaries in terms of a lack of perceived solidarity with their instructors and signals them as out-group members. Offensiveness of self and others' swearing behavior. The spontaneous speech data revealed the type of swearing most often exhibited by the males and females of the sample population to be comprised of social or annoyance swearing that only rarely reflected injurious intent. Nevertheless, speaker intent does not necessarily equate the interpretation of the addressee(s). Questions #15, #16 and #25 of the questionnaire required the participants to indicate the frequency with which they use swear words in order to offend, as well as how often they are offended by strangers' and fiiends' use of swear words. Tables 4.35, 4.36, 4.37, 4.38 and 4.39 show the answers to these questions as provided by the white males, AfHcan-American males, Hispanic males and females, white females and AfricanAmerican females, respectively. While the data presented in the tables reveal white females to be least inclined and Hispanic males to be most inclined to use swear words for the purpose of offending others, the answers to question #15 reflect overall similarity across race and gender regarding. Of particular importance is the fact that the majority of the participants reported only 'rarely' to 'sometimes' using swear words to offend others, representing a challenge to the traditional perspective of swearing as categorically offensive and abusive behavior. Further supporting this challenge are the data for questions #16 and #25, which show that the participants consistently reported being more frequently offended by strangers' use of swear words than by their friends' swear word usage. 72% of the total participants reported 'never' to 'rarely' being offended by their friends' swear word

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Table 4.35 White Males: Self and Others' Swearing Behavior 3 #15: Use swear #16: Offended by #25: Offended by words to offend: strangers' use of friends' use of swear words: swear words: Never 13% 2 25% 4 56% 9 Rarely 56% 9 44% 7 25% 4 Sometimes 31% 5 19% 3 6% 1 Often 0% 0 12% 2 13% 2 Blank 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 16 100% 16 100% 16 Table 4.36 African-American Males: Self and Others' Swearing Behavior 3 #15: Use swear #16: Offended by #25: Offended by words to offend: strangers' use of friends' use of swear words: swear words: Never 10% 1 30% 3 80% 8 Rarely 40% 4 60% 6 0% 0 Sometimes 50% 5 10% 1 2% 2 Often 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 Blank 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 10 100% 10 100% 10 Table 4.37 Hispanic Males and Females: Self and Others' Swearing Behavior 3 #15: Use swear #16: Offended by #25: Offended by words to offend: strangers' use of friends' use of swear words: swear words: Never 0% 0 22% 2 45% 3(1) Rarely 22% 1(1) 33% 3 33% 2(1) Sometimes 67% 5(1) 45% 2(2) 11% 1 Often 11% 1 0% 0 11% 1 Blank 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 9 100% 9 100% 9

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168 Table 4.38 White Females: Self and Others' Swearing Behavior 3 #15: Use swear #16: Offended by #25: Offended by words to offend: strangers' use of friends' use of swear words: swear words: Never 33% 6 11% 2 39% 7 Rarely 39% 7 28% 5 44% 8 Sometimes 28% 5 56% 10 17% 3 Often 0% 0 6% 1 0% 0 Blank 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 Total 100% 18 100% 18 100% 18 Table 4.39 African-American Females: Self and Others' Swearing Behavior 3 #15: Use swear #16: Offended by #25: Offended by words to offend: strangers' use of friends' use of swear words: swear words: Never 29% 2 0% 0 71% 5 Rarely 14% 1 43% 3 29% 2 Sometimes 57% 4 43% 3 0% 0 Often 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 Blank 0% 0 14% 1 0% 0 Total 100% 7 100% 7 100% 7 usage, while 58% of the total participants reported 'never' to 'rarely' being offended by strangers' swear word usage. While the spontaneous speech and questionnaire data reveal swear word usage by the members of the population sample to be first and foremost a fimction of interlocutor variables, the ratings tasks and interview informants' comments reveal the subsequent evaluation of offensiveness to be less a function of interlocutor variables than how swear words are used:

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#55: (AfricanAmerican male) I think it has something to do with the context and how I see the word and how I feel, because sometimes I can view... I can take somebody saying 'fuck' to me as being very offensive and sometimes I can take it to be a come-on, so to speak. So, it depends on who's saying it and what my environment is. #53: (White female) Yeah, I feel offended when people swear at me and also when people swear at other people. Like, if they describe someone using swear words or adverbs, then I'd be offended at that, too. If they're just speaking in their general language, I don't like it, but I'm not really offended generally. #54: (African-American male) One thing that your survey didn't really touch on was it's one thing to swear and curse, but it's another thing to curse at people. That's one thing 1 hardly ever do. I hardly ever tell people, "F-you," and "You're this" and call you names, but it's one thing to use it in your everyday language. [. . .] I think that's when profanity becomes offensive, when you curse at people. Reactions to the Questionnaire The final section of the questionnaire lends further support to the variability of the appropriateness and offensiveness of swearing. This section consisted of three sets of three statements representing possible opinions the participants may have on swearing in general, and three additional sets of three statements representing possible participant reactions to the questionnaire. The participants were asked to choose the set of statements which best reflected their opinions and reactions, with the possibility of deleting any statement with which they did not agree, and adding any additional comments. In answer to the question, "how do you feel about swearing," 80% of the participants chose the set of neutral statements comprised of "swearing is acceptable in certain

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170 situations," "there are 'rules' to swearing, knowing when, where and with whom it is okay to swear," and "swearing can make communication more effective and meaningful." One participant did not agree with this last statement, deleting it from the set, while another participant included one of the statements from another set, "swearing is an important aspect of my speaking style." A total of seven participants, comprised of one white male, one African-American male, three white females and two African-American females, chose the set of negative statements including "I don't approve of swearing," "people who swear sound stupid," and "swearing is rude and disrespectful." Five of these participants reported swearing 'never' to 'rarely' while the remaining two reported using swear words 'sometimes'. Furthermore, the average offensiveness ratings of these seven participants were consistently higher than the averages for the participants as a group for both sets of ratings tasks. A total of eight participants (2 White males, 2 AfricanAmerican males, 1 Hispanic male, 2 White females and 2 AfricanAmerican females) chose the set of statements reflecting a positive opinion of swearing: "Swearing is an important aspect of my speaking style," "I like to use swear words.", and "I feel comfortable with my use of swear words." Seven of these participants reported using swear words 'often', the remaining eighth participant reported 'sometimes' using swear words. The average offensiveness ratings of these eight participants were consistently lower than the averages for the participants as a group for both sets of ratings tasks.

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171 In answer to how they felt about participating in the survey, 93% of the participants chose the set of statements reflecting a positive attitude and curiosity towards swearing research: "It was an interesting experience," "I would like to know more the role of swearing in society," and "I am interested in language use and language research." Three participants, two African-American males and one Hispanic male, expressed indifference towards their participation, choosing the set of following statements: "The questionnaire was boring," "this was a waste of my time," and "am I done yet?" Only one participant expressed disapproval of the questionnaire, choosing the set of statements including "I felt uncomfortable completing this survey," "I don't like to use swear words or see them in print," and "I think swearing is inappropriate for academic research." Summary While the recording of spontaneous speech allows for the identification and analysis of social contexts which are conducive to swearing behavior, the use of questionnaires and ethnographic interviews allows for the investigation of social contexts in which swearing does not occur. The spontaneous speech data showed swearing to be a predominantly in-group speech behavior, where group membership is defined by gender, race and social distance. The questionnaire and ethnographic interview data support and supplement this finding in revealing group membership to be fiirther defined by age and social status.

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The participants revealed a collective awareness of their own and others' use of swear words, as well as of the effects of sociolinguistic variables on their behavior. The data suggest that, for the members of the University of Florida undergraduate student speech community, the use of swear words can symbolize both solidarity as well as animosity. Similarly, refraining from swearing may reflect respect or alienation. In order to understand the social significance of swearing, the sociolinguistic context must be taken into account.

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CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Summary The present study was designed for the purpose of collecting quantitative and quahtative data for a specifically sociolinguistic analysis of swearing. As such, it has offered an investigation of the relationship between swear word usage and social context. The spontaneous speech data revealed swearing to be a common linguistic feature of the social interaction of members of the speech community studied. The ubiquity of swearing within the speech community was implied by many of the questiormaire participants who described swearing as "normal", "everyday", and "regular" behavior that "everyone" practices. It would seem that to not use swear words would be considered deviant behavior within this speech community, as proclaimed by one of the interview informants who reported being a non-user of swear words: #53: (White female) I don't usually advertise that I don't swear because I don't like to isolate myself. Since most people do swear, I think that if I actually protested verbally [...],! would kind of be a society outcast of some sort. Evidence of the frequent occurrence of swearing in university speech communities (Cameron, 1969; Jay, 1986; Nerbonne and Hipskind, 1972) juxtaposed with high ratings of swearword offensiveness (Mabry, 1975; Driscoll, 1981; Jay, 1977, 1978, 1986; Manning and Melchiori, 1974) establishes a 'swearing paradox', representing the 173

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174 question of how this reportedly offensive behavior can also be a frequently occurring one. The interview data of the present study confirmed that swear words devoid of context tend to be rated in terms of the context suggested by the evaluative adjective, e.g., as offensive, abrasive, aggressive, etc. The questionnaire data, including the wordlist and dialogue ratings tasks, furthermore revealed that swear words used denotatively or injuriously are considered to be most offensive, while the metaphorical use of swear words in in-group, social interaction tend to be judged as least or not at all offensive. Finally, the spontaneous speech data revealed this latter type of swearing to be most common within the focus speech community. Thus, the findings of this research leads to a resolution of the 'swearing paradox', as the data reveal that the most frequently occurring type of swearing is neither that which is typically represented in offensiveness studies nor that which is considered most offensive. Swearing was found to be a linguistic device used to establish boundaries and sociolinguistic norms for language use. Very little inter-group swearing, i.e., swearing among members of different gender, race, social distance or social status, was recorded in the spontaneous speech data, suggesting it to be a scarce occurrence. The fact that the questionnaire participants reported a consistent reluctance to swear with out-group members such as strangers, elders, parents and instructors, supports this suggestion, although the extent of inter-group interaction in general among the members of the focus speech community remains an unknown variable. The data reflect interspeaker variation among the members of the speech community, suggesting fundamental differences according to race and gender regarding the use of and

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175 attitudes towards swear words. White males and females both exhibited and reported tendencies to use swear words with interlocutors of variable social distance and social status and in the non-social life domains of family, education and work (Fishman, 1972). The swearing behavior of the African-American males and females, on the other hand, was almost exclusively restricted to the domain of social life and among interlocutors of close social distance and similar social status. The spontaneous speech data revealed a greater tendency among the white males and females to engage in annoyance swearing while the African-American males and females most often partook in social swearing (Ross, 1 969), suggesting different social fiuictions of swear word usage between subgroups. Furthermore, the questionnaire and interview data revealed the AfricanAmerican males and females to be more affected than their white counterparts by context of use when interpreting the offensiveness of swear words. Differences in swearing behavior according to interlocutor gender also emerged from the data. In answer to question #7 of the questionnaire, which asked if there is a type of person who should not swear, one participant (#39, white male) wrote, "chicks". The social implications of such standards —not to mention this particular form of expressionare considerable. Evidence of imposed gender standards within the focus speech commxmity was presented in Chapter 3 and Chapter 4. The spontaneous speech data clearly revealed female and male swearing behavior to be similar in terms of word usage, relative frequency and variability in setting, topic, tone, and interlocutor race and social distance. However, the males of the present study both exhibited and reported convergent behavior based on the belief that swearing is atypical of females, who more

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176 often use standard language forms. The data suggest that the males' behavior would more accurately be considered an attempt to manipulate female speech behavior, as opposed to convergence or accommodation. The spontaneous speech data showed that while among white and AfricanAmerican males and females swearing was most frequent in same-sex interaction, the males swore considerably less frequently in opposite-sex interaction than in mixed-sex interaction, implying that swear word usage is only appropriate for interaction among males. This implication is all the more evident when considered in conjunction with such male interview informants' comments as, "It's not ladylike to swear" (#52, White male) and "It's unfeminine [...] if a female curses" (#56, African-American male). Furthermore, male swearing behavior was more often supported in the form of echoes, while more frequent laughter responses to females' swearing suggested it to be an unorthodox behavior. Thus, when considering females and males as members of different social groups, the data of the present study provide support for the dominance approach, which "interprets linguistic differences in women's and men's speech in terms of men's dominance and women's subordination" (Coates, 1986, p. 12), as opposed to the difference approach, where "the differences in women's and men's speech are interpreted as reflecting and maintaining gender specific subcultures (p. 1 3). The tendency exhibited by both the white and AfricanAmerican females to refrain from swearing in opposite-sex interaction and even more so in mixedsex interaction further suggests not only male dominance, but also co-operation -if not collusionin sustaining and perpetuating the linguistic tradition of swearing as typically masculine behavior (cf. Coates, 1986).

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.1 177 Finally, the data revealed a shared concept among the participants as a group of how swear words should be used and who should and should not use them. The spontaneous speech, questionnaire and interview data revealed that the members of the focus speech community are both exposed to swearing by out-group members and aware of others' swearing behavior. The participants revealed similarities in their varying attitudes towards the use of swear words among out-group members, indicating shared expectations for language use. While they reported their own use of swear words as "normal", the majority of the participants also reported an intolerance for the use of swear words by yoimg children, religious enthusiasts, professionals and authority figures such as politicians and parents. In other words, the participants impose a standard on members of groups to which they themselves do not belong. Limitations of the Study ^ . . This study represents an effort to complement and improve upon the methodologies of previous studies on swear words and swearing. While this study was motivated, in part, by the weaknesses of previous research, it too is not without its own limitations. Because the spontaneous speech samples, questionnaire data and interview data were collected from the University of Florida undergraduate student speech community, this study allows for base comparison with previous studies on swearing, as the majority are also based on college samples. However, like the existing studies, this study's sample i

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178 population reflects a White majority, representing only limited progress in incorporating racial diversity in swearing research. It should also be noted that, although the spontaneous swearing utterances and questionnaire/interview data were collected among members of the same speech community, any overlap among these individuals is fortuitous. The triangulation of the spontaneous speech, questionnaire and interview data is based on the assumption that, as members of the same speech community, the questiormaire participants and interview informants are representative of the males and females recorded during the observation phase. Directions for Future Research Code-switching and Crossing The results of the present study motivate an analysis of swearing from a codeswitching perspective. According to Woolard (1988): [In] most [...] sociolinguistic analyses [...code-switching] is an in-group phenomenon restricted to those who share the same expectations and rules of interpretation for the use of two languages. Code-switching is thus usually seen as a device used to affirm participants' claims to membership and the solidarity of the group in contrast to others, (p. 69-70) Although code-switching typically refers to a speaker's ahemation between two languages, the term 'code' can be used to refer to a linguistic variety, that is, "any set of linguistic forms which patterns according to social factors" (Holmes, 1992, p. 9), thereby including dialects, levels, or styles in addition to distinct languages. According to the

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179 definition provided in Chapter 1, swearing is identifiable as a distinct linguistic variety, and therefore swear word usage can be considered an example of style-switching. Within the focus speech community, the use of swear words as style-switching can be likened to the Blom and Gumperz (1972) dichotomy of situational and metaphorical code-switching. It may be considered in terms of situational code-switching as it is governed by situational norms; given the relevant situational or social factors in advance, the occurrence of swearing can likely be predicted (cf Holmes, 1 992, p.43). At the same time, swearing is also similar to metaphorical code-switching in that 1) it is socially significant (Gumperz and Hymes, 1972; Holmes, 1992) and 2) it is not necessarily the case (in particular, inter-group swearing) that participants will "settle into the newly introduced contextual frame as an easy basis for further interaction" (Rampton, 1995, p. 278). As an example of code-altemation, swearing as style-shifting works as a contextualization cue. According to Auer (1990): [C]ode alternation may also work as a contextualization cue because [...] it plays with the social values and attitudes associated with the languages in question, such as they have been established in the course of an individual's history of interaction by the recurring coincidence of language choice and particular conversational activities, (p. 81) In a monolingual speech community, "language" may be exchanged for "style", where style-alternation, like code-altemation, may prompt interlocutors to "process issues such as 'why that now?' and 'what next?'" (Auer, 1988, p. 192). In other words, style-alternation causes interlocutors to consider the social implications of their stylistic choices.

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180 An approach to swearing within a style-switching or code-alternation framework allows for the application of a crossing perspective, as well. According to Rampton (1995), Crossing [. . .] focuses on code-alternation by people who are not accepted members of the group associated with the second language they employ. It is concerned with switching into languages that are not generally thought to belong to you. (p. 280) Within the focus speech community of the present study, an example of crossing would be the in-class use of swear words by university instructors with their students. The data also suggest that females' use of swear words in mixedor opposite-sex interaction qualifies as crossing. Recall one male interview informant's comment on females' using swear words as "overstepping their boundaries" (#55, African-American male). Similar to Rampton's (1995) definition of crossing is Bell's (1984) theory of outgroup referee design, which accounts for speakers who "diverge from the speech of their in-group —and thus in some sense from their own 'natural' speech— towards an outgroup with whom they wish to identify" (p. 1 88). However, while crossing can emphasize either "disdain or respect" (Rampton, 1995, p. 281), out-group referee design implies the prestige of the chosen variety. In-group referee design, on the other hand, "sees a speaker talking to members of an out-group, and reacting with a shift towards the style of the speaker's own (absent) ingroup" (p. 1 87). The use of swear words as in-group referee design can be likened to downward divergence, in which speaker's emphasize the non-standard features in their repertoire, as illustrated by the following comment from an interview informant:

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181 #58: (White male) I usually try to talk to people as equals, which [...] means bringing people down to my level of speaking. I'm usually not meeting theirs. [. . .] I feel more comfortable when I swear. It sets the tone of being laid back. Finally, because of the associated offensiveness and non-standard status of swearing, it can be considered in terms of the 'clanger phenomenon' (Amdt and Janney, 1980), where a clanger is defined as an interactionally aggressive utterance which disrupts the expected sequencing of verbal moves in conversation for the purposes of redefining the relationship between the participants in the interpersonal domains of hostility/affection and dominance/submission. [...] Clangers are perceived by listeners as deviating from rather than conforming to the other utterances in the utterance sequences in which they occur. Interactionally, clanger phenomena figure in [...] identity bargaining sequences exchanges directed toward the establishing of certain situational identities for the participants. (Amdt and Janney, 1980, p. 41) The in-class use of swear words by instructors illustrates swearing as a clanger in that it is a deviation from the expected (formal) style and it redefines the relationship between the participants in terms of hostility/affection, dominance/submission. Consider the AfricanAmerican female interview informant (#61) who thought her instructor was "cool" for using swear words during class discussion compared to the AfricanAmerican male (#55) who felt his instructor's use of swear words revealed him to be a "hard-nose". Sociolinguistic Norms of Swearing Code-switching, code-alternation and crossing imply the existence of sociolinguistic norms for language use and group boundaries. The spontaneous speech, questionnaire and interview data provide evidence of group boundaries within the focus speech

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182 community and sociolinguistic norms of swear word usage in the form of imposed restrictions on one's own and others' swear word usage. Evidence of restrictions and impositions of standards on swearing behavior applies to those whose manner of swearing undermines the expressive and stylistic value of swear words. Several questionnaire participants and interview informants indicated an intolerance for the excessive use of swear words or swearing which is stylistically impoverished: #60: (White male) If anyone swears too often, it seems kind of ignorant to me. [. . .] Eventually, you swear so often that when you're actually annoyed or when you actually need to use [swear words] it's like the crying wolf thing. Nobody knows if you really need the emphasis. #61 : (AfricanAmerican female) I had a roommate last semester, she was from Miami. I thought she would know how to curse, but she doesn't. She used to, like, mix words together that just didn't go and I was like, "You need to stop it!" I was like, "You can't curse. You need to leave it to someone who knows what they're doing, 'cause you don't know how to do it." One participant's opinion on the type of person who should not use swear words ftirther reveals imposed restrictions on swearing: #4: (White female) People who don't know English well and have watched too many movies and use 'motherfiicker', etc. without knowing their meaning although the confiision here is understandable (non-native speakers). Swearing and the Media In referring to the use of swear words in the media as well as the use of English swear words by non-native speakers of English, the participant quoted above raises two issues that remain unexplored within swearing research. Several other questionnaire participants and interview informants referred to the use of swear words in the media, in

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183 particular, the perceived increase of swearing in films and on cable and network television. Because swear words are not typically sanctioned for use on network television (in the United States), they are bleeped out, exchanged for euphemisms, or couched in wit', as illustrated by the following examples from commercial advertisements and television series, all of which aired on various network stations the evening of July 8*, 1998: Advertisement for Asics footwear: "Asics. A gel of a shoe." Advertisement for the Fox Television series King of the Hill: "Fox: A Hill of a night." Advertisement for the movie Mafia: "Mafia. Hits Happen." Comment made by Jay Leno regarding a guest's claim to practice Kung Fu: "Watch your language." Only in recent years have swear words been purposefiilly incorporated into television manuscripts. Since its premier in 1993, the NBC series NYPD Blue has regularly featured swear words, including 'asshole', 'bitch' and 'dickhead'. Swear words have also been scripted and censored in the series Seinfeld (NBC), Home Improvement (ABC) and Action (Fox). When a character on the CBS series Chicago Hope said, "Shit happens" in the October 14* (1999) episode, 'shit' was not censored. The trend to incorporate swearing into network television programs reflects "both diminishing cultural taboos about obscene words and the increasingly liberal use of foul language on cable television" (Reuters, 29 October, 1999). According to an executive ' An early example is the double-entendre use of 'Dick', the first name of Bob Newhart's character on A^ewW? (1982-1990).

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184 producer at Fox Television, "The bar is always moving. As the culture finds this language more acceptable, television will use it more" (Reuters, 29 October, 1999). Non-Native English Swear Word Usage Recall from Chapter 3 that the Hispanic males and females were underrepresented in the spontaneous speech data with regards to the total student body, and that their interlocutors represented the greatest degree of racial diversity. While it is possible that the Hispanic students at the University of Florida generally do not swear, it is more likely that they do not swear in English. The racial diversity of their interlocutors support this possibility, suggesting that Hispanic-Americans speak Spanish with each other, but English with non-Hispanics. In Chapter 4, the data from the two ratings tasks revealed that the Hispanic males rated both sets of swear words consistently lower in offensiveness than did the white or African-American males. The consistency among the Hispanic males' low ratings and the difference in received offensiveness vis-a-vis their white and African-American counterparts introduces the possibility that speakers of other languages and/or non-native speakers of English differ from native speakers (of English) in terms of attitudes towards and usage of English swear words. The following examples of English swear word usage in non-native contexts and in such accessible forms of communication as newspapers and network television are in direct contrast with American culture and customs, raising the question of how such

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185 quotidian exposure may affect non-native speakers' attitudes towards and usage of English swear words. Holland. In 1999, the advertising company of Young and Rubican produced the television commercial "A Day Trip" for the Soesman Language Institute, a Dutch company. The commercial shows two pre-adolescent girls climbing into a car, followed by their parents. After each family member dutifully fastens their seatbelts, the father starts the car and the radio goes on, playing an English language pop-song. The lyrics to the song consist of a repetition of, "I want to fuck you in the ass." Upon hearing the lyrics, the father and mother exchange confused looks, as do the girls, but eventually all of them start bobbing their heads to the beat of the music. As they drive away, the message, "Engels leren?" with the translation, "Wanna learn English?" appears on the screen, followed by the logo for Soesman Language Institute and a phone number. France. In 1999, the satirical news program Les Guignols d'Info featured a President Clinton puppet playing a video game called, "Clinton Fucker", in which an animation of the president earns points by pursuing various women in the White House. When the President mistakenly advances on his wife, he loses the game, causing him to exclaim, "Oh, shit! Je savais en plus!" (translation: "I knew it, too!"). The Czech Republic. The 1997 Czech film Knoflikari {The Buttoners) included a scene set in 1945, in the Japanese tovm of Kokum. Four Japanese men sit together at a table in a simple house, condemning the rain storm outside. One of the men turns his laments to the Japanese language, which, in his opinion, is frustrating in its lack of lexical resources to adequately curse the weather. The English language, he tells his friends, is

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186 much hotter equipped for sucli exercises. It contains a myriad of words useful for condemning, complaining and cursing, which satisfy the s(>eaker"s need to release tension and emotion, leaving him relaxed and relieved. He gives an example from a prc\ ious visit to the United States when, in a California bar, he witnessed an American man become angry at the quality of his beer. The American proceeded to curse his beer, ranting tor minutes on end without repeating a single swear word. "Can you imagine", he asks his friends, "how relieved he must have felt when lie was done?" He then suggests to his companions that they all engage in cursing the weather in Fnglish. to experience the same feeling of satisfaction. The men begin to chant, "Fucking weather!", apprehensively at first, but thriving from the exercise to such an extent that the scene ends with all four enthusiastically yelling. "I ucking weather! Fucking weather! Fucking weather!" Sweden. When Knoflikari was shown at the 1998 Stockholm Fibn Festival, the scene described above e\ oked enthusiastic laughter from the audience. In Sweden, where Fnglish is the national second language, the use of linglish swearwords is a growing trend. Behind the most recent wave of swear word u.sage is the 1999 Swedish film Fucking Amal. a story about teenagers in the small town of Amal, Sweden. The title for the film is a reference to the complaint of one of the main characters, a young girl fmstrated with her small town life who wonders. "Varfor luaste vi bo i fucking-javle-kuk Amal "" (translation; "Why do we have to live in fucking-damn-cock Am&l?"). The national and internationa! success of this film ushered in 'luck" and 'fucking' as accepted

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187 loan words in Swedish, contributing to the growing trend of English swear word usage. Examples include: Reviews for Fucking Amal such as "En fucking skitbra film!" (translation: "A fucking shit-good film!") (Aftonbladet, March, 1999) and "Fucking great!" (Expressen, March, 1999) The headline "Fucking mycket svordomar" (translation: "A Fucking lot of swear words") in a Dagens Nyheter (20 June, 1999, p. B2) article about the Christian Democrats' complaint of too much swearing in Fucking Amal. A flier posted in the Stockholm University library (Spring, 1999) advertising student unions with the headline, "Fucking Karen. Min kar, din kar, var kar, fucking studentkar." (translation: "The fucking union. My union, your union, our union, fucking student union.") The simultaneous newspaper {Dagens Nyheter, March, 1999) advertising and showing of Fucking Amal (1999) and the Swedish-language documentary film Fuck you, Fuck you very much, about the Swedish rap-artist Leila K. An article v^th the title, "Sex: Where the Fuck Is It?" in the Stockholm-guide, Mg/z/c&Doy (Summer, 1998). A graphic arts school's poster and post-card adverts for an exhibition titled, "Fuck the Millenium" (RMI Berghs, April, 1999). The abundance of English-language television, film and advertising in Sweden, according to a newspaper journalist, has established the general belief that: Almost everything sounds better in English. Cooler. Just think about swear words^. 'Fuck you, you motherfucking bastard.' versus 'Ska du ge fan i..." {Dagens Nyheter, 25 October, 1999, p. 32) ^ Actual text: "Vi har alltmer vant oss vid att del mesta liter battre engelska. HSftigare. Tank bara svordomama."

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Conclusions 188 Evidence of an increasing frequency of swear word usage in American film and television over the past 30 years (Jay, 1992) suggests a parallel increase of swearing in American society. Whether swearing in the media is a response to changing societal norms for language use or responsible for them is open to discussion. Whatever the relationship may be, the use of swear words in the media provides increased accessibility and exposure to swear words, establishing swearing as a valid form of expression. This is not to say, however, that swearing is entirely accepted. In January, 1 999, a 24-year-old man was cited and fined in Standish, Michigan for his use of obscene language. Although the man claimed his swearing "[...] wasn't out of anger or hostility or vulgarity. It was just clean fun" (The Los Angeles Times, 25 January, 1999, p. A12), he was overheard by other vacationers on the lake, including parents with children and the deputy who cited him. Thus, evidence of increasing frequency of swear word usage is countered by evidence of intolerance towards it, reflecting the social complexity inherent in swearing. Indeed, the data of the present study revealed both intraspeaker and interspeaker variation with regards to usage of and attitudes towards swear words. The data also provided evidence of sociolinguistic norms for swear word usage in terms of offensiveness, appropriateness and social significance. Because the sociolinguistic norms for swear word usage may vary according to speech community, the social implications of swearing as style-switching or crossing will also vary.

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189 Further sociolinguistic research on the use of swear words in American English is required for the purpose of identifying social group boundaries and their respective norms for swear word usage. A wider variety of speech communities must be integrated into this research, representing racial and cultural diversity. In recognition of the international trend to borrow English swear words, it is necessary that focus speech communities include non-native speakers of English, as well. The way we speak conveys information beyond the collective meaning of the words we use. Speakers' variations in style reflect individual constructs of 'self and 'other'. In acknowledging the use of swear words as a stylistic choice with social significance, we can further our understanding of the social dynamics of language use and its role in maintaining or changing social group boundaries.

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APPENDIX A EXAMPLE FIELD NOTE CARD FOR OBSERVATION OF SPONTANEOUS SPEECH SETTING: SPEAKER: M F RACE: W AA H AsA LISTENER: M F RACE: W AA H AsA M F W AA H AsA M F W AA H AsA M F W AA H AsA M F W AA H AsA TOPIC: TONE: ABUSIVE DISTRESSED REBELLIOUS Other: SWEARING UTTERANCE: ANECDOTAL EMPHATIC SARCASTIC ANGRY EXCITED SERIOUS DESPERATE HUMOROUS SUPPORTIVE REACTION: NO NOTICEABLE LAUGHTER ECHO REJECTION 190

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APPENDIX B SPONTANEOUS SWEARING UTTERANCES a rr Setting s-aex s-Kace Listener Sex Listener Race Interlocutor Relationship 1 i Classroom t: r w Mixed Mixed Classmates, Instructor Z Classroom c r w Mixed Mixed Classmates, Instructor J \-^iassroom M w M, r, r \1/ \1/ A A W, W, AA Strangers A H L^ampus/ rTiDllC T? r A A AA c r A A AA Friends J rnvaic nonie t: r W r W Friends D v^iaasroom r w 2. M, J r, J M A A 11/ AA, W, W Friends 7 M A A AA 1 M, o r , J M A A 117 11/ AA, W, W Friends 0 o \-^iassroom M W T-" r 11/ w Friends Q Dal \A M W J M 11/ w Friends 10 13 ol IVl W 5 M 11/ W Friends 1 1 i'qtmtm IC /Pi ll^l J r A A AA T7 T7 r, r A A 11/ AA, W Friends W 0 17 z r A A AA Friends 1* 51 tni^i I c /Pi 1 h 1 1 K-'OlIipUa/x UOllC IVl W 17 r 11/ W Intimates 14 Office F W M W \_'L»vwi IS, CI a 15 Office M w F w Coworkers 16 Campus/Public F w F w Friends 17 Private home F w F w Friends 18 Campus/Public M w M, F, M W, W, AsA Classmates 19 Campus/Public M w M, F,M W, W, AsA Classmates 20 Shopping center F AA F, M AA, W Fs:Friends, M:Customer 21 Shopping center F AA F AA Friends 22 Campus/Public M W M,F W, W Classmates 23 Campus/Public F W 2M W Classmates 24 Campus/Public F w 2F w Friends 25 Campus/Public M w 2M, M W,H Friends 26 Campus/Public M w 2 M, M, M W, AA, AsA Friends 27 Campus/Public M AA 3M,M W, AsA Friends 28 Car F W M W Friends 29 Classroom M W M W Classmates 30 Private home M w 1 M W Roommates ] S-Speaker; M=Male; F=Female; W=White; AA=Afncan-American; H=Hispanic; AsA=Asian-American 191

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ft Topic Tone 1 WlliVllUWIl T-Ti imr\T*r\i ic nuiiiui UUa z oUCan.Ci s Ull lllUay T-Ii 1 mr*T*ni I c J C^QllVlTlfl if'^C 'Act Hcii/ VcKiniic A A tpct P mn ri a 1" 1 f* iJlIipilallC J V^UOllIl^ allULIICi f. U A tpct IZ'JIipila.LIL' 7 / iVCapuilbC lU rrO ClTipilallC Q o Angry Q vJll 1 WalMllg Oy CaCUCU 1 n iVCapuHbC LU rr7 1 1 1 1 nnipnaiic 1 0 IZ IxCbpUllaC lU rf 1 1 oupponive 1 J /vrgUlIlClIl aUUUl CilCalill^ Angry 14 1*+ uiiKiiuwn iveDeiiious rvCapUlIiC lU rrlH MDUSIVC 1 A 10 Toct ucsperaie 1 7 J / opcaKcr 3 idLiicr Angry I o 1 est Distressed 1 0 IxCopUJlbC 10 r+ 1 " Supportive 9n zu opcdKci ndd Dccn uumpcu Abusive o 1 Z 1 IvCapunaC 10 rfZv Supportive 23 Response to #22 Rebellious 24 Girl walking by Abusive 25 Response to #23 Sarcastic 26 Basketball game Angry 27 Response to #26 Humorous 28 Another driver Distressed 29 Class discussion Humorous 30 Homework Distressed

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193 # Swearing Utterance Reaction 1 Oh alright, what the hell! Laughter 2 Happy birthday, assholes. Laughter 3 Oh, shit. No Noticeable 4 You got that shit right. No Noticeable 5 I haven't seen you in fucking like five months. No Noticeable A vjiiuuaiuii iiiai wdb licuu; Echo 7 INO INOUCCaDIc g OllC gave lllC a lULKJIlg llCKCl lUI IlaVillg a DiUKCn lallll^fll! INO rNOiiCcaDic 9 T nnk" at thp acc r^n hprf Echo 10 T'nfit hil'i^h ic rinpl 1 Hal uiiirii Id llllCI No Noticeable 1 1 PratiHv T Hrtn't oivp n fiml/ 1 loiiiVi^, 1 uuii L give a lUCK. Echo 12 v_j UL/VJ yKju, one 3 d UllCll. No Noticeable 1 J Get tn hplll Rejection: How can you say that to mp'? 14 Fuck you you're being an asshole. Echo 15 Don't be a bitch do your job. No Noticf^ahlp 16 Oh, shit. I'm gonna fail this test. No Noticeable 17 He is such a bastard. How can he do this? No Noticeahlp 18 After turning to the second page I was like, oh shit. Echo 19 Hell, yeah. That was a hard-ass test. No Noticeahlp 20 I wish some people would watch where the fuck they was going. Echo 21 Some people got no damn upbringing. No Noticeahlp 22 That bastard is killing me with all this damn work. Echo 23 That asshole don't give make-ups, either. Laughter 24 She is like the biggest bitch. Laughter 25 No shit, Sherlock! Laughter 26 That was a fucking foul! Echo 27 Quit bitching and play ball. Laughter 28 What are you doing, asshole? (to other driver who can't hear) No Noticeable 29 I hate this shit. No Noticeable 30 Fuck! No Noticeable

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1 # Setting S-Sex S-Race Listener Sex Listener Race Interlocutor Relationship 31 Private home M W F W Friends 32 Classroom M W M W Classmates 33 Campus/Public M AA 2M AA Friends 34 Car M W F W Friends 35 Private home M W M,F W Friends 36 Private home M W F W Roommates 37 Private home M W F W Roommates 38 Private home M AA M,F AA Friends 39 Campus/Tublic F H M AA Classmates 40 Car F AA M AA Friends 41 Campus/Public M W M AA Friends 42 Office F AA M AA Coworkers 43 Private home F AA M AA Roommates 44 Car F AA M AA Friends 45 Supermarket M AA M AA Friends 46 Supermarket M AA M AA Friends 47 Office F H M, F AA, H Coworkers 48 Car M AA M AA Friends 49 Car M AA M AA Friends 50 Private home M AsA M AsA Roommates 51 Private home M AsA M AsA Roommates 52 Campus/Public M AsA M W Friends 53 Campus/Public M W M AsA Friends 54 Private home M AsA M AsA Roommates 55 Private home M AsA M AsA Roommates 56 Campus/Public F AsA M AsA Friends 57 Street M W M W Strangers 58 Street M W M W Strangers 59 Shopping center M W 3 M W Friends 60 Campus/Public M W M AsA Friends 61 Campus/Public M W M, F W Friends 62 Campus/Public M AsA 2M, F AsA Friends 63 Shopping center M W M AA Customer, Employee 64 Campus/Public M AsA 3F, M AsA Friends 65 Campus/Public F AsA 2F,M AsA Friends 66 Classroom F H M W Classmates 67 Campus/Public F AsA 2 F, F, M AsA, W, W Friends 68 Private home F AsA 2F, M AsA Friends 69 Private home F AsA 2F AsA Friends 70 Car F AsA 2F AsA Friends 71 Private home M W 2 feM, F, F W, AA, AsA Friends 72 Campus/Public M AsA M, F AsA Friends S=Speaker; M=Male; F=Female; W=White; AA=African-American; H=Hispanic; AsA=Asian-American

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# Topic Tone 31 Missing item Distressed 32 Parking ticket Angry 33 Girl walking by Humorous 34 Honking car Humorous 35 Waking up Excited 36 Movie Angry 37 Contaminated pool Excited 38 Unknown Humorous 39 Listener's excuse for being late Angry 40 Listener's situation Humorous 41 A foul play Emphatic 42 Marriage Humorous 43 Listener's hat Emphatic 44 Dancing at a club Angry 45 Basketball players Excited 46 Response to #45 Excited 47 Job tasks Disfressed 48 Speaker wants to go home Rebellious 49 No cursing Rebellious 50 Rented movie Excited 51 Work Disfressed 52 Pool game Angry 53 Response to #52 Excited 54 Television Sarcastic 55 Grocery shopping Emphatic 56 Speaker's friend Angry 57 Traffic incident Abusive 58 Response to #57 Abusive 59 Skateboarding achievement Excited 60 Speaker's class Angry 61 Suggestion to go eat Emphatic 62 Bee Humorous 63 Speaker's ID card Angry 64 Doing homework Rebellious 65 Indian actress Angry 66 Temperature of classroom Emphatic 67 Exams Desperate 68 Female/male relationship Emphatic 69 Behavior of another friend Emphatic 70 Speaker unsure of keys Desperate 71 Describing a movie Humorous 72 Misplaced application Distressed

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1 196 # Swearing Utterance Reaction 31 Fuck! No Noticeable 32 Fuck, I got a ticket. No Noticeable 33 That's a nice piece of ass. Laughter 34 Shut up, bitch. Laughter 35 I need you to make sure I'm up for class tomorrow or I am fucked! No Noticeable 36 It was shitty. Definitely not worth seeing. No Noticeable 37 Shit! What happened to the pool? No Noticeable 38 That's fucked up. Rejection: People who curse can't express themselves! (F) That's right! (M) 39 Shut the fuck up. Rejection: Don't curse! 40 Everyone's mad at you. What I'd do is just say fuck 'em. Laughter 41 That was a bitch call! Rejection: Don't curse at me! 42 I need to get married because this feeHng makes me feel like shit. No Noticeable 43 Let me borrow your hat. / No, I'm wearing it. / Well, fuck you! Rejection: What?! 44 Some girl was dancing all on me. What kind of shit is that? Laughter 45 Yo, dick, listen: centers can't do it! Echo 46 Yo, bitch, you're not making any sense. No Noticeable 47 I hate doing this shit. Rejection: HF: Stop cursing! 48 Take me home. / Just wait. / That's shit. Rejection: Don't curse in my car! 49 I can do whatever 1 want to. Shit! Rejection: Get out! 50 1 got the last fucking copy of Good Will Huntmg, boy! No Noticeable 51 Fucking customers were getting on my nerves today. No Noticeable 52 The guy fucking sank the nine-ball 5 times already on the break! Echo 53 No fucking way! No Noticeable 54 Yeah, there's a lot of shit to watch tonight. Laughter 55 We need some more fucldng soda! No Noticeable 56 Betty is such a bitch! She didn't meet me after class. Laughter 57 I'll fucking hit you next time, bitch! Echo 58 Fuck you! No Noticeable 59 I fucking did it, dude! No Noticeable 60 I fucking hate this class. My teacher is, like, boring as fuckLaughter 61 Let's go fucking eat, guys. No more pool, motherfuckers. No Noticeable 62 The bee's trying to shit in John's ear! Laughter 63 That's bullshit, man. That is me in the picture. No Noticeable 64 I don't give a shit, I'm sorry. No Noticeable 65 She is such a bitch. Laughter 66 ['m freezing my ass off! •^Jo Noticeable 67 think I fucked up! -aughter 68 Fhat's fucked up! -aughter 69 ! She's not using my ass! ] ^lo Noticeable 70 ( 3h, shit, I hope 1 brought my keys. ] ^o Noticeable 71 ] t's really fucked up! ] Laughter 72 ' rhey fucking misplaced it! ] ^0 Noticeable

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197 # Setting S-Sex S-Race Listener Sex Listener Race Interlocutor Relationship 73 Campus/Public M W 3 M W Friends 74 Classroom M W Mixed Mixed Classmates 75 Shopping center F AsA 3 F AsA Sisters 76 Campus/Public M AA M AA Friends 77 Campus/Public F W M W Friends 78 Private home M W 2M W Friends 79 Campus/Public M W M W Friends 80 Campus/Public M W M W Friends 81 Campus/Public M W M W Friends 82 Bar F W F W Friends 83 Bar M W M W Friends 84 Bar M W M W Friends 85 Bar M W M W Friends 86 Bar M W M W Friends 87 Private home M W 2M, M W,H Friends 88 Private home M W 2M, M W, H Friends 89 Private home M W 2M,M W,H Friends 90 Private home M W M, M W,H Friends 91 Private home M W M H Friends 92 Private home M W M H Friends 93 Classroom F W M W Classmates 94 Private home M W M W Roommates 95 Private home M W F W Intimates 96 Classroom M W M W Classmates 97 Classroom F W M W Classmates 98 Classroom F W M W Classmates 99 Bar M W M w Friends 100 Private home F W M w Intimates 101 Private home M w F w Intimates 102 Private home M w F w Intimates 103 Classroom F w M w Classmates 104 Private home M w M, F w Friends 105 Private home M w M,F w Friends 106 Private home M w M,F w Friends 107 Private home M w M,F w Friends 108 Private home F w 2 M w Friends 109 Car M w 2M w Friends 110 Car M w 2M w Friends S=Speaker; M=Male; F=Female; W=White; AA=African-American; H=Hispanic; AsA=Asian-American

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198 # Topic Tone 73 Exams Humorous 74 Debate on poverty Emphatic 75 Object falls on speaker Surprised 76 Mutual friend's car Humorous 77 Coming home after school Distressed 78 Television Desperate 79 Taking courses Sarcastic 80 New pair of shoes Distressed 81 Response to #80 Supportive 82 Another girl Angry 83 Temperature of bar Distressed 84 Response to #83 Emphatic 85 Speaker greets listener Anecdotal 86 Response to #85 Distressed 87 Speaker unable to call listener Abusive 88 Response to #87 Angry 89 Speaker's ex-girlfriend Angry 90 Playing a video game Desperate 91 Football game, quarterbacks Sarcastic 92 Response to #91 Rebellious 93 Class discussion Distressed 94 Movie on television Excited 95 Car repair Distressed 96 Seeing a test grade Distressed 97 Temperature of classroom Distressed 98 Unknown Abusive 99 Speaker's bar stool Distressed 100 Cooking Distressed 101 Response to #100 Distressed 102 Speaker hit his toe on a chair Angry 103 Quiz Rebellious 104 Computer/internet Angry 105 Response to #104 Supportive 106 Response to #105 Angry 107 Response to #106 Supportive 108 Response to #107 Angry 109 Describing someone driving Excited 110 Response to #109 Supportive 1 I I

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1 199 # Swearing Utterance Reaction 73 You were answering questions out of your ass! Laughter 74 You bust your ass to survive. Laughter 75 What the hell...? Laughter 76 That shit sucks, yo. 1 was like, I ain't ridin' in that shit! No Noticeable 77 I was tired as hell when I got home last night. No Noticeable 78 Oh fuck no. Change this. 1 fucking hate this show. No Noticeable 79 That class is a fucking joke. No Noticeable 80 These shoes are fucking killing me! 1 feel like putting my old fucking pair back on. Echo 81 New Birks suck my dick. Laughter 82 She did? That bitch! 1 told her not to wear those. No Noticeable 83 Bro, it's so Goddamned hot in here. Echo 84 No shit. It's always hot in here. No Noticeable 85 What the fuck's up, bro? Echo 86 Just working my fucking ass off every day. No Noticeable 87 Dude, I tried to call you all fucking day yesterday. Echo 88 [...] My fucking roommate didn't pay the phone bill. No Noticeable 89 Fuck her. That bitch is moving to Atlanta anyway, ... No Noticeable 90 Are you fucking kidding me? Tackle that son of a bitch! Laughter 91 Like Neil O'fuckingDonnel is the best quarterback in history! Echo 92 I never said that. Fuck you! Laughter 93 I don't give a fuck. No Noticeable 94 That was a great fucking movie. No Noticeable 95 Goddamn this fucking thing. No Noticeable 96 Oh, fuck! No Noticeable 97 It's fucking hot in here. No Noticeable 98 Oh, fuck you! No Noticeable 99 This fucking bar stool is wet. Laughter 100 Damn it, it's burning the pot. Echo 101 Damn, that's hot. No Noticeable 102 Goddamn it, this fucking chair is in the way. No Noticeable 103 I don't give a damn about the quiz. No Noticeable 104 What the fuck? This damn server. Microsoft sucks ass. Echo 1 AC 105 What happened with the damn server now? Echo 1 nc lucKjng inmg cui me aownioau agam. iviicroson uoes not nave any fucking good programmers. Look at this shit! Echo 107 That fucking thing sucks. Why the hell would it time-out after 15 minutes? Echo/Rejection 108 Damn it, Mike. Stop cursing! Laughter 109 Mike, you should've seen this fucker. This bitch was going from the far lane to the rear, cut off two fucking huge semis and went down the wrong way for fucking 100 yards or so. Echo 110 Yeah, this bitch had to be on something. No Noticeable

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200 # Setting S-Sex S-Race Listener Sex Listener Race Interlocutor Relationship 111 Private home M W 2F, M W Friends 112 Campus/Public M AsA M,M W, AsA Classmates 113 Campus/Public M AsA M, M W, AsA Classmates 114 Campus/Public M W 2M AsA Classmates 115 Campus/Public M AsA M, F W Classmates 116 Private home M W 2F W,H Friends 117 Private home F W F H Roormnates 118 Private home F H F W Roommates 119 Private home M W 2 M, F, F W, W,H Friends 120 Private home M W 2 M, F, F W, W,H Friends 121 Private home M W F W Friends 122 Private home F W F H Friends 123 Campus/Public F W F H Friends 124 Party F W 2M,F W Friends 125 Party M W 2F,M W Friends 126 Private home F W 2 F W Friends 127 Private home M W M W Roommates 128 Private home M W M W Roommates 129 Campus/Public M W M W Friends 130 Campus/Public M W M W Friends 131 Campus/Public F W 2M,F W Friends 132 Campus/Public F W 2M, F W Friends 133 Private home M AA 2M,2F W Friends 134 Private home M W 2 F, M, M W, W, AA Friends 135 Private home M H M AA Friends 136 Private home M AA M H Friends 137 Supermarket M W M W Friends 138 Private home M W M, M AA,H Friends 139 Party M AA M W Friends 140 Private home M H M, F AA, W Intimates, Friend S=Speaker; M=Male; F=Female; W=White; AA=African-American; H=Hispanic; AsA=Asian-American

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# Topic Tone 111 Assembling furniture Angry 112 Distillation Distressed 113 Response to #1 12 Supportive 114 Response to #113 Distressed 115 Vending machine out of order Angry 116 Cooking Emphatic 117 Exams Distressed 118 Other roommates Angry 119 Speaker's home town Humorous 120 Finding money Humorous 121 Response to #120's reaction Humorous 122 Being late Disfressed 123 Fatigue while exercising Serious 124 Beverage Excited 125 Response to #124 Humorous 126 Future roommate Distressed 127 Listener has just woken up Humorous 128 Response to #127 Humorous 129 Mortality Distressed 130 Response to #129 Supportive 131 Story about proposing Excited 132 Continuing story Sarcastic 133 Rules of a drinking game Angry 134 Response to #133 Rebellious 135 Gymnast with a broken neck Serious 136 Response to #135 Serious 137 Speaker's girlfriend Angry 138 New grill Excited 139 Mutual disliked guy Angry 140 Female's friend Distressed

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202 Swearinp Utterance 1 1 1 Shit The damn ton's hackwarHs No NotiVpahlp 1 12 The damn distillation f>olvmeri7ed on me and the fiirkin? coatinp did not work. Echo 1 13 Shit Well it could he worse T hroke the IR ervstal todav It iiist hit the table and the whole damn thing shattered. Echo 114 Shit, you're joking. Guess I'm not using the IR today. No Noticeable 1 1 ^ Shit. This damn machine took my money again. Laughter 1 1 A 1 10 I'll show you how to make a fucldng real bumto. No Noticeable 1 1 7 1 nis lesi IS gomg lo lucKing suck. No Noticeable 1 1 S 1 1 o wnen are mey gomg lO ciean up tneir snit.^ No Noticeable 1 1 Q 1 1 7 My hometown, Brooklyn, has fucking Mafia everywhere. You're Hound to pet voiir fiipkino hrairiQ hinwn nut 120 1 went down the street and found a fucking dollar It was mv fiickini' lucky day. I ?iiiiyht**r/R*»ipftir*n' i-^augiiici/ ixcjcciiuii. WF: Must you use 'fuck' so often? 121 I'm a fucking New Yorker. What do you want me to fucking do? Laughter 122 Shit! I'm late for class. No Noticeable 123 1 feel like shit ISO INULlCCdUie 124 This shit tastes awesome Echo 125 This is some fuckinp Pood chit 1 aimVit^t* i^au^iicr 126 She is being such a bitch. Living with her is going to be hell. No Noticeable 127 Dude, you got some fucked up lines on your face. Echo 128 I was so fucking tired that I didn't move and then I got this shit on my face. Laughter 129 I'm so fucldng lucky that I haven't died or gotten into worse shit, with all the fucking things I've done. Echo 130 Yeah, no shit, dude. You're pretty fucking lucky. Laughter 131 Do you want to hear some fucked up crazy shit? Echo 132 How fucking nice would this be to be proposed to and not fucking knowing that you were being pushed out of a plane right after being 5iQlff*H tilic chit9 Laughter 133 Now that I'm president, I'm not fucking drinking anymore. Echo 1 J'+ No, fuck that. You're still fucking drinking even though you're the fucking president. Laughter 135 Was she mOvinE*^ / No the onlv thino mnvino was hpr pvf"c / TTiat'c fucked up. Echo 136 Yeah, that's fucked up. No Noticeable 137 Can you believe she wanted me to stay at that fucking party? No Noticeable 138 You should see this sweet-ass fucking grill I bought yesterday! Laughter 139 Mike is such a fucking pussy. He wouldn't even say it to your damn face that he thought you had stolen his chairs. "^Jo Noticeable 140 ['m tired of this shit. Stacy is a bitch and she obviously doesn't like ne. I almost told her to her face she was a bitch. Rejection: WF: Don't call her that!

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203 # Setting S-Sex S-Race Listener Sex Listener Race Interlocutor Relationship 141 Shopping center M AA M AA Strangers 142 Shopping center M AA M AA Strangers 143 Movie theater M W M, M W, AA Friends 144 Classroom F AsA M, M, F AA, W, W Classmates 145 Campus/Public F W M, F; M, F W, AA Friends 146 Classroom M W Mixed Mixed Instructor, Students 147 Classroom M W Mixed Mixed Instructor, Students 148 Church F W M W Intimates 149 Private home F W F W Sisters 150 Classroom M W Mixed Mixed Instructor, Students 151 Classroom M W Mixed Mixed Instructor, Students 152 Private home F W F W Sisters 153 Private home F W F W Sisters 154 Private home M W F W Friends 155 Private home F W M W Friends 156 Campus/Public F W F W Friends 157 Private home F AA 3F, M W Friends 158 Classroom M H 2F W Classmates 159 Party F W 2M,2F W Friends 160 Restaurant F W F W Friends 161 Private home F AA F W Roommates 162 Private home F W F,F W, AA Roommates 163 Private home F W F,F W, AA Roommates 164 Private home F W M, M, F W, H, W Friends 165 Party F W 3 M,2F W Friends 166 Campus/Public F W 2F W Instructor, Students 167 Classroom F W Mixed Mixed Classmates, Instructor 168 Classroom F W F W Classmates 169 Private home M W 2F W Friends 170 Campus/Public F H F AA Friends 171 Private home M W M H Friends 172 Private home M H M W Friends 173 Restaurant F H F AA Friends 174 Campus/Public M W F W Friends 175 Campus/Public M W M W Friends 176 Restaurant M W 2F, M W Friends 177 Classroom M W M,M W,H Classmates 178 Classroom M w M, M W, H Classmates 179 Campus/Public F w F,F W,H Friends 180 Campus/Public F w M W Friends SSpeaker; M=Male; F=Female; W=White; AA=African-American; H=Hispanic; AsA=Asian-American

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# Topic Tone 141 Playing a video game Distressed 142 Response to #141 Humorous 143 Scene in movie Humorous 144 The class Distressed 145 Speaker's situation Distressed 146 Anecdote Emphatic 147 Lecture on depression Humorous 148 Reaction to accidental noise Distressed 149 Video game Excited 150 "Gun to your head" gesture Emphatic 151 Addicted employee Humorous 152 Storm thunder Excited 153 Response to #152 Emphatic 154 Greeting Humorous 155 Response to #154 Humorous 156 Temperature Distressed 157 Speaker trips over a shoe Emphatic 158 Another classmate Emphatic 159 Guy who had played in 'Grease' Humorous 160 Guy entering restaurant Emphatic 161 Homework Distressed 162 Speaker's boyfriend Angry 163 Response to #162 Supportive 164 Burned dinner Humorous 165 Girl at the party Angry 166 Another student's absences Anecdotal 167 Class discussion Humorous 168 Temperature of classroom Emphatic 169 Speaker's coworker Humorous 170 Test grade Angry 171 Future exam Desperate 172 Response to #171 Supportive 173 Another girl Angry 174 Weekend plans Excited 175 A bong speaker had seen Emphatic 176 Chewing accident Distressed 177 Paper assignment Distressed 178 Response to #177 Supportive 179 Speaker sees a professor Emphatic 180 Listener trips while walking Humorous

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205 # Swearing Utterance Reaction 141 Xhi^ 1^ fiickino hiillchit' Echo 142 That's how you do that shit. That's how you do it! Laughter Yo, he rucked the snit out oi her! Laughter I hate this fucking class! No Noticeable 1 /K I'm so fucking freaked out and 1 forgot to take my damn antiuepressoni meoicme louay. Laughter 146 a Qiv-ififfi npnnv nnil chf»t intn hie h*»QH r^amn tViin^ ai/qc fKot l/^nrYl ...a oiA iiicii yziiiiy Hall Miui llliu lllb llCaU. I^alllll Lll illf^ WdS ulal lOn^I Laughter 147 for those of you who don't know French, shit colored glasses. 148 Damn it! Reiection* Not at church! 149 You can step on fucking heads and watch all the blood squirt out! No Noticeable 150 Look, Goddamn it! Laughter 151 What'll your boss do? Fire your ass. Laughter 152 Holy shit, that was loud! Echo 153 Thank God you're letting me borrow the fucking car. Laughter 154 What's up, motherfucker? Echo 155 Nothin' much, bitch. No Noticeable 156 Why is it so fucking hot? No Noticeable 157 Shit! T ,a lighter 158 She's always got to be the center of fucking attention. No Noticeahlp 159 Look, it's Danny fucking Zucco! T fliiphtpr 160 Damn! No Noticpahip 161 Why can't I just sit down and write my Goddamn paper in less than 5 hours? No Noticeable 162 1 swear, he acts like a fucking 12 year old. Echo 163 Shit, they all do. No Noticeable 164 That smells like ass. Laughter 165 What the fuck is that whore doing here? No Noticeable 166 I didn't want to pull all that bureaucratic red-tape shit on her. No Noticeable 167 1 just thought, 'Fuck. 1 don't understand a thing they're talking about.' Laughter 168 It's so fucking cold. No Noticeable 169 [...] and he said, 'Well tell him I think he's full of shit.' Laughter 170 That professor is such a bitch. She gave me a 72 on that test. No Noticeable 171 Dude, I don't know any of this shit. I can't fail this test! Echo 172 No shit, dude. No Noticeable 173 Ah, she's such a fucking bitch. I can't stand her. No Noticeable 174 Shit, I can't wait to go home and see my friends! No Noticeable 175 Shit, that bong was bad-ass. Laughter 176 Dw, shit! I just bit my tongue! No Noticeable 177 rhat fucking paper was a pain in my ass. Echo 178 ] slo shit. I was fucking up all night writing it. ^Jo Noticeable 179 ( Dh my God, I hate that fucking professor. ^0 Noticeable 180 ^ ii'ou're such a fucking dork! ] Laughter

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206 # Setting S-Sex S-Race Listener Sex Listener Race Interlocutor Relationship 181 Campus/Public M W F W Friends 182 Private home M W M w Roommates 183 Private home M w 2F,M w Friends 184 Private home F w 2M, F w Friends 185 On-line chat M w M,F w Friends 186 Private home F w M,F W, H, W Friends 187 Private home F w F W Friends 188 Private home F w F w Friends 189 Car M w M,F w Friends 190 Classroom M w 2 F, M, M W, W,AA Classmates 191 On-line chat M w F W Friends 192 Private home F H 3F w Friends 193 Classroom M W 2 F, M, F W, AA, AsA Classmates 194 Car F w F W Friends 195 Car F w F W Friends 196 Private home F w M, F W,H Friends 197 Car M w M, F W Friends 198 Campus/Public F w M, F W, H Classmates 199 Private home M H M,F W,H Friends 200 Private home F H F H Roommates 201 Private home F H F H Roommates 202 Car F W 2F H Friends 203 Private home F W F H Friends 204 Private home F H F W Friends 205 Bar F H F,F W,H Friends 206 Classroom F W Mixed Mixed Instructor, Students 207 Campus/Public M W F, F,F W, H, AsA Classmates 208 Shopping center M AA F AA Friends 209 Private home F W F W Roommates 210 Private home F W F W Roommates 211 Party M W Mixed Mixed Friends 212 Private home F W F,F W,H Roommates 213 Private home F w F W Sisters 214 Classroom M AA M,F W, AA Classmates 215 Classroom F AA M,M AA, W Classmates 216 Private home F W F W Sisters 217 Private home F W F W Sisters 218 Party F W F,F W,H Friends 219 Party F w F,F W,H Friends 220 Shopping center F w F W Coworkers S-Speaker; M=Maie; F=Female; W=White; AA=African-American; H=Hispanic; AsA=Asian-American

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207 # Topic Tone 181 Boring party Sarcastic 182 Speaker's work schedule Serious 183 A movie Excited 184 Response to #183 Sarcastic 185 Listener's boyfriend Supportive 186 Speaker's illness Distressed 187 Listener's behavior Excited 188 Response to #187 Humorous 189 Girl speading rumors Angry 190 Test Distressed 191 Speaker's girlfriend Distressed 192 Speaker's boyfriend Distressed 193 Lecture Serious 194 Speaker's ex-boyfriend Serious 195 Response to #194 Supportive 196 Constipation Humorous 197 Car crash Angry 198 Student-teacher conference Disfressed 199 Speaker interrupted Humorous 200 Song Excited 201 Response to #200 Rebellious 202 Speaker's coworker Angry 203 Speaker not answering phone Humorous 204 Response to #203 Humorous 205 Speaker's headache Distressed 206 A literary character Anecdotal 207 Forgotten homework task Humorous 208 Listener paid $28 for a shirt Emphatic 209 Speaker leaving Humorous 210 Response to #209 Humorous 211 Playing a drinking game Excited 212 Speaker's boyfriend Angry 213 Listener is cooking Distressed 214 Speaker got a parking ticket Angry 215 Response to #214 Humorous 216 Dirty dishes Angry 217 Response to #216 Supportive 218 Arrival of ex -boyfriend Emphatic 219 Response to #2 18 Emphatic 220 Checks Distressed

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# Swearing Utterance Reaction 181 Yeah, that fucking party was a lot of flin. Laughter 182 Fuck. I can't believe I have to work tomorrow night. No Noticeable 183 That movie kicked ass! Echo 184 Oh yeah, that movie kicked so much ass! Laughter 185 You could do so much better than that asshole. No Noticeable 186 Shit, this is scary. No Noticeable 187 Oh fucking shit no way! Echo 188 Fuck you! Laughter 189 What the fuck is her problem? No Noticeable 190 Fuck. I failed that one. No Noticeable 191 If she fuclis with me one more time... No Noticeable 192 He's being such an asshole about it. No Noticeable 193 Damn. This class is boring. No Noticeable 194 Damn! I can't believe he would do that shit. Echo 195 Damn. No Noticeable 196 Don't worry! You'll shit it out! Laughter 197 Fuck! No Noticeable 198 Fu-uck! Fu-uck! Laughter 199 You people fucking interrupted me! Damn! Laughter 200 That song is the fucking bomb! Echo 201 Are you kidding me? This song sucks ass! Laughter 202 I hate that bitch. She gets paid to do nothing. No Noticeable 203 I was fucking in the shower, dude! Echo 204 Were you in the shower or fucking in the shower? Laughter 205 My head fucking hurts. No Noticeable 206 ...she was such a bitch. No Noticeable 207 Fuck! Laughter 208 You have to be fucking kidding me! No Noticeable 209 Ab-ight, I'm hauling ass. Echo 210 You're hauling ass? OK. Laughter 211 1 ,2,3,4,5,6,fuck,8,9, 1 0,shit, 12, 1 3,motherfucker. . . Laughter 212 He's a fucking jerk. He knows exactly how to piss me off. No Noticeable 213 Don't fuck it up! No Noticeable 214 I guarantee it was some bitch-ass punk who had nothmg better to do. Echo 215 I bet she saw your nigger ass and gave it to you because you are one fine-ass-motherfucker! Laughter 216 These fucking dishes have been here for five fucking days! Echo 217 One of those bitches needs to get out here and do them! No Noticeable 218 Look at that motherfucker thinking he's the shit. Echo 219 I can't believe his dumb ass even showed up here. No Noticeable 220 My fucking checks are so off Where the hell is that money? No Noticeable

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# Setting S-Sex S-Race Listener Sex Listener Race Interlocutor Relationship 221 Supermarket M W F W Customer, Employee 222 Party F W 2F W Friends 223 Car M w 2F w Friends 224 Car F w M, F w Friends 225 Private home M w 3M, F w Friends 226 Private home M w M w Friends 227 Campus/Public M w 3 M w Teammates 228 Campus/Public M w 3 M w Teammates 229 Private home M w M w Friends 230 Private home M w 3M,F w Friends 231 Private home M w 3M,F w Friends 232 Private home M w 3M, F w Friends 233 Campus/Public M w 3M, F w Teammates 234 Campus/Public M w 3M, F w Teammates 235 Bar M w M, F w Friends 236 Bar M w M, F w Friends 237 Classroom F w F AA Classmates 238 Classroom F AA F W Classmates 239 Office M W F AA Doctor, Patient 240 Office F W F W Coworkers 241 Campus/Public F W F W Friends 242 Classroom M w Mixed Mixed Instructor, Students 243 Office F w 3 F W Employer, Employee 244 Office M w F W Employer, Employee 245 Office F w F W Employer, Employee 246 Private home M w F W Intimates 247 Private home F w M W Intimates 248 Classroom F w F W Classmates V^ampUS/ruDIlC r Al/ w 3 F W, AA, H Teammates 250 Private home F w F, F W, AA Roommates 251 Campus/Public F w F W Roommates 252 Campus/Public F w 2F,F W, AA Friends 253 Campus/Public F w 2F,F W, AA Friends 254 Private home F w 2F, F W, AA Friends 255 Campus/Public M AA M, M,F W, AA, AA Friends 256 Campus/Public F W F W Friends S-Speaker; M=Male; F=Female; W=White; AA=African-American; H=Hispanic; AsA=Asian-American

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# Topic Tone 221 Man on hold Angry 222 Speaker's drunkeness Emphatic 223 Car in front Sarcastic 224 Response to #223 Supportive 225 Poker hand Angry 226 Long chess game Distressed 227 Volleyball game Abusive 228 Response to #227 Angry 229 Chess game Distressed 230 Poker game Rebellious 231 Poker hand Distressed 232 Volleyball player Anecdotal 233 Disagreement about plays Serious 234 Response to #233 Angry 235 Car in parking lot Emphatic 236 Speaker's job Emphatic 237 Homework that is due Humorous 238 Response to #237 Sarcastic 239 Doctor's tape recorder broke Distressed 240 Speaker's mistake Distressed 241 Waiting for rehearsal partner Angry 242 Discussing play scene Excited 243 Listener ate Speaker's chocolate Humorous 244 Unable to finish reading proofs Anecdotal 245 Patient Anecdotal 246 Meeting at home Abusive 247 Response to #246 Angry 248 Grades Disfressed 249 Lifting weights Emphatic 250 Speaker's boyfriend Emphatic 251 Speaker's roommate Angry 252 Girl walking by Humorous 253 Test Desperate 254 Speaker's exam review Disfressed 255 Laundry Himiorous 256 Speaker's boyfriend Anecdotal

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# Swearing Utterance Reaction 221 I've been holding for the Goddamn deli for 15 minutes, so you can Nn Nntirpflhlp 222 I am so fucked up I can't even see. Laughter 223 This fucking guy is going 10 miles an hour! Echo 224 What an assbole. No Noticeable 225 Son of a bitch. No wilds. No Noticeable 226 It's a fuckinp stale-mate man All that time for nothinp No Noticeable 227 Cmon man Pass the fuckintr ball You suck Echo 228 I'm tired of you talking shit the whole game. Just play the fucking gallic No Noticeable 229 1 didnt hear the queen check. Son of a bitch. My bad. No Noticeable Bullshit, man. That bitch is bluffing. He ain't got shit. Laughter 01 1 Z J 1 Who dealt me this shit, man? I'm tired of losing. No Noticeable He's a good left side fucking hitter. I played against him in Daytona. No Noticeable oil Just hit the fucking ball. Those sets are fine. Echo 01/1 Bullshit, man. Just set the fucking ball lower. No Noticeable 01 < Those Ranger Defenders are bad-ass shit, man. They go through anything. No Noticeable 01A Fm tired of those old bastards rushing me around work. Everybody's 111 n hiirrv 111 d iiui 1 Y. l^U INUlICCaDlC 237 Hell, no, I don't have it! Echo What the fuck's wrong with you? You nervous or something? Shit. Laughter This fucking thing's always breaking. Damn it! Laughter "7 /in Oh, shit. Look what I've done. I stuck this book in the peanut butter. Laughter Z*f 1 Shit. Where the fuck is Jay? If you fail because of him, that's fucked. No Noticeable 242 You're waiting for Godot and you're discussing this Goddamn dead tree. Laughter r ucKing Diicn, you aie an my cnocoiaie. Laughter I was doing good, too. Shit. No time to finish proofing. Next client's waiting. Laughter Z4J one s jusi lucKeu up. No Noticeable Z40 Where are you? Get the fuck home now! tcho Z^J / Who the fuck do you think you're talking to? Echo (not recorded) Z*fo I need a 'B' in this fucking class or I don't get in the dual degree program. No Noticeable Z47 I hate this fucking shit! No Noticeable 250 He lives in a littif* nippp nf* chit hnlf* in th(» wf^ll XIW li vvo 111 u lllll^ Lll^v^ \Jl 3UII 111 lllC Weill. INO INOllLCaUlC 251 She is such a fucking bitch. She can't just come in quietly, she has to make all this fucking noise. No Noticeable 252 Fucking whore. Laughter 253 Fuck! 1 have a fucldng music test tomorrow! Laughter 254 This fucking sucks! I don't wanna fucking study anymore! No Noticeable 255 Vlan, I told that bitch to wash my shirt and she said no. So I said, "Fuck that. Get out of my face, bitch." Laughter 256 What if I tell him that I don't want to fuck him anymore and he leaves? No Noticeable

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212 # Setting S-Sex S-Race Listener Sex Listener Race Interlocutor Relationship 257 Private home M W F W Intimates 258 Private home F W M W Intimates 259 Private home M AsA M,F AsA, W Intimates, Friend 260 Restaurant M H 2F, M W Friends 261 Bus M W F, 3 F, M, 4M AA, W, H, W Strangers 262 Private home F W F W Sisters 263 Bus M W M W Strangers 264 Bar F W F,F AA,H Friends 265 Restaurant F AA F AA Friends 266 Classroom F H M AA Classmates 267 Classroom F W F AA Classmates 268 Private home F AA 2F AA Roommates 269 Campus/Public F AA 4F AA Club members 270 Private home F AA F AA Roommates 271 Private home F AA F AA Roommates 272 Party F AA Mixed Mixed Friends/Strangers 273 Private home F AA M AA Friends 274 Private home M AA F AA Friends 275 Private home F W M W Intimates 276 Car M W F W Intimates 277 Private home F W M W Intimates 278 Restaurant M W M W Coworkers 279 Private home F W M W Intimates 280 Campus/Public M W 2M W Friends 281 Classroom F W 2M W Classmates 282 Private home F W F W Friends 283 Movie theater F W M W Intimates 284 Private home F W M W Intimates 285 Private home M W F W Intimates 286 Fraternity house M W 3 M W Roommates 287 Fraternity house M W 3 M W Roommates 288 Fraternity house M W 3 M W Roommates 289 Private home M W F W Intimates 290 Private home M W F W Intimates 291 Private home M W F W Intimates 292 Classroom M W M W Classmates 293 Private home F W M W Friends 294 Private home M W F W Friends 295 Private home M W M W Friends 296 1 Private home M w 1 F W Intimates S-Speaker; M=Male; F=Female;W=White; AA=African-American; H=Hispanic; AsA=Asian-American

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# Topic Tone 257 Request for couch space Humorous 258 Response to #257 Humorous 259 Music video Himiorous 260 Fat content listing Sarcastic 261 Injured hand Distressed 262 Listener spilled food Sarcastic 263 Orange juice on bus seat Emphatic 264 Another girl Emphatic 265 Poor service Emphatic 266 Listener 'stood up' Speaker Angry 267 Leaving class Humorous 268 Raffle prize money Distressed 269 Bad news Angry 270 Listener's head Humorous 271 Response to #270 Distressed 272 Fight breaking out in vicinity Distressed 273 Behavior Humorous 274 Response to #273 Humorous 275 Car crash Excited 276 Listener's driving Angry 277 Television characters Excited 278 Work schedule Angry 279 State of home Angry 280 Work place Humorous 281 Exams Emphatic 282 Dinner Excited 283 Movie Serious 284 Laundry Abusive 285 Money Humorous 286 Football Excited 287 Response to #286 Rebellious 288 Response to #287 Humorous 289 Popcorn Distressed 290 Movie Humorous 291 Movie Emphatic 292 Parking ticket Angry 293 Speaker's ex-boyfriend Serious 294 Response to #293 Supportive 295 Accident while moving furniture Angry 296 Speaker lied to listener Distressed

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# Swearing Utterance Reaction 257 Shut the fuck up, bitch! Echo/Rejection 258 Don't fucking swear at me! Laughter 259 Madonna looks like such a spaz. All this time-lapse shit makes me nauseous. Laughter 260 Like anyone fucking needs to know their dinner's 64 grams of fat. No Noticeable 261 Oww...shit! No Noticeable 262 Good job, dumbass. No Noticeable 263 Whoa! Don't sit there. There's shit all over that seat. No Noticeable 264 She's such a bitch. If she's goin', then I'm not. No Noticeable 265 That incompetent fuck-ass. No Noticeable 266 Shut the fuck up. No Noticeable 267 Let's get the hell out of here! Laughter 268 Shit, they ain't goima pay me that $100! Laughter 269 You dropped a damn bomb on us! No Noticeable 270 1 nnvp cppn crimp r\pnr»lp u/ith cninp Kin—occ Hntvipc 1 llaVC DC&ll dUlllC LfCUUlC Wllil oUlllC Ulg UUIllCS. Echo Chit Vr\il met t\nn^\ l^nrwi/ ollll. I UU JUol UUll I KIIUW. Laughter 977 iiiudc uig iiiuiucnucKcrs are not auoui lo crasn mio mei Laughter 77'^ ncii, my iiiaiiiiiia ulu iioi piay indi soil, i Know now lo aci. Echo 274 You're damn right. My mamma didn't go for that shit, either. Laughter 275 I just wrecked my fucking car. My car is totalled. My dad is going to fucking kill me! No Noticeable 1 ou uciicr wdicn wnat you re uomg. i ou re gonna lucKing Kill us both. No Noticeable 277 These guys are fucking the shit! No Noticeable 278 I am so sick of working this many damn hours. Fuck this place. No Noticpahlp 279 This place is a fucking mess. No Notirpahlp 280 Why would you want to fucking work for a place that makes you take a drug test? Laughter 281 These fucking tests are so hard. No Noticeable 282 This is some good shit! No Noticeable 283 This movie was a shitty choice. No Noticeable 284 You better do your laundry you fucking lazy asshole. No Noticeable 285 You better save your pennies or you're going to be a broke bitch. Laughter 286 The Dolphins are gonna kick ass this year. Echo 287 Yeah, right. The Dolphins always fucking suck. Echo 288 You guys are all crazy. All you talk about is fucking football. Laughter 289 Shit! I just burned the popcorn! Laughter 290 This movie is fucking crazy! Laughter 291 Damn. He said 'damn' in a courtroom. No Noticeable 292 Fuck. I got a ticket. No Noticeable 293 John is a fucking asshole. Every time we talk we get into a fight. Echo 294 ' Veah, I know. He is an asshole. •"Jo Noticeable 295 ! Shit! I stubbed my toe! Laughter 296 ] fucked up, okay? I admit that. "Jo Noticeable

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215 # Setting S-Sex S-Race Listener Sex Listener Race Interlocutor Relationship 297 Restaurant F W F W Friends 298 Restaurant F W F W Friends 299 Private home F w F w Roommates 300 Private home F w F w Roommates 301 Private home F w F w Roommates 302 Private home F w F w Roommates 303 Private home M w F w Intimates 304 Classroom F w Mixed Mixed Classmates 305 Private home F w F W Friends 306 Restaurant M H 2 F, F, M W, AA, W Employer, Employee 307 Private home M W F W Friends 308 Campus/Public F W M,F H, AA Club members 309 Campus/Public M H M W Friends 310 Private home F W M W Friends 311 Private home M W F W Friends 312 Private home M W F W Friends 313 Campus/Public F H F,F W, AsA Classmates 314 Private home F W 2F W Friends 315 Restaurant M W F AA Customer, Employee 316 Campus/Public F w F W Roommates 317 Campus/Public F w F W Roommates 318 Car F AA F AA Friends 319 Campus/Public F W F AA Friends 320 Classroom M AA M W Classmates 321 Campus/Public F AA F AA Friends 322 Campus/Public F W F W Friends 323 Private home F AsA F AsA Roommates 324 Campus/Public M AA 2M AA Friends 325 Campus/Public M AA 2 M AA Friends 326 Campus/Public M AA 2M AA Friends 327 Campus/Public M AA 2M AA Friends 328 Campus/Public M W M, F W Friends 329 Campus/Public F W 2M W Friends 330 Campus/Public M W M, F W Friends 331 Campus/Public M W M, F W Friends 332 Campus/Public M W M,F W Friends 333 Campus/Public M W M,F W Friends 334 Campus/Public M W M, F W Friends 335 Campus/Public F W F W Friends S-Speaker; M=Male; F=Female; W=White; AA=African-American; H=Hispanic; AsA=Asian-American

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# Topic Tone 297 Mutual acquaintance Angry 298 Response to #297 Supportive 299 Speaker's new job Distressed 300 Serial killer on news Emphatic 301 Response to #300 Emphatic 302 Listener asked to sit on couch Himiorous 303 Speaker's phone bill Distressed 304 Shit' with a Southern accent Humorous 305 Homework Distressed 306 Hunger Humorous 307 Uknown/argument Desperate 308 Giving directions Anecdotal 309 Religion Angry 310 An intimate relationship Anecdotal 311 Response to #310 Supportive 312 Video game Distressed 313 Paper assignment Anecdotal 314 Evening plans Distressed 315 Slow service Angry 316 Watching television Excited 317 Response to #316 Humorous 318 Comparing cars Humorous 319 Weather Humorous 320 Reading list for an exam Distressed 321 Walking distance to class Humorous 322 Speaker's weekend Excited 323 Shampoo Distressed 324 Selling shoes Anecdotal 325 Response to #324 Anecdotal 326 Response to #325 Anecdotal 327 Response to #326 Anecdotal 328 Roommate situation Distressed 329 Response to #328 Supportive 330 Response to #329 Distressed 331 Response to #330 Rebellious 332 Response to #330, #331 Serious 333 Skateboarder riding by Emphatic 334 Response to #333 Excited 335 Speaker's sister Emphatic

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217 # Swearing Utterance Reaction 297 She just pretended not to see me. Can you believe that bitch? Echo 298 I always thought she was a bitch anyways. No Noticeable 299 This fucking job sucks my ass! No Noticeable 300 This guy is a fucking looney tune! Echo 301 Yeah, you'd have to be pretty fucked up to do something like that. No Noticeable 302 No! Fuck you! Laughter 303 I can't believe my fucking phone bill was $300. I can't handle this shit. No Noticeable 304 Shee-it. Laughter 305 I don't know what the hell I'm doing. No Noticeable 306 Damn straight I'm hungry. No Noticeable 307 I don't know what the hell you want me to do. No Noticeable 308 It's like way the fuck over there. No Noticeable 309 Tell me, asshole. What happens to Jews who don't believe in Jesus? No Noticeable 310 He was fucking with my mind. Echo 311 Why'd you fucking let him do that? No Noticeable 312 I stink at this fucking game. No Noticeable 313 My whole paper was full of shit. No Noticeable 314 I don't know what the hell there is to do here. Laughter 315 This is supposed to be fucking fast food. No Noticeable 316 Oh, shit! Echo 317 What the hell?! Laughter 318 ...And look at my little piss-ass car. Laughter 319 It is too fucking hot, you know? Laughter \X/Vi!it je thic chit? W Hal M Llllo 31111. 321 This is bullshit! Laughter 322 Dude, this weekend fucking rocked! Laughter 323 Damn! Aren't you done with this shampoo yet? No Noticeable 324 If you gonna get the shit, get the shit. Echo o ^ c 325 I keep the real inventory out here. You got shit on the motherfucking wall. Echo 326 They drop the shit in New York to see how they gonna do. I don't get that shit. Fuck, man. Echo 327 Let me tell you. I was goin' through that shit. Fuck that. Fuck that shit. Man, that shit was crazy. No Noticeable I Coll, UUl lllC blLUallOll 1 WaD Ul UClUrC Woo sillily. Echo 329 And that's whv vou should avoid ffettinff into another shittv one Echo 330 Yeah, but in her fucking grey mind everything is great. Echo 331 What is up with her? If that girl ever hit my car I'd fucking knock her out. I just fucking would. Echo 332 That's fucked up. Echo 333 I see this kid everywhere. He's fucking everywhere. That kid fucking hauls ass everywhere. Echo 334 That's fucking what's-his-name's friend. Remember that dude ...? No Noticeable 335 Every goddamn place I go people know my fucking sister. Laughter

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218 # Setting S-Sex S-Race Listener Sex Listener Race Interlocutor Relationship 336 Private home F W 2F W Friends 337 Campus/Public M AA 3 M AA Friends 338 Campus/Public M AA 3 M AA Friends 339 Campus/Public M AA 3 M AA Friends 340 Campus/Public M AA 2M AA Friends 341 Campus/Public M AA 2 M AA Friends 342 Campus/Public M AA 2M, F AA Friends 343 Campus/Public F AA 2 M AA Friends 344 Campus/Public F AA F AA Friends 345 Campus/Public F W M W Friends 346 Campus/Public M W F W Friends 347 Campus/Public M W 2M W Friends 348 Campus/Public F AsA F W Friends 349 Campus/Public M AA M,F AA Friends 350 Campus/Public F AA 2M, 2F AA Friends 351 Campus/Public M AA 3F,M AA Friends 352 Campus/Public M AA 2 M AA Friends 353 Campus/Public M AA 2M AA Friends 354 Campus/Public M AsA 3F,M AsA Friends 355 Campus/Public F AsA 2M,2F AsA Friends 356 Campus/Public M AsA 3F,M AsA Friends 357 Campus/Public M AsA 3F, M AsA Friends 358 Campus/Public F AsA 2M,2F AsA Friends 359 Private home F W 2F W Friends 360 Private home F W 2F W Friends 361 Private home F W F W Friends 362 Car F W F w Friends 363 Car F W F w Friends 364 Classroom M W F w Classmates 365 Private home F W F w Friends 366 Campus/Public F AA 2F AA Friends 367 Campus/Public F AA 2 F AA Friends 368 Campus/Public M AA 2M AA Friends 369 Campus/Public M AA 2M AA Friends 370 Office F W 2F W Classmates S=Speaker; M=Male; F=Female; W=White; AA=African-American; H=Hispanic; AsA=Asian-Ajnerican

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# Topic Tone 336 Professor's comments Humorous 337 Speaker's girl problems Humorous 338 Response to #337 Supportive 339 Reaction to listener's story Supportive 340 School registration Distressed 341 Response to #340 Emphatic 342 Song on the radio Emphatic 343 Unknown Anecdotal 344 Speaker's friend Humorous 345 Movie Sarcastic 346 Television characters Emphatic 347 Unknown Humorous 348 Smelly towel Anecdotal 349 Unknown Humorous 350 Response to #351, #352 Anecdotal 351 Response to #352 Anecdotal 352 Describing party scene Anecdotal 353 Response to #355 Excited 354 Paintball damage Emphatic 355 Response to #357 Emphatic 356 Response to #357 Excited 357 Response to #359 Excited 358 Response to #360 Distressed 359 Throwing out clothing Distressed 360 Professor's comments Distressed 361 Unfair treatment Rebellious 362 Reacting to missed exit Distressed 363 Another driver Angry 364 Listener antagonizes speaker Rebellious 365 Spilled wax Distressed 366 Speaker being stood up Angry 367 Responsibilities Angry 368 Women Anecdotal 369 Response to #371 Angry 370 Dissertation Distressed

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220 # Swearing Utterance Reaction 336 Then I'm like, "What the fuck does that mean?" Laughter 337 I wanna have fun, man. I don't give a shit, you know what I'm saying? Echo 338 Shit, yeah. No Noticeable 1 nai s iiJCKeu, man. vvooaanin. No Nntirpflhlp "3 /in 1 nai s wndi i m sdying. i wax mih o uu-ur-uic. Echo 341 I had all that shit, though. That fucking pre-requisite shit ain't no fun. Echo 342 Your ass don't be listening, man. That shit's the bomb! Laughter 343 ...she fucking... Rejection: AAM: Watch the language of your iTiouini AAMSheesh' AAF: Well, I'm sorry. 344 He ain't going nowhere. I have to walk my ass on up there. Laughter 345 It's a Disney show. What'd you expect? Detective mystery shit? Echo ("shit", full utterance not recorded) 346 That guy was the shit! No Noticeable 347 Every fucking step I take I'm like, "Holy shit!" No Noticeable 348 I had it around my neck and I was like, "What the fuck?" No Noticeable 349 First of all, they're fucking with the wrong kid. Laughter 350 That's some crazy shit. Echo 351 He be doin' some dumb shit, that nigger. No Noticeable 352 And then 12 meters around that bitch (a male) were beer cans. Echo 353 Both of them niggers were sweatin' and shit. No Noticeable 354 That's a big fucking hole, man. Echo 355 Damn. Echo 356 I'd get mad and be like, "What the fuck?" Goddamn. Echo 357 This guy came up on me and I slid and was like, "Shit!" Echo 358 Oh, I can't go you have to be 1 8. Damn, I wanna do that. No Noticeable 359 I have to get rid of this shit. No Noticeable 360 He gave me shit and I just got aggravated. No Noticeable 361 You guys are chicken shits. I'm sure he fucked you big time. No Noticeable Shoot. Aw, man, I fucked up. No Noticeable Thanks for the signal, fucldiead. No Noticeable 364 What are you doing awake? / Are you giving me shit? No Noticeable 365 Still, it's like one more goddamn fucking shit mess to clean up. I mean, my mom won't care. But it's like, shit, you know? No Noticeable 366 He fucking be down. Like 4 flat tires and shit. Mickey does that shit. You gotta do that shit. No Noticeable 367 You got no motherfucking choice. I don't care if it's motherfucking gonna rain. You bring your ass there. Laughter 368 Why you motherfucking wanna play?" Echo 369 I say fuck that shit. I'm gonna get personal, and they (women) start yelling 'fuck' or 'dick' or some shit like that. No Noticeable 370 ... it takes so fucking long. Just get the shit in the computer. 1 mean, I'm fucking ABD and I just gotta write the fucking diss. Laughter

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221 # Setting S-Sex S-Race Listener Sex Listener Race Interlocutor Relationship 371 Office F W M, F H, W Friends 372 Campus/Public F H F W Friends 373 Private home M H F, F W, H Intimates, friend 374 Bar F H M H Intimates 375 Bar F W M, F H, W Friends 376 Private home F W 2 F W Friends 377 Car F H F W Friends 378 Campus/Public M AA F W Friends 379 Campus/Public F W M AA Friends 380 Campus/Public F W M AA Fnends 381 Campus/Public F W M AA Friends 382 Campus/Public M AA M AA Friends 383 Campus/Public M AA 2 M AA Friends 384 Campus/Public M AA 2 M AA Friends 385 Campus/Public M AA 2 M AA Friends 386 Campus/Public M AA 2 M AA Friends 387 Campus/Public M AA 2 M AA Friends 388 Campus/Public M AA 2M AA Friends 389 Campus/Public F W F W Friends 390 Campus/Public M AA 2M,2F AA Friends 391 Campus/Public M AA 2M,2F AA Friends 392 Campus/Public F AA 2F, M AA Strangers 393 Campus/Public F W F W Friends 394 Campus/Public M AA 2M AA Friends S=Speaker; M=MaIe; F=Female; W=White; AA=African-American; H=Hispanic; AsA= Asian-American

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# Topic Tone 371 Gay writer seen at conference Humorous 372 Saying goodbye to relatives Humorous 373 New diabetes treatment Excited 374 Talking about a prior event Anecdotal 375 Book Humorous 376 Effect of beer on body Humorous 377 Being lone female cop Emphatic 378 Inquiry as to well-being Serious 379 Waking up Anecdotal 380 Waking up, contined Anecdotal 381 Going to class Anecdotal 382 Keeping records at work Anecdotal 383 Getting a job after school Emphatic 384 Response to #386 Emphatic 385 Response to #387 Emphatic 386 Response to #388 Emphatic 387 Response to #389 Emphatic 388 Response to #390 Distressed 389 Speaker's job Anecdotal 390 Party scene Excited 391 Response to #393 Excited 392 Sunlight Distressed 393 Weekend plans Emphatic 394 Girl walking by Emphatic

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223 ft Swearing Utterance Reaction J 1 1 ric was on iiic iianng noner irian snii. LaUgnier D 1 z. 1 vroauainii Dawi every ume i say gooQuye. j^augnier J 1 J fNo more neeuies. rucKing a, man. iNO [NouceaDie 1 m iiKe, cai snii. i m givmg mm my eai snii looK. Laughter J ID Wnal S inc SlOTy aUOUI: / LIICKS. Laughter 376 Now 1 got a beer ass. I'm sittin' on beer. Laughter 377 Wouldn't you be scared fuckless? No Noticeable 378 I'm bored out of my motherfucking mind. No Noticeable 379 And at 1 1 :00 the phone rang and I was like, "What the fuck?!" Laughter 380 I talked on the phone until 2 and then I was like, shit! Laughter 381 ...so 1 was like, this is the only fucking thing 1 need to take a quiz. Laughter 382 That shit was easy... 1 put all that shit down. I keep that shit. No Noticeable 383 We're talkin' about the dude-man. A motherfucking partier. He graduated with a 2.0. He say that shit don't matter. Echo 384 Those business majors don't do a Goddamn thing. Echo 385 Women got it good, too. I don't like that shit. Echo 386 A man in power, they own their own business and shit. Let my wife make more than me? I say shit. Goddamn! Echo 387 That shit's a lot of work. That's why I couldn't do that shit. I'm not even with that chif Willi LIlaL 3Uli. Echo 388 Bitch (male) has got 4 or 5 degrees but can't even find a job. No Noticeable 389 I did a lot of shit with the kids and the old folks. No Noticeable 390 All the lights were off and shit. It was motherfucking crazy. Echo 391 They turned the fucking lights off? No Noticeable 392 Every spot I come the sun fucking finds it. No Noticeable 393 We could rent movies and you can rent 'em for a long-ass time now, too. No Noticeable 394 I bet she's gonna fucking go work out. No Noticeable

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APPENDIX C EXAMPLE QUESTIONNAIRE Part I. Please answer the questions as accurately as possible. 1 . What is your age? 2. What is your race? 3. Are you male or female? (circle one) 4. Are you in your 1" 2"'' 3"* 4'" or 5"" year at the University? (circle one) 5. Where were you bom? City: State or Country: 6. Where did you attend high school? City: State or Country:_ 7. Where does your father currently live? City: State or Country: 8. Where does your mother currently live? City: State or Country: 9. What is the highest level of education achieved by each of your parents? (check one) Father Mother High school diploma High school diploma Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Graduate degree Graduate degree Other: Other: Don't know Don't know 10. What is your father's occupation? 1 1 . What is your mother's occupation? 12. Were you raised to practice an organized religion? Yes No (circle one) If 'Yes', which? 13. Are you currently affiliated with an organized religion? Yes No (circle one) If 'Yes', which? 14. Are you currently a member of any club or organization? If 'Yes', which? 224

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Part II. 1 . The following is a list of words which may or may not be considered offensive. Using the scale provided, please indicate by circling a number how offensive you consider these words to be. Not Offensive Ass Asshole Bastard Bitch Cunt Damn Dick Fuck Hell Motherfucker Nigger Shit 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 Very Offensive 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 2. If you had to talk about these words as a group, how would you refer to them? That is, what kind of words are these? 3. In your opinion, should any of the above words be deleted from this group? If so, which? 4. In your opinion, should any other words be added to this group? If so, which? 5. Please circle any words which you would not use. 6. In your opinion, is the oflfensiveness of these words fixed and unchanging? Yes No (circle one) Please explain your answer:

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226 Part III. The words from the list provided in Part II will hereon be referred to as "swear" words. Use of these words will be referred to as "to swear" or "swearing". The following questions and statements pertain to you. Please circle one answer; you may write comments about your answers if you wish to. 1 . Do you use swear words? Yes, often. Yes, sometimes. Rarely. No, never. If you answered "No, never" to Question #1, put an "X" next to any of the following questions which do not apply to you. 2. Do you have personal "rules" about swearing? Yes. No. If "Yes", please explain: 3. Have any of your university instructors ever used swear words during class lectures or discussions? Yes. No. 4. Does your father use swear words when he speaks to you? Yes, often. Yes, sometimes. Rarely. 5. Does your mother use swear words when she speaks to you? Yes, often. Yes, sometimes. Rarely. 6. Do you ever consciously try not to swear? Yes, often. Yes, sometimes. Rarely. 7. Is there a type of person you think should not use swear words? Yes. No. 8. With which group of people are you most likely to use swear words? My family. People I don't like. Myfiiends. People I don't know. Other: 9. Do you use swear words when you participate in class discussions? Yes, often. Yes, sometimes. Rarely. No, never. 10. Do you use swear words when you speak to your fiiends? Yes, often. Yes, sometimes. Rarely. No, never. 1 1 . Are there times when you try to use swear words more often than usual? Yes, often. Yes, sometimes. Rarely. No, nevCT. 12. In what emotional state are you most likely to use swear words? When I'm happy. When I'm angry. When I'm relaxed. When I'm stressed. Other: No, never. No, never. No, never.

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227 13. Do you use swear words when you speak to your father? Yes, often. Yes, sometimes. Rarely. No, never. 14. Do you use swear words when you speak to your mother? Yes, often. Yes, sometimes. Rarely. No, never. 15. Do you use swear words to offend or hurt people? Yes, often. Yes, sometimes. Rarely. No, never. 16. Do you feel offended when people you don't know use swear words when they speak to you? Yes, often. Yes, sometimes. Rarely. No, never. 17. Are there times when you try to use swear words less often than usual? Yes. No. 1 8. Which of the following is most likely to affect whether or not you will use swear words? Where I am. Whom I'm talking to. What I'm talking about. How I feel. 19. Have you ever "slipped"? That is, have you ever used swear words when you didn't mean or want to? Yes, often. Yes, sometimes. Rarely. No, never. 20. Does your frequency of swearing change when you speak to members of the opposite sex? No change. Yes, 1 swear more often. Yes, I swear less often. 2 1 . Do you think it is acceptable for instructors to use swear words in class? Yes. No. It depends on: 22. With which group of people are you least likely to use swear words? My family. People I don't like. My friends. People I don't know. 23. Do you think men swear more than women? Yes. No, it is about equal. 24. 25. No, I think women swear more often than men. Do your fiiends use swear words when they speak to you? Yes, often. Yes, sometimes. Rarely. No, never. Do you feel offended when your friends use swear words when they speak to you? Yes, often. Yes, sometimes. Rarely. No, never.

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228 Part IV. After reading the following situations and examples of swearing, please indicate how offensive you consider these words to be by circling a number on the scale provided. Not Offensive Very Offensive 123456789 10 1. Three white, female undergraduate students talking in a public area on campus: Female 1 : "Those are some fucking cool shoes" Female 2: "Really." Female 3: "Thanks. My new clod-hoppers." fucking 123456789 10 2. Two African-American, male undergraduate students talking in a public area on campus: Male 1: "I'm like, the shoes you want are upstairs, and I'll go get 'em if you're gonna buy 'em. If you're gonna get the shit, get the shit." Male 2: "Y'all keep the real inventory up there. You got shit on the motherfucking wall." Male 1: "Yeah, man." shit 123456789 10 motherfucking 123456789 10 3. One white, female undergraduate student talking with two white, male undergraduate students m a public area on campus: Female: "That situation you were in was shitty and that's why you gotta avoid getting into another shitty one." Male 1 : "Yeah, I know." shitty 123456789 10 4. Three African-American, female undergraduate students talking in a public area on campus: Female 1: "He's up there waiting for you." Female 2: "He's sittin' down. He's just fuckin' around. He ain't goin' nowhere. I got to walk my ass on up there. Female 1,3: (laughter) fucking 123456789 10 ass 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5. Two white, female undergraduate students talking (about a smelly towel) in a public area on campus: Female 1: "It smelled like shit. I had it around my neck and was like, 'What the fuck?!'" Female 2: "Eww, gross." shit 123456789 10 fuck 123456789 10 6. Two white, male undergraduate students talking in a public area on campus: Male 1 : "You seen Josh aroimd?" Male 2. "He's probably out fucking his girlfriend." Male 1 : "What, are they together?" fucking 123456789 10

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229 Part V. Write and "X" next to the group of statements that best represents your responses to the following questions. You may cross out any statement which does not apply. You may also make additional comments. 1 . How do you feel about swearing? I don't approve of swearing. I I People who swear sound stupid. Swearing is rude and disrespectful. Swearing is acceptable in certain situations. I I There are rules to swearing: knowing when, where and with whom it is appropriate. Swearing can make communication more effective and meaningfijl. Swearing is an important feature of my speaking style. I like to use swear words. I feel comfortable with my use of swear words. 2. How do you feel about participating in this questionnaire? I felt uncomfortable completing this questionnaire. I I I don't like to use swear words or see them in print. 1 think swearing is inappropriate for academic research. I was an interesting experience. I I I would like to know more about the role of swearing in society. I am interested in language use and language research. nThe questioimaire was boring. This was a waste of my time. Am I done yet? Thank you for completing this questionnaire! Your participation and cooperation are greatly appreciated. You are invited to discuss the questionnaire and the subject of swearing in further detail in a follow-up interview (appx. 20 minutes). If you are interested in participating in an interview, please leave your phone number and either your first name or the last four digits of your social security number. Phone number: First name: Or Last 4 SSN #s: THANK YOU!

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APPENDIX D QUESTIONNAIRE DATA Part I Participant Demographics ff Age Race »ex State of Dirtn High scnool Home state Father's Degree Mother's Degree Current Religion 1 1 1 o A A r FT FT FT (^ulaTlK^ (^DianK^ None 9 1 A A iVl Jam. FT FT ^DianK^ (^DianKj tJaptist % J 9 1 w r PT FT FT Bachelor's Vocational Greek Orthodox A H Z i w r FI FT FT Graduate Bachelor's Methodist A A r FT FT FT Bachelor's utner tsaptist D 1 K 1 o u 11 IVl FT r Li FT FT rL, High school High school catnoiic 7 24 w F IL FL FL Other Hioh Qrhnnl 8 24 w M KY FL FL Graduate Bachelor's Southern Baptist 9 21 w M PA FL FL/PA Other Other Lutheran 10 25 w M FL FL FL Other Other None 11 22 H F Arg. Arg. FL/Arg. Graduate Graduate Catholic 12 18 H M FL FL FL Bachelor's Bachelor's Catholic 13 18 H M FL FL FL High school High school Catholic 14 18 W F FL FL FL Vocational Bachelor's Baptist 15 17 H M FL FL FL (blank) Graduate Catholic 16 18 H M FL FL FL Graduate Bachelor's Catholic 17 25 W M FL FL FL Bachelor's Bachelor's None 18 18 H M FL FL FL Graduate Other Catholic 19 18 H M FL FL FL Graduate High school Catholic 20 20 AA F NY FL FL Bachelor's High school Baptist 21 22 AA M NY NY FL Bachelor's Bachelor's Protestant 22 18 AA M FL FL FL Bachelor's Bachelor's Baptist 23 18 AA M CT FL FL/Can. (blank) (blank) Catholic 24 21 AA M FL FL FL Bachelor's Bachelor's Protestant 25 19 AA M NY FL FL/NY Other Bachelor's Baptist M=Male; F=Female; W=White; AA=African-American; H=Hispanic 230

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231 # Age Race Sex State of Birth High School Home State Father's Degree Mother's Degree Current Religion 26 19 AA F Jam. FL FL Graduate Graduate 7th Day Adventist 27 18 AA F Jam. Jam. Jam. Bachelor's Bachelor's Methodist 28 18 AA M FL FL FL Bachelor's Bachelor's Christian 29 20 W F GA FL FL High school High school Methodist 30 18 W M IL FL FL Graduate Graduate None 31 18 W F FL FL FL Other High school Lutheran 32 18 W M FL FL FL Graduate Graduate Catholic 33 21 W M FL FL FL High school High school Methodist 34 20 W M FL FL FL Graduate Graduate Jewish 35 20 W M CO CO FL High school Bachelor's None 36 18 W M FL FL FL High school High school Catholic 37 18 W M MN FL FL Graduate High school Catholic 38 18 w F NY FL FL High school Bachelor's None 39 19 w M FL FL FL Graduate High school Jewish 40 20 w M NY FL FL Graduate Bachelor's None 41 22 w F FL FL FL High school Graduate None 42 22 H F Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Puerto Rico High school Associate Baptist 43 21 W F NY FL FL Bachelor's Other None 44 20 w F FL FL FL Bachelor's Other Methodist 45 18 w F VA FL FL Bachelor's Bachelor's None 46 22 w F FL FL FL High school High school Catholic 48 20 w F OH FL FL Graduate Graduate Methodist 49 19 w F FL FL FL Graduate Graduate Christian 50 25 w F FL FL FL High school Bachelor's Baptist 51 19 w F FL FL FL High school High school None 52 20 w M FL FL FL Bachelor's Other Methodist 53 21 w F VA CT CT Graduate Bachelor's Presbyterian w T? r rL, rL rL High school Bachelor's Methodist 55 23 AA M FL FL FL Other Other 7th Day Adventist 56 19 AA M GA FL FL Bachelor's Graduate None 57 20 AA M Jam. FL FL Other Bachelor's 7th Day Adventist 58 23 W M VA FL FL Graduate Bachelor's None 59 18 AA F FL FL FL (blank) Other Methodist 60 21 W M FL FL FL Graduate Graduate Southern Baptist 61 20 AA F FL FL FL High school High school Christian M=Male; F=Female; W=White; AA=African-American; H=Hispanic

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Part II: Question 1 # Ass Asshole Bastard Bitcli 1 Cock . Cun( Dami 1 Dick 1 4 6 9 ! 2 X 9 ! 9 ! 2 7 2 2 8 5 8 5 ! 5 ! 6 7 3 8 10 ! 10 I 10 10 ! 10 ! 7 Q 4 5 7 ! 3 4 3 ! 10 ! 1 X 3 A J 5 2 9 X 9 !x 7 8 ! 8 ! 1 o 6 2 3 2 2 3 4 4 -J 7 1 X 3 3 4 4 10 ! 1 Y 1 A 1 X 8 4 5 5 5 5 ! 5 ! 4 9 2 5 5 5 7 10 1 Y 3 10 1 3 7 ! 7 5 9 ! 1 11 7 8 7 7 7 9 4 7 12 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 13 2 3 2 3 3 3 1 14 2 2 4 8 8 8 1 < 15 1 ! 2 2 1 8 5 1 D 16 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 17 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 18 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 19 2 2 2 ! 2 2 2 2 7 z 20 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 in 21 5 6 7 6 8 9 3 /: o 22 1 2 3 6 1 1 1 J 23 1 1 1 1 1 1! 1 1 1 24 3 5 5 3 6 6 2 •5 25 1 2 1 3 10 1 1 1 u 26 4 6 6 10 10 ! 10 ! 2 3( 27 3 3 4 5 5 4 1 -1 J 28 3 X 6 6 10 6 6 1 X 1 1 29 1 1 1 1 4 ! 9 ! 1 1 1 30 3 X 4 6 9 5 ! 9 ! 2 X 4 31 5 7 6 8 9 ! 9 ! 3 5 32 3 4 6 3 4 ! 4 ! 1 X 4 33 4 7 5 6 8 ! 10 ! 3 X 4 34 1 2 2 2 6 6 1 3 35 1 1 1 1 1 5 1 1 36 2 3 4 5 5 ! 5 ! 1 3 37 5 2 2 2 1 5 1 1 38 2 3 3 5 6 8 2 4 39 1 1 1 1 2 3 1 1 40 2 3 2 1 4 8 1 3

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# Ass Asshole Bastard Bitch Cock Cunt Damn Dick 41 1 1 1 1 1 4 1 1 42 8 10 5 6 9 9 4 5 43 1 X 2 2 5 10 ! 10 I 1 X 5 44 1 3 4 6 5 7 1 3 45 4 4 5 4 8 1 9 I 2 X 4 46 5 8 10 8 10 I 10 2 5 48 6 6 8 8 10 10 1 2 5 49 6 8 9 8 10 t 10 1 5 10 ! 50 4 6 2 ! 6 8 8 2 2 51 1 1 1 3 4 I 5 1 1 3 52 10 ! 10 I 10 ! 10 t 10 ! 10 ! 10 I 10 ! 53 9 I 9 I 9 ! 9 ! 10 10 7 ! 7 ! 54 5 7 6 7 9 10 2 7 55 8 8 4 7 7 7 3 8 56 3 7 6 6 5 6 5 6 57 3 4 4 7 7 6 2 5 58 1 1 1 1 1 3 1 1 59 1 2 2 9 3 4 I 1 2 60 2 3 2 4 2 6 2 1 61 1 X 4 5 9 2 5 I 1 1

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# Fuck Hell Motherfucker Nigger Shit 1 1 1 10 ! 5 1 2 8 1 9 10 9 3 9 7 10 ! 10 ! 7 4 6 I 1 X 7 I 10 ! 3 5 5 1 5 10 X 1 6 2 1 3 9 1 7 4 1 X 5 10 ! 1 X 8 6 3 7 7 ! 5 9 10 2 5 5 3 10 2 1 9 ! 10 ! 1 1 1 7 1 X 9 4 4 12 1 1 1 10 X 1 13 5 1 6 8 1 14 10 2 10 9 1 15 4 1 !x 9 8 ! 1 16 2 1 2 6 1 17 1 1 1 5 X 1 18 1 10 1 5 1 19 2 2 2 2 ! 2 20 10 10 10 10 10 21 10 7 10 10 !x 6 22 1 1 5 10 3 23 1 1 1 1 1 24 4 1 4 9 5 25 1 1 1 10 X 1 26 10 ! 1 X 10 ! 10 4 27 6 2 8 8 5 28 6 2 X 6 10 1 29 2 1 3 10 !x 1 30 8 2 X 5 10 ! 3 31 6 4 9 10 4 32 6 1 X 8 10 3 7 3 X 8 10 5 34 6 2 5 8 2 35 1 1 1 10 !x 1 36 3 1 5 10 !x 4 37 2 1 X 5 5 1 38 5 2 5 10 !x 2 39 4 1 3 4 1 40 2 t 1 1 6 5 1

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# Fuck Hell Motherfucker Nigger Shit 41 1 1 1 6 1 42 5 5 4 10 3 43 6 1 X 9 10 ! 5 44 3 1 3 10 ! 1 45 6 2 X 6 7 4 46 5 2 9 10 ! 2 48 9 2 10 ! 10 ! 3 49 8 5 10 ! 10 ! 5 50 8 1 X 9 10 ! 4 51 1 1 1 6 !x 1 52 10 I 10 1 10 I 10 !x 10 I 53 10 ! 7 I 10 ! 10 ! 9 I 54 5 2 9 10 !x 3 55 10 1 X 10 10 3 56 8 3 5 10 X 6 57 8 2 9 10 7 58 1 1 1 9 X 1 59 5 1 5 10 ! 1 60 1 1 1 7 1 61 3 1 X 5 10 5

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236 Part II: Questions 2-5 # Label Added Added Added # Label Added Added Added 1 second langimge 31 obsinities (sic) 2 curse cracker spick 32 not everyday goddamn s.o.b. 3 swear fag 33 cuss pussy twat 4 curse, swear 34 curse 5 curse 35 cuss 6 slang 36 curse 7 bad 37 swear 8 cuss 38 swear 9 cuss faggot 39 colorful pussy 10 expletives slut 40 swear 11 offensive 41 descriptive pussy 12 good 42 bad 13 ordinary pussy 43 bad cocksucker 14 bad 44 swear 15 bad cocksucker dickhead 45 cuss prick cm16 bad cocksucker dickhead s.o.b. 46 curse 17 descriptive 48 curse goddamn 18 friends 49 curse 19 vulgar dickhead s.o.b 50 curse, swear 20 curse 51 curse 21 negative 52 ciu-se 22 curse 53 bad goddamn 23 normal 54 cuss goddamn 24 bad pussy 55 profane spic coon cracker 25 regular gotdamn 56 curse 26 curse 57 everyday 27 curse 58 curse 28 curse racial slurs 59 curse jackass s.o.b. cracker 29 curse 60 swear 30 cuss prick 61 cuss cocksucker s.o.b. pussy

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237 Part III: Self and Other Questions Questions 1-8 # #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 1 1 Often No No Sometimes Never Sometimes No Friends 9 Oftpn No Yes Never Never Sometimes Yes Friends "3 J OWlllClllllvo Yes Yes Never Never Sometimes Yes Friends A H ouiiic lulled Yes Yes R.3rely Never Sometimes v/l IIW tllllWO Yes Friends J No Yes Never Sometimes i^V/ 1 1 1 V 1 1 1 Yes Friends f, Often Yes No R-Srely Rarely Sometimes No Friends 7 Often Yes Yes Rsrely Sometimes UV/i i i W til 11 WkJ Sometimes Yes Family/Friends fi o OUlllvillllvo Yes No Never Rarely Often Yes Friends Q Yes Yes Sometime<\ Never Sometimes k_/\_/ll Iw 111 1 1 WtJ Yes Friends 10 Often Yes Yes Sometimes rblank) Sometimes Yes Friends 1 1 No Yes 1 Never Rarely No Friends 1 ^ ^omptimec No No Rflrely Rarely Often No Friends Often Yes Yes Never Sometimes No Friends 14 ^nmetimp^ Yes Yes Rflrely Rarely Sometimes will w Vll 1 1 No Friends 15 Often No Yes Sometimes Rarely Never No Friends 16 Often Yes No fblankl Rarely Rarely No Friends 17 Often No Yes Often Sometimes Rarely Yes Friends 18 Often Yes No Sometimes Rarely Sometimes No Friends/Dislikes 19 Sometimes No No Never Never Rarely No Strangers 20 Rarely Yes Yes Rarely Never Often Yes Friends 21 Often Yes Yes Sometimes Never Sometimes No Friends 22 Often No Yes Sometimes Never Never No Dislikes 23 Sometimes No No Never Never Sometimes Yes Friends 24 Often No Yes Never Rarely Rarely No Friends 25 Often Yes Yes Often Sometimes Sometimes Yes No like 26 Rarely Yes Yes Never Never Sometimes Yes Friends 27 Sometimes Yes No Rarely Rarely Sometimes (blank) Friends/Dislikes 28 Rarely Yes Yes Rarely Rarely Rarely Yes Friends 29 Often Yes Yes Rarely Never Sometimes Yes Friends 30 Sometimes No Yes Sometimes Sometimes Rarely No Friends 31 Rarely Yes Yes Sometimes Rarely Often No Friends 32 Sometimes Yes Yes Rarely Rarely Often Yes Friends 33 Sometimes Yes Yes Rarely Rarely Sometimes Yes Friends 34 Sometimes No Yes Rarely Rarely Sometimes Yes All 35 Often No Yes Sometimes Never Sometimes No Friends 36 Sometimes Yes Yes Rarely Rarely Sometimes Yes Friends 37 Often Yes Yes Rarely Never Often No Friends 38 Sometimes Yes Yes Rarely Sometimes Sometimes No Friends 39 Often Yes Yes Often Rarely Often Yes Friends 40 Often Yes Yes Often Rarely Sometimes Yes Friends

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238 # #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 41 Often No Yes Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes No Friends 42 Sometimes No No Never Never Sometimes Yes Friends 43 Sometimes Yes Yes Rarely Rarely Often Yes Strangers 44 Often No Yes Sometimes Rarely Sometimes Yes Friends 45 Sometimes Yes Yes Rarely Rarely Sometimes Yes Friends 46 Sometimes Yes Yes Never Rarely Sometimes Yes Friends 48 Sometimes Yes Yes Never Never Rarely No Friends 49 Often Yes No Rarely Rarely Sometimes Yes Friends 50 Sometimes Yes Yes (blank) Rarely Often Yes Friends 51 Sometimes Yes Yes Often Sometimes Rarely No Family/Friends 52 Rarely Yes Yes Never Never Often Yes Friends 53 Never (blank) Yes Never Rarely (blank) Yes (blank) 54 Often Yes No Sometimes Rarely Sometimes Yes Family/Friends 55 Sometimes Yes Yes Never Never Sometimes Yes Friends 56 Often Yes Yes Often Rarely Sometimes Yes Friends 57 Often Yes Yes Rarely Rarely Never No Friends/Dislikes 58 Often No Yes Often Sometimes Rarely Yes Friends 59 Sometimes No No (blank) Never Sometimes Yes Friends 60 Sometimes Yes Yes Never Never Sometimes Yes Friends 61 Often No Yes Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes Yes Friends Questions 9-15 # #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 1 Never Sometimes Yes Angry Never Never Sometimes 2 Rarely Often No Angry Never Never Rarely 3 Never Sometimes No All Never Never Never 4 Never Sometimes No Other Rarely Rarely Never 5 Rarely Often No Relaxed Never Never Sometimes 6 Rarely Often Yes Stressed Rarely Rarely Rarely 7 Never Sometimes Yes Angry/Stressed Sometimes Sometimes Rarely 8 Never Sometimes No Angry Never Rarely Rarely 9 Never Sometimes No Angry Sometimes Never Rarely 10 Sometimes Often Yes Relaxed Sometimes (blank) Rarely 11 Never Sometimes No Happy/Angry Never Never Sometimes 12 Never (blank) No All Rarely Never Sometimes 13 Sometimes Often No Stressed Never Never Often 14 Never Often No Hap/Ang/Str. Never Never Sometimes 15 Rarely Often No All Sometimes Rarely Sometimes 16 Never Often Yes All (blank) Rarely Sometimes 17 Sometimes Often Yes Happy Often Sometimes Rarely 18 Never Often No Hap/Ang/Str. Sometimes Rarely Sometimes 19 Sometimes Often No All Rarely Rarely Sometimes

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# #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 20 Never Rarely No Angry Never Never Never 21 Never Often No Stressed Never Never Sometimes 22 Often Often No Angry Sometimes Never Sometimes 23 Never Sometimes No All Never Never Never 24 Rarely Often No Relaxed Never Never Rarely 25 Sometimes Often No Angry Never Never Rarely 26 Never Sometimes No Happy Never Never Never 27 Never Sometimes No Angry/Stressed Never Never Sometimes 28 Never Rarely No Angry Never Never Sometimes 29 Never Often Yes Stressed Never Rarely Sometimes 30 Rarely Often No All Never Never Sometimes 31 Never Sometimes No Stressed Never Never Rarely 32 Never Sometimes No Angry/Stressed Never Never Sometimes 33 Never Sometimes Yes Angry/Stressed Rarely Sometimes Rarely 34 Never Sometimes No Angry Rarely Rarely Rarely 35 Never Often No Angry Sometimes Never Sometimes 36 Never Sometimes No Angry Never Never Sometimes 37 Never Often Yes Angry Rarely Never Never 38 (blank) Rarely No Angry Rarely Sometimes Rarely 39 Rarely Often Yes Angry Often Rarely Sometimes 40 Never Often No Relaxed Sometimes Rarely Rarely 41 Rarely Often No Angry Sometimes Sometimes Rarely 42 Never Sometimes No Angry Never Never Rarely 43 Never Rarely Yes Angry/Stressed Rarely Rarely Never 44 Never Often No Stressed Sometimes Rarely Rarely 45 Never Often Yes Angry Never Never Sometimes 46 Rarely Sometimes No Angry Rarely Rarely Never 48 Never Sometimes No Angry/Stressed Never Never Rarely 49 Rarely Often No Relaxed Never Never Never 50 Never Sometimes No Stressed (blank) Sometimes Sometimes 51 Sometimes Sometimes No Angry Sometimes Sometimes Rarely 52 Never Rarely No Angry Never Never Never 53 Never Never (blank) (blank) Never Never Never 54 Rarely Sometimes No Angry/Stressed Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes 55 Never Often Yes Angry Never Never Sometimes 56 Never Often Yes All Rarely Never Sometimes 57 Rarely Often No All Rarely Rarely Rarely 58 Sometimes Often Yes Stressed Often Often Rarely 59 Never Sometimes No All (blank) Never Rarely 60 Sometimes Sometimes No Stressed Rarely Rarely Rarely 61 Sometimes Sometimes No Angry Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes

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Questions 16-20 # #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 1 Rarely Yes Interlocutors Sometimes No change 2 Rarely Yes Interlocutors Sometimes Less often 3 Sometimes Yes Interlocutors Rarely Less often 4 Often Yes Interlocutors Sometimes No change 5 (blank) Yes Topic Sometimes Less often 6 Rarely Yes Interlocutors Sometimes No change 7 Sometimes Yes Mood Sometimes No change 8 Rarely Yes Interlocutors Rarely Less often 9 Rarely Yes Interlocutors Rarely No change 10 Rarely Yes Interlocutors Sometimes Less often 11 Sometimes No Interlocutors Rarely Less often 12 Rarely Yes Interlocutors Sometimes Less often 13 Sometimes No Setting Often More often 14 Sometimes Yes All Rarely Less often 15 Never No Topic Sometimes No change 16 Never Yes All Rarely Less often 17 Never Yes Interlocutors Sometimes No change 18 Sometimes Yes Interlocutors Often No change 19 Rarely Yes Mood Sometimes No change 20 Sometimes No All Rarely No change 21 Rarely No Interlocutors Rarely Less often 22 Never (blank) Interlocutors Never More often 23 Rarely Yes Interlocutors Sometimes No change 24 Rarely No Interlocutors Rarely Less often 25 Never Yes Setting Sometimes Less often 26 Sometimes No Interlocutors Rarely No change 27 Rarely Yes Interlocutors Rarely No change 28 Sometimes Yes Interlocutors/Mood Rarely Less often 29 Rarely Yes Setting/Interlocutors Often Less often 30 Often Yes All Sometimes No change 31 Sometimes Yes Interlocutors Rarely No change 32 Sometimes Yes all Sometimes Less often 33 Sometimes Yes Interlocutors Sometimes No change 34 Never Yes Setting Sometimes Less often 35 Sometimes Yes Interlocutors Rarely Less often 36 Rarely Yes Interlocutors Rarely Less often 37 Rarely Yes Interlocutors Rarely Less often 38 Rarely Yes Interlocutors Rarely Less often 39 Never Yes Interlocutors Sometimes Less often 40 Rarely Yes Interlocutors Sometimes Less often

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# #16 #17 #18 #1V #20 41 Never Yes Setting Sometimes No change 42 Sometimes Yes Setting Sometimes No change 43 Sometimes Yes Interlocutors/Mood Sometimes No change 44 Sometimes Yes Interlocutors Sometimes Less often 45 Rarely Yes Interlocutors Sometimes No change 46 Sometimes Yes Interlocutors Rarely Less often 48 Never No Topic Rarely No change 49 Sometimes Yes Interlocutors Sometimes Less often 50 Rarely Yes Setting Sometimes Less often 51 Rarely Yes Setting/Interlocutors Rarely No change 52 Often Yes Mood Sometimes Less often 53 Sometimes (blank) (blank) Never (blank) 54 Sometimes Yes Mood Sometmies No change 55 Rarely Yes Setting Often Less often 56 Rarely Yes Interlocutors Rarely Less often 57 Never No All Rarely Less often 58 Never Yes Interlocutors Often No change 59 Rarely Yes Mood Rarely No change 60 Rarely Yes Interlocutors Sometimes Less often 61 Sometimes Yes Interlocutors Sometimes No change Questions 21-25 # #21 #22 #23 #24 #25 1 No Friends Equal Rarely Never 2 Yes Family Yes Often Never 3 No Family Yes Rarely Rarely 4 Depends Strangers Yes Sometimes Sometimes 5 Yes Family Equal Often Never 6 Yes Fam/strangers Yes Often Rarely 7 Depends Strangers Yes Sometimes Never 8 No Family Equal Sometimes Never 9 Depends Strangers Yes Sometimes Rarely 10 Yes Strangers Yes Often Rarely 11 No Strangers Equal Sometimes Never 12 Yes Family Equal Sometimes Rarely 13 Yes Family Yes Sometimes Sometimes 14 Depends Fam/strangers Equal Often Never 15 Yes Family Yes Often Never 16 No Strangers Yes Often Never 17 Yes Strangers Yes Often Never 18 Yes Fam/strangers Yes Often Often

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# #21 #22 #23 #24 #25 19 No Family Equal Often Never 20 No Family Yes Rarely Rarely 21 No Family Yes Sometimes Sometimes 22 Yes Family Yes Sometimes Never 23 Depends Family Equal Sometimes Never 24 No Family Yes Often Never 25 Yes Family Yes Often Never 26 Depends Family Yes Sometimes Never 27 No Family Yes Sometimes Rarely 28 Depends (blank) Equal Sometimes Never 29 No Family Equal Sometimes Never 30 No People I dislike Yes Sometimes Often 31 Depends Family Equal Sometimes Rarely 32 Yes Fam/strangers Yes Sometimes Sometimes 33 Depends Strangers Equal Sometimes Never 34 Depends Family Equal Sometimes Never 35 Yes Family Yes Often Rarely 36 Depends Family Yes Sometimes Rarely 37 Depends Family Yes Sometimes Never 38 Yes Strangers Equal Sometimes Rarely 39 Depends Other Yes Often Never 40 Yes Family Equal Often Never 41 Depends Family Equal Often Never 42 No Family Yes Sometimes Rarely 43 Depends Family less Rarely Sometimes 44 Depends Family Equal Often Rarely 45 No Family Equal Often Sometimes 46 Yes Strangers Equal Sometimes Rarely 48 Depends Family Equal Sometimes Never 49 Depends Family Equal Often Rarely 50 Depends Strangers Equal Sometimes Rarely 51 Depends Strangers Yes Sometimes Never 52 Depends Family Yes Sometimes Often 53 Depends (blank) less Rarely Rarely 54 No Strangers Yes Sometimes Never 55 Yes People I dislike Yes Often Sometimes 56 Depends Family Yes Often Never 57 Depends Family Yes Often Never 58 Yes Strangers Equal Often Never 59 Depends Family Yes Sometimes Never 60 Depends Family Equal Sometimes Never 61 Depends Family Equal Sometimes Never

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Part IV: Dialogue Offensiveness Ratings # 1 Fucking Shit Motherfucking Shitty Fucking Ass Shit 1 Fuck Fucking 1 1 1 5 1 1 1 1 1 5 2 1 6 6 1 1 1 1 1 7 3 5 6 9 6 7 7 6 7 10 4 4 2 4 2 2 2 6 3 10 5 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 6 1 2 2 1 3 3 1 1 3 7 2 4 3 1 2 2 3 4 6 8 3 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 4 9 8 3 6 1 5 4 2 9 10 10 1 1 5 1 1 1 1 2 1 11 6 7 8 6 7 6 7 7 9 12 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 13 1 2 2 1 3 1 1 1 1 14 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 5 15 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 2 16 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 4 17 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 4 18 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 1 19 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 20 2 2 7 1 1 1 4 4 10 21 1 1 2 1 1 1 2 2 3 22 1 3 3 2 1 1 3 3 4 23 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 24 2 2 2 2 3 1 2 4 3 25 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 26 7 5 10 3 8 5 9 10 27 1 1 2 1 1 1 4 3 4 28 1 1 2 1 2 1 1 6 29 1 3 3 1 1 1 1 1 6 30 3 6 4 7 4 4 8 7 5 31 3 4 4 3 4 4 4 5 6 32 4 3 5 3 4 2 4 5 6 33 4 5 7 3 3 3 6 5 10 34 2 1 5 3 3 1 2 5 6 35 3 5 5 3 3 3 S 8 5 36 2 2 5 3 3 2 3 4 37 3 2 3 3 2 3 4 4 38 3 1 3 1 1 2 3 5 39 5 3 3 2 2 3 3 2 40 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 2

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# Fucking Shit Motherruckmg Shitty Fucking Ass Shit Fuck Fucking 41 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 42 2 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 4 43 8 8 10 5 8 5 5 8 10 44 3 1 3 2 4 2 2 3 6 45 1 3 5 3 3 2 3 3 1 46 4 7 10 6 6 9 7 9 10 48 6 5 9 4 6 4 4 7 10 49 1 1 1 1 4 4 8 1 8 50 1 2 5 5 4 3 7 8 9 51 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 52 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 53 4 5 4 3 3 3 4 4 7 54 z i 0 I z 1 1 1 o 8 55 2 3 4 4 5 6 6 3 4 56 3 2 3 2 2 1 4 4 5 57 2 2 2 2 3 2 2 3 4 58 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 59 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 4 60 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 61 1 1 1 1 1 1 4 4 6

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Part V: Reaction to the Questionnaire # la lb Ic 2a 2b 2c # la lb Ic 2a 2b 2c 1 X X 31 X X 2 X X 32 X X 3 X X 33 X X 4 X X 34 X X 5 X X 35 X X 6 X X 36 X X 7 X X 37 X X 8 X X 38 X X 9 X X 39 X X 10 X X 40 X X 11 X X 41 X X X 12 X X 42 X X 13 X X 43 X X 14 X X 44 X X 15 X X 45 X X 16 X X 46 X X 17 X X 48 X X 18 X X 49 X X 19 X X 50 X X 20 X X 51 X X X 21 X X 52 X X 22 X X 53 X X 23 X X 54 X X 24 X X 55 X X 25 X X 56 X X 26 X X 57 X X X 27 X X 58 X X 28 X X 59 X X 29 X X 60 X X 30 X X 61 X X

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APPENDIX E PARTICIPANT COMMENTS (QUESTIONNAIRE) # Part II-Question #6: Part Ill-Question #2: Part Ill-Question #7: Part Ill-Question #21: 1 2 How offensive these words are based on the receiver's interpretation 3 I think I'll always be offended by these words Don't swear around adults. Parents or anyone in social situations. 4 In England 'bastard' is not as offensive as it is in the US. I just came back from a year abroad in northern UK and people used it all the time. So I called my dad a bastard in jest and he hung up the phone on me. Also: in Scotland (certain parts) 'cunt' is used as a term of endearment, for example, 'here's your change, cunt' which blew me away when I heard it. This is one of the 'never-ever use' words for me. Never use it to anyone older, never use it profusely. I usually only use it when I'm super mad, or when I'm joking. Punk kids about 14 who swear to act cool are the most annoying swearers. Also, people who don't know English well and have watched too many movies and use 'motherfucker', etc. without their meaning although the confusion here is understandable (nonnative speakers). Only if no one is offended. Should stick to baby ones like 'shit', 'hell' and 'damn'. 5 Pastor. 6 Depends on person talking to. 7 As times change, so do the meaning of these words. Many of these words were extremely offensive to our grandparents, only some of them are as offensive to our parents and few are offensive to us. I try not to directly offend anyone and I usually use them only in informal conversations with friends or when I am angry. Pastors, etc. (religious leaders because many elders and church members regard them very highly) Topic, word, situation. 246

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247 # Part II-Question #6: Part Ill-Question #2: Part Ill-Question #7: Part Ill-Question #21: 8 They can be used as nouns, verbs, or adjectives depending on the context. The context then determines the offensiveness. The receiver of the words also will vary on the level that he/she is offended. Do it only to certain people who are more open to it or when upset or angry. A person who wants greater overall happiness. 1 have found swearing to 'bring down the soul' so to speak. 9 The words differ in meaning by the person that you are referring to. 1 don't swear in front of my mother. Priest. Their degree status. 10 Relative to content/speakers. Some words I never use, or use imder strict conditions. Christians say they shouldn't. 11 The more common a word is or the more used by people the less offensive it becomes. 12 Everyone uses them. 13 Don't say to parents. 14 Words are created by people and their surrounding how society reacts defines a word, simple as that. Swearing on a relationship, grave, bible, etc. Appropriateness, subject/discussion 15 Depends who you tell these words to and how you say them. 16 Yes because someone will always find these words offensive. Not in front of people I respect like elders. 17 I don't find them offensive, except the one with negative connotations (nigger), that may change if people lighten up. Those that don't find them of value. 18 Yes, if I'm speaking with a teacher or adult I wouldn't use them. Not in front of adults. 19 20 It's against my religion. Everyone.

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248 # Part II-Question #6: Part Ill-Question #2: Part Ill-Question #7: Part Ill-Question #21: 21 Only AfricanAmericans can use 'nigger' in a conversation. 22 23 It will always change with the times. A person in a professional environment. Discussion. 24 But the offensiveness does change for the context in which each word is used (eg 'nigger' is always offensive when directed at someone as a derogatory term but is not offensive when dealing with its usage not intended as insult. 1 don't feel that 'nigger' is a bad word, but it is a word that we do not need in our vocabulary. 25 Different people have different feelings towards words. None on Sunday. Religious. 26 As society declines these words will become more exceptable (sic). I never swear in anger, only while joking around. No one should use them. The word. 27 It all depends on the way it is used, by whom and under what circumstances. Don't use them around certain people. Time and place for everything. Zo 1 do not swear around parents, elders, family, business/scholastic colleagues. — Someone who doesn't believe in it. Who It IS, but It s generally unprofessional. 29 Not in front of parents. A parent. 30

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249 # Part II-Question #6: Part lII-Question #2: Part lII-Question #7: Part Ill-Question #21: 31 With society being more 'open-minded' or lax, these terms are becoming everyday occurrences. The harshness isn't as apparent as they are used in common context. With time, these words, some of them, may become as common as 'hi' and 'how are you'. Just try not to as much as possible. Stereotypes! The situation discussing may need to prove point, or history or something. 32 In the past one would never say some of these words. Now, it seems, that the words are used more and more in everyday conversation. As they become more common, people become more used to them and are less offended by them. It really depends on the company that I'm in. People who would like to gain my respect, i.e. teachers, etc. Relevancy to conversation. 33 There has been an increasing desensitivity in today's society. Once, 'nigger' was a common piace worci. Today, my tongue would be cut out if I ever Udcu 11. iviuvicb were not allowed to use 'hpll' or 'Hamn' T llVll \Jl UAIIUI 1 don't consider them to be dirty words. I try not to do it in a professional setting. Professionals, children. Situation, frequency. 34 Because they may be used in alternative wave Ways. Younger children. The word. 35 No, in certain contexts 36 Because society is always changing and people become accustomed to certain language. I don't curse around adults. Someone in a position of great respect like priest or president. The situation. 37 Society makes words more acceptable. Use them at the right time. The subject. 38 Only to make an important point. 1

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250 # Part II-Question #6: Part Ill-Question #2: Part Ill-Question #7: Part Ill-Question #21: 39 Times are changing. On T.V. more words are being accepted. Ex: South Park they said 'shit' and 'pussy'. Not in front of elders. Old people/chicks. The words. 40 'fuck' is more common. Don't swear around girlfriend. Priest. 41 Someone either is or is not offended by these words, most likely their opinion about these words won't change. These words will not get new meaning to make people change their mind. Situation/ emotions. 42 They change with time. Every language is alive and changing, only a dead tongue does not change. Professionals at their job. 43 It used to be that 'damn', 'hell' and 'ass' were shocking, but now they are not. Movies today seem to use 'fuck' like it is going out of style. However, there is a lot of stigma attached to the four circled. I try to do it as a little as possible you sound like a moron without vocabulary if you swear all the time. People of higher authority in any authority. ' ? No, but 'heir and 'damn' are okay. 44 Politicians, church related officials. The words used. 45 No, some words are becoming increasingly more offensive. I am white, but I find the use of 'nigger' highly offensive. As more time passes, that word becomes more dated. Other wnrd^ /^'fiirk' 'shit', 'bitch') are being used to the extent that they are losing their offensiveness. Never aroimd adults whom I respect, especially my parents. Someone who has control of young children (babysitter, parents, teachers) 46 Watch what you say and with who you say it. Teachers of children elem, middle, high. Context.

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251 # Part II-Question #6: Part Ill-Question #2: Part Ill-Question #7: Part Ill-Question #21: 48 I think a lot of these words aren't offensive to me now because I am in college and I am surrounded by this language every day. When I eventually have children, I wouldn't want them hearing this language and it would most likely offend me more than it would now. 1 will never use the word 'goddamn'. What they are talking about it might be used as a quote, otherwise no. One instructor used the word 'fiick'. 49 Depends on the word, depends on the context. Depends on social context, environmental setting, company. Religious figures, more broadly authoritative figures with a lot of influence. What they are teaching. 50 For example, a word such as 'bastard' has changed over the years in its level of offensiveness. There are certain places, situations where I would not say them at all. A professional person in a workplace setting. Context of lecture. 51 A lot of words would be offensive to other people, and I think their offensiveness always depends on the context in which they are said, why they are said, who said them and to whom. I usually wouldn't curse in front of someone I wouldn't want to offend or in inappropriate situations, i.e. a very old person or in a speech, etc. Why they use them (who/what the words are directed at). 52 The words 'ass' and 'heir can be read in the Bible in a non-offensive way: 'ass' referring to a donkey, and 'hell' referring to a place. Don't do it because it shows that 'hateful emotions' have gotten the best of me. Certainly, I do mess up, though... All people. The context... only for constructive purposes. 53 I hese words are used more frequently and loosely in society today than they were, say, 30 years ago. Most people have developed a tolerance for them, but they are still awful. Ladies and gentlemen. The context.

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252 # Part II-Question #6: Part Ill-Question #2: Part Ill-Question #7: Part Ill-Question #21: 54 No, because if you watch older movies saying words like 'damn', 'shit' or 'asshole' were not used often, they were more offensive. Now, however, words like 'fuck' are used fairly frequently. I don't say the circled words and like generally only use swear words when angry or excited, usually in extreme emotional states and/or to get my point across with emphasis. Work places, nice restaurants (people who work at these places), teachers, grandparents. 55 The offensiveness of these words is dependent upon the context in which the words are used, and the response of the audience. Not around elderly or in professional settings, or church, except 'heir in church. Clergy. 56 It all depends on the context of how use the words. I don't curse around those who do not curse. Ignorant people who have mastery of language. The context. 57 Because of time as well as context these words will continue to either be more offensive or less. 'Swearing' is, as I said, personal expression in everyday language and the only instance that I will not is in unnecessary personal attacks on others. Context. 58 Some words are becoming more acceptable... 'ass' and 'bitch' for example. Religious people; I hate hypocrites. 59 Everything changes with time. Because some of the words are harsh at the present, doesn't mean that they won't one day be a part of everyday speech. Religious people are not expected to use this language. The topic.

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253 Part II-Question #6: Part Ill-Question #2: Part Ill-Question #7: Part Ill-Question #21: 60 Words are just words. Social relations give them meaning and change them. 'For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge' is now a joker in the deck you can use it for just anything. I'm white. 'Nigger' and its variations have turned into an afFurnative in the black community, especially with the help of hip-hop, and I call some of my friends who are not black 'nigguh', but I would never use it to refer to a black person. Other than that, I don't curse around people who don't appreciate it. Whoever feels they shouldn't. Situation. 61 Different people are offended by different words. It just depends on the situation. Whoever doesn't feel comfortable using them. Situation.

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APPENDIX F ETHNOGRAPHIC INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS Ethnographic Interview with Questionnaire Participant #51: Describe your style of speech, that is, the way that you talk in social conversations. Do you mean as far as informally or formally? Sure, just tell me what you mean by those terms. Well, I don't know. 1 live alone so I don't really talk that much at home. 1 don't know, 1 guess I'm sort of in between formal and informal. 1 mean, I don't try to be pompous or anything, not terribly informal, maybe with my friends sometunes, pretty informal, but in general not. Are there times when you think a lot about what you 're saying, and how you 're saying it? Sometimes. Like, probably if I raise my hand and speak in class or something I'll think about it more than if I'm just speaking to a friend or one person, like if I'm gonna announce myself to the world. And with your friends, are you as careful? Sometimes, yeah, I think basically I'm the same all the time, the conversations just flow more with my friends than in class. I don't think I'm ever terribly informal, I don't think I make mistakes. I have good grammar. The grammar doesn't change from place to place or anything like that. In what you 're calling your informal style, does swearing figure in to that at all? At times. It's not like every third word or anything like that, but I do, we all do so, it doesn't, you know, I don't stay away from it on purpose or anything. What was your thought process in completing the rating section of the survey? How did you go about rating the words? Okay, most of the words, I don't really care at all, they don't offend me. Like these I gave a little higher, I don't know how to explain but I think these are usually used specifically to be dirty words, you know like to describe, to sort of, to describe sex but like in a cheap way. Cheap is not exactly the word I'm looking for... So you rated these for how offensive they were to you? Yeah, like say, these are higher because I think they're used in a more derogatory way usually, so that's why. So you imagined in your mind how they would be used? Yeah. 254

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255 And so the ones that got '1 's, how did you imagine they would be used? Um, I just. . .these are more common, I hear them in everyday speech, but the others, probably not. You deleted 'nigger '. Uh-huh. This is like a racial slur. It's. ..I think this one is used specifically to offend or be derogatory and the others, they're just expletives. Is there a difference for you between dirty words and curse words? Dirty means more offensive, taboo or shocking, than just curse words. You said that a lot of these words are offensive to other people. My question is, why not to you? I don't know. Like I said, I don't use them terribly often but they don't offend me. I think curse words are expressive and they can add a lot of meaning but I think they can lose their meaning if you say them, you know, too often. Then they don't mean anything, it's like saying 'you know' or something. So they sort of lose their potency. 1 think the less you use them, the more forceful they are. But they're not offending. 1 just know that other people, say old people or some people that don't like them... How do you know that? Well, the old people that I know, like say my grandparents or people like that don't really use them, or it's not genteel or ladylike. Can you comment on professors or instructors using swear words in class? It wasn't like, um, it just, you know, in a discussion about a book or movie or something. It wasn't addressed to a specific person or anything like that, not like, "You're a fijcking idiot." I can't remember exactly how they used it. Can you remember the reaction of the students? There was a little giggling but I don't... you know, no one really cared because the students would talk in class and they would curse too. Amongst themselves or... ? No, in a class discussion. What was the reaction to that? There wasn't any really. You say you 'rarely ' consciously try not to swear. Is this because you don 't swear that often to begin with? I almost never have to try not to, but say I was with a little kid and I bumped my elbow, I would try not to. I had a hard time thinking of a time I would try not to. It's more conscious when I use one. I don't have to think about it too much, I don't have to plan it out. . . "I think now would be a good time to swear!" It's not conscious, I don't really have to try not to. But I suppose talking to my fi'iends 1 would do it more, but it's not an effort either.

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256 You said as far as there being people who shouldn 't use swear words, "Swearing is open to everyone "? Yeah. You also said that you are most likely to swear around friends and family but that swearing is a result of being angry, stressed or you 're surprised. So, are you angry with your friends and family? No, they're just the people I talk to most often. I mean like, my mom and dad and brothers and sisters, but I wouldn't curse in front of my grandparents. Mostly because it would offend them. What about slips, swearing around people you feel you shouldn 't? I can't think of ever slipping, but it may have happened. And can you comment on swearing in class? 1 think it's fine, I don't care at all, in a lecture in a discussion, whatever, it doesn't bother me at all. I think they should be able to because I just don't think there's any reason to sort of, I mean, we all use them, we all know what they mean, I don't think there's any reason to tiptoe around them. If it's directed at someone, no, I don't...! mean, I don't think a professor should curse someone out in class. 1 don't think that would be appropriate. In the conversational examples, they all got 7 's. Any comments about that? Just the same as before, they don't offend me. I wouldn't use them, I don't think they're offensive but I think they're more potent if they're not used so often. But it doesn't bother me. Especially if they're not talking to me, like if someone yelled 'bitch' at me I might not be thrilled... What about rules for swearing? I guess I have an old people rule, you know the grandparents. I guess, unless I was having an argimient or something I wouldn't use them in front of people 1 knew would be offended. I wouldn't use them without a good reason if it would just offend them. Or maybe in a public place like in a restaurant I wouldn't scream or yell something out. What about working? Would you swear at work? I woiked at a restaurant, so not in front of customers, but whenever we had to complain about them... And what about with your supervisor your boss or whomever? Yeah, they were pretty informal. It just depended on the person. I probably wouldn't have until I knew it would be okay with them. I would probably wait for them to curse first. I was young. . .er than all of the others. Any comments about people saying that swearing makes people sound stupid? I don't think people who swear are lazy or lacking an ample vocabulary. Like I said, when someone swears every third word 1 don't think that that person is stupid, 1 just think it's overuse. But I think it's the same thing like, 'um' or 'like'. But it doesn't make me think the person is stupid.

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257 Ethnographic Interview with Questionnaire Participant #52: First question: if you had to describe your style of speaking, the style you use in social conversation, how would you describe that style of speaking? I think I would describe it as casual English, though I do try to speak in complete sentences as much as possible, but if it's not necessary, than I don't. Are you careful about what you say? Definitely. Are there times when you are more careful? Certainly, definitely. When would those times be? Those would be, uh, depending upon the other people around me, like uh, if I'm talking to my mother, then I would be particular to not share some things that I wouldn't want her to know, particularly, or my girlfiiend or other fi-iends. I had the opportunity to preach at my church a couple of Sundays ago and of course then I was very particular about what 1 said. But, I don't know if you're familiar with the Lord's prayer, but it's found in two different parts of the bible, and the one in Matthew is different fi-om the one in Luke, different context and words used. And I used the one in Luke and said, "This version is a heck of a lot different than the version found in Matthew." And I thought, "I can't believe I just said the word 'heck'." It's so not a bad word, and I'm sure that if I were to use it in a conversation with virtually anybody it wouldn't be misleading or taken the wrong way or anything like that, but when I realized I said that I thought, "Oh, man, I can't believe you just said that." What was the reaction from the congregation? Well, apparently nobody said anything and I'm sure it's because it was at the beginning of the message and not towards the end and they're thinking about other things or something like that. So that 's an example of a time when you 're more careful about how you speak, can you give me an example of time when you are more relaxed about your style? Definitely when I'm either alone or with a particular fiiend. I live over my church with a couple of guys and we have some guys who curse quite regularly. It's interesting because I find that when I, in my normal conversations, I hardly ever say an expletive-yeah, you indicated 'rarely ' on your questionnaire-yeah, I mean, I'm not going to lie and say that I never curse because I mean certainly there are times when I slip up, when I don't mean to... Is 'heck ' a slip? Would you consider that a curse word? Well, I'll tell you what, in that particular setting, in that context, I wouldn't call it a curse word, but if I had thought more carefiilly about what I was saying, I would have definitely used another word, yeah. So in that context it was a slip...

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258 Definitely a slip, but not a swear word. And so my one friend over there has a video game system and I was playing with it, Mortal Combat, I'm sure you've heard of itYeah. Great game, I love it. And he and I were playing it and after he beat me, I almost won and he just, barely beat me, and I was like, [fff], I said, I forgot what it was, and then this morning he called me on it, he goes... and he was like making fun of me for saying that. So he was aware that that was out of character for you. Mm-hmm. Yeah, because I suppose personally 1 have the reputation of being a more spiritual leader than some of the other students over there because my background and I'm planning to go into the ministry as a profession. So people have some higher expectations of me. I realize that, it's just part of the territory, so when I do slip up or something, people do call it to my attention. How did you feel about that, when you said it? What did you think when you heard it come out of your mouth, didyou think, "Oh not"? Yeah, I felt "Ahhh!" but then by the same token I thought, I'm a person who makes mistakes and I'm goima keep making mistakes, as hard as I try, I'm going to keep making mistakes. It's part of life. Iwas pleased that you were interested in doing the interview because in a campus setting I run the risk of only coming in contact with people who use swear words, they 're the ones who tend to be more willing to talk about it. You 're at the other end, you rarely use swear words and if you look at the rating page, you rate them consistently highly offensive, they're all tens. Do you have any comments about that, about not distinguishing between more or less offensive? Sure, well I mean like, uh, 'asshole' is more offensive than 'ass' to me; 'bitch' is more offensive than 'bastard', 'dick' is very offensive, 'fuck' is very offensive, 'motherfucker' is very, very offensive (stuttering getting worse). So did the scale not extend high enough? I suppose, for me personally. When I was grading this, what I was thinking was if I heard a person say this word in a typical conversation, how would I react? What do you mean by a typical conversation? Like, urn, in a casual conversation amongst, um, at least acquaintances, people who at least know each other, would I take offense to that, and the truth isSo, they're doing the speaking, you're overhearing, how would you be? Right, that was the attitude I had when I ranked these and I thought to myself, I would find all of them very offensive and I contemplated making most of them '9's and then the ones I mentioned before I thought were more offensive as ' lO's. However, I thought no, because I really, something that's bad of me, I know, is that I might be willing to pass judgement on somebody who uses a word like that and that's just wrong of me to do that and I know that I would be just as willing to pass that judgement on somebody who uses 'cunt' as well as a person who uses a word like 'hell'. So that 's why they 're all the same.

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259 Right. So you labeled them 'curse ' words and you said 'nigger ' does not belong. Yeah, no, I don't think so. I would label these as words you use to describe a thing or an attitude or a mood that a person is in, but 'nigger' though. . . The history of that word is much more well known that the history of most of the other words. To me, that word doesn't belong because its history and the history of it's usage has been used towards a specific group of people. I'm not going to call you a 'nigger', well I'm not going to call anyone a 'nigger', but certainly not you because you're not black. You mentioned that some of the words can be found in the bible and you mentioned your religious affiliation. How has your religious involvement influenced your opinion and use of swear words? My faith impacts every part of my life, from what I do to what I say, who I say it to. My faith impacts every part of that and that's the way I like it, too. As far as my history goes, the type of vocabulary I use is based on what I heard at home. And I suppose what I've heard on T.V. and what I've heard a few teachers say, colloquialisms I've picked up along the way. But mainly the people who I've grown up with, a few excluded, typically sit and curse. 1 grew up going to church with my mom, and I grew up going to private protestant preschool, elementary and middle schools. But I didn't feel 'Christian' until later on in my middle school years and in middle school 1 cursed a lot. I know I did. I was a mean little boy; I know I did it a lot. And I know that as my faith has developed I know that there are just some things I don't want to do in life and one of them is cursing. The reason why is because there's nothing wrong with saying the word 'shit'. I mean like the word itself, that word is not an evil word. But the feelings that go along with that, or the feelings that it might inspire, or cultivate, those feelings toward another person are wrong. It's not good to have hateful negative feelings toward another person and if a person's vocabulary might make those feelings grow then there's no need to use those words. We should use other words that might help suppress those negative feelings and promote positive feelings. Like you wrote on the survey: "Hateful emotions have gotten the best of me". Is that what happened when you were playing mortal combat? Oh, definitely. When do you mess up there was a question about slipping. When might be another time that you slip? When I was really angry at my girlfriend and sometimes before talking to people. And come to think of it, there's another guy who I live with, who curses a lot-actually he's gotten better. And I remember he used a curse word in some funny expression and I used the same funny expression with the curse word and as soon as I said it I realized, "Why'd I say that?" I didn't have to be fiinny that way. That 's an interesting example because in your mind it was inappropriate and you regretted it, but in the context, and whoever was listening to you, was it seen as a slip or did it fit in? No, at that time it definitely fit in. For me it was a slip, but within the context of that conversation it wasn't necessarily profanity. Can you comment on the statement that no one should use swear words? The reason why I said no one is because if I were to categorize someone as being able to use swear words, then I certainly would, I felt like I would be saying that some people, it's okay for them to use these words and the reason why I think it's not okay is the same reason as before: if it were okay for homeless people to use curse words then every time we heard someone use a curse word we would think, "Oh, that's just a silly homeless person." Now homeless people are already subjugated in society anyway, that would just make

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260 homeless people that much fiirther away from society. At least in the perception of those who are pushing them away. And that's not really a healthy way to build society, I don't think. To answer your question more directly, I don't think people should use swear words because by saying them and hearing them they promote harmful feeling towards other people. And we shouldn't tolerate any of those harmful feelings, whether they're sarcastic, well, actually sarcasm is used way too much so it's kinda hard to make a sweeping generalization, but it's not fair to try to allow people to use...uhm... Let me just ask you about your friends or the people with whom you live: when they use curse words, is it always negative? Are they always expressing negative feelings, are they always angry or being aggressive when they use these words? I think so, yeah. And I have heard some people use these words like rather in a comical sense, like kind of in the examples you gave. 1 mean, I don't sense any harmfiil emotions there, I really don't, but by the same token, a person more willing to use a word like 'shit', a word that is categorized as being a swear word in society, yeah, I think that's a pretty fair generalization to make, then I think that person using it in a comical setting, a casual kind of relaxed, 'hey-I'm-being-fiinny-now', a person more willing to use a word like that at that time will also be more willing to use that word when they're angry and expressing harmfiil feelings. You noted that you feel offended when people you don 't know use swear words around you. Does that happen often? No. But every time they do, okay, like I mean it doesn't happen often but out of the say 5 times that a person I don't know uses a swear word, it offends me, but I've heard swear words a hundred times but only five times have they offended me. Do you try not to use swear words or do you just not swear without considerable effort? No, it's definitely something I have to try not to do. Actually, I think I should say I have to try not to do it when I'm getting angry or when I'm around people I know who do curse a lot. But like in a typical conversation with a person I'm friendly with or a casual conversation with a person I don't really know, I'm not going to think too much about it. It just doesn't happen. Has it ever happened that a professor or instructor has used a swear word? Yeah. I reacted like okay, he just kind of said that. Why? To get my attention? (Professor T.) used a swear word, 'damn', but I forgot how she said it. I don't think she expressed any hatefiil emotions. Actually what I got from her is that she was expressing a frustration from her own life and kind of manifesting it into this example. But another professor used curse words in class, but every time it was 'heir, 'what the hell', or 'why the hell'. It just seems to me that, one of the smartest professors here, and I think, this man has a Ph.D. in biblical studies, knows all these languages, is very, very intelligent, I don't know his particular faith, but I'm confident he can think of a more constructive way to express the message he's trying to give. By saying 'what the hell', that really doesn't encourage scholarly thought. And what about the rest of the class, if you feel you can comment on their reaction. It seems like they reacted in kind of a, "Hey, this person's a normal person. That's cool"way, like they use those expressions, too. It probably made the class a bit more comfortable, I'm just guessing. What about students swearing in class? I really can't think of any time... And you said it would be okay, depending of context, you wrote 'constructive circumstances'.

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261 Like, if you were teaching a class, if you were talking about your dissertation, you would have to use these words, you can't say, "Okay, then 1 asked about the f-word", you can't say that. If anything that would just create more of a stigma, so in that setting it would be okay. In an objective manner. Men swear more often than women? It just seems like it. I really don't have any kind of evidence. Maybe I say that because my dad swore more than my mom, and because I live with guys and I hear them swear. Plus I think I'm rather traditional socially speaking where men, where if a lady swears it's not accepted but if a man swears it's just part of being human. But it's not ladylike to swear. You crossed out that people who swear sound stupid, so you disagree with that. Can you comment on that? When I know somebody who is uitelligent and if they use curse words then it seems to me that, I don't what their motives are, but I wouldn't just randomly categorize a person I don't know swearing as stupid. It sounds stupid, but I think they're expressing their frustration or anger and there's nothing stupid about feeling angry. It's very natural. I don't think it's the best way to express it. Anything to add? I'm glad I had the opportunity to do this. Ethnographic Interview with Questionnaire Participant #53: Okay, what I'd first like you to do is to describe for me your style of speaking in informal, social conversation. I guess I'm normally speaking formally? I've never lived in the Deep South or anything, so I don't really speak with uh, yeah, in that style. I don't know, I try to speak grammatically. Are you careful about the way you speak? I try to be. Are there times when you are more careful, or times when you are more relaxed about the way you speak? Well, yeah. And when would you be more careful about what you say and how you say it? I guess if I was speaking to someone who was giving an interview or something, then I would be extremely careful. If I'm speaking to my mom I would be especially careful. She's an English teacher. When I was younger, I could do a whole bunch of bad things and not get punished for them but if I said, "Me and her are going to the store", well... And when are you more relaxed about your speech? When I'm speaking to a close friend or my boyfriend or something. I told my boyfriend that I was doing this research study and he said, "There's 49,000 people on this campus. How did she find you?!" Because I don't swear.

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262 Okay, the instructions for this part were quite minimal. Tell me how you did the ratings. How did you know how to rate these words? What was your thought process? I imagined people saying them and imagined how offended I would find myself if I heard them saying them. I don't really like to hear any of those words. I'm used to a lot of them because everyone uses them, basically. But some of them I hear less often, and for that reason they are maybe more offensive; they're more saved for really bad language. The one that is the most offensive to me is that one ('nigger'). There's nothing in this world that I can stand less than prejudice and that just, words like that really make me cringe. I don't like any of them. Some of them you rated as '7's. Why would these be lower than the rest? 1 guess these are... Well, these two ('damn' and 'Goddamn'), are more cussing, taking the lord's name in vain, kind of, whereas the swears, they're used more often. I'm not sure if, like I know that these can be used in context more. Instead of 'you are such a' ... Right. And that can be just part of the anatomy (ass). I guess that one could be too (dick). But that's not as offensive as other words I've heard. You said these words are used 'loosely ' in society. What do you mean by that? In everyday conversation. Not like a student talking to a teacher but rather two students, much like your examples. On TV and the movies. Teachers use those words to their classes. Have you been in a classroom where a professor or instructor actually used these words? Mm-hmm. What was your reaction? 1 guess times have changed. They're different than when they were when my mom was going to school. I guess I really thought that the teachers were using the words for reaction, and not to loosely use the word so much and that's why I didn't take it as seriously as I might have if I thought that was really how they thought that students should be talked to. And what was the general reaction from the class? Laughter, usually. Was it a nervous laughter or an accepting 'that 's cool ' laughter? I think the latter. Tell me who you mean by 'ladies and gentlemen '. Well, I think that in proper speech that people who consider themselves ladies and gentleman, like I consider myself a lady and I don't think ladies swear, or use those kinds of words really. I think that the kind of guys I like to meet are gentlemen who also don't use that kind of words. Like, politeness, manners, people who have politeness and maimers. You don 't have any personal rules about swearing because you don 't swear. But other people do, so do you have any rules about how you react to people who swear?

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263 I generally ignore it. A lot of times people will be swearing and I won't even notice, or I'm likely to ignore it most of the time. If someone swears directly to me, not just speaking to me but directly swears at me, then I would be very offended. I guess that's usual. Do you hang around with people who swear? Sometimes. Most of my close friends don't. I mean, they probably do swear in other situations but not around me. People are more likely to swear in the same quantities as those around them, generally. So, people who are around me a lot, since I never swear, usually don't swear or they cut back on it considerably even though in another conversation with someone else they might swear frequently. So my close friends, 1 never really experience, but with acquaintances or people who don't know me very well and don't even notice that I don't swear, which is a majority of the people, they swear quite a bit. How do you feel about that? 1 just accept it. When do you feel offended? You said when people swear at you? Yeah, I feel offended when people swear at me and also when people swear at other people. Like if they describe someone using swear words or adverbs, then I'd be offended at that, too. If they're just speaking in their general language, I don't like it, but I'm not really offended generally. Tell me about what would be a context when it would be alright for a professor to swear. If they were talking about the word specifically or with your research if you were to say a swear word and discuss the swear word then I think that is proper. If it was a text or linguistics or acting, like reading a scene with swear words in it, then I don't think they should not say them. I've actually, you know, I said 'never' but 1 have had to say a couple words I didn't like in acting, because they were in the script and I didn't like that. I usually will say, I'll say 'heck' until the performance, and then I'll say the real word. But only because I have to, not because I want to. How does that make you feel? I hate it. 1 kind of feel like I'm losing my innocence and I know it's silly but I kind of like saying that I've never sworn because, who can say that? It kind of disturbs my credibility if I actually have. Even though you 're acting as someone else? Right. I don't like it. In a poetry class a year ago I had to say, I volunteered to read a passage that I hadn't read before and there were a couple of words in there. I was just stunned. I wanted to go over it, but the teacher was like, "You have to read everything." Under that context I read it, but it wasn't my choice and it wasn't instigated by me. This is interesting. Why do you think women swear more often than men? Well, it might be around me. I'm not sure but I think mostly women started swearing more to break out of their stereotypical mold in general and prove they are tough and I think men, when they're around women who don't swear, will tend to really cut back and at least try to, um, to be the gentleman. But women are going to swear more to show off that, well, "I do!" 1 think for some reason they have that kind of an attitude a lot. In the movies, like gangster movies, it's mostly just guys and they do all the swearing. But in real life type movies, if there is such a thing, I think women do more of the swearing, I think, to kind of make a stand and be different.

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264 So to raise to the standards of men? Yeah. Stand out, kind of. fVe discussed how you don't really notice when people aroundyou swear... Yeah, if it was every other word then I would notice it but if it just falls into conversation normally I pretty much ignore it. Do you find yourself grouping with people who don 't swear? Sometimes, not always. Here your ratings got considerably lower. Yeah, 1 thought about that afterwards. I thought about compared to each other, and that I could have done these higher on the scale. I think I put the highest one for this one ('fucking') because it was actually talking about the girlfriend. The rest of them I think were just conversational, they weren't really directed at anyone, maybe a thing, but not at any one. Yeah, it was almost the same word here, here and here and the ratings went from '4 'to '3' and then up to 7'. Yeah, context. Here it's just an adjective and although it's ridiculous to use that word as an adjective, I don't think it's terribly offensive because it could be exchanged for 'totally' or any adverb and the word is just for gumption or something. It's not really because it's that word, so that's why I gave that one such a low rating. Here, again, it's not being used in an offending context, it's not insulting anyone and it's not being used in it's actual meaning. It's just a substitution for another word, like, 'fiddling'. And again I don't know why anyone would want to use that word except to emphasize their point, have people listen, maybe laugh a little bit more because it's out of place and a word like 'fiddling' would have fit in there just as fine, so that's why I gave that a low rating also. What about the belief that people who use these words are just lacking an extended vocabulary or are too lazy to find the appropriate word? I don't know about that. I think they probably know other words and that they're not saying these because it's all they know. I think they do it on purpose, to get reactions like this, laughter. I think the reason that this line got laughter was because of the expletive. And people like to entertain other people and for some reason those words are entertainment. Any comments about your final statements? I wouldn't really say that people who swear sound stupid, well, it's just a little more adamant than how I might say it. I don't usually advertise that I don't swear because I don't like to isolate myself Since most people do swear, I think that if I actually protested in any way to it verbally by saying something like people who swear sound stupid and swearing is rude and disrespectful, I would kind of be a society outcast of some sort. But, personally, I would probably agree with those. Ethnographic Interview with Questionnaire Participant #54: Okay, the first question that J ask you is to just describe your style of speaking in social conversation.

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I guess it's normal speech with some swear words in there. You know the kind of normal ones. What do you mean by normal? It's like, uh, I guess I use kind of the common ones, like 'ass' and 'shit'. Besides swearing, what do you mean by normal speech? Oh, just like you know, you're talking to somebody and you say, say you're going somewhere, I would say "I'm dragging my ass somewhere." I don't know, I guess otherwise it would be considered normal. I mean, it's like, I don't speak much differently than the people around me. Meaning, your... Yeah, my family, my friends, my family being my siblings. Yeah, like my sisters and my friends and my husband. About your family: when you were growing up, did you have any rules about language or swearing? Yes, you couldn't swear. For a while, we couldn't even say 'crap', so, (laughter). It was uh, my parents tried to be sfrict but they weren't in a lot of ways. Yeah, you couldn't say 'piss' and you couldn't say, um, there was something else... They didn't like us to say 'faggot'. And what about now? . Now it doesn't matter. I mean, none of us goes so far overboard as to say some of those really rough words, but you know, I say 'shit' or 'damn' or 'hell' in front of my parents and they're like-no reaction? Yeah. They don't really care. And what about the other way? Do they swear? Yes, they do, too. They kind of always did. Not as often when we were really yoimg, but by the time we were teenagers they did a little more. But maybe I just noticed it more. And now, yeah. Neither of them cuss a whole lot, but they both do. Okay. When you did the first part of the survey, when you had to rate the words. Tell me how you did it. I gave you only very minimal direction here. The ones that I gave the highest marks were the ones when it actually entered my mind that I shouldn't say those or they gave me an immediate reaction. Those are the ones that I marked highest. The ones that are in the middle, the '6's and '7's, those are the ones that I would only use like, when I'm really angry or for emphasis. And then '5', between '5' and down, I consider like the middle to low and after I looked them over I thought I should really have marked them lower because I use them constantly. They're words that I know I shouldn't say, but I do. Pretty often. And to hear them doesn't make me flinch or anything. Here you mentioned older movies. Can you explain what you meant? Well I was thinking about how often everybody says 'fiick' all the time, and so do I, and what I started to think about was when you watch older movies it was, oh, a big taboo to even say 'damn'. And now, people say those words all the time. I mean, those aren't even really bad cuss words. Words like 'fiick', you would

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266 never dream of saying them or if at all very occasionally, so that's what I meant. If you watch these older movies, the words that I find not very offensive were pretty offensive back then. What about the workplace? Do you have a job? No. I did, but I don't presently. When you were at your former job, what was the language like there? Oh, yeah, I would never cuss at a job. My sister and I were talking about this last night You just don't cuss at a job. Maybe if you become really good friends with one of the other employees, and it's just you two and nobody else is around, then you might say some of the lesser words, 'shit' or 'damn' or something like that. Like the example you gave in there, two young guys, one worked and one didn't, and they said 'motherfucker', I'm like, I don't think so. So the workplace is just some place where you wouldn't, even if somebody who was using cuss words came up to me and was asking me questions, because I worked at a music store and we got a lot of punk kids all the tune, you still just wouldn't. I just wouldn't ever cuss with them because it just didn't seem right. You indicated that you would be most likely to use swear words with you family and friends, but then you said you used them most often when you are stressed. Are you often stressed and angry with your family and friends? (laughter) Yeah, well those are the people I'm most likely to vent my stress and my anger with. I'm like, "God this really sucks!", you know or whatever. Yeah, but they also are a source of stress sometimes. And what kind of mood are you in when you emphasise something? Usually stressed. I'm usually stressed out. What about in classes? Have you ever had a professor or an instructor use swear words in class? I don't know. I really can't remember if anyone ever has. . . Do you remember students who would swear in class? Like, maybe one, but it was such that it was one of the not so offensive words like 'shit' or 'damn' and it was in the context of something like, oh, you might not have should have said that but nobody was really offended by it or anything. Yeah, that's another place that I don't really think you should talk to somebody like that. You put 'no change 'for swearing around guys. Have you ever noticed or suspected that guys aren 't swearing as much around you? No, but I do notice that guys seem to swear more than I do. But a lot of that is because the guys that I'm around are close friends or cousins or people I've known for years and years, so that could be part of it. When you are introduced to someone, let 's say a friend of a friend, a peer, would you use swear words with that person? Well, I would wait until they did first. I wouldn't just outright say, "How the fuck are you?" I would wait and just follow their lead. I wouldn't want to offend them outright, but at the same time, if they didn't say anything I'm sure I'd slip. I usually do. But it wouldn't be, I wouldn't bring m a heavy word yet. You mentioned slipping. When are some times that you have slipped and how do you know you 've slipped?

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267 Most recently it was just with my parents you know, I moved out of the house and I was all, "I'm 1 8 I'm going to college I can do whatever I want." So, you know, you've been around your friends and you start talking shit and then you go to your parents house and you just get in the habit. So, I think the first time I ever cussed in front of my parents was a slip. I slipped with my grandparents once and then it was like, ugh! How did they react to that? They didn't really. But that's the way my grandparents are they just kind of sit there and like take a mental note of it but they wouldn't say anything oufright. Yeah, you marked that you slip rarely. Yeah, my parents are definitely more accepting and my mom swears more than she used to, but she still doesn't as much as my mom, -er as my dad. So that's why I um, I try to take the lead, I try, er I try not to take the lead, 1 try to follow whatever she's doing. Like if she says a few, then I'll say a few. Just not too many. When might be a time that you would try to use swear words less often than usual? With grandparents, some of the places that I said before. Here your ratings were generally lower than the previous section except that one, you gave it a higher rating than other instances of the same order and even higher than before. Yeah. I think it's because when I fu^st looked at those words it was like one word and the fu-st thing that made me think of it and so not the way that I always use it. Like 'ftick', I'm always saying, "How the fuck are you?" It's not that offensive to me. But this one, if he's out 'fucking his girlfriend', that's just more, I don't know why, it's just more offensive. So when I looked at the word before, that's part of the reason why I gave it a '5'. Because I just thought of the first thing that came to my mind which was a more offensive version of it. It's like context is important. These comments here are pretty middle of the road, and then you added that it's something that you like to do. Do you think people use swear words because they 're lacking the right word or appropriate vocabulary? I think it applies sometimes, but not as often to me. I mean, most of the time I do it for emphasis, I do it because I specifically want to use that word. I'm really pissed or I'm really stressed and I need to emphasise something and just saying, "I'm angry!" isn't enough. You want to say, "I'm really fiacking angry!" It's almost always for emphasis. I think occasionally, you know it just happens where I'm like, "you know that, that," and I forget the word, but it's, but that's just not the norm. Okay, thank you. 1 thought you would ask me about that 'nigger' question. Oh yeah. I 'm sorry I missed that. Well, I'll tell you why it shouldn't be on there. I don't think it should be on there. I don't think it should be on there because, um, because all the other words are just words that you, they're words that don't refer to other people. I mean, even if you even call someone a 'bitch' it's really like a female dog. Or a lot of the times I use it I say I'm bitching about something. But 'nigger' is like, it's this race term, it's so loaded. I hate to even hear black people say it. You're just like, "Ugh!"

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268 Ethnographic Interview with Questionnaire Participant #55: Okay, the first thing I want to ask before we get right to the survey is. ..if I were to ask how would you describe your style of speaking in social conversation, what would you say? Umm, my style of speaking? Mmm-hmm. Umm... The style that you use when you speak socially. Right, the style that I use then. Slurred, sometimes, um, I don't pronounce my 'd's and 'ing's and, uh, 1 say 'speakin' instead of 'speaking', and um, I use a lot of 'd' sounds, like, a lot of, um, I don't know what those are called, like the /d/ /d/ that sound instead of /k/ or /th/ or /s/. Yeah so, my speech is very monotone for the most part, you know. And, um, I speak Ebonics, for the most part. What about the words you use? Your vocabulary? My vocabulary? Um, fairly simple, I don't try and, uh, speak over my head for fear that my words won't flow together, and I won't know what I'm talking about, so you know, I just try and simplify my language and, and, so that, I'll reach the masses instead of a select group of people who only understand jargon. So how does swearing figure in, if at all, to this style of speech you use most often? Um, swearing comes because of lack of a better word at times and because 1 want to emphasize what I'm saying. So the swearing, it adds a graphic nature to what I'm... my point. So, I guess it's an attentiongetter. It's almost like saying, um, "Hey, look here." And then you say what you want to say. Like, some Spanish people say, "Mira!" you know? And then they say what they have to say, right? So it's the same type of thing. You know you just say, "Shit! This happened." And people know. Okay! Now he 's got something to say. Right. Yes, yes. This first section that you did after giving some basic information. I only gave you minimal direction, here are some words and I asked you to rate their offensiveness. Normally you don 't see these words written down, they 're pretty muchspoken -yeah. So, how did you go about this? How did you know what's an '8' what's a '1 '? What were you thinking when you were doing this? How did you judge? I judged from the magnitude that the word has on a listener. I think of myself saying this word out loud and what type of response I'll get from the listener, from the person that hears what I'm saying. So, for instance, you know, I put an '8' for 'ass' as I put a '4' for 'bastard' 'cause, I feel like 'ass' is more a graphic word than 'bastard'. More of an attention-getter or have a greater impact on my listener. Yeah, I feel like 'ass' would as compared to 'bastard' or 'damn'. Okay, this 'hell' only got a 7 '.

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269 Hell is a word that depending on how it's said can be viewed to be graphic or can be viewed as a regular, average word. 'Cause, a preacher would tell you, "You're going to hell." I don't necessarily view it as a word, you know, of obscenity. I view it as a word describing a horrible place. The meaning doesn't change but when it's used in different contexts then it becomes, it depends on, it's obscenity, because you know, a preacher saying, "What the hell...", then it would be used as obscenity. Because it 's the preacher? It's the preacher. Now, if you were to say it, because you said that you judged by if you were to say it, how your listeners would respond, if you were to say it, you think your listeners wouldn 't think it was offensive? No, depending on how I used it. Because I could tell my friends if 1 was to say it, to say the word 'hell', I would say, "You're going to hell", I don't think it would be necessarily viewed as an obscenity. But if I tell my friends, uh, "Go to hell." or "What the hell...", then I think it would be used as an obscenity. I think people view the word 'hell' as, the meaning doesn't change. It's a place... of horror. So they view the word 'heir as, um, if someone's going to warn me and keep me away out of that place of horror then it's not an obscene word but if someone wants to associate that place of horror with me or tell me to go there then the word is obscene. Okay, you actually thought that word should be taken out of these. And these [ratings] are interesting because this brings me here: I put this ('nigger ') in although my own personal category of swear words doesn't include this word. This is a different kind of word for me And it's the same kind as these. So I'd like you to tell me about your choices. Why do you consider these words 'profane '? Because, um, they are explicit and they can elicit even more impact or response even greater that the profane words or obscene words. I'm curious about this word ('nigger '), which I have heard quite a bit actually. Yet you gave it a '10 '. Right. And the reason why I gave it a ' 10' is, I've used it and I'm a victim of that and I call that not being aware of the impact of words. That word doesn't change in context because a black person says it or a white person says it. It's the same word, and I feel that black people are being self-negating when they use that word. And I have to catch myself at times saying the word-like stop yourself from saying it? -yes, because I know that it's a negative word and even if I use it in a room of black people it's still a negative word even if they don't get upset with me. What about the rest of these. Are these negative words also? No. they can be, but they can also be used as positive words. It's like 'nigger' can be used as a positive word. I've had friends call me, "What's up, my nigger?" and that's a word of endearment. I've had friends say, "You're my motherfiicker." And that 's also a term of endearment? Yeah! And some people call themselves 'ghetto bastards' because they know that they don't have a father and they don't know where their father is so they accept that term and use it as a good term, as a way to identify themselves as a group.

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270 Okay, not around elders or in professional settings. Why not the elderly? Because, even if the elderly use it, you have to show them deference because they've lived longer and even if they curse at you, you don't necessarily have to be direct with them and so explicit with them because they're in the twilight of their years. You know, they shouldn't be approached in any aggressive way, you know. They should relax and rest in their old age. So you can 't even use the words as terms of endearment. Yeah, you could if it was accepted, but I don't know anywhere where it would be accepted among the elderly to use any of those words as a term of endearment. And how did you come up with that, say, rule about not using these words with the elderly? It was something I saw modeled from my parents. They always respected their mother and their grandparents even if their grandparents or their mother treated them in not a nice way. They still showed respect towards them because of who they were. When you were growing up did you ever have rules imposed on you by your parents about your language? Yes, yes. My parents 1 only remember my mother swearing three times in my life and my father maybe twice. My parents don't swear. And it's just because of my social group and among my friends and people my age who, we tend to swear a lot, you know, they call us generation X because of it. I guess because we don't respect our elders and we're very rebellious. So, I think it comes along with being a part of my generation. So, I won't talk to my mother the way I talk to my friends. Speaking to my mother, I would not use a curse word. My mother has taught me that if I ever thought of using a curse word towards my mother she would get upset, you know, and when I was younger it would probably lead to something more drastic, so you know, I don't use those words around my parents. I have slipped and they've gotten, they've been upset, but they weren't as upset as I thought they would be. So, I think the fear is more than the threat is. If you used these words with your friends, does that mean you are showing your friends disrespect? Depending on how the word is used. Because, in a positive way, no. You're not showing your friends disrespect. Even if you use those words in regular conversation with your friends, describing someone else, you still wouldn't be disrespecting your friends. Only if they feel like they've been disrespected, like some of my friends are... don't like to hear profanity aroimd them because of fear that they will pick it up and they will go back and their parents will hear it or whoever will hear it and it will come out at the wrong time. You know which of you friends are like that? Yeah, those friends, because I'm a person who. ..I'm pretty accepting, because at times I don't use those words and at times I use them explicitly, you know, a lot. So, at times when I'm in situations where I don't use those words, those friends are around. And at times when I will use those profane words, those friends aren't around. So, I guess it depends on the group that I'm surrounded with, my environment that determines my language style. What about classrooms. You answered 'yes ' here tell me about your experience. It was a joking atmosphere and the reason was, I think, an attention-getter. Because when the teacher comes in the classroom, all the students are talking and doing their thing and you want to get everyone's attention so you tell a joke and the professor told a joke but I think the joke was more for himself than for the students because he laughed but everyone else felt a little offended like, uh, well, not necessarily offended, but they didn't know where he was coming from with the joke.

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271 Did this occur early in the semester? Yes. And how did that affect the tone for the remainder of the semester? Very, uh, tense and competitive. Um, I think that everyone viewed the professor as a hard nose, you know, that he didn't care what his colleagues thought of him, he didn't care what his students thought of him, he was going to be his own man and he feh free enough to stand in front of a classroom and use such a word. Do you think the class as a whole felt the way you do? I'm speaking for myself, but I saw other people having different experiences in the class. I think it boils down to the prejudice of the receiver. Me, a curse word coming from a white male may be more offensive to me because I'm a black male than from a white male to a white male. What about females? How do you feel when females use these words? Um, it depends. Most of the time I don't really think the word is appropriate for a female to use just because they are, um, feminine. I think that being explicit and profane is a masculine trait and so when I see females who are using curse words, I think that they're overstepping their boundaries and I think that they're not a respectable woman. I lose respect for them. But 1 do have some friends who are females who curse around me and I still have the same respect for them, so it depends on my relationship with the female and how long I've known her and how much experience I've had with her. When might you try not to swear? In church, in a business setting, in my profession, if I were in a class I wouldn't want to swear, in a colleague's presence, like an administrator, or just someone who has the same job as me. I wouldn't want to present the persona of being overbearing or being threatening in any way. I wouldn't use those terms because I wouldn't want to be threatening. What about slipping? When might that occur? Around my parents. I slipped in front of my mother and the response from her wasn't of the magnitude that I expected. Why do you think that was? I think it was because she saw the way that I was expressing myself and sometimes some words are perfect for what you're trying to say. And I guess she understood that I was just expressing a point and not trying to be profane or explicit, not trying to be disrespectfiil towards her. I was just trying to reach my point. So she saw my end, she saw where I was going. 1 think that if she would not have understood my conversation and the type of language 1 was using and the pomt 1 was trying to make, then she probably would have gotten upset because she was trying to make sense out of everything that I was trying to say to her. I think it has something to do with the context and how 1 see the word and how I feel because sometimes I can view... I can take somebody saying 'fuck' to me as being very offensive and sometimes I can it to be a come-on, so to speak, so it depends on who's saying it and what my environment is. So, here (text), so it depends on the situation. And here he could have said 'copulating' or other words but that is a more general term.

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272 Ethnographic Interview with Questionnaire Participant #56: Let 's begin by you describing how you felt about completing the survey. I thought it was interesting. Like seeing how these words are used in our culture and what people think of them. How would you describe your style of speaking in social situations? It depends on who I'm talking to. I mean, 1 have a definite accent or whatever and I speak with slang... You have a regional accent? What kind of accent do you mean? I mean like there's a certain way that people from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale speak. ' ^ Is that where you're from? • k Right. And, uh, I have a West Indian background and so uh, you know, people tell me I know how to sound articulate, I know how to voice my opinion, too. You said earlier that your style of speech depends on whom you talk to. Whom do you talk to most often? Friends, my peers. What is your language like when you 're not speaking to friends or peers? Well, 1 wouldn't use as much slang, or maybe as much profanity. Is your Miami/Ft. Lauderdale dialect much different than the Gainesville dialect? Oh, yeah, people are always, "Where are you from?" What was your home environment like as far as rules of speaking and using profanity? Well, um, my parents are divorced, right? And so, uh, I live with my mother but I still, I moved to Miami and I'm spending lot of time with my father. My father curses a lot. Swears a lot, I mean, he's... it's a part of his everyday language. But, I mean... Is that how he is when he 's at home? Yeah, right. Have you been with him when he 's outside of the home, when he 's around other people? Does he have the same style of speaking outside the home as inside? Um, in a way. If he's speaking to someone he's comfortable with, he knows, you know, he relaxes, he swears, this and that. One thing that your survey, I don't, I don't mean to go off... No, go right ahead. One thing that your survey didn't really touch on was it's one thing to swear and curse, but it's another thing to curse at people. That's one thing 1 hardly ever do. I hardly ever tell people, "F-you" and "you're this" and call you names, but it's one thing to use it in your everyday language. I picked that up from my father.

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273 He curses whatever but he doesn't curse at people. And when I was younger I think he made a point to tell me that, you know, you don't curse at people. I think that's when profanity becomes offensive when you curse at people. Let 's look at the rating section and have you tell me what your thought process was when you completed that section. Can you comment on how you made your judgements ? Basically what I did was um, like if you say, 'ass' the word, it doesn't really mean anything, but 'asshole' is a name, so if I was to call someone an 'asshole' or if someone called me that 1 would be upset. Same thing as a name. This word 'bitch', that's a little more common, but still it's a name and that's why I put it more above, like above '5'. So with 'bitch' you immediately thought of name-calling as opposed to 'complaining'? I just thought of the generic word, like if that was the infinitive. You know what I'm saying? Like if you said 'to go', you know he went he came, there's all kinds of different tenses of the word, but I thought, that's how most words are used now, you can change them around and add to them, it depends how you say them. The generic word 'bitch', I didn't find that offensive. You only circled one that you won 't use, but you didn 't rate it all that offensive. And this one is used quite frequently and you have rather high rating. Because it depends on how you say it. If you... you can say 'Goddamn' that's different. It's taking the Lord's name in vain. So I would consider that a little bit more offensive then just the word 'damn'. You can say 'damn' on TV or wherever you want, so I mean... These two (fuck, motherfucker) are almost the same word, this one is rated a little lower. That's my personal, that's just the way I use it, I mean, it's like an adjective. It's just an adjective for emphasis. Like, I hardly ever call people that word. So when you went through this you thought about your own way of speaking and when you swear, you don't swear at people. Right. If you looked at these as used for swearing at, then they would be more offensive? Right. This one (nigger) was rated high. That's uh, it's a fudgy word. 1 mean I use it a lot myself, and it's like there's a difference. There's a difference who says it, how you say it and why you say it, right? But for the purpose of this, um, experiment, I felt that it didn't belong because it denotes race and all kinds of other things that none of these other words have to do with. Have you ever experienced swearing taking place in the classroom? Yeah, but it was for just comical release? Oh?

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274 Yeah, just a comic relief to break the ice, it wasn't, it wasn't like it was, even if it was part of his everyday language like I was taught that the classroom it just it wasn't for that. I mean, you go to class, you respect the teacher you keep quiet you ask your questions, do what you have to deal with and you know, you leave. And you don 't use those words. Right. Those are for everyday use, and when you're in class, you're in class. And so, I mean, if I were to ever have a teacher that did curse excessively like that, I mean 1 wonder how professional he was, especially at a college campus because at high-school it's a little different. I mean, here you are a university employee, you don't really have any business doing that. And you said it was for comic relief, so the general reaction was laughter? Yeah, people just laughed. Do you think it made them relax? Yeah, it did. And how would you say that the class generally felt towards the teacher swearing? Well, I mean it was basically a joke and it was the only time he ever did curse in class, too. So 1 think it was just a joke for that one time, so that people would relax, it was the first couple weeks of class, he was just talking and people were laughing. We kind of just sat back for a minute and kind of relaxed. And you said that both you and your friends use swear words? Yeah, we use swear words basically for emphasis. Emphasis and slang and that's it. What about when people say that swearing is a sign of a limited vocabulary or that people who swear sound unintelligent? I think it depends on the person. How does it apply to you? I mean I use swear words, they're just seven extra words in my vocabulary. If anything they help me describe things. But I mean, I have no problem with, I mean I haven't cursed once since talking to you. I have no problem just talking, I have no problem speaking without using curse words. You circled all situations for when you are most likely to use swear words. If J forced you to pick one, which would it be? I mean, I don't know. I use them in all situations. It all depends on how, I mean, they only thing to differentiate, what I mean is, my mood or something. When I'm happy I use certain words, when I'm angry I use certain words, when I'm relaxed I use certain words-doyou know which ones? Urn, I don't know. I mean, like, "Damn I'm so f-ing tired. I just want to sit back and relax." You know, just a situation like that. Here again we have what you mentioned before, that it just depends on who you 're talking to.

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275 Right. Has it ever... are you pretty good at judging with whom you can swear? Pretty good. Have you ever misjudged? Has anyone ever reacted? Or have you ever reacted to someone using swear words around you? Yeah, sometimes. Usually if I'm meeting a female for the first time, I usually don't swear around them. Like for the first time. I mean, I want to get comfortable with that person. TTie only time I've seen people, like they come up and they get offended, is like when I'm talking with a group of my friends and like a person who doesn't know us or anything will come up and kind of join the conversation and the language is a little bit like, oh, okay. But it hardly ever happens. Every now and then I might meet like a really foul mouth or something. I laugh, I go, "Man she got a dirty mouth." It might be a little joke to me, but that's about it. Would you say the same thing about a guy? Yeah. Actually... No. It's not always... Not really. You wrote that you think men swear more often than women. ' Yeah, I believe it. And you kind of gave an indication of your attitude towards women who swear. They have foul mouths. Do you and your friends have foul mouths? Not really. Sometimes, but um, I'm talking really like curse a lot. Like, one word particularly over and over and over again. That's foul mouthed. You know, 'f this, T, 'f, 'f. That's foul mouthed to me. You have to curse a lot for me to say that. But even then I think, that's okay, you know, that's just funny. But I mean, it all depends on how you express yourself What you're saying, I mean, there's a lot of people out there who are ignorant, who don't have a lot of vocabulary and use curse words to fill it in, but I mean at the same time especially on college campuses, you're gonna find people who are pretty articulate, so I mean, I think that in this environment when people curse it's usually just to add emphasis or whatever. I mean with women, I don't know, it's almost unfeminine to the extent if a female curses a lot. So I mean, that's just kind of like an old-fashioned idea that people have. That I have, I don't know about everybody. When I asked you about your style as far as swear words. Is it something that you turn on and try to do, or something that you rather try not to do depending on the situation? I know what you're saying. Now that you got me thinking about how I grew up. ..um... it's subconscious for me. I don't think about it. I mean I have friends that I mean they. ..they slip up, you know they. ..I'm just one of those people I never... I never.. .even though my father cursed around me I never cursed around him, I mean at least until I got older, but I mean, growing up with my mom, she didn't curse and my father cursed so I think that's kind of why I think women shouldn't curse and men should curse. So I mean, I wouldn't curse around my mom and I wouldn't curse around like kids or anything like that and after a while, I didn't, I mean I didn't think about it. I mean I didn't have to walk through this door and think, "Okay I'm not gonna curse with this lady." You know what I mean? I mean, we sit down, we're talking and the situation doesn't lend itself to it. In the examples you 're ratings are pretty low.

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276 I mean, that's how most young people talk nowadays. You go to a movie, that's how people talk. Nowadays you watch TV and that's how people talk. So I mean... Do you have any comments on whether or not there are rules to swearing? Personally, I don't curse around little kids. I don't like cursing around females who I've just met. I don't like cursing around elders, like I mean, if you, it depends, if we're having like a man-to-man repertoire whatever but I mean, as a sign of respect I mean, if I meet anybody male or female and they're older than me I'm not, I'm not gonna start cursing. I mean because you know, I'll just feel them out, see what they're about, you know, talk to them. Ethnographic Interview with Questionnaire Participant #57: If you had to describe your style of speaking, how would you do that? The style that characterizes your social interaction. The way you talk, what you say, the words you use in a social situation. Basically loose, you know, free flowing. I just, I speak, you know, think about what you say, it comes out, kind of pick apart things and whatever. I don't, you know, I just encounter a lot of people, I just speak without processing what they say, you know. I would think about what I say, when I say it, who I'm around. That pretty much determines what I say. How does swearing figure into this style that you 're describing? Well, a lot of times when I swear it's just everyday interaction with people that I'm easy with, friends for the most part. Again, the situation determines what I say. If I'm in the company of, even if I'm with all my friends, if somebody new comes along that I'm not familiar, there's like an automatic respect thing that is triggered, because you're not sure where this person stands. But for the most part, cursing is just things that come out of your mouth. It's whatever, you don't even think about it after a while. So it's, it's not, it doesn't really affect, you know, I don't not curse because I feel, you know, in a comfortable situation with friends I will not hold back what I have to say. And that's just a part of everything, describing things, you know pretty much like you had, you know, a bit of conversation. Pretty much descriptive, not necessarily attacking. When I curse, it comes out as that. How did you complete the rating section? Based on, like you say, offensive. You know, I look on it by that scale, not necessarily how I use them. Cause I use them. Like, I use 'ass' a lot. I use all of these. But I based it on how offensive they were if I used them in an aggressive situation. So you said you use this one (fuck) a lot but you gave it a '9 ', because that 's what it would be-in an offensive situation. Right, if was trying to break you down, you know, curse you out, so to speak, then I'm going to call you the worst things. That's just dictated by, I guess, everyday flow of things in society. Is 'everyday expression ' aggressive like that? No, no. There's a difference between everyday speech and encountering somebody who pisses you off, you know what I'm saying? It's not everyday that somebody, in my experience anyway, you know. So most of these words, when I say these words they're coming out just like whatever. But then they become really bad, and especially like 'nigger' in this case.

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277 / included it because I've heard it used a lot. That's correct. Right, but I looked at in a negative way. Actually I was in a group or a little get-together and the word came up, like how or why it's used or why do black people use it. You talked about the word. Yeah, that's right. But then it kind of flipped, the whole tone. There were white people who we weren't really familiar with and then there were my friends, you know, and a couple of other people. Like my friends, a couple girls, you know they started just kind of disrespecting the word just saying, just to say it, you know, 'niggemiggemigger', you know, trying to make jokes or whatever. And you could see there was almost like a change in the people who were new, in this case it was like three white girls. They were kind of like, well you know, that automatically like put them, kind of separated them, like, "We're not apart of this anymore." And fiinny enough, we got into an argument after they left, after the new girls left, we got into an argument because basically me and a friend were like, you know, "Why did you even disrespect the room by that?" Even though we might sit in the room when they're not there and we might just be talking, you know, "Yeah that nigger came across...", you know, just in speech like that, you know, that was still, you know, an uncalled for situation. Especially since these were people who could have taken the word and said, "Well, you know, black people use the word...", whatever, and they can now take that, the whole idea was that was being put forth and they can go and flip it around and tell their friends that, "Yeah you know they're just like we thought they were." You know, just kind of using it as basically a justification of their thoughts. There's a fme line when you use that word. A very fme line. The '10' is because of, you know, the previous situation. A black/white situation. 10 years ago, you didn't hear ass on TV That's where time comes in. Context, in terms of, okay, context it would be, a teacher in front of class, or how that comes about, or aroimd fiiends, or if it's meant to hurt. So these were rated with thoughts of aggressive situations, not conversational. Oh, no. If they were conversational, all of these would be ' I's. So that's where it's at. But time is really a factor in how words are seen as bad or, you know, more bad, basically. You wrote that society deems them as bad. So, does this reflect your own personal reaction, or how you think society reacts? Yeah, this is my opinion here. But of course, I can't sit here and say that society doesn't put a meaning on these words because they do, and it affects how you think about them, so I'm gonna obviously think that this is bad because you know, 50 or 60 years ago people were getting killed on that word (nigger). I mean, it's whatever. So, in terms of society, society does affect how we look at or how we think about words m that respect. That's just a historical thing, not necessarily anything else. Here, you wrote that you never consciously try not to swear. I guess that answer came out of speaking with friends. Do I say, "No, I'm not going to cuss today." You know, I never do that. I know some people, especially church and religion really determine how people see these words and stuff like that. That's all encompassing and like this thing called society and the system. But in terms of going out there, I mean in situations I will say, "Okay, I'm not going to swear." But I mean, I'm not gonna say, "Okay, I'm not gonna not swear today." I never wake up one morning and tell myself, "Okay, not today." People I don't like, if you get into an aggressive encounter, I'm gonna cuss at you, break you down. Whereas my friends, all ones. Adjectives as opposed to offending. Number 12, just pick one.

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When I'm stressed. That just comes out of um, I kind of see curse words, especially in a stressed situation, I kind of see curse words as, it's almost like yelling at a train. As a train is passing, you go out there and scream at a train and it's like, sigh. So, in that case curse words come out. I might just be sitting around in my room but because of whatever is on my mind, you just kind of are like, you know, "Damn it." or "Fuck." Whatever. That comes out on uh, angry of course, that's just a given. When I'm relaxed sjjeaking with friends, that's just a given, too. When, I'm happy, whatever. You know, it might be, but definitely when I'm stressed. Number 18, choose one. Who I'm talking to. Who might it be that would make you not use swear words? Parents and, usually people I don't know. Definitely around like family members because I come from a very religious background so of course curse words are deemed as a part of 'doing bad' so in that respect yes, I don't curse around, you know, family type situations. Again, people 1 don't know, people I'm not sure about. It's just a respect thing really, when it comes to that. There is a difference between who you surround yourself with as opposed to like someone you're meeting for the first time so you want to show that person what society calls respect. One way of demonstrating that is by not swearing. // seems you 're pretty good at that, you say you rarely slip. Yeah, that's a once in a while thing. Again, if I'm angry around my mom, yeah I'll curse around my mom like that, but it's not like a regular thing. Sometimes I get mad and it might come out, it might come out, but that's a rarely case. You also noted that you control yourself around females. How do you feel about females using swear words? It depends. Straight up front if I run into a female for the first time and she's just, it's just coming out of her mouth, just cursing, sounding like how I talk on a daily then it's almost like, hmmm, you know, because first of all I'm going to give you that respect and not curse around you simply because I don't know who you are, that's one. And then 2, is it a female, ladylike thing to do. What about meeting a male for the first time? Would you have the same behavior, or reaction? It would probably break down quicker, because I know, I look at people and I know what they're like by appearance. I look different from somebody who has a nice haircut and dressed in a suit. It all depends on how the person looks, what I think, if I approach somebody who looks like me, I'm gonna automatically, because it's almost like a form of showing, 'yeah you're down.' You get up there, you're just talking, you know it's a free dialogue, it's like, boom. It's a common ground thing, in a way. But, on the whole female stance of it. It's just defmitely a slight tumoff on the first approach, but later, you know, if I get to know her, if I feel like you are in some way, you know, if you can relate to me on some level and we're friends whatever, it's, cursing doesn't even really become, it's just words. All of this is just basically, how well do 1 know you. And then even if I know you well and you don't curse, I won't curse. Like my cousin, he's Christian and stuff like that and just out of respect because I know he doesn't partake in that style of conversation, I will give him that respect and not do that. What about it the classroom? This comes back to women cursing, actually. I had a professor last semester for a Caribbean lit course. I've had professors curse before, out of emphasis, reasons for, you know you want to state a point, I wanna say

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279 something stronger in that respect, but it was almost like, she was, kind of like in an attempt to like be cooler in the class, it was a lot more curse words that I think a professor should have been coming across. I mean, unless it's necessary there's no need to curse in a classroom situation. You're dealing with so many more words than 'ass' or 'shit', you know what I'm saying? Especially in a lit course. Yeah, you're reading curse words, but you know I mean, you can get more descriptive than using that. So that's why I feel like, um, in that situation. It's necessary at times, but it's not really called for it's not like everyday conversation. And it all depends on the class too, if it's, I think if the class was different in terms of how it was set up, cause I'm an English major and I'm in a lot of lit courses and stuff and a lot of times it does call for it, you know, just basically getting personal, everybody getting personal and breaking down, and what they have to do in order to reach a better type of understanding and in that case, yeah, if it's on that personal, free flowing level where everybody's just saying and talking accordingly then fine. I've been in situations where, yeah, the whole class has been involved in a discussion and everybody is cursing back and forth. Again, not using the words offensively but just talking. And, in that case, yeah, but... What was the general reaction of the class at times when the professor used swear words? I think because it was a senior level course, there were a lot of students about to graduate, it was the spring. I think when you get to that level like, it wasn't like, oh my goodness, it wasn't like, I'm in 12* grade and my teacher! And that's a whole different thing too, like, in high school as opposed to here. Everybody was like, well if you curse, now we can curse type of thing. Now we can be as easy as he just made the class. It kind of sets the standard and how everything moves in terms of language, knowing the bounds, you know. In the conversational examples, 'fuck ' was rated higher in the last one. It was just the way it was used. It was kind of like, yeah, "He's fuckin' his girlfriend." That's kind of like, you know you could have just left it as, you know, "He's out with his girlfriend." The rest of these are just like, you know, well, this one is just a little much. But definitely not offensive. It's almost like a jealously thing going on. Why both sets of comments checked? This is of course, in some situations there are rules, knowing what, of course. Because I've been around people who it just comes out their mouth. They don't think about what they say regardless. I've had friends come to my house and I guess because we talk freely they thought they could come in and do the same in a house setting, not knowing that these were parents here that you need to respect, this is a household that you need to respect. Sometimes when you use it, it's almost like it gives you a second to think. So you're talking, and it's like, curse word, and boom, you get to finish what you were trying to say. It's almost like a conjunction. It's weird. Ethnographic Interview with Questionnaire Participant #58: Let 's begin by having you describe for me what your style of speaking is, and by that I mean the way you speak in social situations in particular. I would say informal when I can get away with it. I usually try to talk to people as equals, which, depending on how they want to look at it, means bringing people down to my level of speaking. I'm usually not meeting theirs. That's about as best as I can describe it. What do you mean by 'getting away with it '?

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280 Well, I mean, you can't get away with it in every situation. What 's a situation when you can 't? When you need a favor from somebody who you perceive in a situation of authority, you can't get away with it. If I need a favor from a boss, from a teacher, or from a cop, I'm not gonna come up to them and go, "Hey, how the fiick are you?!" You know, I'm not gonna do that, you know, I'm gonna, "Hi. How are you? I was wondering if I could talk to you for a moment." You know, um. That's pretty much... So according to that example you gave, does that mean that you 're style of speaking includes swearing? Yes, very much so. What were your experiences growing up as far as being exposed to swearing and practicing it yourself? Did your parents set any rules? Um, no, they pretty much swore all the time and they never really told me not to do it. Once in a while I got a "Don't talk to me like that," you know, um, but pretty much I had to figure out on my own what I was supposed to say to who. And when. They really didn't bother with that. What was your thought process for the rating section? How did you determine the values? Well, I've pretty much... heard it all, and there's not a whole lot spoken out there that can offend me. I put '3' because that word has a lot of stigma (cunt) I personally don't find it offensive, but, why would I? But it's pretty much been conditioned into me that, hey, you don't use that word everyday, you know. And um, as for 'nigger' I don't... I personally... it's the only one out of the list that I personally don't use it in my vocabulary. I only gave it a '9' because I do listen to a lot of rap and stuff like that and I'm not gonna tell, I'm not gonna try and suppose that I can tell a black person not to use the word 'nigger'. I mean, I just don't think that's my place, so, I only gave it a '9'. Originally I had my pencil on '10.' And you also think that word should be deleted? I don't consider it, I don't, I don't know, there are swear words and then there are racial slurs and I think there's a little bit of difference. But after I did this I started thinking well, you could say the same thing for like, 'bitch', it's a sexist slur, you know, I. ..so, I kind of waffled on that one. You said earlier that you gave 'cunt ' a '3' because it 's been conditioned, so while you don 't... while you 're not personally offended, you know that others are? Mm-hmm. The word carries a lot of weight, even reading it in texts you know I mean the... it really has an impact. I mean, use it on somebody and you'll feel the impact. Um, you really will, so. Um, especially if you're using to describe a person, not an object. You said 'ass ' and 'bitch ' are becoming more acceptable. Right, like watch prime time TV and now they can get away with, "I'm gonna kick your ass," you know, so-Like,NYPDBlue... Oh, yeah, oh man, I remember when that first came out. Wow. You remember that first episode?

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Oh yeah, I watched it. What was it the first five minutes when he called someone a 'dickhead' or an 'asshole' or something? Wow. You said you don 't have any rules about... Well, not hard and fast rules I mean, uh, I. . . none that I really can explain. If you had written, if yes then explain, I really couldn't... it's just what seems right to me given a certain situation. I mean, if I'm angry of course I'm gonna use more than, you know. . . I just couldn't find any fast rules that I could explain. It seems like a personal, subconscious thing to me, you know, how I use them, and when. Can you comment on this? Why would they be hypocrites? Because I mean, religious people aren't supposed to swear. I mean, that's what I've always been told. You know, they're not supposed to, I mean, I don't think a preacher should come out and go, 'what the hell is this shit going on out here'? You know, I mean, or a, an Islamic said, or actually the nation of Islam, something about the man who swears doesn't have the brains to say what he's actually thinking, and uh, I don't concur, personally, but uh, if that's their teachings then they ought to follow it. That's all that I'm saying. I don't consider myself religious at all so, uh, if someone is religious then they ought to fulfil whatever that religion, like, you know, the Southern Baptists are gonna picket Disney you know then, chances are they're watching TV flipping through going, "Damn nigger." So, you know, I just think that's wrong. You don 't agree with the statement about 'a man who swears... ' Right, I don't, I mean, I was brought up with wisdom as viable words and I don't think that um, I don't think that we shouldn't use them just because they've been classified as some kind of taboo. When you 're in class... It depends on the how the tone is preset, it really does. You can always get a vibe for, you know, the type of teacher you've gotten after a while, and uh, actually another reason I put that in, I spent two years out of school after my sophomore year and, uh, I didn't have a job where it mattered whether I swore or not. I worked in a kitchen and the people I worked with swore all the time. Last semester I just came back and was kind of uh, censoring myself, and actually just calling somebody Mr. or Mrs. anything, that was a big problem, too. One of my first teachers said, I actually made a point, I was proud of myself, I called them professor something or another and they go, "That's Dr." I was like, great first impression, you know, you should have just come in swearing. So that's another reason why I put that. But I mean, I've had, I, some teachers are more laid back, or other professors are more laid back and especially the type of class it is. Some of them you can't get away without using swear words. I mean, I've taken contemporary lit classes where, contemporary English lit, and it's all over the place. I mean, you can't not use cuss words. I mean unless you want to go through the book with a black magic marker, you know. In Number 11, when would these times be? Oh, more often than usual? Sometimes when I'm really trying to emphasize something and when I'm really, really trying to emphasize something and if I'm talking to somebody who might not be able to understand it any other way besides mserting the word 'fiicking' in every other syllable, you know, you gotta stuff it into the syllable, you can't even wait till the end of the word. Um, that's a lot of times, or when I'm angry and I'm not talking just run of the mill, like this morning I slept right through my alarm for forty-five minutes. It's just buzzing in my ear, 45 minutes it's buzzing in my ear. It didn't faze me for 45 minutes. I couldn't believe that. But I mean when I'm at the point of blowing my top, stressed out angry, you know where it's just like, (laughter). When I'm at that point where things just aren't making sense to me anymore. Simple things that I should know and I'm completely out of my train of thought.

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282 And less often? Mm-hmm. I mean there are just sometimes when it's just not in your best interest to. . . But those two years on that job, and now it 's difficult to turn it off? Yeah, right, and sometimes I don't feel like I should be made to, but also a lot of times, once again, they're in a position of authority. I've got to somewhat conform to their wishes of how it's gonna be. Who would this be? Um, people in authority excluding my mother, because I cuss to her all the time, it doesn't matter. Um, and uh, children. I always, I try but I don't always succeed, but I always try to bite my tongue around small children unless I see the parents doing it first. If I see the parents doing it first then I've got a green light. I'll still try and wait until I use the big words, the big ones, but uh, because that's not my place to introduce somebody else's children to the real world. Here, the examples... (laughter) It just doesn't phase me at all, it just really does not phase me at all. Except for very few examples does it phase me. I noticed that you didn't have any examples of taking the Lord's name in vain, that wouldn't have phased me either, it's just, just another set of words to me. There 's no difference to you or is there between when a guy is swearing and a girl is swearing? No. You've come a long way, baby. It doesn't make any difference to me. An example that doesn't quite fit but it's almost on the right track is when I was in junior high. Up until then I never used the word 'chick' to describe a girl and oh god do I catch hell for it now. But where I picked up that phrase was a group of three friends, girls who I hung out with all the time. They used 'chick' all the time to describe everybody. I don't see why it's wrong if I learned to say it from girls. How can that be wrong? It's kind of the same, you know, why should it be different? It doesn't make any sense to me that it should be different. Whatever guys say girls can say? Yeah. If they want to accept whatever someone else is going to think of them. I know as a whole, I probably don't fit the stereotype, I don't fit the general consensus on that, so I mean they're kind of taking a lot into their own hands. But... and, I've never really noticed any girls censoring themselves on swearing. I mean, uh, every girl I've ever known has sweared (sic). You mean, you are sort of different... Probably, I mean, maybe more tolerant. I like the word desensitized myself I think that's it. Growing up I never knew any girls that censored themselves. Um, and, uh, so I really wouldn't know what to do if I came across one who did, you know. It would probably actually kind of annoy me. I'd say, "Say what you mean!" You want to call him an asshole, call him an asshole. Don't call him a jerk. So... Do you think many people censor themselves? That they hold back? I think yeah, I think it's uh pretty much uh, instinct. People who don't swear, I think they've got to fight it because, um, there's this woman I worked with, she was very religious. This was several years back, and she didn't cuss. Unless she got really angry and lost control and oh, I wouldn't let her forget it when she did because I mean she was also one of these holier-than-thou uh, , 'I get offended by that language I don't want you to say that around me!' You know, and then one day she was doing something and she was like, 'what the hell is this shit?' and I was like, 'hey, don't you use that kind of language around

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283 me!' You know, so urn, I think it's pretty much an instinct, I really do. And people who choose not to, have to fight it. Like eating meat and not eating meat. Can you comment on these last statements? I feel more comfortable when I swear. I really do. It sets the tone of being laid back. Ethnographic Interview with Questionnaire Participants #59 and #61: The first thing is to fiiryou to try to describe your style of speech, the way you speak in social situations. #59: You mean like how I talk? Yes, what kind of words, how much you think about what you 're saying. #59: Well, it depends on the situation that I'm in. Like, if it's a close intimate friend I tend to use quite a few curse words. 1 was telling my friend earlier that I've gotten better. People used to tell me I talk like a sailor. They were like, "Every other word out of your mouth is a curse word, you need to tone it down." Or whatever. I'm more conscious of it now. It was like everyday language to me. I started cursing in the sixth grade and it's been a part of me ever since then. I've been trying to curtail it some. But if like I'm with my parents every now and then the occasional curse word will slip out but most of the time it goes over their head. So I'm able to go with that and keep going on or whatever. But with friends I use curse words all the time. But if it's my grandparents I don't curse around them because they're real religious or whatever. Do you spend most of your time speaking with friends? #59: Yeah, most of my time is speaking with friends. #61: Pretty much the same, but I have never been a fluent swearer, I wouldn't know... it's just with people that I don't know, I want to try to make a good, intelligent image. I don't want people thinking, you know, "Is that all she does is swear?" But family I definitely don't swear; my mother never swears. As far as thinking before I speak, when I'm in public I normally do so but in family I tend not to even think about what I say so, it depends on the situation. What do you think is the reason for you not being a 'fluent swearer'? #61 : My family and friends, especially in elementary school, I just never heard it but then in high school I found myself using a few words but none of my friends curse like all the time. Except Gina (#61)! So you were exposed to swearing in high school and you just picked it up? #61 : I didn't really pick it up, but the only time I really used them was if there was a joke with a curse word and the joke wouldn't sound the same if the curse word wasn't there. Or like watching a TV show if something was ftinny with a curse word in it I would say the curse word. And then when I'm mad, that's when I pick up... release tension and curse. Your friends told you to tone it down, how did you feel about people commenting on#59: -about people telling me to tone it down? Yeah, actually the first time people told me that was in '94 'cause I went to Atlanta to a math and science program and there was like all these kids from the Southeast United States around and they were cool and whatnot but they said, 'man you curse a lot!' So I made a bet

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284" with ihem one day 1 was like. Okay I bet y ou that I can go an hour without cursing." And they said, "Okay." And I said. "If I slip up. I'll give you a nickel for each cui se word." And so everything was normal and I .said, "Fine. This is nice. You see I don't have tn curse." And then somebody pissed me off and I just went berserk on them and il was a mess and every word you could think of almost came out of my mouth. 'Cause I was doing good! How much money did you lose' #59; You know, they never collected! Himabout in your family, what M (M il like with curse words ' i^59: My father, my grandmother, she never cursed but my mom did. my mom always cursed whenever she was explaining something. Her and ni\ aunt, that's the way they talked. They were always cursing back and forth to each other. And it was fimny. when I was little I never cursed, you couldn't pay me to curse, up until middle school I got aroimd kids who were accustomed to cursmg, but I wasn't. I had heard it all my life, but I ne\ er did. cause I v\as like, "Ooh. y ou're a bad child if you curse," or whatnot. But then I got around those bad kids and it was just all over w ith then. Was there e\cr a lime when you tried not to ' ii59. Right, it had become such a habit I knew that I had to stop it. ( was like. I need to change. I could tone it down. And 1 have. 1 ha\c really toned it dowTi a lot because like I said, every other word out my mouth used to be a curse word. Ii was like just every day vocabulary to me As to the rating, can you explain how yi>u went about completing that .section and talk a little about your thought process? #.59; 1 was thinking about diffcrenl times 1 heard this word, like whatever catne to my mind. I was like, okay, now what context did I hear this word? A lot of these words you hear in the movies, but like 'ass', I don't really find that offensive because it's in the body. And then like 'asshole', you know I've heard that ofi the T.V before and it's like funny when they said it, it's like, "You asshole." you know, and it's funny! And like, 'bastard' is halfv\ ay because it kind of has a bad connotation to it. Bitch' you hear like in eveiA'day language but it is offensi\e to a female, .^nd just ditTereni ones I thought about the different contexts I heard them in. Like somebody might call someone a 'cunt' and that's not a really nice thing to say like. "You're a cunt." fhat s not real nice. That's (he way I lo(^ked at it. How (ihf>ut vou^ #61 ; How often I had heard the word in the situation they're ui. L ike if somebody called me a 'cunt' or a nigger', I would take it offensively, so it was pretty much that situation. My mood would have something to do with it. So for the most part you considered the words as if the}were directed at you? #61; Right, just like I heard them like you just said them to me. It |ust depends on what sort of people you 're dealing with. Some people are going to be oHended. if you say shoot, they're going to be offended, but some people y ou can just say any thing and they 're like ok.ty wh.itever that's just the way they speak, it just depends on the different individual. I hey're not fixed because m time everything's going to change. One day every body will use those words tlucnth . bul we don't know now. '^59: Like 'asshole' on T\ You couldn't hear that ten years ago. I ike on South Park, they call each other that. It's funny. When I lnok at the word nigger' I think of it as someone being prejudice or racist against

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285 someone else, but black people they use it, they interchange with each other, back and forth, but if someone else says it, it's very offensive, like if you [#61] said it to another black person, it's kind of comical or whatever because. . . I don't ... I don't like black people to call me that either because I figure if you use it, if a black person uses it and a white person walking by may just think it's just fine and then you jump all on the other person's case because they used it but it's like that's what they hear, so... me particularly, 1 don't like the word. #61 : But you know you have to look at the historical background of the word though because it was used to... as to direct that person as subservient and so, a lot of people are like, well, I'm not subservient to white people but if a brother or sister calls me that it's okay. The source of a lot of confusion. #59: Yeah#61: -Right. What about here at the university, have you ever had a professor or instructor me swear words in class? #59: It kind of caught me off guard. It was a male and he was a good professor. It's just, he used comedy a lot, he was a very comical person, he's happy go lucky and he would say things and it was funny. Just the first time I heard him I was like, "What?!" Because you know, you're used to teachers in high school not saying things like that and they'll tell students, "Don't use that language!" And then you get to university and it's no holds barred. And you hear a professor doing it and you're like, "What?!" And so you're saying, "Oh, they're kinda cool. I can talk to this person," or whatever. Do you remember the general class reaction? #59: Everybody was cracking up. It was so funny. What about in your classes? #61: It's just the opposite. This is my first year and I only have these two classes and neither one of my professors have used curse words. But in high school I had this one teacher that would just, like, curse at us all the time. She was... that was I guess just a part of her lifestyle She was a really good teacher and you could take it offensively sometimes, but, like I heard it mostly from that one teacher but not fi-om my teachers in college. There 's still time! What about members of the opposite sex, when you 're around males. #59: I'm not going to change anything, I mean if you're my friend, you're my friend and I'm going to talk to you like I talk to anybody else. I have one friend, Kenny, he's like, you know, 'you curse so smooth! I have never heard anybody curse the way you do!' Because I'm just talking and a curse word will come up and I just keep on going and he just accepts this because he knows this is just the way I talk. Like I said, I'm getting better though, got to remember that. But he said you 're smooth. That 's good, isn 't it? #59: Yeah, he said I'm smooth with it. Cause a lot of people, I told some people, I had a roommate last semester, she was from Miami, I thought she would know how to curse, but she doesn't. She used to, like, mix words together that just didn't go and I was like, "You need to stop it!" I was like, "You can't curse. ' You need to leave it to someone who knows what they're doing, cause you don't know how to do it."

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286 #61 : In high school, I mostly had girlfriends, but the guy friend I had was like really religious so I wouldn't use it as much around him, because it's just the way he was. As far as with people I don't know, if it's in a conversation, then it's in a conversation. Take it the way you want. What about people that you first meet, say a peer, and during your first conversations this person uses a lot of swear words. How would you react to that? #61 : That's just the way they are. I mean, if it's not being used offensively against me I wouldn't take it so bad. It just don't bother me. Let's say you are the new person, would you be more carefi/l about using curse words? #59: Probably, I would be more conscious because I wouldn't know how comfortable this person was cause you never know if this could evolve into a good relationship or whatever. But if it was somebody I was more comfortable around and they know my style, then it would be okay. But being that she is new I would be like well, I might offend this person, I don't know anything about this person's background or anything, so I would be more careftil with it. Going back to your being 'smooth '. At the other end of the spectrum are people who think swearing makes a person sound stupid. What do you think about that? .» #59: I think that is far from the truth. I've heard people say that before because one of my sisters, she says, 'Gina you don't have to use swear words because you're very articulate and you have a vast vocabulary.' And it's true, I do, but sometimes 1 don't feel like using those words, I'm gonna use the swear words. It just depends on what kind of mood I'm in. Cause sometimes I am. ..I don't... sometimes I choose not to use the swear words and I pull out something from my vocabulary and people are like, 'oh my goodness, I didn't know she could talk like that.' It just depends on the way I'm feeling and what I want to do. Any comments? #61:1 never thought that they just lost the words, 1 just thought it was an everyday thing. It just came up so that. . .not really a loss of words. I don't know, just the way they speak I guess. You are both most likely to swear when you are around your friends, and you 've indicated mostly when you 're angry. #59: Yeah, I mean, I don't swear on my friends, but it will really be sfrong, strong emotional swearing when I'm angry. You might as well leave me alone when I'm angry because you gonna get to hear some pretty rude words. You 've mentioned that you don 't swear around your grandparents, who else might you try not to swear around? #59: 1 try not to use swear words aroimd my aunt but one time I did because I was so upset and she told me that she had never in her entire life heard me curse before and she told me that she was so ashamed of me and to this day I have never cursed again in front of her because it made me feel bad. She thought so highly of me and to let her down my using those words... but she cursed too. But she's older than me. She's a role model that 1 looked up to and I felt so bad about that. 1 just decided, I'm not going to curse around her anymore Have you ever slipped? #61 : No, not around, no.., well, one time I was in the car, I was like 8 years old and my sister was in the front seat and I wanted to tell her to sit down but 1 said 'shit down' and my mom was like, 'you need to shut

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287 up.' I never slipped, you know, I was really young and 1 hadn't heard cursing in anyway. . .and my mom you know, she didn't beat me up or anything. Have you ever noticed anyone taking offense to your using curse words? #59: Yeah, I've noticed that. Most of the time if someone's offended they don't really have much to say or add to the conversation. You can tell that they've withdrawn from the conversation. You can tell by a person's body language, they become more distant. And then they may say, 'well, I have something I have to do now' and you're like, I think I've offended them. And does that change the wayyou#59: -interact with that person? Yeah, if I see that person again I'll know not... I might let a few little curse words slip out but I'll know not to have as many because it's offending that person. Let 's talk about the ratings you both gave for the examples of swearing. Explain why you generally rated them low. #61 : It's like casual conversation almost, so I didn't really take offense to it. But like when it got down here (last example)... that's harsh. But the same word was given a 7 ' in three other examples. #59: Like she said, it's casual conversation, this conversation, it's casual but it seems more harsh. 'It smelled like shit!' (laughter) I mean, when you say that, I like have this disgusting look that comes across my face and you say, 'what the fiick?' like that and, it just seems, it's more hard core than the rest of these because those, it seems, they can go along, you know smoothly. It's like a nice thing right here it's like, offensive, the odor and the language. And for Number 6? #59: Yeah, I mean, you don't just out and say something about that. He doesn't know that for a fact and he's out. . .and 'fucking' is such a harsh word to use in a relationship to two people. You should say, well maybe, "He's spending quality time with his girlfriend." You know, something like that. You don't have to be so curt about it. That touches a little bit on 'rules ' of swearing. Do you have any rules for swearing? #61 : Well, there's a tune and a place for everything. You don't go to church cursing and as far as me, I would never curse around my family just because it was not the way I was raised or whatever and I never heard, in jokes and stuff, but like I said, I'm not a fluent curser, so it may be different in Gina's case. But I don't look down on somebody because they curse so much. Especially if that's not all they do. Like she's an intelligent person, ahnght? It's just the way she speaks, you know. But if they're just doing it because they're doing it, it's like, enough already. #59: Like I said, I won't curse around my aunt, and I don't curse aroimd my grandparents. I mean every now and then a curse word will slip out with my parents but like I said, it just goes over their heads. It just depends on the person. If I know that this person doesn't engage in you know, that type of behavior, I just wouldn't do it because, I mean, I wouldn't want someone to do something around me that I would fmd offensive either. You just have to, it's just a respect thing, you have to have respect for people and their feelings.

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288 Ethnographic Interview with Questionnaire Participant #60: If we could begin by you describing your different styles of speaking... My styles of speaking? It changes based upon who I'm talking to. What would you say is the default? , The default? Pretty much how I'm talking now. I try to be fairly articulate about what I'm talking about. I use... the words that are appropriate. I try to construct the way I talk so that it's as accurate as possible. Does swearing play a role? I swear sometimes. Probably sometimes I'll swear and not even notice it. Some of the less socially reprehensible words like 'damn' or 'shit' or 'hell'. I might even say that and not even realize that I was. Other times, um, when I'm actually a little annoyed, um, I use a word like 'fuck', but that's such a great word because you can use it for so many ridiculous... ridiculous uses. It has so many purposes. I use those often, but at the same time, I wouldn't swear around my parents all that often. I don't swear if my fiiends and I go to church or something like that. There are times when I try to avoid that. Do you have brothers and sisters? I have a sister. How was it for you growing up? Did your parents have rules about... Um, my mom's fiinny. She, now that I'm old enough she can't really get cross with me for saying curse words, but there's other words that she calls crude words that she really can't stand. Like if you use a word like 'pee' instead of saying 'I have to go urinate', she gets really disgusted. She can't stand it. So, something like that. The actual curse words she uses sometimes so she can't get on us for that, but then there's like crude words that usually have to do with bodily fiinctions or something like that that she just gets so disgusted about. She can't deal with that. And your dad? He curses occasionally. Usually driving. The rating section was without much direction. Can you explain or describe how you approached the task, what your thought process was? Basically, curse words don't really matter to me except for 'cunt' is the one word that, it's not used too often in America. I mean, I know the British people use it more often, but it's the one word, even more than 'fiick', that'll just sort of stand out and like draw someone's attention, make their head whip around. 'Nigger' is the only word that really is important because, being a white person, I would never call a black person a nigger. The rest of these. ..how did you determine their ratings? Well, 'bitch' is a '4' because that can refer to a woman and I'm somewhat interested in feminist issues or whatever, and I realized how that could just be... a... bad choice. But, 'motherfucker' is just funny. It makes me laugh. That's a one for me. I don't know that many people who are actually into incest or whatever. I don't know many people like that, so I don't think I'll offend someone or whatever. Not that I use it that often, but I mean. . .

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289 You wrote 'words are Just words '. Can you comment on that? What I meant by 'words are just words', it's the social relations that give them meaning to the context you're using them in. Most of these words I wouldn't mind using. I would probably use, except for a couple of circumstances. Like, for instance, I wouldn't call. ..--they're really used for hurting someone's feelings or something like thatI wouldn't call someone a 'bitch' or a 'nigger' too often, especially to their face. But I don't think someone's feelings would be hurt if I said, you know, "Look at that dick" or "Oh, hell" you know. So, that's why those had a ' 1 ' as opposed to some of the others having higher. Can you comment on why someone would feel they shouldn't swear? Well, you know, in my own circumstance, you know, I've explained that if someone else feels a restriction then they shouldn't but if you're referring to like job positions, I don't care, like, the president could swear, it wouldn't matter to me, you know. I wouldn't worry about their moral integrity. A professor in class could swear, it wouldn't matter to me. Maybe, if it's evolved from their religion, if they believe it's wrong, then, say, a priest should not be swearing, especially to a congregation. But I mean most circumstances, like if you're considering the job area of that question, or profession or whatever, or one's position in social life, that doesn't bother me. So what is it that dictates whether a person should or can swear or not? Is it a person 'sjob or social position? Urn, it doesn't really... because, 1 can see how there could be a person who would say, "Oh, okay, my professor swore in class, he didn't, or she didn't consider my feelings about that or consider the way I would have felt about that" but that isn't so much important as . . . whether or not you think the situation is appropriate. It's pretty much up to individual discretion. Has that happened while you 've been at the university? Oh, yeah, it doesn't bother me. I know professors who have, yeah. Have you noticed if it has bothered other students? No. You haven 't noticed or... ? No, I don't think that it has, based upon the people sitting next to me. I never heard anyone complain or say that it was really offensive or anything like that. What was the reaction? Um, generally it's more of an ice breaker and I can remember when I was a freshman here and I had a professor who was kind of cool and young and he'd do whatever, I mean he'd curse so he was just like a student basically. It was kind of an ice breaker just to have someone who wasn't afraid to say, you know... So, it was a positive reaction? Well, most people would laugh. You know, any type of thing that would break the ice between the studentprofessor relationship. What about your own use of swear words?

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290 It I don t know someone. I don't know. 1 haven't noticed this, but I probably wouldn't curse a.s often. I'd probably... but it wouldn't even be a conscious restriction. It would just be that 1 would feel more comtortable being aroimd someone I knew. But I don t know. I m not sure. But I m sure at the same time that I vc walked bv somebody and seen something and been like, "What the hell was that?" What ahnut someone you 're meeting, a peer, who might become one of your friends? If 1 was talking to someone at a party or something then. yeah. If it came up 1 would use it. When might you ity to use sw ear words less often? When you're with parents or some ofthe older generation, your parents" friends, you know, you don't want to cmbarra.ss your parents or anything. Mv mother doesn't, you knew, she likes to think. "I've raised you^ right. I don't want you to curse!" So. I suppose around her friends I wouldn't curse as often. Also, I don't go to church often anymore but when I did, I would not curse even though out of church I would curse with my friends. And what about if you were with ciders who cursed? That would be different, like if I was having a beer with my dad, oi something like that. But with older people, if they w ere using curse words then I would, too. Hhen would he a lime that you've slipped? With my parents. There was one time the> were screwing with me. like they were lying to me about something that they were actually going to do for me that I was really pissed otTthat they weren't and 1 flipped and I was like, "shitfuckcurseword! " and the> were like. 'Christopher... The full name came out! Yeah, it was rime for the full name You wrote you swear less often w ith females. My girlfriend said that when 1 talk to females my speech is more articulate, more flirtatious, but when 1 talk to guys it's like, you know, "Yo!"" You know, that kind of guy language. But you know, when I talk to a woman, she says she hears my voice modulate and becoine softer. But 1 do. I probably swear less often. But not that less often H hai s your (^pinion on . ihui you swear less often around girls mr^'ht reflect a certain attitude towards girls swearing... 1 think girls are completely allow ed to sw ear. I think that if I did, 1 mean haven't really noticed if I did, but 1 think it's a result of me not wanting to sound ignorant or to appear vile or vulgar or whatever. How do you read when girls swear .' If anvone swears too often, it seems kind of ignorant to me. I used to swear more often, like in middle school or earK high school. But. eventually you swear so often that when you're actually annoyed or when you actually need to use these it's like the crving wolf thing. Nobi^dy knows if you really need the crnphasis. It would be more based upon a person's individual usage ofthe word rather than on whether they're male or female.

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291 You wrote that swearing is acceptable in class depending on the situation. Can you comment on that? Urn, I'm an English major and we could be talking about a swear word for the purpose of etymology of 'for unlawful carnal knowledge', you know, stuff like that. Or even as an example of the way someone would speak, or just to use it. But at the same time, if someone was being purposefully crude, like, even if it was an example of, "Yeah, this nigger did that", then that would be like, offensive, even if they were just joking around or whatever. You rated the examples as all ones. No, you didn't use very offensive examples. You could have used the ones that I talked about, like 'cunt' or 'nigger'. Those would have been a little more... or if a guy called a girl a 'bitch'. You said that swearing can be 'rude and disrespectful '. If you're around someone who doesn't wanna... like, a friend of mine is really Christian and they're like, "Look, I don't appreciate that", so I try not to swear around them. I wouldn't want to offend them. If you swear too often, you sound stupid or it becomes bland; it becomes part of your everyday vocabulary. When you actually need emphasis, it could... not work. When you swear, are you pretty aware of how people react? Not really, like I said, I may even miss it if it's a word that's not even that..., like "Oh, hell" or whatever. There are words with you know, gradations or whatever; some of them are more offensive than others. Those are the ones I pay attention to.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH I began my university education in Fall, 1986 at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, as a student of computer science. After a year, I transferred to the University of Delaware and decided to study French, German and Spanish. I spent two semesters smdying abroad, in Caen, France, and in Vienna, Austria. Upon graduation in 1990, 1 moved to France to work and study, in an effort to better my French skills and my chances of getting into graduate school. In 1992, 1 was accepted as a master's student in French at the University of Florida. While studying French linguistics, I took courses in German and Linguistics, as well. After receiving my Master's degree, I decided to continue studying German and linguistics and was accepted as a graduate assistant in Bowling Green State University's Academic Year Abroad in Salzburg, Austria. Towards the end of this year abroad, I had decided to pursue a Ph.D. in linguistics. With encouragement from Drs. Jean Casagrande and Diana Boxer, I returned to the University of Florida in 1995 as a doctoral student in linguistics. In 1996, 1 met Karl Fagersten, a student from Sweden's Kungliga Tekniska Hogskolan. Two years later, I moved to Sweden, where I took Swedish and computer graphics design courses at Folkuniversitetet. In 1999, Karl and I married. We then moved back to the United States so that I could dedicate my time to finishing my dissertation. After graduation, we will return to Sweden. 299

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1 certify that 1 have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Diana Boxer, Chair Associate Professor of Linguistics I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. fj JeatrCasagrande P^of^or of Romance Languages ^ and Literatures and Linguistics I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Ann Wehmeyer Associate Professor of Japanese and Linguistics I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.^ 1 TiiAothyHkkenjberg associate Professor of Psycholog) This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Program in Linguistics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. August, 2000 Dean, Graduate School