Cursing in America

A psycholinguistic study of dirty language in the courts, in the movies, in the schoolyards and on the streets

| Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams, Massachusetts
ISBN 9789027220929 (Eur) | EUR 49.00
ISBN 9781556194511 (USA) | USD 74.00
PaperbackOther edition available
ISBN 9789027220936 (Eur)
ISBN 9781556194528 (USA)
ISBN 9789027274052 | EUR 49.00/36.00*
| USD 74.00/54.00*
This is the first serious and extensive examination of American cursing from a psycholinguistic-contextual point of view. Several field studies and numerous laboratory-based experiments focus on the relationship between cursing and language acquisitions, anger expresssion, gender stereotypes, semantics, and offensiveness. Censorship, language content of motion pictures, First-Amendment fighting words, sexual harassment, obscene phone calls, and cursing at public schools are analyzed and related to sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic data. Many tables of word-by-word data provide empirical evidence of frequency of occurrence, degree of offensiveness, gender of speaker and age of speaker influences on obscene language usage in America. A "must" for language reference collections.
[Not in series, 57]  1992.  viii, 272 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
1. What are Dirty Words?
2. When Children Use Dirty Words
3. Anger and Dirty Words
4. The Frequency of Dirty Word Usage
5. The Offensiveness of Words: Sex and Semantics
6. Free Speech and Censorship
7. Unfinished Business and Future Research with Dirty Words
Cited by

Cited by other publications

No author info given
2015. Offensive language and sociocultural homogeneity in Singapore: An ethnolinguistic perspective. International Journal of Language and Culture 2:2  pp. 142 ff. Crossref logo
No author info given
2018.  In Threatening in English [Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 284], Crossref logo
Allan, Keith
2012. X-phemism and creativity. Lexis :7 Crossref logo
Allan, Keith
2016.  In Indirect Reports and Pragmatics [Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology, 5],  pp. 211 ff. Crossref logo
Allan, Keith
2016.  In Pragmemes and Theories of Language Use [Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology, 9],  pp. 69 ff. Crossref logo
Allan, Keith
2016. Pragmatics in language change and lexical creativity. SpringerPlus 5:1 Crossref logo
Allan, Keith
2020.  In Studies in Ethnopragmatics, Cultural Semantics, and Intercultural Communication,  pp. 163 ff. Crossref logo
Baines, Roger
2016. Subtitling Taboo Language: Using the Cues of Register and Genre to Affect Audience Experience?. Meta 60:3  pp. 431 ff. Crossref logo
Bakhtiar, Mohsen
2016. “Pour water where it burns”: Dysphemistic conceptualizations of the enemy in Persian political discourse. Metaphor and the Social World 6:1  pp. 103 ff. Crossref logo
Beers Fägersten, Kristy
2017.  In Advances in Swearing Research [Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 282],  pp. 65 ff. Crossref logo
Beers Fägersten, Kristy & Karyn Stapleton
2017.  In Advances in Swearing Research [Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 282],  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
Binns, Reuben, Michael Veale, Max Van Kleek & Nigel Shadbolt
2017.  In Social Informatics [Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 10540],  pp. 405 ff. Crossref logo
Bolton, Kingsley & Christopher Hutton
1995. Bad and banned language: Triad secret societies, the censorship of the Cantonese vernacular, and colonial language policy in Hong Kong. Language in Society 24:2  pp. 159 ff. Crossref logo
Bushman, Brad J. & Joanne Cantor
2003. Media ratings for violence and sex: Implications for policymakers and parents.. American Psychologist 58:2  pp. 130 ff. Crossref logo
Cho, Suahn Jang & Yan Tian
2020. Why Do They Keep Swearing? The Role of Outcome Expectations between Descriptive Norms and Swearing among Korean Youths: A Test of the Theory of Normative Social Behavior. Western Journal of Communication 84:2  pp. 227 ff. Crossref logo
Coyne, Sarah M., Mark Callister, Laura A. Stockdale, David A. Nelson & Brian M. Wells
2012. “A Helluva Read”: Profanity in Adolescent Literature. Mass Communication and Society 15:3  pp. 360 ff. Crossref logo
Cressman, Dale L., Mark Callister, Tom Robinson & Chris Near
2009. SWEARING IN THE CINEMA. Journal of Children and Media 3:2  pp. 117 ff. Crossref logo
Demetry, Daphne
2013. Regimes of Meaning. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 42:5  pp. 576 ff. Crossref logo
Donahoo, Stanley A. & Vicky Tzuyin Lai
2020. The mental representation and social aspect of expressives. Cognition and Emotion  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
Eilola, Tiina M. & Jelena Havelka
2010. Affective norms for 210 British English and Finnish nouns. Behavior Research Methods 42:1  pp. 134 ff. Crossref logo
Feldman, Gilad, Huiwen Lian, Michal Kosinski & David Stillwell
2017. Frankly, We Do Give a Damn. Social Psychological and Personality Science 8:7  pp. 816 ff. Crossref logo
Fernández, Julieta
2018. “I think I sound stupid if I try to use those words”: The role of metapragmatic awareness in the study abroad language classroom. Foreign Language Annals 51:2  pp. 430 ff. Crossref logo
Gauthier, Michael & Adrien Guille
2017.  In Advances in Swearing Research [Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 282],  pp. 137 ff. Crossref logo
Goddard, Cliff
2014.  In Yearbook of Corpus Linguistics and Pragmatics 2014 [Yearbook of Corpus Linguistics and Pragmatics, 2],  pp. 55 ff. Crossref logo
Goddard, Cliff
2015. “Swear words” and “curse words” in Australian (and American) English. At the crossroads of pragmatics, semantics and sociolinguistics. Intercultural Pragmatics 12:2 Crossref logo
Gray, Piers, Colin MacCabe & Victoria Rothschild
2002.  In Stalin on Linguistics and other Essays,  pp. 189 ff. Crossref logo
Griffiths, Merlyn A.
2018. Brand vulgarity. Journal of Product & Brand Management 27:4  pp. 404 ff. Crossref logo
Guillet, Rebecca & Jason Arndt
2009. Taboo words: The effect of emotion on memory for peripheral information. Memory & Cognition 37:6  pp. 866 ff. Crossref logo
Horan, Geraldine
2013. ‘You taught me language; and my profit on't/Is, I know how to curse’: cursing and swearing in foreign language learning. Language and Intercultural Communication 13:3  pp. 283 ff. Crossref logo
Janschewitz, Kristin
2008. Taboo, emotionally valenced, and emotionally neutral word norms. Behavior Research Methods 40:4  pp. 1065 ff. Crossref logo
Jay, Timothy
2005.  In Gender and the Language of Religion,  pp. 63 ff. Crossref logo
Jay, Timothy
2009. The Utility and Ubiquity of Taboo Words. Perspectives on Psychological Science 4:2  pp. 153 ff. Crossref logo
Jay, Timothy
2018. Swearing, moral order, and online communication. Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict 6:1  pp. 107 ff. Crossref logo
Jay, Timothy, Krista King & Tim Duncan
2006. Memories of Punishment for Cursing. Sex Roles 55:1-2  pp. 123 ff. Crossref logo
Johnson, Danette Ifert
2012. Swearing by Peers in the Work Setting: Expectancy Violation Valence, Perceptions of Message, and Perceptions of Speaker. Communication Studies 63:2  pp. 136 ff. Crossref logo
Jonason, Peter K., Gabrielle L. Betteridge & Ian I. Kneebone
2016. An Examination of the Nature of Erotic Talk. Archives of Sexual Behavior 45:1  pp. 21 ff. Crossref logo
Jucker, Andreas H. & Joanna Kopaczyk
2017.  In The Palgrave Handbook of Linguistic (Im)politeness,  pp. 433 ff. Crossref logo
Kaye, Barbara K.
2020. A feckless punt: cursing on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Comedy Studies 11:2  pp. 275 ff. Crossref logo
Kaye, Barbara K. & Lucia M. Fishburne
1997. NYPD blueand media hype: An analysis of sex and indecent language. New Jersey Journal of Communication 5:1  pp. 84 ff. Crossref logo
Kaye, Barbara K. & Barry S. Sapolsky
2004. Watch Your Mouth! An Analysis of Profanity Uttered by Children on Prime-Time Television. Mass Communication and Society 7:4  pp. 429 ff. Crossref logo
Kaye, Barbara K. & Barry S. Sapolsky
2009. Taboo or Not Taboo? That is the Question: Offensive Language on Prime-Time Broadcast and Cable Programming. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 53:1  pp. 22 ff. Crossref logo
Kennison, Shelia M. & Rachel H. Messer
2017. Cursing as a Form of Risk-Taking. Current Psychology 36:1  pp. 119 ff. Crossref logo
Kádár, Dániel Z. & Andrea Szalai
2020. The socialisation of interactional rituals. Pragmatics. Quarterly Publication of the International Pragmatics Association (IPrA) 30:1  pp. 15 ff. Crossref logo
Mackay, Donald G., Meredith Shafto, Jennifer K. Taylor, Diane E. Marian, Lise Abrams & Jennifer R. Dyer
2004. Relations between emotion, memory, and attention: Evidence from taboo Stroop, lexical decision, and immediate memory tasks. Memory & Cognition 32:3  pp. 474 ff. Crossref logo
Madan, Christopher R., Andrea T. Shafer, Michelle Chan & Anthony Singhal
2017. Shock and awe: Distinct effects of taboo words on lexical decision and free recall. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 70:4  pp. 793 ff. Crossref logo
Mann, Stephen L.
2011. Drag Queens' Use of Language and the Performance of Blurred Gendered and Racial Identities. Journal of Homosexuality 58:6-7  pp. 793 ff. Crossref logo
Matusz, Łukasz
2017.  In Multiculturalism, Multilingualism and the Self [Second Language Learning and Teaching, ],  pp. 33 ff. Crossref logo
McEnery, Anthony & Zhonghua Xiao
2004. Swearing in Modern British English: The Case of Fuck in the BNC. Language and Literature: International Journal of Stylistics 13:3  pp. 235 ff. Crossref logo
McHugh, Maureen C. & Jennifer Hambaugh
2010.  In Handbook of Gender Research in Psychology,  pp. 379 ff. Crossref logo
Mullany, Louise
2011.  In Politeness Across Cultures,  pp. 61 ff. Crossref logo
Murray, Thomas E.
1998. TheOtherNicknames of American Greek-Letter Organizations. Names 46:2  pp. 113 ff. Crossref logo
Nodoushan, Mohammad Ali Salmani
2016. On the functions of swearing in Persian. Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict 4:2  pp. 234 ff. Crossref logo
Nuessel, Frank
2015.  In International Handbook of Semiotics,  pp. 291 ff. Crossref logo
Padilla Cruz, Manuel
2019. Qualifying insults, offensive epithets, slurs and expressive expletives. Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict 7:2  pp. 156 ff. Crossref logo
Powers, John H.
1995. On the intellectual structure of the human communication discipline. Communication Education 44:3  pp. 191 ff. Crossref logo
Pratt, T.K.
1994.  Geoffrey Hughes. Swearing. A Social History of Foul Language, Oaths and Profanity in English. In the series The Language Library. Oxford: Blackwell. 1991. Pp. xii + 284. US$24.95 (hardcover).. Canadian Journal of Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique 39:3  pp. 275 ff. Crossref logo
Raizen, Adina, Nikos Vergis & Kiel Christianson
2015.  In Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Im/politeness [AILA Applied Linguistics Series, 14],  pp. 213 ff. Crossref logo
Rathje, Marianne
2017.  In Advances in Swearing Research [Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 282],  pp. 17 ff. Crossref logo
Register, Norma A.
1996. Second-language learners and taboo words in American English. English Today 12:3  pp. 44 ff. Crossref logo
Reilly, Jamie, Alexandra Kelly, Bonnie M. Zuckerman, Peter P. Twigg, Melissa Wells, Katie R. Jobson & Maurice Flurie
2020. Building the perfect curse word: A psycholinguistic investigation of the form and meaning of taboo words. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 27:1  pp. 139 ff. Crossref logo
Reuterskiöld, Christina & Diana Van Lancker Sidtis
2013. Retention of idioms following one-time exposure. Child Language Teaching and Therapy 29:2  pp. 219 ff. Crossref logo
Ricke, LaChrystal D.
2012. Funny or Harmful?: Derogatory Speech on Fox’sFamily Guy. Communication Studies 63:2  pp. 119 ff. Crossref logo
Riegel, Monika, Małgorzata Wierzba, Marek Wypych, Łukasz Żurawski, Katarzyna Jednoróg, Anna Grabowska & Artur Marchewka
2015. Nencki Affective Word List (NAWL): the cultural adaptation of the Berlin Affective Word List–Reloaded (BAWL-R) for Polish. Behavior Research Methods 47:4  pp. 1222 ff. Crossref logo
Rosenberg, Patricia, Sverker Sikström & Danilo Garcia
2017. The A(ffective) B(ehavioral) C(ognitive) of Taboo Words in Natural Language: The Relationship Between Taboo Words’ Intensity and Frequency. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 36:3  pp. 306 ff. Crossref logo
Sapolsky, Barry S. & Barbara K. Kaye
2005. The Use of Offensive Language by Men and Women in Prime Time Television Entertainment. Atlantic Journal of Communication 13:4  pp. 292 ff. Crossref logo
Sapolsky*, Barry S., Daniel M. Shafer & Barbara K. Kaye
2010. Rating Offensive Words in Three Television Program Contexts. Mass Communication and Society 14:1  pp. 45 ff. Crossref logo
Scherer, Cory R. & Brad J. Sagarin
2006. Indecent influence: The positive effects of obscenity on persuasion. Social Influence 1:2  pp. 138 ff. Crossref logo
Shafer, Daniel M. & Barbara K. Kaye
2015. Attitudes Toward Offensive Language in Media (ATOL-M): Investigating Enjoyment of Cursing-Laced Television and Films. Atlantic Journal of Communication 23:4  pp. 193 ff. Crossref logo
Sharifi, Shahla & Shima Ebrahimi
2012. Assessing Speech Acts of Curses and Prayers in Persian. Theory and Practice in Language Studies 2:9 Crossref logo
Shimoyama, Tomoko, Fereidoon Shadpayam & Mary Parhizgari
2017.  In Advances in Swearing Research [Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 282],  pp. 213 ff. Crossref logo
Shouse, Eric
2020.  In The Dark Side of Stand-Up Comedy,  pp. 247 ff. Crossref logo
Song, Yunya & Yi Wu
2018. Tracking the viral spread of incivility on social networking sites: The case of cursing in online discussions of Hong Kong–Mainland China conflict. Communication and the Public 3:1  pp. 46 ff. Crossref logo
Sorlin, Sandrine
2016.  In Language and Manipulation in House of Cards,  pp. 107 ff. Crossref logo
Stenström, Anna-Brita
2017.  In Advances in Swearing Research [Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 282],  pp. 158 ff. Crossref logo
2010. Swearing: its prevalence in healthcare settings and impact on nursing practice. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 17:6  pp. 528 ff. Crossref logo
Stone, Teresa, Margaret McMillan, Michael Hazelton & Edward H. Clayton
2011. Wounding Words: Swearing and Verbal Aggression in an Inpatient Setting. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care 47:4  pp. 194 ff. Crossref logo
Stone, Teresa E. & Mike Hazelton
2008. An overview of swearing and its impact on mental health nursing practice. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing 17:3  pp. 208 ff. Crossref logo
Thelwall, Mike
2008. Fk yea I swear: cursing and gender in MySpace. Corpora 3:1  pp. 83 ff. Crossref logo
Thomas, Justin, Aamna Al Shehhi & Ian Grey
2019. The sacred and the profane: social media and temporal patterns of religiosity in the United Arab Emirates. Journal of Contemporary Religion 34:3  pp. 489 ff. Crossref logo
Thompson, Ashley E. & Lucia F. O’Sullivan
2012. Gender Differences in Associations of Sexual and Romantic Stimuli: Do Young Men Really Prefer Sex over Romance?. Archives of Sexual Behavior 41:4  pp. 949 ff. Crossref logo
Van Lancker, D & J.L Cummings
1999. Expletives: neurolinguistic and neurobehavioral perspectives on swearing. Brain Research Reviews 31:1  pp. 83 ff. Crossref logo
Van Lancker Sidtis, Diana
2006. Where in the Brain Is Nonliteral Language?. Metaphor and Symbol 21:4  pp. 213 ff. Crossref logo
Van Lancker Sidtis, Diana
2015.  In The Handbook of Language Emergence,  pp. 578 ff. Crossref logo
White, Richard B. & Mark A. Koorland
1996. Curses!: What Can We Do about Cursing?. TEACHING Exceptional Children 28:4  pp. 48 ff. Crossref logo
Williams, Ian
2007.  In Women’s Literary Creativity and the Female Body,  pp. 175 ff. Crossref logo
Wright, Chrysalis L. & Jasmin Mokbel
2016. The Media Scapegoat and Mom’s Mouth. SAGE Open 6:2  pp. 215824401665191 ff. Crossref logo
Ávila-Cabrera, José Javier
2015. Subtitling Tarantino’s offensive and taboo dialogue exchanges into european spanish: the case of Pulp Fiction. Revista de Lingüística y Lenguas Aplicadas 10:1  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 23 august 2020. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.



BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  92006300