The ecosystem of swearing : How intra- and interpersonal variability sustains the power of offensive language (2/4)

Friday 31 May 2024, 10:00 to 12:00
Kristy Beers Fägersten (Univ. Södertörn, invitée Labex)
Jonathan Ginzburg (LLF)

LLF – Bât. ODG – 5e étage – Salle du conseil (533)

Kristy Beers Fägersten (Université Södertörn, Suède)
The folk linguistics of swearing

Personal attitudes to swearing often reveal folk-linguistic beliefs about who should swear in which contexts and with whom. This seminar thus considers intra- and interpersonal variation with regard to one’s own and others’ swear word usage. The seminar considers the phenomenon known as self-divergent prescriptivism, whereby swearing is often framed as a default behavior from which one consciously refrains in interactions with those who are deemed to be – or desired to be – non-swearers. Such behavior reflects a reluctance to offend one’s interlocutors but can also belie beliefs about the appropriateness of others’ swear word usage, such that an active avoidance of swear word usage serves to model how others are expected to speak. Underlining the persistence of folk- linguistic beliefs about swearing, this seminar includes examples of commercial products that capitalize on a shared folk-linguistic belief system for who should (not) swear.