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Swearing and Taboo Language

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Swearing and Taboo Language


Here are the videos and discussion questions for this hangout: Steven Pinker explains the science: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3yRVAw6nWU George Carlin has an observation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ssJtD08vCc US/UK comparison: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQQWftZ3x9E Only UK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnLA583OqKM You trust Nicolas Cage, right? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XByiHpUvrj0 Or maybe a lexicographer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-GZljHliRU&t=376s Double standards in swearing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M71eYmxRK8s Children and swearing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VDIijx0dgk The disgraced Louis CK has some opinions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fny-FCL-nyE Euphemism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpCTgNyA3DY&t=487s&pp=ygUKZXVwaGVtaXNtcw%3D%3D 1. How often do you swear? What are the circumstances? 2. How offensive are swear words to you? Are some categories acceptable in general while others are not? What are the differences? 3. Does knowing the etymology of swear words make them less offensive? How much does etymology matter to word usage in general? 4. Do you agree that people are swearing more now than in the past? What does this say about society? Can this be changed, or should we ride out this social evolution and hope for the best in the future? 5. Are literal translations of foreign swear words (such as illnesses) offensive in context? 6. Are you uncomfortable with children swearing? Is it funnier when children swear in movies/on TV than when adults do? 7. Some euphemisms take on the taboo of the original words, those that label people in undesirable groups, eg "retarded". Euphemisms for interjections or expressions of frustration (gosh darn it, shoot) do not become taboo in most cases. Why do you think this difference exists? 8. Would the perfect language have no swear words? Or would the perfect society not need to use them? Please remember to watch at least a few videos before you arrive since we’ll be discussing them when we begin. Once the hangout begins, everyone will introduce each other and then take turns asking the provided questions in order to keep the discussion on topic. Hangouts typically last 90 minutes, and once the hangout is over you will have the opportunity to add people to your buddytree to organize private hangouts and develop friendships. As always, these hangouts provide the opportunity for a thoughtful, respectful and engaging discussion in a safe space where disrespectful behaviour is not tolerated.

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