Title

Perceived offensiveness of swear words across genders

College

Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education

Department/Unit

Dept of English and Applied Linguistics

Document Type

Article

Source Title

Asian EFL Journal

Volume

25

Issue

52

First Page

163

Last Page

187

Publication Date

1-1-2019

Abstract

Swear words are usually associated with taboo spheres like sex, excretory functions, and religion (Fagersten, 2012). These words are identified as offensive, inappropriate and unacceptable in particular contexts, and those who swear are perceived to be anti-social, untrustworthy and incompetent (Cavazza & Guidetti, 2014). The use of swear words is considered masculine while women, in general, face double scrutiny for using vulgar language that are traditionally spoken by men (Lakoff, 1973). Thus, this study was conducted to determine the offensiveness of swear words as perceived by male and female university students in the Philippines based on the word-list rating task and on the same-gender and mixed-gender hypothetical recorded dialogue interactions. Through the use of survey and interviews, it was found that generally, swear words are inherently offensive and that p-i- is perceived to be the most offensive. In addition, female participants show higher offensiveness ratings as compared to their male counterparts. Thus, the findings support the assertion made by Jay (1992) that females are more offended by swear words as compared to males as this could be brought by the desires of men and women to present themselves that is consistent with the expected behavior for their position in the society. © 2019 Asian E F L Journal Press. All rights reserved.

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Disciplines

Language and Literacy Education

Keywords

Swearing—Sex differences--Philippines; Sociolinguistics--Philippines

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