Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 17 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes from a psychological point of view two aspects of taboo word use in American English: the ways people use taboo words to express themselves and the ways people comprehend taboo word expressions. Expression topics selected here include: spoken frequency, verbal fluency, personality traits, emotion expression, anger and frustration, name calling, humor, and coping with pain. Interpretation topics selected include: connotation and denotation, word offensiveness, frequency judgments, fighting words, sexual harassment, and pragmatic contextual variables. The production of expressions with taboo words, as well as the interpretation of them, depends on contextual variables encompassing the expressions including: the speaker–listener relationship and their ages, the social and physical context, and the intended meaning and emotional valence of the expression. Universal statements cannot be made about the production or interpretation of taboo word expressions due to the influence of contextual variables.

Keywords: swearing, taboo words, cursing, emotion expression, connotation, pragmatics

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.