What makes a word profane? Why are my swear words different from my parents'? If swearing is so bad, why do we do it? And what can a culture's swear words tell us about the things they hold taboo?
Today's guest is Dr. Benjamin K. Bergen, professor of cognitive science at UC San Diego and author of the book "What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves."
Citations and further reading:
- Eschew the taboo: The pernicious effects of banning words by Christopher Hitchens
- Etymology of "niggardly"
- Is using this N-word (niggardly) a firing offense? by Michael Mayo
- D.C. Mayor Acted 'Hastily,' Will Rehire Aide by Yolanda Woodlee
- Wikipedia list of controversies over the word "niggardly"
- Understanding Prescriptive vs. Descriptive Grammar
- "The Focative Case" reference from Shakespeare's "The Merry Wives of Windsor"
- Etymology of "dick"
- Stephens, R., & Umland, C. (2011). Swearing as a Response to Pain—Effect of Daily Swearing Frequency. The Journal of Pain
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Taboo Science is written and produced by Ashley Hamer. Theme music by Danny Lopatka of DLC Music.