By Geoffrey Hughes

ISBN-10: 0765612313

ISBN-13: 9780765612311

This can be the single encyclopedia and social historical past of swearing and foul language within the English-speaking global. It covers many of the social dynamics that generate swearing, foul language, and insults within the whole diversity of the English language. whereas the emphasis is on American and British English, the several significant international types, comparable to Australian, Canadian, South African, and Caribbean English also are coated. A-Z entries conceal the total diversity of swearing and foul language in English, together with attention-grabbing info at the heritage and origins of every time period and the social context within which it stumbled on expression. different types comprise blasphemy, obscenity, profanity, the categorization of girls and races, and modal forms, equivalent to the ritual insults of Renaissance "flyting" and sleek "sounding" or "playing the dozens." Entries hide the ancient measurement of the language, from Anglo-Saxon heroic oaths and the fantastic energy of medieval profanity, to the stern censorship of the Renaissance and the colourful, smooth language of the streets. Social components, equivalent to stereotyping, xenophobia, and the dynamics of ethnic slurs, in addition to age and gender variations in swearing also are addressed, besides the main taboo phrases and the complicated and altering nature of spiritual, sexual, and racial taboos.

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Extra resources for An Encyclopedia of Swearing: The Social History of Oaths, Profanity, Foul Language, And Ethnic Slurs in the English-speaking World

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AUSTRALIA Of all the global varieties of English, the Australian is most noted for the liberal use of swearing and profane language. This is, no doubt, a reflection of the nature of the founding population, which was made up principally of 160,000 convicts, very unlike the Pilgrim Fathers of the United States. W. Haygarth commented in now-familiar terms on Antipodean verbal fashions: “Profane swearing prevails throughout the interior of New South Wales to 13 AUSTRALIA an extent hardly conceivable but by those who have actually witnessed it” (Bush Life in Australia 1848, cited in Hornadge 1980, 134).

Go hang yourselves” (in the translation of 1737 by Peter A. Motteux). ” He noted that even then it could express opprobrium, affection, and sympathy or simply be used in a neutral fashion. ” . . Whereas in the governing classes there is always far greater tolerance towards bastards, who often have noble or even royal blood in their veins, and who, under the courtesy title of “natural sons and daughters,” have contributed largely to our ancestral splendours. ” However, in Australian English, where the wide currency of the term has been commented on since World War I, it is used with a considerable variety of tones.

While one would expect Beowulf to be an ideal exemplar or role-model, the importance of the self-binding oath is an essential feature of the whole verbal culture. In the Germania (written ca. 55), the Roman historian Tacitus especially noted the prime importance accorded loyalty among the Germanic tribes, some of whom were to become the English. The poem The Battle of Maldon, based on an actual battle between the men of Essex and some marauding Vikings in 991, provides a striking ethical example.

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An Encyclopedia of Swearing: The Social History of Oaths, Profanity, Foul Language, And Ethnic Slurs in the English-speaking World by Geoffrey Hughes


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