A recent study shows that children are adept at absorbing swearwords. That’s the power of linguistic taboos for you


‘I think it’s part of them learning about their emotions and emotional expression,’ says Dr Timothy Jay.

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Most of the time, words behave themselves. They’re just a useful arrangement of sounds in our mouths, or letters on a page. They have no intrinsic power to offend. If I told you that skloop was a vile swearword in some foreign language, with the power to empty rooms and force ministerial resignations, you might laugh. How could an arbitrary combination of sounds have such force? But then think of the worst swearwords in your own language and you quickly understand that something else is at play here. Our reaction to them is instant and emotional.

Read More: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/22/brain-swearing-children-study-timothy-jay?CMP=fb_gu

Published By David Shariatmadari on theguardian.com