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The Context of a Swear Words Essay

Language and its complexity is undeniably one of the greatest skills that humanity possesses. It has existed for tens of thousands of years and reflects the uniqueness of the human beings. The interaction, which language allows, creates endless possibilities in expression and conveying of information.

The limitless amount of words, phrases and the way they are put together, gives a chance to fully and practically communicate with others and the self. The swear words are a separate division of language, as the meaning of the swear words greatly differs from others. By one opinion, the swearing in the modern society has increased. From another perspective, the opposite might be true.

The context of a swear word is informal and foul. Sometimes, a word is used out of place, so indirectly, any word can be labeled as taboo. The present world has been greatly desensitized to swear words and often, people do not consider it as standing out. Official social figures and authorities do not use foul language, as they have an image to support. This is where the power of language demonstrates itself in the fullest spectrum of its abilities.

In the media, any kind of language is used since it is considered an art form or type of expression. As people get used to hearing these words, they stop thinking of them as “taboo”. It is the meaning behind the words. Very often, something that is stated seemingly clear, on further thought can presuppose another meaning, so swearing might be conceptual. The listener will have to analyze the situation and conditions, which were present during the speaking.

These are part of indirect speech, which in turn lead to the indirect speech acts. The word “act”, defines the meaning and the physical understanding of what is being said and, which actions will the said words lead to. There are many factors that influence the understanding and assumptions of both the speaker and the listener. As such, a society has a need for rudeness and expression of anger. Most likely, swear words will always exist in some form, as the need to differentiate from formal language cannot disappear.

Another important aspect in understanding how and what was said is the culture of a nation. Sometimes social norms are strict, so the swear words will stay taboo. The meaning attributed to certain words could absolutely change the intended meaning of the speaker. For example, in some cultures it might be impolite to directly answer a request with a no and a person unaware of that could offend the listener, without even knowing it.

This would make words different from western swear words taboo. Irony and sarcasm are other cultural attributes. A nation that accepts such things will understand the speaker and appreciate the reference made, but someone from a different background will create a negative predisposition towards the person speaking. The reputation of the speaker also plays a role in expressing unacceptable words.

A good example is, if dumbass is said by different people: a police officer, a parent and a child. The indirect context is being aligned with the individual and their position in the society. If the police officer is known to have a “foul-mouthed” reputation, this will not be a surprise and disregarded. A parent who finds their child troublemaking would have to somehow express disappointment, thus attributing ‘a negative’ meaning to the word (Verderber 2012).

Most often, some swear words have a much worse connotation because it has no connection to other words and is meant to offend. This form of speech usage appears in almost all instances of life. If someone uses words to their advantage, it can be thought of as an ‘allowed’ action.

A lot of swearing is used in comedy for entertainment effect, so it not only expected but is welcome. In reality, it is difficult to find factual support on the usage. The world is becoming more liberal, and racial, as well as gender differences are merging. The younger population gets mentally older faster, so there are whole groups of people who swear now but did not before. Also, many people have unique characters and use words that were used a long time ago.

This would mean that they are not as common and are not thought of as absolutely rude. Some examples are bloody which means ‘bad’ or Gosh referring to ‘God’. Even though they might not seem as profane today, the context is still present. The modern swear words have become sentence fillers and replace many other words. For example, shit can be used to describe some ‘things’ that were done during the day. As such, a close knowledge of the culture is necessary to ‘decode’ such usage (Hughes 2006).

Human communication is a very valuable resource and must be considered a privilege. Any abuse should not be tolerated because the results are often catastrophic, when those with all the power are able to turn the public into their ally and use it to destroy morals and peace, everyone so persistently fights for.

Works Cited

Hughes, Geoffrey. An Encyclopedia of Swearing. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2006. Print.

Verderber, Rudolph. The Challenge of Effective Speaking. Boston, Massachusetts: Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.

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1. IvyPanda. "The Context of a Swear Words." January 17, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/swearing/.


IvyPanda. "The Context of a Swear Words." January 17, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/swearing/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "The Context of a Swear Words." January 17, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/swearing/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Context of a Swear Words'. 17 January.

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