This is good news for those who like swearing quite a fair bit…
Researchers claim that they have debunked the myth that those who use swear words often are lazy and inarticulate, suggesting the complete opposite.
Apparently, if you’re a big fan of littering your vocab with a load of expletives it’s actually a healthy indicator that you have decent verbal abilities. Result!
Writing in the Language Sciences journal, psychologists Timothy and Kristin Jay dismiss the idea that swearing is a sign of a lack of education.
Their study aimed to find out whether those who are more confident in their swearing ability were less fluent in other forms of vocabulary.
Working with the assumption that people swear because they lack knowledge to find other ways to express themselves, the researchers ask students how many different swear words they could name in 60 seconds.
They then assigned the test subjects other non-swearing tasks to challenge their vocabulary, asking them to name as many animal names in the same space of time before comparing their findings.
The results found the volunteers who could name the most swear words could also produce the higher quantity of words in other categories.
The co-authors wrote in the journal entry:
We cannot help but judge others on the basis of their speech. Unfortunately, when it comes to taboo language, it is a common assumption that people who swear frequently are lazy, do not have an adequate vocabulary, lack education, or simply cannot control themselves. The overall finding of this set of studies, that taboo fluency is positively correlated with other measures of verbal fluency, undermines the POV [Poverty of Vocabulary] view of swearing. That is, a voluminous taboo lexicon may better be considered an indicator of healthy verbal abilities rather than a cover for their deficiencies. Speakers who use taboo words understand their general expressive content as well as nuanced distinctions that must be drawn to use slurs appropriately.
Release your inner Malcolm Tucker and embrace your sweary self.