The use of swear words has been associated with unintelligent or illiterate people for quite a long time. If you swear often, you’ve surely been reprimanded by either your parents or other people for being stupid vulgar. However, you should fret no more. In fact, science has finally proven that swearing doesn’t make you less intelligent – it means you have a rich vocabulary!
As the great British comedian Stephen Fry once explained, people who think that swearing is a sign of poor education (or a total lack of education), are “f****** mental”. Authors such as Jim O’Connor have written books that link poor intelligence with swearing, with many scientists finding the link quite intriguing. Kristin and Timothy Jay decided to put the theory to test and what they found will forever break the swearing stereotype.
The test set out to see if phrases such as “What a lovely f*cking day” are just the same as “What a superb day”.
The First Test
They tested 43 subjects aged 18-22. The participants were asked to write down all the taboo swear words they can think of in a minute. Afterward, they were asked to write down as many animal names as they can think of in a minute – this was supposed to show the participants’ level and general interest in language. The subjects wrote down a total of 533 swear words, including some pretty creative terms.
The Second Experiment
49 subjects were asked to write down as many animal names and swear words starting on the letter “A” as they could within a minute. They were later asked to do the same with different letters.
The study found out that there was absolutely no sex difference in the taboo word generation – males and females came up with just as creative terms. The study was later published on the website of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and the results were quite interesting.
First And Foremost
The study found out that swearing is not a result of a limited vocabulary or poor education. Even more interesting, common swear words such as “s*it”, “f*ck” or “d*mn” are not simple fillers. When the so-called “lexical access” (the ability to use a right word at the right time) fails, people can’t think of anything else but say “um” or “errr”. However, they never forget swear words.
Another thing the study pointed out is that although taboo swear words are associated with negative states, people who swear are not automatically negative. As a matter of fact, a good swear word ‘lexicon’ can express a whole range of emotions (good and bad), which definitely isn’t a sign of illiterate people.
As the study concludes, implementing these taboo words in your dictionary will add another mechanism of emotional expression to your already great language skills. Although the study was conducted on a small group of people, Kristin and Timothy Jay are sure the results will be replicated on a greater scale. So, whenever someone’s “busting your b*alls” about using cuss words, you can explain the findings to them and enjoy the f*cking smell of victory.