Curse Words

Last week's Casual Friday study on Cognitive Daily tried to look at the way various curse words are used and perceived by their blog readers.

Today, the results are in and, though not surprising, they are quite interesting. The sample is probably skewed towards well-educated folks interested in cognitive science, as well as towards the US readers (or at least English-speaking readers), but they had a large enough sample this time to get significant differences between sexes, if not races.

Do you find "bitch" less offensive if you are a dog breeder? Or if you are a regular reader of Bitch, PhD blog?

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There are some significant racial differences, just not black-white differences. I hope to get to them tomorrow. Busy, busy, busy, plus I had to get two separate sets of data to play nice with each other.

Since I use curse words very (very!) rarely, I'm intrigued by their ubiquity in casual conversation today. While my manner of speech is certainly racier these days than it was in my Catholic schoolboy days (and, yes, I know that not all Catholic schoolboys were as reticent as I was), it remains amazingly clean by today's standards. I presume we're going through some kind of big cycle. Damned if I know where it will end up. (See, I used a curse word!)

I think curse words have largely lost their impact. The other day I was reading someone who made prolifigate use of them, and all I could think is that he came across as inarticulate.