Voluminous capacity for lewd language is indicator of verbal fluency, study says
How do you like your swearing? Blasted out hard and fast? Served up with wanton abandon? Is it perhaps a guilty pleasure, or is it never a pleasure to hear somebody effing and jeffing at all, no matter how finely crafted the sentence?
Well, here’s some news which many people will have suspected all along: swearing is not a sign you lack aptitude with words or are unable to otherwise express yourself.
According to a study published in the Language Sciences journal, researchers found that those people who had an extensive knowledge of swear words and their usage, had a similar capacity for finding and using all words.
The tests involved asking people to name as many swear words as they could in 60 seconds.
Then they asked the same test subjects to name as many words as they could in other categories, including animal names and things like that.
Those who performed highly in naming swear words also performed highly in other categories.
Psychologists Timothy Jay and Kristin Jay said: “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.”