2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

A Gender-Based Analysis of the Syntactic and Morphological Functions of Profanity
Katie A. Cox
Dr. Mary Shapiro, Faculty Mentor

Swearing is a part of language that, despite being in common use, has largely escaped formal linguistic study. This research focuses on the structure (both the syntax and the morphology) of swearing in context rather than the study of production or semantics that has dominated previous research in the topic. This study was conducted by gathering data from movies which were determined to have a high frequency of swearing. For each utterance, the speaker’s gender, the screenwriter’s gender, which of the five specific words was used, which of nine possible syntactic categories of the swear word, and the word’s morphological components were noted and analyzed in an SPSS spreadsheet to find correlations between patterns of usage and speaker’s gender. The data showed that men and women have suggestive differences in their usage of swearing; that it is, in general, more fully incorporated into male speech than female speech.

Keywords: Linguistics, Profanity, Gender

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 8-3
Location: OP 2113
Time: 8:45 am

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