There's a really motherfucking long article in the New Scientist all about swearing that we read so that you don't have to. Some of the shit we discovered in the article was pretty damn interesting. It turns out that the use of curse words can be explained by science and evolution and how our brains work. So what the hell does this bullshit have to do with us? Well, in the past men cursed more than women, but according to research conducted by a British linguist who studied the conversation patterns of people on MySpace, it seems that women have finally obtained equality in one respect: Their dirty fucking mouths.
One theory states that cursing is a substitute for a physical act of aggression. So it would make sense that as women become more aggressive in life, their speech patterns would match.
The most interesting thing thing in the article is the news that, after people have strokes and lose the ability to converse, they still retain the ability to swear. This has led neurologists to believe that swear words are stored in the brain's right hemisphere, where as propositional language is stored in the left, the part that gets affected by having a stroke. Here are some other tidbits:
- Cursing in groups promotes social bonding.
- "Fuck" and "shit" make up half of all swear words used.
- The seemingly benign "damn" was the "undisputed king" of swear words before "fuck" began being used
- Almost all swear words are based on sex or excretion.
Some psychologists believe that our dirty mouths are a product of evolution. It's safer for us to scream "Fuck you" from across the street at a person, without worrying about getting beaten up. But for as long as that piece was, and all the theories and facts it contained, it didn't state what seems to be the most obvious thing: People curse because it's fucking fun.
The Science Of Swearing [New Scientist]