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The relevance of taboo language: an analysis of the indexical values of swearwords

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journal contribution
posted on 02.10.2015 by Christine Christie
In this paper I argue that approaching linguistic formulae from an indexical perspective can generate a set of research questions that have the potential to open up the study of (im)politeness phenomena so that it is possible to address the range of meanings a resource might generate in a given culture at a given moment in time. I show some of the regularities that come to light through a mapping of the indexical field of strong swearwords and argue that the evaluative behaviour evident in news reports can provide evidence of the potential meanings that uses of taboo language can generate in contemporary British culture. I also argue that approaching taboo language from a discursive pragmatic perspective, by interrogating the contextual assumptions that are needed to make sense of interpretations of specific uses of swearwords, the active assignment of indexical values to swearwords is brought into view.

History

School

  • The Arts, English and Drama

Department

  • English and Drama

Published in

Journal of Pragmatics

Volume

58

Pages

152 - 169

Citation

CHRISTIE, C., 2013. The relevance of taboo language: an analysis of the indexical values of swearwords. Journal of Pragmatics, 58, pp. 152 - 169.

Publisher

© Elsevier

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2013

Notes

This item is the accepted version of an article subsequently published in the serial, Journal of Pragmatics [© Elsevier]. The definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2013.06.009

ISSN

0378-2166

Language

en

Exports