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Expletives of lower working-class women

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 December 2008

Susan E. Hughes
Department of Modern Languages, University of Solford, Greater Manchester MiO OSU, UK


For many decades, women's speech has been seen as being very different from that used by men. Stereotyped as swearing less, using less slang, and as aiming for more standard speech style, women were judged according to their sex rather than other aspects of their lives, such as class and economic situation. With many critics now challenging these ideas, this article sets out to look at the reality of the swearing used by a group of women from a deprived inner-city area. Their constant use of strong expletives flies in the face of the theories proffered of the “correctness” of the language of women. (Expletives, taboo words, working-class women, female speech, female group, social networks, sociolinguistics, inner-city England)

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1992

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