Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

How taboo are taboo words for girls?

  • Vivian De Klerk (a1)
Abstract
ABSTRACT

In the past five years, there has been much interest in the question of whether women are really as concerned about politeness and status as they have been made out to be by such writers as Baroni and D'Urso (1984), Crosby and Nyquist (1977), Lakoff (1973), Spender (1980), and Trudgill (1972). Despite the commonly held perception that it is only males who bandy about derogatory and taboo words (Bailey 1985; Flexner 1975), Risch (1987) provided counterevidence based on data obtained in the United States. The results of the present study, based on data obtained in South Africa, strongly support her findings and challenge the assumption that women stick to standard speech, citing evidence that young females are familiar with, and use, a wide range of highly taboo/slang items themselves. In particular, attention is devoted to the question of pejorative words applicable to males and females, respectively, and the view that there are only a few pejorative terms commonly used to describe males (particularly by females) is challenged. (Women's language, politeness, linguistic taboo, stereotypes, slang, expletives, prestige forms).

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      How taboo are taboo words for girls?
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      How taboo are taboo words for girls?
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      How taboo are taboo words for girls?
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
References
Hide All
R. Bailey (1985). S(outh) A(frican) E(nglish) slang: Form, functions, and origins. South African Journal of Linguistics 3(1):142.

H. Davis (1989). What makes language bad? Language and Communication 9(1–2): 19.

V. A. de Klerk (1990). Slang: A male domain? Sex Roles 22(9/10):589606.

V. A. de Klerk (1991). Expletives: Men only? Communications Monographs 58:156–69.

B. K. Dumas , & J. Lighter (1978). Is slang a word for linguists? American Speech 53:517.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Language in Society
  • ISSN: 0047-4045
  • EISSN: 1469-8013
  • URL: /core/journals/language-in-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 8
Total number of PDF views: 423 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 432 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 17th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.