22/1 – Cursing

Module Leader:
Finta Klára Enikő
2022-2023 Nyár

Why do people curse? What happens in their brain when they swear? Why does one even have the urge to use cuss words?

Cursing is a complex social behaviour: depending on the social context (interlocutors, topic discussed, setting, etc.), language use may be considered offensive or foul. Swear words are fascinating because they are not merely expletives, but reflect taboos, social norms, emotions, beliefs, and neurological processes. Thus, to understand them, they require deep analysis. Cursing is a universal human phenomenon, yet can reveal specific and unique traits of socioeconomic status, gender, nationality, cultural background, and personality.

Many disciplines have delved into the phenomenon of cursing: linguistics, psychology, sociology, or history, all regard this topic as a way to learn more about the workings of the human mind.

The module aims to give students an interdisciplinary overview to this compelling issue. Cursing is addressed from a linguistic, psychological and social perspective, with specific focus on the psycho- and sociolinguistic aspects. Students interested in fields such as linguistics, psychology, natural and social sciences are welcome. The module is suitable for students with no or limited knowledge in the aforementioned disciplines.

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