21/2 – Cursing

Module Leader:
Anna Szlávi
2021-2022 Autumn
Natural Sciences

Ever wonder why we curse? What happens in the brain when we do? Why is it that some people find one word-form offensive while others don’t? How come the “f-word” wasn’t even in the dictionary until the 19th century and nowadays it is a very widely and creatively used term, with so many different meanings (like in “fuck you” vs. “fuck yeah”, and “fucking awesome” vs. “BudaFCKNpest”)? Cursing or swearing is an everyday phenomenon, which varies from language to language, situation to situation, and person to person. More and more disciplines have developed interest in studying the complex phenomenon of cursing. Linguistics, psychology, sociology, history, and marketing all find this — once taboo — topic exciting. The aim of this module is to give students an interdisciplinary overview to this compelling issue. We will examine cursing mainly from a linguistic, psychological and social perspective, in order to better understand the richness of exploring the swearing culture of a language. 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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